I’ve met an alarming number of creationists lately with whom – due to circumstances – I am unable to debate publicly. On one hand, I largely do not care what people believe as long as they’re not jerks or insist on foisting their beliefs on others. On the other hand, people are so unreasonable, it boggles reasonable minds and something must be said about their erroneous beliefs that they do want to foist upon others. Of course, the belief in creationism over evolution as an explanation for how life may have begun fits the bill.
While evolution doesn’t really explain how life began, people of many faiths and denominations of those faith take this to mean they should devise an explanation that is supernatural. What has long bothered me about creationism as an explanation for life’s origins is this – a believer, probably unknown to themselves because they do no critical analysis of their beliefs, is in essence saying that it is more likely that some divine being took a lump of clay and breathed life into said clay to create a man than molecules could spontaneously come together and at some point begin replicating themselves. The believer believes this despite ample evidence that the universe often displays self-organizing behavior; the formation of galactic clusters, galaxies, solar systems, stars, planets and the elements all of those things are made of to say nothing of the laws of physics that keeps everything stable enough for long enough in order for things to organize. Granted, this doesn’t speak directly to the origin of life, but indirectly speaking it seems plausible that a molecule – possibly RNA according to biologists current theories – might start copying itself or make other molecules due to natural chemical reactions and just might organize themselves into a larger system. As I said, the universe is not without a few examples, examples that are even prior to known life.
Moreover, the explanatory power of evolution is much greater than that of creationism whose powers of explanation do not go beyond the initiation of life. For the creationist who wishes to have their cake and eat it too, meaning they believe in creationism which is guided by evolution thereafter, they are merely shorting the process of evolution by one step. Why not just accept the first step as well or simply admit that one does not know how life began? Evolutionists – at least the ones who know what they’re talking about – will always say that the theory of evolution does not (yet) explain the origin of life, though from what they have inferred from the process thus far, it seems more likely that some molecule in prehistory began the evolution of life rather than submitting the explanation that an invisible and supposedly benevolent force made life simply pop into existence. In short, questions about the origin of life boils down to this: Is it more plausible that life suddenly popped into existence thanks to an invisible force that is sentient or that life began by some simple molecules organizing themselves? Maybe the answer depends upon how much one understands chemistry and biology, and maybe even physics.
As is always worth noting as well is that the very premise of life having a supernatural origin while the originator itself has no creator is completely nonsensical and arbitrary. If a creationist is going to be arbitrary in their beliefs or even claim evidence for their beliefs, why is it wrong for an evolutionist to be arbitrary in their beliefs or claim they have evidence for their beliefs? In actuality, both groups of ‘believers’ have life originating from non-life. Better to have something rather than nothing in common one supposes. Only, why something rather than nothing?