On this ID the Future, Brian Miller, research coordinator for the Center for Science & Culture, reports on laboratory research recently presented in Nature Communications and in a University of Tokyo press release— research that supposedly provides dramatic “new insights into the possible origin of life,” and specifically “the molecular evolution of RNA.” The popular press picked up on these claims and ran with them, including in this May 5 Quanta article that breathlessly reported, “When researchers gave a genetic molecule the ability to replicate, it evolved over time into a complex network of ‘hosts’ and ‘parasites’ that both competed and cooperated to survive.” Miller says nothing remotely this dramatic occurred in the experiment. He insists there were no great revelations from this laboratory work, aside perhaps from it further corroborating the view that precisely orchestrated interventions of an intelligent designer (in this case, that of the lab researchers) are required in order to make any headway on the road from non-life to life. But as Miller’s conversation with host Eric Anderson suggests, even that might be to exaggerate what the University of Tokyo experimenters accomplished, since the RNA “evolution” they achieved was actually devolution. Tune in as Miller and Anderson break it down. And for more, check out Miller’s Evolution News article on the subject.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights a new origin-of-life video showing that researchers aren’t anywhere close to creating life from non-life, despite the fact most Americans seem to believe otherwise. In the episode, host Eric Anderson interviews Stairway to Life co-author Rob Stadler, who helped create the new Long Story Short animated video. Stadler and Anderson explore how origin-of-life papers and popular media reports have misled the public, evidenced by a survey underscored by Rice University synthetic organic chemist James Tour. Then they discuss several daunting origin-of-life hurdles beyond the synthesis of key chemical building blocks. These are hurdles significant enough that each alone may doom the idea of life having once emerged from non-life spontaneously. Indeed, it is now a matter of record that the hurdles are so daunting that for several decades they have kept many brilliant and lavishly funded scientists from intelligently designing life from non-life in the lab. Thus it is hardly unreasonable to entertain the idea that the origin of the first life required not merely intelligent design, but an ingenious designing intelligence far beyond that of our smartest origin-of-life researchers.
On today’s ID the Future, Canceled Science author and physicist Eric Hedin talks with host Eric Anderson about the challenge the generalized second law of thermodynamics poses for purely naturalistic scenarios for the origin of the first living organism. The problem is generating the reams of exquisitely orchestrated biological information required for even the simplest self-reproducing cell, and fundamental principles of physics, Hedin argues, mitigate against chemical processes getting the job done. What about the fact that the Earth is an open system, gaining energy from the sun? Does that provide an end-run around the second law? Hedin says no and explains why, using easy-to-grasp illustrations. His recent book from Discovery Institute Press, Canceled Science: What Some Atheists Don’t Want You to See, is available at Amazon and other online retailers.
Today’s ID the Future features another installment in James Tour’s hard-hitting and evidence-based YouTube series on abiogenesis. Here Dr. Tour, a world-leading synthetic organic chemist at Rice University, describes the early Earth primordial soup concept for the origin of first life (OOL) and shows why it’s simplistic, bogus, and doesn’t represent the current science on the issue. He also reviews survey data showing just how misinformed the public is about how far scientists have gotten in creating life in the lab. One critic of Tour protested that the simplistic primordial soup story might be found in highly simplified textbooks for sixth graders but isn’t peddled at higher levels. Tour provides video evidence to the contrary.