Intelligent Design and the Origins of Life
(I wasn't sure what category to put this in, but I think it should go under "Faith", because no matter what your beliefs on this debate are, you are taking some leap of faith.)
Steve H. has an excellent post addressing the whole evolution/intelligent design debate. He also has two follow-up posts here and here. His point is essentially this: how did life, and conscious life at that, get started. How did a stew of various chemicals turn into life? Here's an excerpt from the first post:
Now, let's say you create a planet. The planet has things like rocks and mud and water and air. How can evolution cause life to arise there? Common sense says it can't. There are no genes. There is no population of organisms. There is no reproduction. So if life arises spontaneously, it seems to me that the mechanism--whatever it is--can't be called "evolution."
If that's right, then anyone who says life first arose as the result of evolution must be totally wrong.
So I guess people who don't believe in a creator have two theories, not one. The theory of evolution, and the theory of magical animation of rocks and mud. [...]
So you have this mud and these rocks and all sorts of ultraviolet radiation. And somehow, these ingredients magically decide to go against the general rule in the universe and organize themselves into something that is either a life form or the precursor of a life form.
Does that make sense to you?
Then, in the second post, he asks this question:
So...let's assume organic molecules cooperate and turn themselves into living organisms without a God to tell them what to do. How does consciousness get into the organisms?
Finally, in the third post, he clarifies his point further:
I realize, though, that I should point something out. Yes, I am a creationist, but I don't claim evolution doesn't occur. I think it's pretty obvious that it occurs to one extent or another. Whether it accounts for all the species on earth, or some of them but not others, or what, is another question.
When I criticized the theory of evolution below, what I was really getting at was not so much that evolution is a crappy theory, but that when the theory of evolution has a weakness, evolutionists tend to conceal or ignore it, much as creationists conceal or ignore problems with creationism. I think that's a very fair criticism.
Now, the spontaneous generation of life from non-life...that, I do not believe in. I can see how a living species could be transformed by selection forces, and I know the problems with the fossil record aren't necessarily fatal to the theory. But order from disorder is completely different. As far as I know, the least complicated organism on earth is more complicated than the most complex lifeless object, by orders of magnitude.
If you are interested in what I think of this, you can read this post on my faith journal (which I have badly neglected) where I give my take on the creation account in Genesis. Here is my main point:
To me, the most important thing to get from these chapters is that the universe and everything in it is not some random occurrence. God created everything that exists. Personally, I believe a lot of this account is symbolic -- a way of explaining a very complex process so that people could understand. But nevertheless, God is the Creator, whether you choose to take these passages more literally or not.Posted by Susan B. at 11:45 AM to Faith
Now, could God have created the Earth and all life in six days? Of course -- he could have created it all in a millisecond if He chose to do so.
Personally, I don't believe the six days are literal, and I don't believe the Earth is only a few thousand years old. Someone might ask, "If God is so all-powerful, why would He create the Earth over a process of millions of years?" But you could really ask the same question about six days. Why couldn't God have created everything in a millisecond?
My belief is that God created the way He did because He took pleasure in His creation, like an artist takes pleasure in creating a work of art. Notice that in each part of the creation account it says, "And God saw that it was good." I believe that on the day of rest, God stepped back and admired His handiwork, like an artist would admire a creation that he perfected. God is truly the first and greatest Artist!