Wednesday, March 14, 2012

[PHI 3000] God and the Origin of Life

Here's a quote from a piece by Rabbi Adam Jacobs, which appeared here: 
I posit to you that all the evidence points, in an obvious and inextricable way, to a supernatural explanation for the origin of life. If there are no known naturalistic explanations and the likelihood that "chance" played any role is wildly minute, then it is a perfectly reasonable position to take that a conscious super-intelligence (that some of us call God) was the architect of life on this planet. Everyone agrees to the appearance of design. It is illogical to assume its non-design in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
What's the argument here? Do you think it's a good argument?


  1. P1) Science can give no explanation for our existence
    P2) The probability of the world randomly coming into being is incredibly small
    P3) It is agreed upon that the world seems to be of conscious design, not random action
    C) It is reasonable to assume that there is a God who is the architect of the universe.

    I do not think that this is a compelling argument. Adam Jacobs offers little evidence for his conclusion. His argument seems hinged upon the fact that there is little evidence supporting either a supernatural creator or random creation. He also argues that because the world seems to have a conscious design to it that it must have been created by a supernatural being. I think it is fine for him to think that there is an all-powerful God who created and designed our universe, the argument he provides is not compelling.

  2. I agree with the logic of his argument and I do believe that God is responsible for the intricate designs of living beings, the earth, and the universe. But I do not think that God give rise to these intricate designs but rather set motion to form these by producing the conditions required to make the first single cell organism.
    I think that his argument can easily be attacked by Darwinism. The "wildly minute chance", however small it may be, it still the central player of Darwinism. The earth has been in existence for 4.5 billions years and during this time, only a handful of "intricate designs" has come into existence namely the living body with its intricate organs. According to much of the present-past inferences, all living beings started out with a single cell organism and through chances, complex living beings are formed.

  3. The argument presented here is that all life has an origin and life appears to be "designed"; therefore, there must be a creator. This is very similar to the "cosmological argument" which states that every event must have a cause and the first cause of life is God.
    I don't think this is a good argument because it relies on the lack of evidence for support. It basically states "there is no observed cause of the origin of life; therefore, God must be the origin of life". The argument also states that it is highly unlikely that chance played a role in the origin of life. However, scientists have been able to prove that with the conditions available on early Earth, the molecules regarded as the foundation of life were formed.
    I believe this is an unsound inductive argument because the premises still leave room for doubt. They do not clarify why it could have only been a supernatural being that was responsible for life on Earth.


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