The recent documentary from Illusta, Origin: Design, Chance and the First Life on Earth, highlights the thinking of Discovery Institute’s Ann Gauger and Paul Nelson. The film will have its Greater Houston premiere on Friday, March 31, from 7 to 9 PM. Join us!
Dr. Nelson will be on hand to lead a Q&A afterward on the scientific issues raised in the film about chemical evolution.
It’s the enigma of how life began! From our review:
The nice thing about chemical evolution is that scientists with no affinity for the design hypothesis admit that the odds against the first life self-assembling are horrendously steep. That’s why they try to push off the problem with “solutions” like panspermia (life from outer space) or the multiverse. These are admissions of defeat. As Dr. Nelson wryly observes, they merely apply misdirection to the enigma, taking refuge in fantastic speculation to avoid the obvious conclusion that life was deliberately assembled on Earth.
Dr. Gauger notes the problem that life as we know it is cellular. The first cell — self-replicating, protected from its environment by a membrane, yet able to communicate with that environment — must have come together at one go. No matter how simple we imagine this cell to have been, there are certain minimal requirements.
Given the most generous assumptions of prebiotic chemistry, the Earth’s 4.6 billion year history is not remotely enough to account for the string of chance happenings that are needed. The numbers involved, which Origin calculates for us, are beyond absurd. The difficulty is that chemistry alone, which is all there could be on the early Earth, lacks the ability to imagine and carry out plans. “Chemistry itself is indifferent to whether anything is alive or dead,” says Paul Nelson.
In a sense, this makes all the other problems with biological evolution, that is, with Darwinism, beside the point. “Natural selection won’t work to make the first cell,” Gauger explains, “because natural selection can’t work on anything unless it’s got some means of inheriting and monitoring change and choosing the best survivor to go forward.”
The event is sponsored by the Houston Chapter of the Science & Culture Network. Interested in launching your own chapter of the Science & Culture Network? Contact Janine Solfelt, the CSC’s Educational Outreach Coordinator, at email@example.com.