“Origin of Life” – Where’s the info?

Some continued discussion of the origin of life

While admitted to be unsolved, the false impression given to the public is that life definitively will evolve from non-life.

The solution is vastly oversimplified as presented by science popularizers, such as Neil Degrasse Tyson:

Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson, in the first episode of the new series, says, “The origin of life is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of science” Scooping up some water, Tyson adds, “That’s life cooking, evolving all the biochemical recipes for its incredibly complex activities.”

They talk as if putting some chemicals into water is guaranteed to result in the evolution of life. This is utter nonsense.

Consider a pullover wool knit sweater, made from a single piece of wool yarn perhaps 900 yards long. If I tell you how the wool yarn might have originated, have I explained the origin of the sweater? Not even close. The yarn in the sweater has been organized by an intelligent force into a specified, complex arrangement based upon a predetermined pattern or concept. The information contained in the pattern as well as the specified information of the arrangement *are not an attribute* of the wool yarn. The information is non-material and is impressed onto the yarn by the action of an intelligent agent. Typical “origin of life” scenarios make no attempt at all to address the issue of the origin of the information. Thus, they really make no attempt at all to explain the origin of life. Don’t be fooled.

The audio episode also discusses a self-replicating factory that manufactures gasoline engines for cars. An analogy to a typical “origin of life” scenario is presented:

Imagine a factory in which robots build v12 gasoline car engines.  Oh, these robots can also build copies of themselves, as well as make the factory that contains them.  That is, this factory can reproduce itself.  It also receives raw materials and manufactures all the parts needed to make the v12 engines as well as the robots and everything else in the factory.

Now suppose that I tell you that I’ve discovered that sometimes, when a volcano erupts, the magma spilled out contains molten metals, and sometimes upon cooling this molten metal will take on a shape similar to a crankshaft in one of the v12 engines.  What you think, if based upon this information, I told you that I’ve just explained the origin of the entire factory?

Well, you might ask “What about the software programs that control the robots that do all the machining and assembly work?”  — Suppose that I answered, “When we look at metal that has cooled from magma, it sometimes is magnetized, and we know that software programs can be stored on magnetic disks, so I’ve now explained the origin of the software programs as well.”

If you think my answers are insufficient and overlook the realities of just how complex and specific the software must be, and the fact that partial software programs usually don’t even run without blowing up, then I’d agree with you.  Furthermore, the software is useless without the computer that can execute it, and this computer must use exactly the same language (machine code) as the software.  But the computer is part of the robot and the robot is built by previous robots…  How did this get started.

The bottom line:  the mechanisms used by the factory to replicate itself can’t explain the first factory.  Similarly, the mechanisms of cellular reproduction and metabolism don’t explain the origin of the first cell.

There is no naturalistic explanation of the origin of the first cell. Naturalism is an incomplete worldview, incapable of explaining what we observe around us. It requires the faith based belief that despite what we know of chemistry and physics, life somehow did arise by purely naturalistic means. The Biblical worldview is complete and sufficient to explain what we observe.

Each of these worldviews requires a faith based belief, but only one is sufficient.

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