New Book on the Origin of Life

I haven’t had the opportunity to read this yet, because it’s just recently been released, but it sounds relevant and fascinating. Probably a really accessible primer, too, for anyone interested in understanding the current state of scientific knowledge in this field.

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It seems that everything I’ve read so far about OoL has this caveat:

It is also a search whose end may finally be in sight.

Just so you know, we’re almost there folks! Nothing to see here!

One review of the book:

“Marshall has rounded up all the past and current thinking about this profound and puzzling question—how did life begin?—into a neat, enthralling, and highly digestible package. He doesn’t pretend we can answer the question, but does justice to all the key proposals so far. And if anything, his survey of potential solutions makes the appearance of life on Earth seem all the more astonishing as we examine the issue ever more closely.”

– Philip Ball, author of “How to Grow a Human: Adventures in How We Are Made and Who We Are”

Even if we never know for certain it does not prove that it didn’t happen.

Nice, thanks! It is on Audible so I just picked it up with one of my credits. Should keep me going for 10 hrs 35 minutes apparently

In the same way, even if we never know for certain God exists, it does not prove that He didn’t create it all.

It is not the same. If God does not make himself known it will not change the belief in God. Nothing new added or subtracted.

The search of OOL advances knowledge in a many scientific fields whether it is discovered or not.

@thoughtful, do you see a double-standard like I do? That these people do not give us the same consideration when it comes to God and his Word?

We didn’t see the Creation happen, we can’t see God, but we know both are there nonetheless, just like they were written down.

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Science can not prove nor disprove God’s words. I do not understand your complaint. What do you suggest “these people” do?

I can confidently say that this book won’t appeal to our YEC friends here, and not just because of it being a book on the non-theistic origins of life. The early chapters I have listened to have some quite blunt things to say about creation myths and their lack of usefulness and value. It is hard to tell whether it seems more than it is, just because I am listening and not reading which makes things seem longer

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Color me surprised :wink:

If God was acknowledged, many scientific fields would be advanced.

Yes, but it will always be the case for Christians. :slight_smile:

Many of the scientists and others here acknowledge God but it sounds like you have something else in mind. Can you expand on it?

In cosmology, the Big Bang Model is slightly out of order, leading to inconsistent results. I think it’s likely the expansion of the universe is not accelerating. I wonder if it’s actually expanding at all. But that’s all way above my pay grade of $0. Just guesses right now based on places where there should be advancement. We’re doing tons of cool things with light though. I keep reading about lasers. That’s not surprising given my worldview :slight_smile:

Regarding biology, we aren’t acknowledging the way sin and evil affects the world. I think there’s maybe some interesting things going on with genetics in bacteria and viruses and in humans with diseases like cancer or others that may be different than the larger picture of genetic design in humans or animals. In a creationist paradigm, it shouldn’t be a problem to separate these issues possibly.

For what it’s worth, I think it may be in-principle impossible for us ever to know how life really began (I’m talking about naturalistically, but it also applies to supernaturally) unless we develop time travel backward (which our current physics suggests is impossible). This is because the very earliest and simplest forms of life were not such that they would leave fossils or any other durable trace evidence behind. There is simply no forensic evidence from which to reconstruct the actual events.

What scientists are attempting in abiogenesis/OoL research, then, is the creation of plausible (hehe, cross-pollination with the ‘Probability of the Existence of God’ thread…) approaches that could lead to the rise of life from non-life. If such mechanisms are discovered, they may not be identical to what actually happened on Earth, but they will show that the claimed absolute impossibility of life-from-non-life is not supported by the best available evidence.


I thought he was being nice here and giving his general opinion to stay away. I didn’t read this as an attack but I can see that we could read it either way. So he’ll have to clarify.


No, they wouldn’t in any way. Absolutely nothing is gained scientifically by positing God’s involvement in anything.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there really is something to be gained in seismology by blaming earthquakes on promiscuous women, and tsunamis on homosexuals. And maybe people with epilepsy really have been possessed by demons, or cursed by God. Next we’ll be told we might just have to start burning witches again, and stop listening to rock music to not be led into devil-worship.


Please explain what you mean here. What do you consider “creation myths” and who is it claiming they “lack value”, and do you personally agree with those claims?

@ProfBravus actually gives a great answer to your challenge here when he says, “This is because the very earliest and simplest forms of life were not such that they would leave fossils or any other durable trace evidence behind.”

The Bible says you can stop looking now for your “trace evidence” because you won’t find it. The Bible says God brought life forms into existence fully formed.

So this is in direct contradiction to your claim that, “Absolutely nothing is gained scientifically by positing God’s involvement in anything.”

Great solution. Bible says X, so stop doing any science on the question. I could scarcely imagine a more prototypical creationist statement. People like you are why many people (including many scientists) think there’s an inherent conflict between religion and science.

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I guess you should really say there is an inherent conflict between Creation science and modern science. Using “religion” here as a label is like a straw man. Religion makes no statement other than possibly, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand”. Don’t conflate religion and Creation science.