(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 5)
I hate to get bogged down in Chapter 5, but Geisler and Turek are belaboring a fairly fundamental misconception or three that I think deserve to be highlighted and corrected.
Why then do Darwinists come to the conclusion that the first life generated spontaneously from nonliving chemicals without intelligent intervention? Spontaneous generation of life has never been observed. Ever since Pasteur sterilized his flask, one of the most fundamental observations in all of science has been that life arises only from similar existing life. Scientists have been unable to combine chemicals in a test tube and arrive at a DNA molecule, much less life. In fact, all experiments designed to spontaneously generate life—including the now-discredited Urey-Miller experiment–have not only failed but also suffer from the illegitimate application of intelligence…
Misconception number one: if science hasn’t done it yet, this proves that it cannot be done. At the time Geisler and Turek wrote the above paragraph, it was true that scientists had not yet artificially assembled a complete DNA molecule. It was only a matter of time, however, before they succeeded in doing just that. But there’s another misconception here, and that is that if scientists manage to recreate abiogenesis, that means they’re “illegitimately” injecting intelligence into the process.
That’s clearly a red herring: if the forensics team recreates the scenario under which the murder occurred, that doesn’t mean they’re injecting their own motives into the crime. If scientists apply their intelligence towards the task of artificially constructing a living cell, then yes, that would be a case of intelligently-designed life. If, however, scientists merely reconstruct the environment under which abiogenesis might have happened spontaneously, and then simply observe whether or not life does arise, then there’s nothing illegitimate about it, unless you want to claim that the initial conditions also require intelligent design. (Few creationists, however, claim to see evidence of intelligent design in ordinary mud puddles.)
And by the way, there’s more to Urey-Miller than Geisler and Turek would lead you to believe. But there’s yet another, even more fundamental misconception in this chapter.