The First Question
Human life. It is the most intriguing aspect of our universe. Human beings possess the most complex computer in the known universe: our brains; and it is housed in the most complicated machine we have ever known: our bodies, which are composed of cells, each of which is itself a tiny factory filled with literal machinery and automated robots you would expect to find in the latest, high-tech factory. Our DNA is a coded blueprint for building human beings.
How did we get here?
I do not mean how did you and I get here. If that is what I mean, the answer is simple: our mother and father did some reproductive dance, and our mothers eventually gave birth to us. How did our mothers get here? Their mothers. And those mothers by their mothers. It is mothers all the way down.
No, I am not asking, How did you and I get here? I am asking,
How did life get here?
Scientists Look For Answers
There are only two possibilities to explain the existence of life on planet Earth. The first is that life came into existence from natural processes, meaning it was not caused by a life form. For example, volcanic and tidal activities are natural processes.
On the other hand, building a residence, such as a bird’s nest or a brick house, is a process that requires a life form. A residence is a specific organization of material structured by a living creature for a specific purpose.
Scientists have been pondering the creation of life since science began, but we began making significant advances in our understanding in the 17th century. Two scientists, Francesco Redi in the 1600s and Louis Pasteur in the 1800s, performed experiments that led them to formulate what is known today as the “law of biogenesis.”
…biogenesis is primarily attributed to Louis Pasteur and encompasses the belief that complex living things come only from other living things, by means of reproduction. That is, life does not spontaneously arise from non-living material, which was the position held by spontaneous generation. This is summarized in the phrase Omne vivum ex vivo, Latin for “all life [is] from life.” A related statement is Omnis cellula e cellula, “all cells [are] from cells;” this conclusion is one of the central statements of cell theory. Biogenesis article at Wikipedia, 2019-12-26
When a scientist uses the term “spontaneously,” he means “by a natural process,” without the involvement of a living organism. Redi and Pasteur debunked–or falsified–the idea that life appeared spontaneously from non-living material.
All life is from life.
This law of biogenesis has been confirmed time and again over several centuries, down to the very moment that I am writing these words. Thomas Huxley, nicknamed “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his rabid support of Darwin’s theory of evolution, made the declaration that biogenesis was indeed a law of nature in his 1870 address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Huxley acknowledged that life only comes from life. Today, scientists from all disciplines acknowledge the law of biogenesis.
Since Redi’s experiments in the 1600s, all scientific experiments have shown that every new life form that comes into existence is either born to an already living parent or is created by another life form (such as in a laboratory). However, notice what Wikipedia asserts just a few sentences later in that same article:
The generation of life from non-living material is called abiogenesis, and occurred through stepwise chemical and molecular evolution over millions of years. ibid.
This assertion that “abiogenesis… occurred” has no evidence to back it up.
In fact, all the evidence we have, gathered over hundreds of years of science, is stacked against it.
Despite this, Wikipedia wants us to believe that life on earth arose due to the spontaneous generation of life from non-living material, the very thing that science has already claimed is impossible, and contradicting what they already affirmed earlier in the article.
…life does not spontaneously arise from non-living material… this conclusion is one of the central statements of cell theory… The generation of life from non-living material… occurred through stepwise chemical and molecular evolution over millions of years. ibid.
They tell you, It cannot happen.
Then they claim, It did happen.
Either it did or it did not. It cannot be both.
The Scientists Answer
Science is beholden to our ability to precisely perceive our environment, and our ability to perceive is generally limited to our technological ability to detect and measure. Our knowledge increases as our precision to observe and measure our world increases. For example, Darwin assumed the cell was just a blob of protoplasm, because technology had not yet advanced far enough to allow him to observe it precisely.
Eventually, technology advanced far enough that cell theory could be confirmed or falsified. When scientists were able to observe the cell with high precision, they discovered that the cell was far more complicated than they ever imagined.
The discovery of DNA shattered again the perception of the complexity of the cell.
If Darwin knew then what we know today about the cell, it is unlikely he would have even considered proposing the theory for which he is most famous today.
I make this point about our ability to perceive the world around us because someone out there will claim I am arguing from ignorance. An argument from ignorance is a logical fallacy (error) whereby one argues that “something is true because it has not yet been proved false; or, that something is false if it has not yet been proved true.”
In the case of abiogenesis, an argument from ignorance would claim, abiogenesis is false because it has not yet been proved true.
This is not the argument I am making.
I am saying that because science has discovered, observed, and measured the limits of natural processes, we know abiogenesis is impossible.
Machines In Motion
Have you heard of perpetual motion machines?
A perpetual motion machine is a hypothetical machine that can do work indefinitely without an energy source. Perpetual motion article at Wikipedia
That definition is from Wikipedia, and it is technically not true. A perpetual motion machine has an energy source: itself. It would be more precise for them to say, “A perpetual motion machine is a hypothetical machine that can do work indefinitely without an external energy source.”
It is hypothetical because perpetual motion machines cannot exist in this universe. Wikipedia goes on to say:
This kind of machine is impossible, as it would violate the first or second law of thermodynamics. ibid.
How do we know a perpetual motion machine is impossible?
We know because we understand some fundamental laws of nature called “the laws of thermodynamics.”
The laws of thermodynamics help us explain the movement (dynamics) of heat/energy (thermo). Thermo. Dynamics.
Essentially, the first law of thermodynamics states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed.
Think about this: our universe has all the energy it will ever have. No new energy is being created, and no energy is being destroyed. Energy can be converted to other forms–say, into matter then back again–but it can never be destroyed.
The second law of thermodynamics, in a very simplified form, states that heat (energy) always flows to achieve thermal equilibrium (the same temperature). For example, when you put ice cubes in a glass of warm water, the energy (or heat) from the water flows into the ice cubes. The ice cubes gain enough energy to “loosen” the atomic bonds within, allowing them to transform (melt) from their solid to liquid state.
When energy moves or transforms, we utilize that movement and transformation to power our machines, including our bodies.
For instance, light bulbs transform the electrical energy received from power plants into light energy. Gas stoves transform the chemical potential energy in natural gas into heat energy. Plants perform one of the most biologically useful transformations of energy on Earth: they convert the energy of sunlight into the chemical energy stored within organic molecules.
Human beings have learned to convert potential energy into kinetic energy. For example, we turn the potential energy stored in chemicals in natural resources like wood, coal, and oil, into usable, kinetic and heat energy for our machines. We are even able to turn light energy from the sun into electrical energy, which we can then use to power more machines.
Our bodies turn the potential energy in the chemicals of our food into useful, kinetic energy in our muscles so they can do work.
The problem with transforming energy is that some energy is lost in every transaction. For example, not all of the energy that flows into our homes and powers our light bulbs is used to generate that useful light. Some of that energy is lost to heat. That is why incandescent light bulbs get so hot. Light technology that is more efficient, such as LEDs, uses more of that energy for light and less of it is lost to heat.
When your automobile engine burns gas (within which is chemical potential energy), it creates kinetic motion in your engine. The explosion caused by igniting the fuel moves the piston, which ultimately spins your tires. However, much of the energy generated by the exploded gas is lost to heat generated by the friction of all the moving parts.
The conversion of energy from one form to another is never one-hundred percent efficient. This explains why machines always require an external energy source. They cannot power themselves. They will eventually run out of energy.
The Machine Killer
The second law of thermodynamics is a machine killer. It is the reason that perpetual motion machines are impossible. Machines cease to operate because of this law. No machine is safe when left alone.
Consider every machine you can imagine. None of them will work forever, and all of them will decay and disintegrate. Why? Because of the second law of thermodynamics. The sun appears like it could continue shining forever, and while it will burn for eons, eventually it will consume all its fuel and die. There will be no more sunlight, so all the plants on earth will die. With nothing to eat, the herbivores and then carnivores will die. It is a bleak outcome, but the law demands it.
We can see this very principal at work in the machinery of our bodies. Our cells are machines made of machines. They require energy, which we obtain by eating and digesting food. Without this input of energy, the machines of our bodies would run out of energy and die.
Nothing is perpetual in the natural universe. We know this is true because we understand the natural laws of our universe, especially the second law of thermodynamics.
Now, here’s the thing: you can find a ton of videos on the Internet of people who claim that perpetual motion machines are not just hypothetical. You will find many who claim to have built a perpetual motion machine. Sometimes, they film it and show it off to the world. None of these claims ever survive scientific scrutiny.
The laws of thermodynamics make perpetual motion machines impossible.
The U.S. Patent office rejects all claims of perpetual motions machines, without even investigating them, unless you show them a functioning model. Why? Because they understand that the natural laws that govern energy and machines in our universe make perpetual machines impossible.
Here’s another thing: you can find a ton of videos on the Internet of people who claim that abiogenesis is not just hypothetical. You will find many who claim to have discovered the secret to abiogenesis. They claim that some experiment or observation proves that abiogenesis is possible. None of these claims ever survive scientific scrutiny.
The laws of thermodynamics make abiogenesis impossible.
If you understand why perpetual motion machines are impossible, you understand why abiogenesis is impossible. The same law that kills machines is the same law that prevents them from spontaneously arising in the first place.
Read that again:
The same law that kills machines is the same law that prevents them from spontaneously arising in the first place.
The law of biogenesis and the second law of thermodynamics are well-established scientific laws. They are accepted by all scientists because of centuries’ worth of observable, measurable data and results. Both rule out the possibility of natural processes producing the complex biological machinery of life. Therefore, the study of abiogenesis—looking for a natural process that can create life—is futile, just as futile as trying to build a perpetual motion machine.
Whenever I tell a scientist that perpetual motion machines are impossible, they agree.
Whenever I tell a scientist that abiogenesis is impossible, they say I do not understand how science works.
The same argument scientists make against perpetual motion machines is the same argument they should be making against abiogenesis. We know that natural processes cannot create life because the very laws of science, which describe the limits of nature, make it impossible.
Now, I know that there are probably a lot of people who are saying, “You should never say ‘never’ in science.” And fair enough. I admit that new knowledge could come along; however, in order for perpetual motion machines to be possible, this new knowledge would have to break physics as we know it. We’d be wrong about simply everything, and nearly none of our observations would make any sense. Science Explained: The Physics of Perpetual Motion Machines
The perpetual motion machine and abiogenesis proponents are both in the same class: wrong.
The nicest thing you could say is that some of them sincerely believe abiogenesis is possible.
They are sincerely wrong.
You might be asking, How can scientists be wrong? Don’t they follow the scientific method?
The only thing wrong with the scientific method is the human being that practices it.
Why do so many scientists conclude that abiogenesis happened on planet earth?
The Sad Story of Ignaz Semmelweis
I want to tell you the story of an Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis. In 1846, doctors like Semmelweis were no longer thinking of illness as an imbalance caused by bad air or evil spirits. They looked instead to anatomy. Autopsies became more common, and doctors got interested in numbers and collecting data. Showing up to his new job in the maternity clinic at the General Hospital in Vienna, Semmelweis wanted to figure out why so many women in maternity wards were dying from puerperal fever—commonly known as childbed fever. Semmelweis was very scientific in his approach to answering this question. He proposed theories, tested those theories, and discarded any shown to be false. For a long while, the answer eluded him. Then, one of his associates died of the same disease that was killing the mothers. During his investigation, he discovered that some of the doctors delivering babies were also performing autopsies at the hospital.
Semmelweis hypothesized that there were cadaverous particles, little pieces of corpse, that students were getting on their hands from the cadavers they dissected. And when they delivered the babies, these particles would get inside the women who would develop the disease and die.
If Semmelweis’ hypothesis was correct, getting rid of those cadaverous particles should cut down on the death rate from childbed fever.
So he ordered his medical staff to start cleaning their hands and instruments not just with soap but with a chlorine solution. Chlorine, as we know today, is about the best disinfectant there is. Semmelweis didn’t know anything about germs. He chose the chlorine because he thought it would be the best way to get rid of any smell left behind by those little bits of corpse.
And when he imposed this, the rate of childbed fever fell dramatically.
You’d think everyone would be thrilled. Semmelweis had solved the problem! But they weren’t thrilled.
Eventually the doctors gave up the chlorine hand-washing, and Semmelweis — he lost his job.
Semmelweis kept trying to convince doctors in other parts of Europe to wash with chlorine, but no one would listen to him.
In 1865, when he was only 47 years old, Ignaz Semmelweis was committed to a mental asylum.
The sad end to the story is that Semmelweis was probably beaten in the asylum and eventually died of sepsis, a potentially fatal complication of an infection in the bloodstream — basically, it’s the same disease Semmelweis fought so hard to prevent in those women who died from childbed fever. NPR article on Ignaz Semmelweis
For more information on this tragic story, see the Wikipedia article on Ignaz Semmelweis.
The point is this: science is not a matter of consensus. It does not matter how many scientists or doctors believe a thing, it does not make it true. It does not matter how few scientists or doctors believe a thing, it does not make it false. All the doctors in Europe in the 1860s said Semmelweis was wrong. They cast him out and ostracized him, leading to his admission to an insane asylum where he was eventually killed by the same disease he was trying to eradicate.
During this time, many people died because they did not follow Semmelweis’ scientifically-generated advice. It was not until years later that the medical community finally accepted his teaching, and hand-washing became the common practice it still is today.
Does this story sound familiar? In today’s highly politicized environment of science, you can be considered “insane” for not believing scientists. But the scientists doing the science today are human beings with flaws, and they are not infallible. Many of them have severe biases that cause them to be, at least, unreasonable, and most, outright hostile to the truth.
Here is part of the Wikipedia article on Dr. Semmelweis:
The rejection of Semmelweis’s empirical observations is often traced to belief perseverance, the psychological tendency of clinging to discredited beliefs. Also, some historians of science argue that resistance to path-breaking contributions of obscure scientists is common and “constitutes the single most formidable block to scientific advances.”
There are many reasons one might peddle perpetual motion machines. Money is a huge motivator. Not only would you become insanely rich if you succeeded in building one, but you could enrich the entire world. You would become the most famous inventor in all of human history forever.
If someone peddling a perpetual motion machine understands the science, they are pulling a scam. If they do not understand the science, they are simply ignorant; and if they are sincerely ignorant, they will come to learn that perpetual motion machines are impossible. If they are willfully ignorant, they will not seek to learn the truth and will persist in their belief. They will continue to search for that elusive, impossible machine.
There are many reasons one might peddle abiogenesis. Money is probably not a huge motivator, but if you discovered a natural process that explained the spontaneous generation of life from non-living material, you would become the most famous scientist in all of human history forever.
But the scientists peddling abiogenesis know the science. It is hard to believe any of them are ignorant of the simple truths of the matter. So what makes them persevere in their belief that abiogenesis is not only possible but actually happened on planet earth?
We will explore that question in other articles. For now, let us accept that we cannot really know without asking each one directly, although there are clues in statements made by those who believe in it.
Evolution itself is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or is supported by logically coherent arguments, but because it does fit all the facts of Taxonomy, of Palaeontology, and of Geographical Distribution, and because no alternative explanation is credible. But whilst the fact of evolution is accepted by every biologist, the mode in which it has occurred and the mechanism by which it has been brought about are still disputable. The only two ‘theories of Evolution’ which have gained any general currency, those of Lamark and of Darwin, rest on a most insecure basis; the validity of the assumptions on which they rest has seldom been seriously examined, and they do not interest most of the younger zoologists…
The extraordinary lack of evidence to show that the incidence of death under natural conditions is controlled by small differences of the kind which separate species from one another or, what is the same thing from an observational point of view, by physiological differences correlated with such structural features, renders it difficult to appeal to natural selection as the main or indeed an important factor in bringing about the evolutionary changes which we know to have occurred.
It may be important, it may indeed be the principle which overrides all others ; but at present its real existence as a phenomenon rests on an extremely slender basis. The extreme difficulty of obtaining the necessary data for any quantitative estimation of the efficiency of natural selection makes it seem probable that this theory will be re-established, if it be so, by the collapse of alternative explanations which are more easily attacked by observation and experiment.
If so, it will present a parallel to the Theory of Evolution itself, a theory universally accepted, not because it can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.
D.M.S. Watson, “Adaptation,” Nature, Vol. 124, 10 August 1929
The sole ground for believing in evolution is metaphysical. It is not based on science. It never has been.
What we do know is that science makes it clear: life could not have spontaneously arisen by natural processes from non-living material. For that to happen, it would require a violation of the laws of thermodynamics, and that is impossible.
Science Discovers The Truth
We have falsified the first possibility for the creation of life on planet earth: it was not created by natural processes. That leaves the only other possible explanation: it was brought here or created here by another life form. So, the next question is:
What life form brought life to, or created life on, planet Earth?
Life From Outer Space
Since life could not have gotten started on planet earth, it had to have been brought here from elsewhere… that is, from an extraterrestrial source. This theory is called panspermia. Some scientists have proposed that an alien bacterium hitched a ride on a comet that struck the earth. Others have suggested that visitors from another planet colonized Earth and we are their descendants. Still others theorize that an extraterrestrial civilization seeded this planet with life.
However, if we conclude that the entity responsible for life on Earth is a natural life form— meaning it is subject to and bound by the same laws of nature that we are—then we know that it was born to parents or created by another life form, which itself was born to parents or created by another life form, and so on, and so on. All we have done with this answer is pushed the question of the origin of life back one step. In other words, whereas before we only asked who was responsible for creating life on Earth, we now also ask, Who created the life that created life on Earth?
If we continue asking who is responsible and we keep answering with a natural life form, we would have an infinite series of life forms stretching back into eternity past. However, science shows that our universe had a beginning, so an infinite regression is not possible. How, then, did life get started?
The Scientific Truth
The only way to avoid an infinite regression of natural creators is a supernatural creator. A supernatural being—one that exists and operates outside of and is not bound by the laws of nature as we know them—is the only reasonable, logical answer to the question of how life got started on planet earth. Such a being would not have been created in our universe, but would have always existed outside of it.
This is a difficult concept to comprehend, but there is no other logical nor reasonable conclusion we can draw. It is no less incomprehensible, however, than asserting that the universe was created out of nothing by nothing, and that life formed spontaneously from non-living matter. Since science has already falsified abiogenesis, biogenesis is the only remaining alternative.
The science is conclusive. Natural life in our universe could not have started without a supernatural creator. If you choose to reject this conclusion, you do so without reason. You take it on faith–blind faith, even–that life “emerged” spontaneously by some unknown natural law that would contradict the natural laws science has already confirmed.
It is like deriving and proving the natural laws that show water always naturally flows downhill, then looking for a river that flows uphill.
The Second Question
Our first question was, How did life get here?
Science and logic lead us to the only reasonable answer:
A supernatural creator is responsible for the life on planet earth.
The next question is, Who is the supernatural creator of life on earth? We will cover that in The Matter of Life & Death – Part 2.