email - October 2004

Life Happens

Because it is so clear that life could not have had a natural origin, evolutionists strive to separate the theory of abiogenesis from natural selection, claiming that evolution consists only of the latter. Hence, we get email like this one:

Subject: The "Life Happens["] claim on your website.
From: Keenan
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2004 16:08:34 -0400 (EDT)

To whom it may concern,

I stumbled across your website, and I noticed that one of the first points you address is the origins of the first life forms. I found this odd for a website that claims to address evolution, as anyone with an understanding of the theory of evolution (whether they agree with its validity or not) should know that evolution says nothing of the means by which the first life forms came to exist on this planet. Nonetheless, you say

"According to the theory of evolution, at some time in the distant past there was no life in the universe -- just elements and chemical compounds. Somehow, these chemicals had to combine to form Frankencell, which came to life somehow. (Presumably, a lightning bolt and a deformed assistant were involved.)".

Of course, this statement is false. Evolution only address [sic] what happens when existing life forms reproduce and do so in such a way as to produce imperfect replications of themselves. If there is no life, then there is no evolution. Because the process by which life came to exist on Earth where there was no life previously must involve, in at least one step, a point where there is no life, then clearly evolution cannot apply. From the standpoint of the theory of evolution, it is actually irrelevant how the first life forms came to earth; it could have formed via natural processes, such as the hypothetical lightning bolt example, or it could have been seeded on earth by extraterrestiral [sic] (or even interdimensional) aliens, or it could have been divinely spoken into existence by some deity or it could even have been seeded by time-travelling [sic] humans from the future, and none of it would have any impact on the theory of evolution.

That said, I am curious as to why you make such a blatantly false statement about the theory of evolution. Are you genuinely ignorant of the full scope of the theory, on what it says and what it does not say? If so, then why should I believe that your claims of falsehood of the theory have any competent merit? Or are you simply lying, hoping to fool those not as well educated in such matters by giving them a phony strawman [sic] definition of evolution and then knocking it down and pretending that you've refuted a 150 year-old scientific theory when you've really just attacked a parody of it that bears little resemblance to the real thing? If so, then why should I believe that your claims of falsehood of the theory are not more acts of dishonesty on your part?

Now, I could go into detail on the other points that your [sic] brought up, regarding "creative mutations" and your claims regarding the age of the earth. However, I realised [sic] that if you are going to get the fundamentals of the theory of evolution wrong by putting claims to it that it does not even make, I'm not sure that I can trust you on any of the additional details.

Looking forward to seeing your response.

We normally would not respond to an email like this, but in this case it appeared that we could bait him into expressing the evolutionists’ position even more clearly, so we trolled a little bit by sending this one-sentence reply: “The theory of evolution, as taught in public schools, includes the origin of life.” Here is part of his response:

Then what is being taught in public schools is not the theory of evolution.

I noticed that you didn't bother offering any citations to support your claim that the ToE, as taught in public schools, includes life origins.

We know that it is a waste of time to answer questions like this. We are sure that if we went to the trouble to prove that on a particular date a particular science teacher in a particular school said that the undirected, natural origin of life is part of the theory of evolution, his response would no doubt be, “That teacher is wrong. Other science teachers don’t teach that.” Then he would probably demand another example.

We claim that children in public schools are taught that chemicals naturally combined to form the first living cell, which evolved into all life as we know it. We don’t need to cite examples because you know firsthand that our claim is true. You went to school and heard it yourself. If this weren’t being taught in public schools, and broadcast to our children on public television, then nobody would be trying to stop it from happening. Nor would there be an organized effort to make it continue to happen.

Yet, Keenan tries to claim that the theory of evolution doesn’t involve the origin of life, and that we appear ignorant if we say that it does. He urges that we stop saying that, so that we don’t appear stupid.

Pardon our skepticism, but we don’t think he cares if we appear stupid or not. We think the real reason he doesn’t want us to point out that the origin of life is part of the theory of evolution is because the theory of evolution is dead in the water without it.

Actually, he is the one who looks foolish by claiming that children aren’t taught the natural origin of life as part of the theory of evolution. Everybody who has attended public school in the United States knows that they are.

But we aren’t printing his email simply to make fun of him. We have a higher moral purpose. Specifically, his email shows that evolutionists have to depend on clever debating tricks to try to win their arguments, because the facts aren’t on their side.

Evolutionists want to define the term “evolution” to mean “natural, limited variation” because that kind of evolution really happens, and can be proved to be true. Then, having proved that “evolution” is true, they apply the term “evolution” to the molecules-to-man theory, claiming it has been scientifically proved. This is an unethical, but sometimes effective, debating tactic.

It isn’t effective in this case because the trick is easily exposed, and it backfires. Keenan’s email shows (1) that evolutionists know that the idea that life can originate naturally is scientifically absurd, and (2) they will resort to sneaky debate tricks to try to fool other people (or, maybe, they are just trying to fool themselves) that it isn’t part of the theory of evolution.

We expect you to use your brain. We expect you to evaluate the claim that children are being taught in the public schools (and see on television) the idea that life arose naturally, and that was the first step in the evolution of all forms of life. We are confident that you will agree that children are taught this, not because we say so, but because you have first-hand evidence yourself.

There is even more to be learned from Keenan’s email. He writes as if all he cares about is truth in science. He says that we are misrepresenting the theory of evolution, and wants us to correct our web site so as not to embarrass ourselves and publish an erroneous view of science. So, we called his bluff and asked him to comment on the Nova Origins miniseries broadcast on PBS on September 28 and 29 (just 4 days after he sent his first email to us). He said,

I'm aware of the mini-series. Did they specifically state that the ultimate origins of life is part of the theory of evolution? They also covered the Big Bang. Should I assume that the Big Bang is part of the theory of evolution, evne [sic] though I know damn well that it isn't? … Please cite the exact time on the program where they stated that the origins of life are a part of the theory of evolution.

Discussing the origins of life and the theory of evolution in the same mini-series does not mean that the origins of life are part of the theory of evolution.

PBS didn't claim that the origins of life are actually a part of the theory of evolution. Abiogenesis is a separate matter. You are the one claiming that the theory of evolution speculates on the ultimate origins of life when in fact it does not. That you make such a false claim about evolution puts into question your credibility and honesty when speaking of the theory of evolution in any context.

If you have a problem with current hypothesis on the ultimate origins of life, fine. It's not something that science really figured out yet. But when you poke holes in abiogenesis hypothesis -- even if your criticism is perfectly valid -- and then claim that evolution is weakened because you've refuted a claim that the theory of evolution doesn't even make, you end up sounding like you've never seriously studied the field.

Well, the subtitle of the Origins miniseries is “Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution”, so one could reasonably infer that Nova thinks the Big Bang and the origin of life are part of the theory of evolution. The origin of life had to fall somewhere in that hypothetical fourteen billion year period.

One would think that if he is genuinely bothered that an obscure web site like ours would “confuse” the public by considering the origin of life part of the theory of evolution, then he would be absolutely outraged that PBS broadcast a program that presented an even bigger “misconception” (in which even the Big Bang and the search for extraterrestrial life are included in the theory of evolution) to a much larger audience.

Origins was called a PBS miniseries, but it was really a BS miniseries. It was long on special effects, but short on facts. Yet Keenan, who acts as if he is so concerned about the pure and accurate portrayal of science, defended Origins.

We are grateful to Keenan for showing clearly that evolutionists want to separate the origin of life from the theory of evolution (when we say, but not when PBS says it). The natural origin of life is contrary to known scientific principles. Science is against evolution.

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