Abiogensis: What’s the Deal?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 17, 2014 27 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Jeremiah 2:27
“Who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
For they have turned their back to me,
and not their face.”

I had the great privilege of returning to the Creation Truth Foundation for the 2nd of four parts of the Cadre, a Biblical Foundations and Worldview Seminar. In the next few posts, I will be discussing several of the topics we covered. And to start off, one of the big questions that have been plaguing science for hundreds of years is: “How did life begin?”

When you really boil it down, the origins of life question has only two possible answers: it came about on its own or it was designed and created by a supernatural being that exists outside space/matter. Ultimately, while people believe in many deities, there is only one that actually fits the description of one capable of creating the universe: the Biblical God. And the big debate about origins has ultimately been about this: the Biblical God or no God at all.

Many on the Evolution side will say two things: (1) that Evolution does not remove God from the picture, and (2) that abiogenesis, the origin of life from non-life is not part of Evolution. Both of these claims have major issues.

(1) Evolution does not make an official statement regarding the existence of God, but if God does indeed exist, and if he indeed did create the universe, would it not be best to consult him on how he did it? Evolution does not do that. More on this in a bit.

(2) The idea that Evolution is only about genetic diversity may have been what Darwin had in mind, but one must consider the logical conclusions. If all life came from a single common ancestor or a set of common ancestors, one must ask the question: “Where did that common ancestor(s) come from?” And if it did not come from a Creator, it has to come about on its own.

We have to watch our definitions here, so for clarity’s sake, when I reference Evolution, I am talking about the overall, big picture, origins of life/universe, which includes biological evolution, but also how it got started. And to also be clear, one definition of Evolution is “change in allele frequencies”, but I have yet to meet an Evolution supporter that actually sticks with this definition.

I will again emphasize that the two are inseparable. You cannot have Evolution and abiogenesis separate in the whole scheme of things. You can zoom in on biological evolution and not look at abiogenesis, in the same way you can look at the orbit of a shuttle without looking at the launch. But in the whole scheme, you must have them together. Here is why it is inseparable.

I have yet to see a museum display on Evolution that does not mention it. I’ve been to the Natural History Museum in Denver with my sister and nephew. And I recall in three different exhibits, this aspect of the overall theory of Evolution was mentioned, including biological and non-biological evolution aspects. I also wonder if it is so unimportant to the diversification of life, why are scientists constantly looking for the answer to this question: “How did life begin?”

The book Biology by Miller and Levine is used in over 50% of high school and college textbooks.

Many of you may recognize this book. One of the speakers at the Cadre has debated Miller and apparently it did not go well for Miller. Miller is a very angry person and this is the guy that is educating many of our students on this subject. But Miller has some outright contradictions in his book. Subtle, but outright.

On page 13, Miller states that Louis Pasteur disproved the idea of abiogenesis. Later on page 170, Miller describes cell theory, which includes that new cells must come from existing cells. Yet later on page 425 in his chapter on Evolution, he states that life MUST have come from non-life at some point. Right there in the most popular textbook in America is the inseparable bond between abiogenesis and Evolution. And without a Creator in the center of the picture, the only alternative is abiogensis. You may come to the same conclusion I have. In order to keep a Creator out of the picture, they must go against the very foundation upon which they claim to stand.

But it gets more interesting. The very popular Miller-Urey experiment is often cited as evidence that life could form on its own. Yet this concept is completely full of holes. First off, the experiment purposefully removed any oxygen from the equation. Why? Because oxygen destroys unprotected amino acids. There is another major problem. If there was no oxygen, these unprotected amino acids would be wiped out by cosmic radiation. How do I know? Because we are protected by a layer of oxygen called the ozone layer. You can’t have O3 without at some point getting a decent amount of O2.

Miller-Urey also provided a major issue to the idea of abiogensis. Yes, they were able to produce amino acids but that alone can’t produce proteins. Not by themselves. Here is why. First, amino acids are water-soluble. Water is the worst place for amino acids to be able to form on their own, unprotected. Even if they were to combine, the water would break them apart. Second, they formed two types of amino acids that have completely identical chemical formulas. The difference is their orientation. Life MUST have completely 100% left-handed oriented amino acids. Just one right-handed oriented amino acid could kill the creature because of how the proteins fold to do what they do. Yet this solution is racemic: that is 50-50. And a batch of 100% of one kind, left unprotected and on their own will very quickly settle to 50-50. Third, there are 20 types of amino acids. The simplest protein contains 51 amino acids. Let’s run the numbers. That’s a 1 in a 2051 chance of getting the simplest one right (remember that amino acids can repeat). This is about 2.25 x 1066. The chances of the sequence of events in this Calvin and Hobbes take are much better.

One may ask: “Do scientists actually buy this and believe this?” Others are even more audacious to ask, “Why don’t we buy this and believe it?” But here is the truth. Science has long proven that abiogenesis is completely impossible. And most scientists are well aware of that. This is a good reason why there is the push to try to keep abiogenesis and Evolution separate. Today, most just accept it, even though they know all their experiments to try to demonstrate it be possible have all ended in failure. But there are a few honest ones that state flat out that they just don’t have a clue how it happened. And some even go as far as to why they accept Evolution and reject the idea of a Creation. George Wald, a Harvard Biology Professor, Nobel Laureate, and the mentor to the late Evolutionary leading professor, Stephen Gould said this. “There are only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility. Spontaneous generation, that life arose from non-living matter, was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others. That leaves us with the only possible conclusion that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God… I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible; spontaneous generation arising to evolution.”
~ George Wald, “The Origin of Life” Scientific American (August 1954, pg 46)

I’m not sure there is much more to say than this: at least he is honest. There are many others out there who have said similar things. It boils down to this: Evolution (and abiogenesis with it) is accepted in the scientific community because believe in a Creator God is anathema to them. When your worldview only allows for the natural to be considered, you will be forced to accept things that even naturalism itself disproves in order to keep God out of the equation. And this proves that this debate never was scientific to begin with.


Bob Sorensen said...

It is good that you pointed out that there are differences in the definition of "evolution". Some use the lame catch-all of "change over time", and I have seen “change in allele frequencies” used as an argument, that's all evolution is so what's your problem? These imprecise definitions are often used as a set-up for bait-n-switch, conflating the different definitions of evolution — if you believe in a little, then you believe in the general theory of microbes-to-microbiologist evolution. Yeah, some are sneaky like that, and some don't even understand what they're attacking us with, but they know we're "wrong" anyway.

As you indicated, some will say that abiogenesis as nothing to do with evolution. I've been called bad things by people who, again, don't seem to understand evolution, or are simply dishonest. Abiogenesis is in textbooks, documentaries and all sorts of things dealing with the general theory of evolution.

Yes, it comes down to what people want to believe. It seems that the more evolution is refuted, the shriller anti-creationists get. I believe it's because they know they're losing, and science is not on their side. If it was simply about evidence, people would be creationists and reject goo-to-you evolution.

Charlie said...

Minor correction needed on the numbers. Just about the Calvin and Hobbes comic, I have two numbers. 1 in 2051 and 2.55 X 1066. There needs to be a an exponent in these two numbers. They correctly read:
1 in 20^51, which is 20 raised to the 51th power.


2.55 x 10^66. That is 2.66 follow by 66 zeros.

This did not translate in the conversion from the Word file to the blog formatting.

Charlie said...

And Bob, with changes in allele frequencies, they can't just change anything to suggest common ancestry. There are very clear boundaries on what can changes before life....ceases to function. And every observation we've made shows one of two things: kinds remain the same kind, or death. And this is precisely what the Bible has said all along.

The divorce from abiogenesis from Evolution is rather hilarious. But we know why they do it. They know that WE know they have absolutely no answer for that issue. Bill Nye famously said "We don't have a clue" about origins of life. But then he foolishly chided Ken Ham that we'd stop looking. Scientists no longer search for the cause of gravity or friction. They just use it. And just because we have the answer, that doesn't mean we will stop seeking how God did it. But one thing is for sure. Those like Bill Nye will continue searching, and searching, and searching, searching, and he will never find the answer because he rejects the source of it.

To many of these scientists, to consider God in the equation is anathema, and as a result, they will profess themselves to be wise, all the while accepting and embracing that which they themselves KNOW which is ridiculous just to not have to deal with God. But they are fooling themselves and unfortunately many others with them, but they aren't fooling us and they are not fooling God. And because of their position of influence, they are held to a much higher standard than the lay person.

David J. said...

Where'd you get the fabricated George Wald quotation?

Piltdown Superman said...

You're not going to call Charlie a liar on my watch. When lowlifes don't like a quote from an evolutionist or an atheopath, they say it's made up or taken out of context. So I'll slap leather with you.

Charlie gave you the source. There are liars out there who have said it's not real. What they need to do is back up their claims. Get a copy of that issue of Scientific American, scan it, post it and say, "No such quote". Then they can go and correct everyone on the Web that uses it.

This author corresponded with Wald and reproduced some of said correspondence. Why don't you click on the link and go call him a liar, too?

Here's another source for you. But if you run off at the mouth and call the author and publisher of that book "liars", you might be in a heap of trouble for defamation. Also, the one listed immediately above references another book in which the Wald quote resides.

Remember this: You get mouthy and call someone a liar without something to back it up, it makes you the liar. Sure, you can get a gang of owlhoots like yourself to get together and agree that it's quote mined or somesuch, and that's just talk, but what atheopaths and evolutionists don't understand is that might doesn't make right and consensus doesn't make truth.

Piltdown Superman said...

By the way, it's akin to quote mining to focus on something and ignoring the main content. Atheo-fascists can't be bothered to address the topic, preferring instead to find some way to attack the person instead of deal with the subject. As I study on it, it's because they're terrified that evolution is failing, the evidence supports creation instead. But they don't want to admit there's a Creator, because that would mean that he makes the rules and we're all accountable.

Charlie said...

David, if you can read, you can find the source right with the quote. If you are going to call quote-mine it is YOUR responsibility to demonstrate how it was taken out of context to mean something entirely different.

And Wald is not the only one who is honest enough to admit that is what is actually the case.

David J. said...

//You're not going to call Charlie a liar on my watch. When lowlifes don't like a quote from an evolutionist or an atheopath, they say it's made up or taken out of context. So I'll slap leather with you.//

I don't think Charlie lied. I assume Charlie thought it was a legitimate quote.

//Charlie gave you the source.//
He didn’t give me his source. He listed the alleged original source.

// There are liars out there who have said it's not real. What they need to do is back up their claims. Get a copy of that issue of Scientific American, scan it, post it and say, "No such quote". Then they can go and correct everyone on the Web that uses it.//
I don’t have the article. It is copyrighted, and I think it would be illegal to reproduce the full article online. Talkorigins has an excerpt, which is the only significant part of the article that I’ve seen online. SA sells the article for $8 on their website. Here’s a great deal: If you buy the article and find the quote in it, I’ll give you $100 USD. If I don’t give you that money, you’ll have proof that I’m a liar! (but I really do intend to give you $100 if you find that quote in the article, even if there were minor transcription errors)

//This author corresponded with Wald and reproduced some of said correspondence. Why don't you click on the link and go call him a liar, too?//
I found that site while doing research about the quote. I see no reproduction of said correspondence.

//Here's another source for you. But if you run off at the mouth and call the author and publisher of that book "liars", you might be in a heap of trouble for defamation. Also, the one listed immediately above references another book in which the Wald quote resides.//
Your “another source” has the quote with significantly different wording. The book he lists as his reference contains the quotation with the same wording as Charlie’s quotation, though.

Charlie said...

Simple translation, David. "I think this quote is fake and I have absolutely NOTHING to show for it."

I am not responsible for proving your claim and neither is Bob. This is on you. You want to prove me wrong, put your money where you mouth is.

As you and others are so fond of saying:


I gave you the source, prove me wrong.

Cowboy said...

Davey brought a butter knife to a gun fight. He makes a lot of noise, but in the end, he's trying to move the goalposts. NO! You make accusations, you back them up. In the end, you're a bitter liar who hates God and his people. "He didn’t give me his source. He listed the alleged original source." Bovine excrement. Like Charlie said, put up or shut up.

Charlie said...

In the end, he shows himself just like Wald. Denying the obvious truth and embracing even that which he knows is ridiculous all for the purpose of trying to keep the idea of God out of the picture. Because if God is in the picture, he demands center stage, AND he demands justice for sin. It's all about the original sin: Wanting to be like God. Wanting to rule his own life without having to deal with the consequences. And God laughs at such feeble attempts.

David J. said...

Here's the article.
It starts with the same text as the magazine version of the article that SA sells, and has the same month, year and title, so I'd say it's the same article, unless you think SA altered the article when they made this compilation of articles in book form.

Piltdown Superman said...

That is a scan of a book, not the actual article cited from the magazine. Do you think it's impossible that he wrote two articles for similar purposes, and revised one for the book? It happens.

Interesting that the sentiment of the cited quote is there in the book: "We tell this story [history of spontaneous generation and its refutation] to beginning students of biology as though it represents a triumph of reason over mysticism. In fact it is very nearly the opposite. The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position. For this reason many scientists a century ago chose to regard the believe in spontaneous generation as a 'philosophical necessity.' It is a symptom of the philosophical poverty of our time that this necessity is no longer appreciated. Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative believe in special creation, are left with nothing.

"I think a scientists has no choice but to approach the origins of life through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation. What the controversy reviewed above showed to be untenable is only the belief that living organisms arise spontaneously under present conditions. We have now to face a somewhat different problem: how organisms may have arisen spontaneously under different conditions in some former period, granted that they do so no longer."

So, in this other article from a book, the same sentiment is there: I choose to believe in spontaneous generation, even though it is unscientific. It is a desperate grasping at straws to continue to reject special creation because of his own philosophical bias.

Note that he attempts to poison the well through redefining words, that creation is "mysticism" and atheistic materialism is "reason" in what reads like a tearful lament. This is highly disingenuous, but common for people who want to keep their faith in evolutionism and continue in rebellion against God the Creator.

So, instead of your own red herring and attempt at poisoning the well by calling Charlie a liar (whether directly or implicitly), did you want to deal with the actual substance of the article, or don't they deal with such advanced concepts at the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine?

Charlie said...

David, your bias and your foolishness shows more and more every time you open your mouth. The opening quote by George Wald in your source is NOT the same thing that I quoted, but very interestingly says EXACTLY what I said he said. Same idea, same concept, same conclusion. But not the same quote. In your desperation to prove me wrong, you actually proved me right. And you reflect this same mindset. Willful rejection of the obvious truth.

David J. said...

//The opening quote by George Wald in your source is NOT the same thing that I quoted,//

I didn't say it was. I said the opening words of the magazine article are the same as the opening words of the book article. Many sites such as AiG and Talk Origins have quotes from the magazine article that are also in the book article, so for that and many other reasons, I think the book and magazine article are the same. If your quote was actually in the article, I don't see how AiG,ICR or CMI could avoid quoting something that juicy while quoting other parts of the same article. Dd you still think that George Wald ever wrote what you said he did?

//David, your bias and your foolishness shows more and more every time you open your mouth.//
I don't see how anything I've said in my comments to this article couldn't have been said by a fellow YEC creationist, except instead of my confrontational "Where'd you get the fabricated George Wald quotation?", they may phrase it in a more gracious way, and I should have, too.

You and Bob are attacking my character, while I gave you the benefit of the doubt in assuming you didn't intentionally use a false quote.

Anonymous said...


or don't they deal with such advanced concepts at the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine?

Is there a point to this, or is it just some old-school "I know where you are" style intimidation? Don't go down that road.

Bob Sorensen said...

Hey anonymous, is there a reason you're remaining anonymous to use an appeal to motive fallacy? "Intimidation", indeed. Looks like you're showing your own double standard.

Bob Sorensen said...

Back to the actual topic (I have an article tentatively scheduled for Saturday, October 25, on George Wald and accusations of quote mining). Today's post and the linked articles help abiogenesis ring down the curtain and join the choir invisible , if you want to see it.

Charlie said...

David, when you got caught for defamation that the quote is legit and repeated in several sources, and your counter-claim did nothing to support your argument, I have good reason to question your integrity. You did NOT give us the benefit of the doubt with your first post and you even denied I cited the source. You cannot win this one. Give up before you did your hole deeper. Already, you are too deep to get out.

Anonymous said...

Bob, it's not a fallacy to question motive when someone drops personal information on a commenter without context or apparent motive as you did above.

Also, attacking my anonymity does not automatically excuse you from responding to a perfectly valid question. I remain anonymous because I don't feel the urge to use a blogger account, but if it would help for me to attach a name to my comments, I certainly will oblige.

P.S. I am not this "David" guy in disguise, in case either of you were wondering... merely a third party who stumbled on this conversation whilst bloghopping.

David J. said...

Do you still think the quote is legit?

Did you check the context of the quote to make sure it wasn't quote mined?

Charlie said...

Do I think it is legit? Yes. And it's been referenced in multiple different sources. You tried to prove it out of context and you failed. Wald says the same concept in NUMEROUS places. This is just one. He still believed in abiogensis, repeatedly stated how impossible it was, and his rescuing device is "time".

Do I think you are legit? No. Again, when the source of a quote is given, the burden of proof is on the one calling the quote-mine to demonstrate it was taken out of context to mean something other than what was said. You are calling the quote-mine. It's your job to demonstrate he meant something completely different that what is obvious. Classic case of denying the obvious to retain hold of your illusions. There is not one scientist on this planet that has any clue how life got here. They have to just assume that it somehow got there. They know full well that for it to get here on its own it must go against every known scientific principle. Their best hope is that "life got here so it must have happened at least once, so time is on our side." This quote is legit because it echoes the sentiment of every scientist who is honest about it.

And reality is, when you are covering for a lie (evolution) you eventually are going to trip up and say something you don't want to say.

Anonymous said...

Other Anonymous,

Bob just asked a question. That's not wrong. You don't have to like it and if you think there's something wrong with asking questions there's something wrong with you. If he did something wrong then prove it.

David J. said...

//Do I think it is legit? Yes. And it's been referenced in multiple different sources. // And now it has been referenced in one more source (your blog post). But if you didn't check the original magazine, what makes you think that any of the other places with the quote checked the original?
My $100 offer is still on the table if you show me the quote in the original article.
I suspect one creationist (poorly) summarised what Wald said in his article, then another creationist mistook it for a direct quote, then it spread from there.

I never said you quote mined... because you didn't, because the quote isn't a quote. But by not even attempting to look for the context of the quote, you were irresponsible.

//This quote is legit because it echoes the sentiment of every scientist who is honest about it. // Wait, now I'm confused. Do you think the exact wording of quote is legit, or do you just claim the summary accurately represented what Wald said/believes?

I have made no comments on the content of the quote, except to claim that the exact wording wasn't from Wald. If you think that's irrelevant, so be it.

Charlie said...

I'm curious as to what you think of Neil DeGrasse Tyson, David. Especially as of recently. And no, this is not a red herring nor a tu quoque. I want to see if you have the integrity to apply your standards to your own people. I won't hold my breath. If you don't, your charge is rooted in dishonest defamation and is therefore invalid.

Bob Sorensen said...

Since certain people like to make unfounded accusations (red herring, poisoning the well ad hominem) instead of dealing with the content of the post, I decided to finish some earlier research on the Wald quote. Here is my take on it.

Charlie said...

Likewise, you go ballistic anytime anyone dares question you to be wrong or exposes you for what you really are. With all your health concerns, following us as you do is not exactly "productive" for your mental or physical health. None of what you are doing with us is making you "mentally sharp". It is just making you angrier which is physically and mentally wearing you more and more down. Your hate is a bigger weight that drags you down more than your wheelchair ever could be. And I can speak on such matters because I have been disabled. Not in a wheelchair specifically but disabled nonetheless. I beat those disabilities. You can too, but you have clearly demonstrated you let your problems dictate who you are and what you can do. And as a result, you will always be a slave to it. But if you get off your high chair and recognize who God is and how he defines you, you'd be surprised how much you can do. But that's your call. You can be miserable for the rest of your life, or you can give up that hate and your ego, let God fill you with his life and even if you are wheelchair bound the rest of your life, you can actually enjoy it.