Kenny boy takes exception to an op-ed written by biologist David Barash, and takes a moment from lecturing God about how Christianity works to instead lecture biologists on how biology works. It’s a whole cascade of wrong.
Now, something that Dr. Barash fails to mention in his article is that naturalistic evolution actually goes against a principal law of biology: the Law of Biogenesis.
I just checked my cell biology textbook (Essential Cell Biology, by Alberts et al.), and it doesn’t talk about this “law”. Biology isn’t that big on establishing “laws” — we’ve got theories up the wazoo, and we’ve got mathematical descriptions of certain phenomena, but in general, biological processes have so many variables that reducing them to a “law” tends to generate long catalogs of exceptions.
The only thing close would be cell theory, which states that all known life is made up of cells, and that all the cells we see arose from other cells. He is actually just reciting Pasteur, the creationists’ favorite scientist, who showed that spontaneous generation doesn’t occur. Which is true. I agree with it. Complex cells don’t just pop into existence from rotting straw in a flask.
This scientific law states that “life only comes from other life.”
He keeps emphasizing that word “law”, as if he expects the Scientific Police to pull evolutionists over and giving them a ticket for breaking the Principal Law. We’re all outlaws and rogues, though, who get rewarded for showing how to do novel things. Tell a scientist there’s a law like that, and they’ll rush to violate it, so the Science Cops will write them a ticket for a Nobel Prize.
In order for biological evolution to begin to occur, life has to have arisen at least once from non-living chemicals.
Why, yes. Do you think we don’t know that? That’s the whole point of research into abiogenesis — to puzzle out the long transition from the chemical evolution of replicators to the standard properties of replicating cells. You know, since biologists are aware that the Earth had a beginning 4.5 billion years ago, and that life had to have arisen at some early point on rock without life on it, you’d think Ken Ham would realize that we know that life had to have started at some point, and we wouldn’t invent a law that says that that is impossible.
But this has never been observed, has no support from modern science experiments, and actually goes against everything we know about life.
Part of that is true: we haven’t seen the generation of new life from chemicals in the lab. I don’t see how we could: this would have been a long, slow process on a human scale, under conditions that are very difficult to replicate. Current thinking is that life arose around deep sea vents, where plenty of high-energy chemical compounds are constantly generated to fuel cyclic chemical reactions — an early metabolism.
But the rest is lies.
This model does have considerable support from modern science experiments. We know that the complex compounds that are the building blocks of life form spontaneously. We know the history of genes in existing life, which points to an early period of anoxic chemical reactions. There are people working in labs right now reconstructing the chemical reactions that would have been occurring in proto-life.
If there’s one thing you ought to know about life, it’s this: life is chemistry. There’s no magic going on in biochemistry, there is no vital essence that can’t be generated by natural physical processes. It’s all a self-sustaining, long-running chemical reaction driven by thermodynamic principles. The origin of life is an event that is consistent with everything we know about life.
The biblical worldview doesn’t have this problem; the Law of Biogenesis is never violated because all life, including the original creatures God made to inhabit the earth, comes from the Life-giver, our Creator.
According to Ken Ham, the “Law of Biogenesis” is that life only comes from life. So is his god a living creature? Did he spawn all other living creatures by replication and mitosis? Is he made of cells? And where did his god come from?
It seems to me is that this “Law of Biogenesis” is one that both scientists and creationists recognize as only being applicable within certain boundary conditions, and that Ham only brings it up to selectively demand biologists accept certain conditions that we’ve already rejected.
Also, when we look at nature we see animals reproducing according to their kinds. Dogs give birth to dogs, bats give birth to bats, and whales give birth to whales.
Oy, the creationist mantra. “Kinds”. Yes, dogs only give birth to dogs, so all descendants of dogs will still be dogs. Only different. Whale ancestors looked rather doglike (or piglike), but represent a clade that still exists. So, sure, anthracotheres have always given rise to more anthracotheres, but that just means that we have a group that encompasses hippopotamuses and whales.
Similarly, we’re all eukaryotes. All the descendants of the early eukaryotes are also eukaryotes. So yeast and people are all of the same “kind”?
However, biological evolution requires that one kind of creature gives rise to another—something that has never been observed.
Actually, it has. All the time. I’ve got three children: they’re all different from me, my wife, and each other. Darwin called this part of his theory “Descent with Modification” — that every generation accumulates small differences. The only requirement here that biological evolution has is that progeny can be different in some small degree from parents (if they aren’t, then evolution doesn’t work).
So biological evolution actually requires something that is observed. It’s creationism that requires bizarre restrictions on change in a population that are not observed, and are actually completely contrary to what we know.
So evolution is actually going against observational science!
Noooope. Nope nope nope. Evolution is built on a framework of observation and evidence — right from the start, with Darwin’s Origin.
Of course, biblical creationists expect creatures to reproduce according to their kinds because this is exactly what the Bible teaches (Genesis 1). The observable evidence confirms biblical creation. Evolution is not fundamental to biology but, rather, goes against the evidence we see in nature.
The existence of variation within species, and the ongoing gradual shift in form over geological time, therefore contradicts what creationists claim, and disconfirms biblical creation. Making your religion require a “fact” which was proven wrong in the 19th century is pretty much certain to make your ideas irrelevant to modern science. That he wants so desperately to prop up bogosities by redefining science, and evidence, and observation to conform to his predetermined answer makes it quite clear who the anti-scientific person is here.