Abiogenesis VS Creationism
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Abiogenesis is a better explanation for the origin of life on earth than creationism.
Pro has the BoP to show that abiogenesis is BETTER than, not equal to, creationism.
Con has the BoP to show that creationism is BETTER than, not equal to, abiogenesis.
abiogenesis - the concept that organic molecules and subsequent simple life forms first originated from inorganic substances on earth.
better - of a more excellent QUALITY.
The QUALITY in this debate is agreed to be "explanatory power" with respects to the origin of life on earth.
explanatory power - the ability of a theory to effectively explain the subject matter it pertains to.
explanation - a statement or account that makes something clear.
origin - the point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived.
life - the condition that distinguishes animals, plants, fungi, protista, archaea, and bacteria, from inorganic matter, including the capacity for metabolism, inheritance, maintaining homeostasis, and reproduction.
earth - the planet on which we live that is third in order from the sun.
creationism - the belief that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, as in the biblical account, RATHER THAN by natural processes.
Hey casual readers, enjoy.
So, I'll poke some holes in creationism and I'll affirm my BoP.
Creationism claims a specific divine act, but makes no attempt to explain the mechanism behind the specific act.
In fact, the default mechanism of creationism is "god makes it happen" which offers no mechanistic explanation.
While I await a robust explanation from Con, I remain skeptical of all of creationism's claims, because there's simply no mechanistic explanation that can be tested and replicated in order to make accurate predictions with an idea like creationism.
"When reduced gases, including CH4, H2S and NH3, are emitted from a volcano into a lightning-rich atmosphere, hydrogen cyanide, ethylene, and acetylene can be generated."
"The sequence of nucleotides in DNA has now been converted to the sequence of amino acids in a polypeptide chain."
"catalysis in a prebiotic network initiated...the emergence of RNA as the dominant macromolecule due to its ability to both catalyze chemical reactions and to be copied in a template-directed manner."
"We have proposed that a simple primitive cell, or protocell, would consist of two key components: a protocell membrane that defines a spatially localized compartment, and an informational polymer that allows for the replication and inheritance of functional information...protocells could take up nutrients from their environment...[allowing for] chemical genome replication and compatibility with membrane encapsulation."
"Sixty years after the seminal Miller-Urey experiment that abiotically produced a mixture of racemized amino acids, we provide a definite proof that this primordial soup, when properly cooked, was edible for primitive organisms."
For a scientific hypothesis to be a valid explanation, that hypothesis must make predictions as to what one would expect if this hypothesis is correct. Both abiogenesis and creationism makes several predictions as to what we should experience if this was true. Pro wins this debate if he can prove that abiogenesis has better explanatory powers than Creationism. I will win this debate if I can show that creationism is has more explanatory powers. To do this I will first begin by showing that abiogenesis is completely and totally impossible and then show why creationism is a better theory.
C1: The Law of Biogenesis
The law of biogenesis states that life must come from life. All life comes from life and all cells come from cells. Louis Pasture confirmed this with his experiment. Indeed, should abiogenesis be true, we should experience life being spontaneously formed every single day. There are tons of inorganic non-living matter on earth. Why aren’t they forming into complex cells and eventually complex new species?
C2: Cell Theory
The cell theory is one of the most foundations theories of biology. It is a sound theory and one that has been repeatedly tested and observed. It states “all biological organisms are composed of cells; cells are the unit of life and all life comes from preexisting life. The cell theory is so established today that it forms one of the unifying principles of biology.” Further the modern cell theory states three things: (1) all living things are composed of one or more cells; (2) cells are an organisms’ basic unit of structure and function; and (3) cells only come from existing cells. 
This poses a significant issue for the theory of abiogenesis. Once we start ripping apart the fundamental basic units of life, we see that life is extremely complex and without one of those pieces life will fall apart and will no longer be considered living. Abiogenesis must account for each part of the cell coming together. Once we see how complex the most basic cell is, we run into the problem of irreducible complexity.
C3: Irreducible Complexity
Irreducible complexity basically is a system that has several parts and the removal of one part would cause the system to cease functioning. 
Example, in the absence of enzymes, there is no chemical reaction that produces the sugar ribose (1), the "backbone" of RNA and DNA. Leslie Orgel notes “Anyone trying to solve this puzzle immediately encounters a paradox. Nowadays nucleic acids are synthesized only with the help of proteins, and proteins are synthesized only if their corresponding nucleotide sequence is present. It is extremely improbable that proteins and nucleic acids, both of which are structurally complex, arose spontaneously in the same place at the same time. Yet it also seems impossible to have one without the other. And so, at first glance, one might have to conclude that life could never, in fact, have originated by chemical means.”
And that’s just on the chemical level! On a macro level it gets even worse! How exactly does get from marine life to land life and then back to marine life? There is absolutely no plausible mechanism. There’s no plausible way to get complex organisms that require new genetic information and new neurons from a single cell.
C4: Abiogenesis is Improbable
The number of steps required for atheistic abiogenesis is totally improbably. First, a universe needs to come out of nothing that forms the laws of physics and the laws of chemistry perfectly to sustain life. Second, a solar system needs to form and a planet in a habitable zone. Then water needs to somehow get to earth and finally somehow life form from basic structures and then eventually give rise to complex life like humans. Common sense states that such a thing is totally impossible. As David Plaisted notes :
Biologists currently estimate that the smallest life form as we know it would have needed about 256 genes. A gene is typically 1000 or more base pairs long, and there is some space in between, so 256 genes would amount to about 300,000 bases of DNA. The deoxyribose in the DNA ``backbone'' determines the direction in which it will spiral. Since organic molecules can be generated in both forms, the chance of obtaining all one form or another in 300,000 bases is one in two to the 300,000 power. This is about one in 10 to the 90,000 power. It seems to be necessary for life that all of these bases spiral in the same direction. Now, if we imagine many, many DNA molecules being formed in the early history of the earth, we might have say 10 100 molecules altogether (which is really much too high). But even this would make the probability of getting one DNA molecule right about one in 10 to the 89,900 power, still essentially zero. And we are not even considering what proteins the DNA generates, or how the rest of the cell structure would get put together! So the real probability would be fantastically small.
B. The Geological Time Scale
The Earth is approximately 4.54 bya +/- 50 my  whereas life first appeared approximately 3.7 bya  meaning that life formed relatively quickly on Earth. This has some serious issues.
First, the early earth would have been bombarded with asteroids and other huge impacts. These impacts would have made Earth a hostile environment to support life.  The likelihood of life surviving that assault is infinitely small.
Second, the fossil record completely obliterates abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution. Abiogenesis/Darwinian evolution predicts that complex life formed slowly from less complex life. What we see is the opposite. Simple life formed quite rapidly and complex life formed rapidly afterwards. Plus we see species formed all of the sudden via the Cambrian explosion .
In Defense of Creationism
I will now present a case on why Creationism best meets the scientific framework. To do this, I will first give philosophical reasons fro Creationism and then philosophical reasons to believe in Creationism.
P1: If objective moral facts exist, then free will exists.
P2: Objective moral facts exist
C: Therefore, free will exist.
Free will is necessary for morality. If there is no free will, then we cannot be held liable for our actions. We all recognize that torturing babies for fun or killing innocent people are morally wrong. If abiogenesis was true, then we are nothing more than a bunch of chemical reactions. It is deterministic by nature and thus we should not have free will. Further, if all we are is chemical reactions, then how can we truly trust our brains and understand the laws of logic? The creationist answer is that free will and the laws of logic stem from the nature and mind of God.
B. Prime Mover
P1: Whatever is in motion is moved by another.
P2: There exists beings in motion.
P3: There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.
C: Therefore, there must be a first mover.
The laws of motion state that an object “every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force.”  This means that inanimate objects cannot move unless they are moved upon by someone else.
For any hypothesis to be scientific, it must be predictable. If Creationism is true, then what should we see? There are at least 4 lines of predictions that have matched up :
- High information content machine-like irreducibly complex structures will be found
- Forms will be found in the fossil record that appear suddenly and without any precursors
- Genes and functional parts will be re-used in different unrelated organisms
- The genetic code will NOT contain much discarded or functionless “junk DNA.”
The first three have been confirmed. The fourth prediction is still under development. Many of the “junk DNA” that was hypothesized has shown out to be useful after all. 
C8: The Faint Young Sun Paradox
There is almost irrefutable evidence that the young Earth and Mars had liquid water.  This creates a significant issue with the geological time scale. Because the sun was 70% as intense than it is today, the conditions on Earth and Mars should be a lot cooler and unable to support liquid water. The question of how a life-suitable and sustaining climate was maintained in this condition is unresolved.  Thus there are two issues: one dealing with Earth and the other dealing with Mars. If creationism is true, then the faint young sun paradox is no issue at all!
Conclusion and Summary
There is a lot to take in here. What I have proven is that abiogenesis is totally implausible and impossible. Abiogenesis simply is an unsustainable hypothesis. As Stephen C. Meyers wrote: “no purely undirected physical or chemical process—whether those based upon chance, law-like necessity, or the combination of the two—has provided an adequate causal explanation for the ultimate origin of the functionally specified biological information.” 
The alternative theory of Creationism best predicts the philosophical and scientific evidence.
- Meyers, S. Signature of the Cell
"The law of biogenesis states that life must come from life. All life comes from life and all cells come from cells."
"[T]he time at which life arose on Earth make[s] use of two types of evidence. First, astrophysical and geophysical studies provide a timescale for the formation of Earth and the Moon and from this evidence, we can deduce a habitability boundary, which is the earliest point at which Earth became habitable.""Second, biosignatures in geological samples, including microfossils, stromatolites, and chemical isotope ratios, provide evidence for when life was actually present. From these observations we can deduce a biosignature boundary, which is the earliest point at which there is clear evidence that life existed."
"should abiogenesis be true, we should experience life being spontaneously formed every single day."
"Once we start ripping apart the fundamental basic units of life, we see that life is extremely complex and without one of those pieces life will fall apart and will no longer be considered living"
"It is extremely improbable that proteins and nucleic acids, both of which are structurally complex, arose spontaneously in the same place at the same time. Yet it also seems impossible to have one without the other. And so, at first glance, one might have to conclude that life could never, in fact, have originated by chemical means.”
"There’s no plausible way to get complex organisms that require new genetic information and new neurons from a single cell."
"How exactly does get from marine life to land life and then back to marine life? There is absolutely no plausible mechanism."
"First, a universe needs to come out of nothing."
"a solar system needs to form and a planet in a habitable zone. Then water needs to somehow get to earth and finally somehow life form from basic structures."
"Now, if we imagine many, many DNA molecules being formed in the early history of the earth, we might have say 10 100 molecules altogether (which is really much too high). But even this would make the probability of getting one DNA molecule right about one in 10 to the 89,900 power, still essentially zero."
Creationism has several explanatory powers. Firstly, creationism best explains philosophical issues such as free will, the laws of logic, and a prime mover. Pro completely dropped these points. This is important because if I can prove that there is a God or a creator, then creationism has a huge head against abiogenesis. Second, creationism best explains how life got started via intelligent design. Finally, creationism also best explains the Cambrian explosion. Stephen Meyer notes: “Darwinian evolution is not only incapable of explaining the Cambrian event, but that the hierarchical information required to explain almost 20 new body plans that appeared suddenly in Cambrian layers gives positive evidence of intelligent design.”  If evolution is incapable of producing the Cambrian explosion without an intelligent creator, then it’s certainly not possible to create life via abiogenesis.
Second, creationism’s mechanism is cognitive intelligence. Ann Guager notes: “The theory of intelligent design does not propose a mechanism (a strictly or necessarily materialistic cause) for the origin of biological information. Rather, it proposes an intelligent or mental cause. In so doing, it does exactly what we want a good historical scientific theory to do. It proposes a cause that is known from our uniform and repeated experience (to borrow a phrase) to have the power to produce the effect in question, which in this case, is functional information in living systems.” 
Next, intelligent design is absolutely testable using the scientific method. From IDEA :
The ways that intelligent agents act can be observed in the natural world and described. When intelligent agents act, it is observed that they produce high levels of "complex-specified information" (CSI). CSI is basically a scenario which is unlikely to happen (making it complex), and conforms to a pattern (making it specified). Language and machines are good examples of things with much CSI. From our understanding of the world, high levels of CSI are always the product of intelligent design.
If an object in the natural world was designed, then we should be able to examine that object and find the same high levels of CSI in the natural world as we find in human-designed objects.
We can examine biological structures to test if high CSI exists. When we look at natural objects in biology, we find many machine-like structures which are specified, because they have a particular arrangement of parts which is necessary for them to function, and complex because they have an unlikely arrangement of many interacting parts. These biological machines are "irreducibly complex," for any change in the nature or arrangement of these parts would destroy their function. Irreducibly complex structures cannot be built up through an alternative theory, such as Darwinian evolution, because Darwinian evolution requires that a biological structure be functional along every small-step of its evolution. "Reverse engineering" of these structures shows that they cease to function if changed even slightly.
Because they exhibit high levels of CSI, a quality known to be produced only by intelligent design, and because there is no other known mechanism to explain the origin of these "irreducibly complex" biological structures, we conclude that they were intelligently designed.
Finally, intelligent design is falsifiable and testable. Firstly Darwinism is a falsification of intelligent design. Michael Engor notes :
Design is always the result of intelligent agency — by definition. It’s always top-down. Design is a mental act. Complexity can arise without intelligent design, but complexity is not the same thing as design. All design arises by intelligent agency, because that’s how design is defined.
ID and Darwinism are merely two opposite conclusions drawn from the same question: is there teleology in biology? If there is, ID is true. If there isn’t,
A. Miller-Urey Experiment
Since my opponent cites the Miller-Urey experiment, I am going to begin by responding to this.
Problem 1: The Miller-Urey experiment proves Creationism!
The Miller-Urey experiment shoots itself in the foot. The experiment was intelligently designed and without the scientists, such an experiment would never be successful.
Problem 2: The conditions on early Earth were probably far different than the Miller-Urey experiment assumed.
This is a huge problem with the Miller-Urey experiment. If it can be shown that the early Earth’s atmosphere was different than the one they assumed, it will cause their entire experiment to be thrown into doubt. As Cohen, J. puts it :
Arrhenius and many other researchers dismiss the experiment itself because they contend that the early atmosphere looked nothing like the Miller-Urey simulation. Basically, Miller and Urey relied on a "reducing" atmosphere, a condition in which molecules are fat with hydrogen atoms. As Miller showed later. he could not make organics in an "oxidizing" atmosphere.
Problem 3: The faint young sun paradox
I brought up this problem in the last round and pro completely and totally ignored it! He didn’t even bother to even acknowledge it! This becomes a huge problem because by all measures, Earth AND Mars should never have been able to support liquid water and Earth would have to have an insane level of CO2 to be able to support life. Cohen further notes in the same article :
Others balk at the notion of a reducing atmosphere because of what is known as the "faint young sun" paradox. As geologist James Kasting of Pennsylvania State University explained 2 years ago in Science (12 February 1993, p. 920), the sun likely had about 30% less luminosity when Earth was formed. If the planet had the same atmosphere as today, its mean surface temperature would have been below the freezing point of water; it would be a giant iceball. As geologic evidence suggests that Earth had liquid water early in its history, Kasting and others maintain that Earth's early atmosphere must have been rich in carbon dioxide (C02),which, through the greenhouse effect, would have kept the surface toasty. But these high levels of CO2, a neutral agent, also would have prevented a Miller-Urey scenario.
B. Primordial Soup
As pro notes all life must consume. His argument here lies heavily on the Miller-Urey experiment which is deeply flawed. Next, such a probiotic soup creates other sugars that prevent RNA and DNA replication 
The primordial soup theory has been completely overturned! As noted here: “The soup theory was proposed in 1929 when J.B.S Haldane published his influential essay on the origin of life in which he argued that UV radiation provided the energy to convert methane, ammonia and water into the first organic compounds in the oceans of the early earth. However critics of the soup theory point out that there is no sustained driving force to make anything react; and without an energy source, life as we know it can't exist.” 
Let’s continue with Pro’s explanation.
- Inorganic compounds —> organic amino acids
- Replication of Inorganic —> Organic amino acids
- Amino Acids —> Biological active networks
Few things to note: almost all of these rely on the now disproved Miller-Urey experiment. But it gets even worse! Richard Deem notes :
Neither RNA nor DNA can be synthesized in the absence of enzymes. In theory, an RNA replicase could exist and code for its own replication. The first synthesized RNA replicase was four times longer than any RNA that could form spontaneously (4). In addition, it was able to replicate only 16 base pairs at most, so it couldn't even replicate itself (5).
Enzymes cannot be synthesized in the absence of RNA and ribosomes.
Nucleosides and amino acids cannot form in the presence of oxygen, which is now known to have been present on the earth for at least 4.3 billion years ago (6), although life arose at least ~3.5 billion years ago (7).
Pro preaches the Miller-Urey experiment as if it was gospel truth. I have shown, however, that the Miller-Urey experiment is deeply flawed. It is so flawed, in fact, that we ought to completely reject it. By all measurements, the early Earth should never have been able to have liquid water and should never have been able to support life.
Creationism best explains the origins of life for several reasons: (1) it accounts for the teleology in life; (2) it accounts for irreducible complexity; (3) it best accounts for the Cambrian explosion; and (4) it best accounts for the faint-young sun paradox; (5) it best fits a philosophical framework that depends on a creator (an issue pro ignores); and finally (6) it is the most probable explanation. Scientifically we must look at what is possible and what is most probable. Creationism is by far more probable than abiogenesis.
- Cohen, J. (1995). Institutional Profile: Novel Center Seeks to Add Spark to Origins of Life. Science, 270(5244), 1925–1926.
"neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors...the weight of evidence indicates that nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”
"P1: Whatever is in motion is moved by another.P2: There exists beings in motion.P3: There cannot be an infinite regression of moved beings.C: Therefore, there must be a first mover."
"astrophysical and geophysical studies...biosignatures in geological samples, including microfossils, stromatolites, and chemical isotope ratios...studies with molecular phylogenetics and records of the changing level of oxygen in the atmosphere...to determine the habitability boundary could be as early as 4.5 Ga, the earliest possible time at which Earth had a stable crust and hydrosphere, or as late as 3.9 Ga, the end of the period of heavy meteorite bombardment...the time of the habitability boundary. Evidence from carbon isotope ratios and stromatolite fossils both point to a time close to 3.7 Ga. Life must have emerged in the interval between these two boundaries. The time taken for life to appear could, therefore, be within 200 Myr or as long as 800 Myr."
"In the past, the geothermal release of decay heat, emitted from the decay of the isotopes potassium-40, uranium-235 and uranium-238 was considerably greater than it is today...therefore would have been capable of supporting natural nuclear fission reactors with common light water as its moderator"
"The theory of intelligent design does not propose a mechanism (a strictly or necessarily materialistic cause) for the origin of biological information."
"Rather, [creationism] proposes an intelligent or mental cause."
So not only is there no mechanistic explanation, there's an explanation that doesn't make any sense?
No mechanism and bogus.
"The Miller-Urey experiment shoots itself in the foot. The experiment was intelligently designed and without the scientists, such an experiment would never be successful."
Except for the "intelligently designed" study yielded results that indicate not only a lack of intelligence behind the origin of organic amino acid compounds, but the study proved that these chemicals are produced abiotically without life or intelligence.
The results showed that it does not take life to yield these results, therefore it does not take intelligence to yield these results, even though it took our intelligence to discover this fact.
"Basically, Miller and Urey relied on a "reducing" atmosphere, a condition in which molecules are fat with hydrogen atoms."
Check the sources.
"critics of the soup theory point out that there is no sustained driving force to make anything react."
In fact, in my explanation of abiogenesis, in the catalytic network, reactions are the only thing happening.
Catalysis solves this BS criticism of abiogenesis.
"Neither RNA nor DNA can be synthesized in the absence of enzymes."
Con's Source #8 Last Round
"The theory of intelligent design does not propose a mechanism (a strictly or necessarily materialistic cause) for the origin of biological information. Rather, it proposes an intelligent or mental cause."
Con's Source #3 Round 2
When one weighs the credibility of sources and their impact on the explanatory power for the origin of life on earth, one must note that Con's sources cite no peer reviewed journal articles and the PNAS and the NIH only allow for such.