Evolution Misconception #2 – The Origin of Life

Assertion:

Evolution is the study of the origin of life.

This is common misconception – that evolution talks about how life began.

A similar assertion is that evolution is about how life came from non-life.

Answer:

No.

Evolution is not about the origin of life, but how life changed after it appeared.

The study of the origin of life and/or how life arose from inorganic matter falls under the study of abiogenesis.

a-bi-o-gen-e-sis

  • the prefix a means ‘not’, like amoral (not moral), atypical (not typical), atheist (not a believer).
  • bio means ‘life’
  • genesis means ‘beginning’

So, abiogenesis means a non-life beginning.

Application:

The next time you read/hear the assertion that evolution is about the origin of life or that evolution teaches that life came from non-life, say to yourself and your children, “That is NOT evolution – that is abiogenesis.”

<< #1 – The Big Bang | List of Misconceptions | #3 – Only a Theory >>

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About yewnique

I am a Malaysian-born woman who is married to an Australian and now live in Melbourne, Australia. I am a mother to four children. I home school. I like reading, writing, and cooking -- not necessarily in that order. I care about grammar and spelling, but am nonchalant about the Oxford Comma. I try to follow Christ's teachings.

Posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011, in Evolution, Misconceptions and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Just like #1 in this series, it’s simply not true that the “evolution” can only be used for biological development after life started. Another name for abiogenesis is “chemical evolution”—the /evolution/ of non-living matter into living matter.

    Evolutionists these days try hard to draw a distinction between abiogenesis and evolution, because even by their standards, they can’t make a good case for the former, but they didn’t always think this way. Back in 1960 evolutionary scientist Gerald Kerkut referred to the “General Theory of Evolution” as “the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form.”

    Application:
    The application is the same as the one I gave in response to #1 in this series.

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  2. No matter what you call it, it’s just a gap, and one that science will fill in due time. There’s lots of great scientific work going on in this area right now.

    Here’s how it will work. Scientists will determine a repeatable experiment that takes inorganic chemicals and results in the most primitive form of self-replicating . . . well, let’s call it something that looks way more like a virus than what we would call even a single-celled organism. These chemicals will have been available early on in Earth’s history, and whatever external stimulus that is necessary will also have been present, such as electrical charge, geothermal vent, etc. This is literally just a matter of time.

    Faced with this type of repeatable experiment, ID-ers (because you can hardly argue abiogenesis with a YEC-er, right?) will retreat to the next available gap which will take one of two similar forms depending on how the final experiment ends up.

    1. Outright denial. Results were faked, scientists unethically doctored the experiment/results, or you could just hear a lot of yelling about “orthodoxy! magnets! institutional bias!” Bill O’Reilly will go on his show that night and say “Tides come in, tides go out, Nobody knows why!” This is also how one deconstructs the anti-evolution argument of “We’re all looking at the same evidence, we’re just interpreting it differently!” That only works if you can say “interpreting” vast tracts of evidence is the same as “denying” vast tracts of evidence.

    2. Improbability. Ah, the ID-er’s favorite concept. abiogenesis will overnight go from being wholly “impossible” or “inexplicable” without a Creator to being so wildly improbable that, say, the chemicals/external stimulus converged at a particular time and were stimulated in a particular way. It’ll be watch-on-the-beach all over again. 747 in a junkyard.

    I mean, you’ll always get the true cranks who will say flat-crazy stuff like “If humans evolved from monkeys then why are there still monkeys??”, but some abiogenesis-flavored crazy version of it. But the creationists who at least want to sound legit will go one of those two ways.

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  1. Pingback: Evolution vs Abiogenesis | A Yewnique Life

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