Wednesday, December 2, 2020

December 2 The Awe of Life, and the Scientific Impossibility of Spontaneous Generation

 Reason #2 The Scientific Impossibility of Spontaneous Generation

Life is complex and awe-inspiring, and it didn't come into being by spontaneous generation.

Sure, we all smile now when we speak of Belgian chemist Jean Baptiste van Helmont (1580-1644). He believed mice came into our world through spontaneous generation—the supposed rise of life from non-life. He taught his students:

"If a soiled shirt is placed in the opening of a vessel containing grains of wheat, the reaction of the leaven in the shirt with fumes from the wheat will, after approximately 21 days, transform the wheat into mice."

Of course, that’s not quite right.

It was Louis Pasteur who orchestrated the final triumph of science over the error of spontaneous generation. He was given an award in 1862 from the Paris Academy of Sciences for disproving once and for all the theory of spontaneous generation. He concluded, “Life only comes from life,” and he is the one who referred to spontaneous generation as a doctrine. “Never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal blow of this simple experiment.”

Indeed, all our biology text books agree with Louis Pasteur. Except when they try to defend naturalistic evolution.

Atheistic evolution is utterly dependent on the doctrine of spontaneous generation, or abiogenesis as it is more commonly referred to now. According to this view, all life sprang forth from the original non-life of the Big Bang, etc. 

But if, as we are taught in school, the scientific method requires a conclusion to be testable, observable, repeatable, and falsifiable, then naturalistic evolution, with its reliance on spontaneous generation, should never be honored as a science-based belief.  While we actually observe the “life from life” principle every day, spontaneous generation has never been observed, not even once. A person may believe in it as a doctrine, to use Pasteur’s term, but not as a scientific reality.

Nobel Prize-winning physiologist George Wald summarized the position of atheism perfectly: “We choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance.”

The joke is on us as long as our favorite scientists laugh at van Helmont’s ignorance and then, with an appropriately somber tone, teach us that mice, actually, do not come from “shirt leaven” and “wheat fumes,” but from “soup”—the non-living primordial soup of prehistory.

If spontaneous generation was a cringe-worthy idea for van Helmont in the 1600s, then it’s also a cringe-worthy idea today, and a “doctrine” that needs to be challenged by actual scientific observations.

Science is solidly on the side of believers, not atheists, in this matter.

Science would never lead you to believe in spontaneous generation. Quite the opposite!

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