Instigator / Pro

Abiogenesis VS Creationism


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 1 vote and with 6 points ahead, the winner is...

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*Full Resolution*
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.

Round 1

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, DebateArt proudly presents to you...The Origin of Life Explanation Championship Bout.

Fighting out of the green corner (Pro), in the blue carbon atom tattoo, sponsored by abiogenesis, MagicAintReal!
Fighting out of the red corner (Con), in the white tallit and rabbinical garb, carrying a Torah, sponsored by creationism, Virtuoso!
Let's get it on.

Hey voters, keep it honest.
Hey moderators, keep voters honest.
Hey casual readers, enjoy.


The resolution has Pro (me) affirming that abiogenesis is a better explanation for the origin of life on earth than creationism is.
So, I'll poke some holes in creationism and I'll affirm my BoP.


The first problem with creationism is that it lacks explanatory power, because "god did it" isn't an explanation of HOW anything occurred.
By one saying that god used his magical powers to originate life on earth, one is attempting to solve a mystery (how did life originate?) by appealing to another mystery (what is god's magic?).

The second problem with creationism is that it lacks a demonstrable mechanism.
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.

The third problem with creationism is that its claims have not been demonstrated, its theories cannot be tested and replicated, and it fails to provide a way to use the successes of its theories to make accurate predictions about reality.

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.


I'm going to attempt to meet my burden by providing an outline, a summary, and an explanation. 
The origins of earthly life are better explained by the natural causes within abiogenesis than the mysterious, magical divine acts of creationism.

*Outline of Abiogenesis*

1. With an atmosphere, water salinity, inorganic compounds, electricity, volcanic activity, and UV rays representative of a prebiotic (before life) earth, inorganic compounds naturally become organic compounds in the form of amino acids.

2. Amino acids make up proteins, in chains called polypeptides, and the sequence of the amino acid chain causes the polypeptide to fold into a shape that is biologically active.

3. Biologically active amino acid sequences in fact metabolize compounds.

4. Amino acids are catalysts, because they increase the rate of chemical reactions, and in a prebotic network full of catalyzing amino acids and catalyzing hydrothermal vents, RNA emerges due to its auto-catalytic property.

5. RNA is also self-replicating, and because of this is able to thrive in a prebiotic amino acid network by replicating in a template-directed manner.

6. Available phosphorous in this network encapsulates and acts as a barrier for the biologically active, metabolic amino acid chains and auto-catalytic, self-replicating RNA, which, all components combined, is a collectively compartmentalized protocell.

7. These protocells can metabolize with amino acids and replicate with RNA, and this is the origin of genetic polymers.

8. A protocell with a phosphoric membrane and genetic polymers that can metabolize and self replicate is a full blown living cell, and these single cells are life; they're simple life, but they're life.

9. These simple life forms would need to eventually consume more, and the network of amino acids and other compounds in the region were in fact edible.

10. Abiogenesis has better evidence for the origin of life on earth than creationism.


Inorganic compounds of a prebiotic earth become organic, metabolic, catalytic amino acid compounds, which themselves become biologically active and, along with hydrothermal vents, catalyze reactions that favor an emergence of auto-catalytic RNA, which can self-replicate, in a template-directed manner, and thus allow for a phosphoric, encapsulated cell with a membrane and genetic polymers that replicates, inherits genetic information, maintains homeostasis, and metabolizes available compounds in the prebiotic network.

*Explanation of Abiogenesis*

1. Inorganic Compounds-->Organic Amino Acids

Compounds covalently (sharing electrons) bonded to carbon are organic.
Compounds not covalently bonded to carbon are inorganic.

Inorganic = H N C O (cyanate)
Organic = C 2 H 5 N O 2 (glycine, an amino acid)

You can tell that the difference between inorganic and organic carbon compounds is rather insignificant.
One more carbon atom, four more hydrogen atoms, and one more oxygen atom...that's it; the elements are essentially the same.

The Miller-Urey experiment in the 50's demonstrated that with an atmosphere, water salinity, electricity, and inorganic compounds likely of an earlier earth, inorganic compounds will produce organic amino acid compounds.

The link above has a very informative video of how the experiment is done and how you could plausibly do it too.
That's what abiogenesis is...the idea that inorganic compounds become organic compounds which lead to subsequent life forms.

2. Replication of Inorganic-->Organic Amino Acids

Though people agreed that lightning occurs without life and in atmospheres on other planets, people still complained that the atmosphere of earlier earth had more oxygen than the Miller-Urey experiment accounted for.
The replicated experiments of the Miller-Urey took that into account, and used:

1. H2, CH4, NH3, H2O, H2S and electricity, and yielded the amino acids cysteine, cystine, and methionine.
2. CH4, C2H6, NH3, H2S and UV rays, and yielded alanine, glycine, serine, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and cystine.
3. CH4, H2O, H2S, NH3, N2, and electricity, and yielded methionine.

"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."
So we know that amino acids, organic compounds, come from reactions of inorganic compounds.
But what about genetic replication?

3. Amino Acids-->Biologically Active Network

Amino acid chains (polypeptides) can fold onto themselves and become biologically active.
"The sequence of nucleotides in DNA has now been converted to the sequence of amino acids in a polypeptide chain."
Yes, amino acids fold onto themselves and naturally become biologically active and functional.

So we have biologically active amino do they replicate?
Well amino acids speed up reactions; they're catalysts.
Hydrothermal vents use the heat from the earth to catalyze reactions and supply inorganic compounds.
So before there was life, there were prebiotic catalysts, like amino acids and hydrothermal vents.

"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."
So, from inorganic compounds of earlier earth, we got organic amino acids, which, when folded, become biologically active, and can catalyze reactions, exacerbated by hydrothermal vents, that led to the emergence of RNA, which is necessary for genetic replication.

4. RNA network-->Cells

In this prebiotic network, any available phosphorous encapsulates the amino acids and RNA acting as a membrane, thus sufficing as a protocell, but because this encapsulation concentrates replication, it allows for genetic polymers, which makes it a full blown living cell, the origin of life.

"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."

5. Primitive Cellular Life Must Consume

Any primitive organism would be replicating with RNA and metabolizing with amino acids, but what might they be consuming?

"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."


So, I affirm that abiogenesis is the best explanation for the origin of life on earth, because abiogenesis has a) the most demonstrated, replicated, and substantiated evidence, b) the most testable, applicable, and reasonable pragmatism, and c) the most plentiful, accessible, and free resources that further solidify the explanation.

On to Con...

I want to thank MagicAintReal for this debate. I am hoping to learn quite a bit from this and wish my opponent the best of luck.


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.

Against Abiogenesis

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. [1]

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. [2] 

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 

A. The Number of Steps

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 [4]: 

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.  

Impact: When evaluating a scientific theory, it’s important to understand probability. If a hypothesis is laughably improbable, it should be dismissed. 

B. The Geological Time Scale

The Earth is approximately 4.54 bya +/- 50 my [5] whereas life first appeared approximately 3.7 bya [6] 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. [7]  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 [9]. 

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. 

C6: Philosophy

A. Free Will

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.” [10] This means that inanimate objects cannot move unless they are moved upon by someone else. 

C7: Predictions 

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 [11]:

  1. High information content machine-like irreducibly complex structures will be found
  2. Forms will be found in the fossil record that appear suddenly and without any precursors
  3. Genes and functional parts will be re-used in different unrelated organisms
  4. 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. [12]

C8: The Faint Young Sun Paradox

There is almost irrefutable evidence that the young Earth and Mars had liquid water. [13] 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. [14] 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.” [15] 

The alternative theory of Creationism best predicts the philosophical and scientific evidence. 

  15. Meyers, S. Signature of the Cell

Round 2
Round 2

Thanks for that Con.
Last round, Con came out swingin' at abiogenesis rather than really providing a mechanistic explanation for creationism.
That's fine...let's get to rebuttals.

Law of Biogenesis

Con actually has two contentions wrapped up in this one little contention so I will address both.

Con points out:
"The law of biogenesis states that life must come from life. All life comes from life and all cells come from cells."
My response:
This is most certainly true NOW because we live on a biotic earth, i.e. an earth with currently existing life.
But what my studies showed, was that earth was at one point prebiotic and had water, i.e. an earth without existing life but existing water.

Prebiotic Earth

This study was referenced in my "Conducting Miller-Urey Experiments" source from round 1.

"[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."

Since the earth was once prebiotic, there had to be a a first living cell and it should be obvious that this cell did not come from another cell, because, pardon the tautology, it was the first one.
Other than the first cell, cellular life descends from other cellular life.

Con supposes:
"should abiogenesis be true, we should experience life being spontaneously formed every single day."
My response:
Except for the fact that we live on a biotic earth, and with all of this competing microbiology from bacteria to parameseum literally everywhere, a simple primitive cell like the ones described in round 1 could never form or survive.

A primitive protocell today on earth would immediately be consumed by the plethora of existing microorganisms, so we should NOT expect to see the events of a prebiotic earth, like the organic compounds encapsulated in a primitive phosphorous membrane I had described in round 1, happening on a thriving ubiquitously biotic earth.
Too much biological competition, Con.

What's Living?

Con asserts:
"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"
My response:
Well, as defined in this debate and in biology, you just need 5 to be alive.
1) cellular, 2) inheritable traits, 3) able to metabolize/grow, 4) able to reproduce, 5) able to maintain homeostasis.

As long as these 5 characteristics are present, then something is living, and the first cell described in round 1 had 1) genetic polymers inherited from dominant macromolecules, 2) amino acids and other catalysts for metabolism, 3) RNA allowing for template directed reproduction of 4) a primitive phosphorous membrane encapsulating the polymers, amino acids, and RNA in a primitive cell, and 5) this cell was able to use its barrier and catalytic behavior to overcome external changes i.e. maintain its homeostasis.

It's only 5 things, and it's not that complex with respects to the FIRST PRIMITIVE CELL.
Primitive cells are simpler than the complex cells of today.

Irreducible Complexity

Con mentions a quote:
"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.” 
My response:
Ok, while I respect that it may seem improbable, I sourced how both amino acids and RNA, a nucleic acid, formed and thrived in a prebiotic catalytic network and how they were eventually encapsulated in a phosphorous membrane.
They didn't need to have arisen at the same time, they just had to be brought together and phosphorous came through as the encapsulation of both amino acids and RNA.

Con asserts:
"There’s no plausible way to get complex organisms that require new genetic information and new neurons from a single cell."
My response:
So by Con going to neurons, Con's getting into an area beyond abiogenesis, which is agreed to include only "subsequent simple life forms" and I argue that neuronal creatures are beyond simple life forms, so this contention belongs in an evolution debate, which I would gladly have, but not in an abiogenesis debate.

Con adds:
"How exactly does get from marine life to land life and then back to marine life? There is absolutely no plausible mechanism."
My response:
Damn you Biology teacher passion!
This is unrelated to abiogenesis, but I like Con and I like biology, so we gonna get a little evolutionary.

The first life forms evolved from the single-celled organisms described in round 1 on an earth that was a giant warm bath of water, with tons of hydro-thermal vents, and volcanoes.

These guys remained in the water and evolved like little mitochondria until the point where some of the mitochondria-like, single-celled organisms were able to consume other single celled mitochondria-like organisms and actually use the consumed organisms as a mitochondria inside of themselves.
This is endosymbiosis.

These single celled organisms now had an organelle, a mitochondria, and were able to evolve into multi-cellular organisms because they were metabolizing energy so much more efficiently with the primitive organisms inside doing all of the energy capture as a mitochondria.
These multi-cellular organisms were in this gigantic bath and evolved complex cells to deal with the water fluctuations.

From these multi-cellular organisms, all multi-celled eukaryotes, including us, descend.
Fish are early vertebrates who were able to evolve lobe fins to get on the land, and once they evolved an egg that was able to maintain its moisture without the water, while the creature lived on land, that was the first amphibian.

From the first amphibians, you got the reptiles who were able to keep their eggs moist much longer, so they could go farther away from water, deeper on to land.
Take a look at your back brain and realize, it's from the reptile, and so all mammals actually descend from the reptiles, and mammals became so good at keeping eggs moist, being that they were so far away from water, that they just held onto the eggs inside their body, allowing a very distant travel across land.

The hippo and its direct ancestor migrated near water and eventually evolved the ability to reproduce in the water and that's your first whale, i.e. marine mammal.
Breathes air like you and me.

Abiogenesis's Improbability

Con says:
"First, a universe needs to come out of nothing."
My response:
Con, please remember we are debating the quality of each explanation with respects to the origin of life on earth, and it's way out of my burden to explain the origin of the universe, which came out of unstable quantum fluctuations which are a complete annihilation of particle-antiparticle pairs, thus nothing.

Con adds:
"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."
My response:
My sources showed how, on early earth, "a habitability boundary, which is the earliest point at which Earth became habitable."

Con furthers:
"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."

My response:
Yeah, as we know it on a biotic earth.
Genes "typically 1000 or more base pairs long" are all on a biotic earth with tons of biological competition requiring this amount.

Again, the primitive, simple life forms would have had much fewer genes, and there wouldn't have been biological competition to stop them, so the "estimates from biologists" are only considering a biotic earth, not a prebiotic earth on which life originated and where simpler life could survive.

Con persists:
"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."
My response:
This is a straw man, no one said many DNA molecules, in fact the only nucleic acid I mentioned was RNA, because it could replicate in a template directed manner...all the rest of the math is irrelevant.


Free will, prime movers, and predictions about subsequent life forms that are BEYOND SIMPLE LIFE FORMS are all irrelevant to the first cellular life on earth and how it got there.
Con's arguments don't do ANY explaining at all about what mechanism was used to originate life.

Con argues that the sun was less intense in the past and the earth was thus cooler, but my sources provided this round show a habitable for primitive life earth.


There's no creationism here to refute, it's just a series of philosophical arguments rather than biological ones, and my evidence all stands.
Thank you so much for this debate. I will use this round to rebut pro’s opening statements and will defend my arguments in the next round. 


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.” [1] 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.” [2] 

Next, intelligent design is absolutely testable using the scientific method. From IDEA [3]:

i. Observation:
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. 

ii. Hypothesis:
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. 

iii. Experiment:
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. 

iv. Conclusion:
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 [4]:

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 [5]:

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 [6]:

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.

Thus because the Miller-Urey experiment is deeply flawed, it completely throws into doubt Pro’s entire arguments because they rely solely on this experiment.

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 [7] 

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.” [8] 

Let’s continue with Pro’s explanation.

  1. Inorganic compounds —> organic amino acids
  2. Replication of Inorganic —> Organic amino acids
  3. 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 [9]: 

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). 

So this explanation is totally impossible! 


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. 


  5. Cohen, J. (1995). Institutional Profile: Novel Center Seeks to Add Spark to Origins of Life. Science, 270(5244), 1925–1926.  
  6. Ibid 

Round 3
Round 3

Thanks for that Con.
While Con's been swingin' at abiogenesis, Con's not landed any punches.
What's worse, is Con's not been able to fend of significant strikes landed on creationism and is badly damaged.
I shall point it all out.

Free Will and Logic are Irrelevant

Unless Con can somehow show that the first living cells and "subsequent simple life forms" had the neural capacity for free will and logic, we're not talking about explanatory power with respects to the origin of life on earth, and entertaining free will as an explanation for the origins of cell structure and inheritance is simply irrelevant.

All evidence indicates that consciousness, intention, and therefore free will require
"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.”
Also, all evidence indicates that neurological substrates originated from "the last common ancestor of all bilaterian animals, living 600–700 Mya, [which] probably had a diffusely organized nervous system."

Con, neurons themselves, on which free will and our use of the laws of logic are contingent, came billions of years after the first cells, so free will and our use of logic have no explanatory power with respects to the origin of life on earth, none.
I didn't drop the arguments; they are simply irrelevant.

Prime Mover

Con didn't really explain what Con's prime mover argument was supposed to indicate until Con mentioned last round that it indicated god and such.
So let's look at it.

Con argues:
"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."
My response:
Ok, the first movers of the origin of life on earth are the chemical reactions explained in abiogenesis, and the first movers of the origin of the universe were quantum fluctuations as described by NASA's evidence-based timeline of the universe.

Assuming divinity without proving divinity is just that...mere assumption.
If you accept the prime mover argument, it does not necessitate god, and Con did nothing to link it to divinity or the origin of life on earth.
Now it's linked to abiogenesis and quantum fluctuations, all perfectly natural.

The Faint Young Sun Paradox

Con claims that the sun, at the time of life's origin, about 3.7 to 4 billion years ago, was too cold to support life's origin on earth.
The problem is that my number 1 source referenced a study for its early earth's atmosphere data that I sourced last round to prove a prebiotic earth, and in it they explained that my number 1 source used

"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 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."
All of the evidence indicates a habitable-for-life earth at the time that Con's source says that the sun wasn't strong enough to allow for such.
What else don's Con's source show?
A solution to the Faint Young Sun Paradox.

"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"
By the earth generating its own heat, it was able to moderate any lack of energy it could have been receiving from the sun.

There is significant evidence, like Con's own source, to indicate that abiogenesis as described in my round 1 was not only possible, but converging evidence from multiple disciplines, including astrobiology, geology, and paleontology all indicate that the temperature of earth was in a habitable state for the origin of life to occur abiogenetically.

Creationism Has No Mechanism

Um, I'm just going to quote Con and Con's source on the matter, and I hope voters will take note of this.

Con cites Guager:
"The theory of intelligent design does not propose a mechanism (a strictly or necessarily materialistic cause) for the origin of biological information."
My response:
This is a HUGE point for why abiogenesis is a better explanation than creationism, because the people whom Con even cite know that it has no mechanism and is merely all hopeful speculation.
Abiogenesis, in contrast to creationism, is rife with mechanistic explanations, see round 1.

I also made the case in my first round that this was a flaw of creationism, that it has no mechanism, and Con just confirmed that here.

Con continues to cite:
"Rather, [creationism] proposes an intelligent or mental cause."
My response:
This is saying that a cause using neuronal substrates, i.e. mental or of the brain/mind, originated life on earth billions of years before neuronal substrates ever existed?
So not only is there no mechanistic explanation, there's an explanation that doesn't make any sense?
Bogus, Con.
No mechanism and bogus.

Abiogenesis's "Problems"

Con reckons:
"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."
My response:
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.

Con continues:
"Basically, Miller and Urey relied on a "reducing" atmosphere, a condition in which molecules are fat with hydrogen atoms."
My response:
Right, and had Con looked at my modern-day Miller Urey experiment done in 2011, they used that source that I provided, which demonstrated that the prevalent volcanic activity on earth at the time reduced the oxygen in the atmosphere.

Volcanoes emit large plumes of Hydrogen Sulfide, and had Con read my sources on this, Con would have seen that in a lightning rich atmosphere, as the evidenced indicated was the case on a prebiotic earth, coupled with volcanic activity, the atmosphere was NATURALLY reduced of oxygen, allowing these basic units of life to form and eventually evolve subsequent simple life forms.
Check the sources.

Con adds:
"critics of the soup theory point out that there is no sustained driving force to make anything react."
My response:
This ignores that the organic amino acid network was catalytic, which increases the rate of reactions.
In fact, in my explanation of abiogenesis, in the catalytic network, reactions are the only thing happening.
Catalysis solves this BS criticism of abiogenesis.

Con tries once more:
"Neither RNA nor DNA can be synthesized in the absence of enzymes."
My response:
Con ignored my explanation from round 1 that indicated how RNA emerged through catalysis via the hydro-thermal vents which Con's source confirms on the matter.
Con's Source #8 Last Round


Con nearly ended the debate by pointing out that there is no mechanism in creationism, which gives the explanatory edge to abiogenesis, because abiogenesis is only composed of testable, mechanistic explanations.

Con's swings at abiogenesis are refuted by Hydrogen Sulfide from volcanoes which naturally reduced the oxygen in the atmosphere and Con's own sources indicating that the earth could maintain a habitable temperature for abiogenesis to occur as I've described throughout this debate.

Abiogenesis is a better explanation than creationism, because it doesn't rely on some fictional entity to explain things that are actually explained by evidence.


Round 4
Final Round

Creationism's been knocked down and the ref's counting...
If Con cannot respond next round, we'll have to call it a 3rd round knockout.

Con has talked to me though and stuff IRL was prioritized over DebateArt, and that makes Con a reasonable person, so he shouldn't be judged.
No worries Con...unless you don't respond next round; then it's a knockout.

Creationism's Lack of a Mechanism

This is where Con is suffering from self-inflicted wounds, and this lack-of-a-mechanism point was part of my opening attack on creationism, so it should be viewed as a heavily sustained blow to Con.
Remember, Con cited Ann Guager in Con's #2 source, second 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."
If we're to measure explanatory power between two explanations for the origin of life on earth, which as an event is necessarily materialistic given the chemistry involved, and one explanation cites the fact that it does not claim to propose a materialistic mechanism, then one must default to the explanation that does propose a mechanism like the reactions of inorganic compounds that yield catalytic, organic amino acids as materialistic causes of dominant, self-replicating, able-to-be-encapsulated macromolecules.

How Con Was Countered

Reviewing my sources shows that the inorganic-->organic reaction of the original Miller-Urey experiment was replicated as late as 2011, with a peer-reviewed journal article that has a video of how you too could replicate the experiment.

Being able to replicate one of the mechanisms of abiogenesis speaks to the explanatory power.

What's even better is that one can confirm the conditions of this replicated experiment to be an accurate representation of a prebiotic earth at or about 3.7-4.0 billion years ago given the source used to validate such a representation.

Con also tripped over their untied boot laces by providing a source that indicated a solution to the faint young sun paradox.
Con's claim was that, at the time of the origin of life on earth, the sun wasn't strong enough to heat the earth to the temperature capable of inhabiting life.

However, when you click on Con's Source #14 From Round 1, you find a solution that indicates the earth was able to heat itself up, geothermally, given the isotopes present.


One will find more useful, verifiable, and relevant information on the television program CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) than one will find at Con's source, IDEA, especially considering their nonsensical ramblings on complex specified information which ignores that macromolecules replicate without intelligent specificity.
Con's Source #3 Round 2

Con's source has no credibility in biology, biochemistry, or genetics unlike the NIH and PNAS sources provided by me 1st round.
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.

Con never gives an explanation behind any divinity, so this CSI garbage can be dismissed.


I extend all arguments across the board, I affirm abiogenesis, and I hope that any misconceptions or misunderstandings about the natural origins of life on earth have been remedied.
Thanks Con for the debate.

At the end of the 4th round the winner should be Pro, because abiogenesis is superior in explanatory power with respects to the origin of life on earth.

I sincerely apologize for forfeiting the last round. I was busy with the dreaded finals and forgot about this debate. 

That being said it would be poor conduct on my part to try to rebut the arguments now since pro would not be able to respond. 

I honestly felt this topic went way over my head. I did learn quite a bit though.