Does ID's origin of life information argument entail the special creation of the first life?

(T J Runyon) #1

I was lying around thinking how ID proponents could make ID more appealing to the scientific community. Besides making compelling arguments that is. Which they haven’t even come close to doing. But I do think if ID stands any chance it’s with the origin of life. But how can you make it more appealing to origin of life researchers? This got me thinking if the ID argument even entails special creation of the first life. Could the information argument be correct and yet life arise through natural processes? And when I say natural here I mean not special creation. An example: let’s say I’m walking on the beach and I come across and jumble of shells. I think we’d agree there isn’t much information content here. But then I pick up the shells and spell “t.j. Was here”. There is defintely information content now and it took an intelligent cause (me) to create the information from the pre existing materials. DNA is made up of pre existing chemicals. So why couldn’t God do it this way? Perhaps guide an organic rich meteorite to earth or influence geology in such a way to create hydrothermal vents, etc. You can still argue intelligence is needed to create the information in DNA. You can have evidence for a natural cause and an intelligient one. Both can be detectable. This would defintely create a lot of research. You’d just be investigating how God created the first life. This possibility intrigues me and defintely makes me more interested in ID. A lot better than saying, “oh. The first life was designed. That’s it.” Anyway I’m thinking out loud and this could be incoherent. Idk. Would love to hear your thoughts

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #2

Which information argument? There are several. Even if they are ultimately correct, most have large mathematical errors. Yes, God could have created the first cell, but not because 2+2=5.

(T J Runyon) #3

I’m thinking along the lines of Meyer’s SitC or even the thread on this forum with Brian Miller

(Ann Gauger) #4


    April 4

I’m thinking along the lines of Meyer’s SitC or even the thread on this forum with Brian Miller

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The Confessing Scientist

    April 4

Which information argument? There are several. Even if they are ultimately correct, most have large mathematical errors. Yes, God could have created the first cell, but not because 2+2=5.

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(S. Joshua Swamidass) #5

@agauger there are some bugs in your last post. Perhaps delete and try again?

I do not think those arguments are recoverable.

The stronger argument is stronger because it is more limited. I would argue (and do argue) that we absolutely do not know if life can or did arise by abiogenesis, by purely natural processes. We just do not know. Science is tasked with finding natural mechanisms, and some real interesting progress has been made. There is a wide chasm, however, to bridge right now. Given the extreme rarity of life in the Cosmos, this should raise questions for everyone, the grand questions of origins about why we are here and what life means.

Atheists, of course, will maintain that it must have been natural causes, because that is the only resource they have, and we have no way of knowing if the entire gap is merely ignorance or not. Christians, however, are can also wonder if this was a place were God directly intervened in our origins. Perhaps He did. If God exists, and wants life, perhaps it is even warranted to hold this view.

That, I have found, is a compelling argument for design in secular contexts. It has convinced more people in my community than the information arguments in ID.

(T J Runyon) #6

I agree that we don’t know how life arose. But there are some intriguing ideas out there, I also think there is evidence, both scientific and philosophical, that life did arise naturally. I’m more concerned with does the ID argument that intelligence is the only known source of information therefore intelligence is the best explanation of the origin of the genetic code entail special creation. Or can it be true and life have also arisen through natural (not special creation) events.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #7

Let’s start with that. This is false. Any ambiguity in meaning is resolved by their use of the mathematical theory. Intelligence is not the only known source of information.

As for the implications, they would be the first to agree with you that it does not necessarily imply special creation. It could be some elaborate fine tuning effect.

(T J Runyon) #8

@Agauger hope you fix the bug. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

(T J Runyon) #9

I agree that the argument is false. Just granting it for the sake of discussion. Thanks!

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #10

I think that science is going to satisfactorily explain how life began in the very near future. Astrobiology will lead the way as we learn more about how chemical processes on exoplanets evolve. Applying this to Earth, we are going to have to wrestle with the question “what is life?” As simple chemical processes increase in complexity, biological processes emerge like self replication and metabolism. It is going to be difficult to draw a line between life and non-life as, my guess, it will be a long drawn out process in time with many branches. What we call life will be still be a common decent through natural selection process. And it was be a long, long process going from a sack of chemicals to a cell perhaps 100s of million of years. Betting that the RNA world will be found to be an important middle milestone in the creation of life on Earth.

Dan Brown's Origin of Life
(Guy Coe) #11

Any effect must be produced by an adequate cause. We are conscious, intelligent persons with an inner moral makeup. What does that say about how we must think about any adequate Cause? I think it’s foolish to try to exclude God through philosophical naturalism --in fact, I’d make the case that we all already know that that’s foolish. Notice that I’ve said all that without mentioning ID… but I’ve sure implied it as a valid perspective.

(system) #12