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Abiogenesis is not evolution

The Vancuver Sun has an article by a Tim Spangler, who reiterates an argument that isn't uncommon in the debate between Intelligent Design creationists and evolutionary biologists, namely that for evolutionary theory to be true, the scientists must be able to create life from non-life:
For instance, evolutionary scientists continue to attempt to duplicate the origin of life by trying to make life out of non-life, a requirement for the evolutionary model to be true. But even in the most sterile clinical laboratory experiments, it hasn't been done.
Abiogenesis*, or origin of life, is of course a very, very important, unsolved question in biology/biochemistry (I would argue the biggest in all of science). However, it's solution involves mechanisms that are not part of evolutionary biology (as well as some that are). The two are of course historically related: immediately following abiogenesis, evolution takes over. However, strictly speaking abiogenesis need not be true for evolutionary theory to be true. Just imagine life first created by an intelligent designer, after which this life starts evolving. Not a problem for evolution (but note that creationism is scientifically falsifiable, and thus not science).

Furthermore, abiogenesis is hard. Scientists do not posit that it had to be a very common phenomenon. It could be that it was a single event that needed some very specific conditions to occur at the same time, or in succession. And even if we knew exactly what those conditions were, it doesn't follow that we can recreate them. Evenfurthermore, if we could recreate those conditions, and if some life-form did appear in the laboratory, it isn't even certain that we would notice.  They might be devoured by contaminants, or mistaken for contaminants.

It would be fantastic to solve this mystery, but the fact that it is not yet understood in no way invalidates evolutionary theory. I repeat... (all right, I won't).

I also found this on canadianchristianity.com:
I am totally in favour of Christian unity. However, foundational biblical beliefs must be adhered to.

Dorothy Falk espouses the superiority of Catholicism, and says: "Jesus gave us the consecrated host as his body and blood; the Catholic Church is the only one that possesses the host 24 hours a day."

She neglects to point out that Catholic belief is that the host not only contains the 'body and blood' of Jesus, but also his 'soul and divinity' as well. Either the Catholic church is right and we should worship the host, or the church is guilty of idolatry.

The Catholic church should be less concerned about who possesses some man-made material which is elevated to deity, and more concerned about the Spirit.

Tim Spangler,
Vancouver.
It is of course no surprise that it was a Christian who put forth the argument against evolution and for creationism. Incidentally, I happen to agree with Spangler's last paragraph. We should all concern ourselves more with the spirits - the whiskey spirits, the vodka spirits, the lager spirits, and the cider spirits.


* When I created this link I went to the page Origin_of_life on wikipedia. Someone had changed the redirect to abiogenesis to this:



I changed it back to redirect.

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