In Part I of this article, I showed that autopoiesis (self-making) provides a compelling case for the intelligent design of life because all aspects of life lie beyond the reach of naturalistic explanation. Here in Part II the argument from autopoiesis is tested against commonly cited naturalistic objections to intelligent design. It comes through soundly intact, even strengthened because the opponents of design agree on the facts. They disagree on the historical inferences, but only intelligent design meets the criterion of an acceptable historical inference according to the Law of Cause and Effect. Naturalistic explanations of biological origins in the face of universally contradictory evidence depend upon faulty reasoning such as: (i) exclusion by definition and ridicule, (ii) assuming what must be proved, (iii) misinterpreting the scientific evidence, (iv) assigning unrealistic properties to the environment, and (v) misusing the concept of chance. In Polanyi’s terms, now is a very reasonable time to declare the impossibility of a naturalistic origin of life and accept that it was intelligently designed.
In Part I of this article,1 I argued as follows:
- Autopoiesis (self-making) is universal and therefore essential to life, so it is required at the beginning for life to exist and is thus not the end product of some long naturalistic process.
- Each level of the autopoietic hierarchy is separated from the one below it by a Polanyi impossibility, so it cannot be reduced to any sequence of naturalistic causes.
- There is an unbridgeable abyss between the autopoietic hierarchy and the dirty mass-action chemistry of the natural environment.
In this part, I test the integrity of this argument in the face of naturalistic objections to intelligent design. I then go on to assess evolutionary arguments for a naturalistic origin of life in the face of universally contradictory evidence.
Objective knowledge and historical inference
Science gets results by observation and experiment upon repeatable phenomena. Its most valued products are general laws that are observed repeatedly which we can confidently call ‘objective knowledge’. These general laws may be incomplete or even false, but they are objective in that they are open to testing by others. New information may cause them to be modified or discarded. Meanwhile, this objective knowledge is usually useful in curing disease, improving technology and food production, etc.
But the subject of origins is quite different. It deals with unique sequences of unobservable and unrepeatable past events. No one can develop general laws about unique, unobservable and unrepeatable past events. Our general laws can tell us what might have happened in the past but they cannot tell us what did happen. Nor does anyone have a time machine to go back and observe what actually happened….
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