I was doing some google scholar perusing and found more papers on nucleobases and other biologically-associated molecules in meteorites and it got me wondering, what is the current consensus-perspective on this and early Earth biochemistry? Any fun reads (like important testing/analyses) that people happen to have?
There isn’t really any consensus on that. The role of meteorite derived organic molecules is heavily disputed. I think there’s two perspectives about this:
A) Some people think meteorite-derived organic molecules helped seed the building blocks of life. As in they posit that part of the constituents of life did come from meteorites.
B) Others reject this and say that the existence of organic molecules in meteorites merely help show that abiotic physical/chemical processes can produce organic molecules like those found in life, but that they are unlikely to have actually participated in the emergence of life.
A recent article on the subject (paywalled):
My take is that if organic molecules can develop in space, then it is less surprising they might develop on a planet.
Shouldn’t this (well and other things) kill the entire complexity cannot happen argument or is another mere pushback do the a “gap”?
I guess my next question is to fellow theists (including Christians), if we find evidence of life elsewhere, how do we responsibly handle this?
Yes, it should. To those creationists who assert complexity cannot happen naturally, that should kill their argument.
And to be sure, creationists do just move the goalposts, and say that complexity beyond some sort of threshold they’ve made up can’t happen. Like, ahh okay, so nucleobases can be produced, but what about nucleobases linked to ribose? And if you showed that they’d presumably just move the goalposts again.
Usually (at least with respect to the topic of evolution) they just set the threshold really high, or at least somewhat beyond what we can expect to occur on human timescales.
And in some cases they outright ignore concrete counterexamples. For example there are creationists on this forum who have asserted that something like a membrane-embedded protein channel with multiple protein-protein binding spots couldn’t possibly evolve because it’s too unlikely, and they blatantly ignore the example of T-URF13 (a membrane embedded protein channel with multiple protein-protein binding sites that demonstrably evolved) as if it doesn’t exist.
I assume some will accept it eventually, and then just move the goalposts to something even more complex. You can always just find something bigger and more complex and demand to see that happen spontaneously, or evolve in your lifetime. Ahh but have we seen tigers evolve from bacteria? Checkmate!
Right so with this pretty well-established, can peaceful science even occur?
Science and theology are different ways of understanding reality.
Potentially offering an offramp so to speak on evolution, doesn’t address competing claims between most larger evangelical camps on things that science can address. The offramp a la Swamidass et al., also seems to irk some hermeneutic perspectives from within that camp. These approaches realistically determine most of the extended doctrine and principles therefore they cannot have both.
It may help to delineate the things worth arguing about. That alone won’t end the argument, but it may shift it from an argument about science to an argument about doctrine.