(The following is an excerpt from the book titled Origins of Life*, by Hugh Ross** and Fazale Rana***)
Currently scientists stand no closer to understanding life’s beginning than they did when Stanley Miller conducted his first experiments fifty years ago. Though some scientists assert that the research is in its infancy, significant resources have been brought to bear on the origin of life question over the past five decades. To date, no real answers have emerged. Rather, a misguided approach has essentially stalled the research program.
Best-selling author Paul Davies makes this point in his book The Fifth Miracle:
When I set out to write this book, I was convinced that science was close to wrapping up the mystery of life’s origin… Having spent a year or two researching in the field, I am now of the opinion that there remains a huge gulf in our understanding… This gulf in understanding is not merely ignorance about certain technical details; it is a major conceptual lacuna. (Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle:The Searchfor the Origin and Meaning of Life (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999), pp. 17-18)
Davies’ statements likely surprise most people, including scientists. From popular media reports, one would think researchers have all but finalized the explanation for life’s beginning. But such is not the case.
Davies explains why this mismatch persists between public perception and stark reality:
Many investigators feel uneasy about stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they freely admit that they are baffled. There seems to be two reasons for their unease. First, they feel it opens the door to religious ….. explanations. Second, they worry that a frank admission of ignorance will undermine funding. (Davies, pp.17-18)
So scientists are keeping quiet and searching for new directions in which to proceed. Their behind-the-scenes frustration became evident (to these authors) at the combined meetings of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life and the International Conference on the Origin of Life, held both in 1999 at the University of California, San Diego, and in 2002 in Oaxaca, Mexico (hereafter referred to as ISSOL 1999 or ISSOL 2002). This joint scientific meeting, held every three years, attracts leading origin of life investigators from around the world and serves as a platform for them to share and discuss their latest findings.
The atmosphere at such gatherings typically crackles with anticipation as participants gather to hear about new discoveries and breakthroughs. However, at both of these last two ISSOL events, a grim mood laced with desperation prevailed. Participants acknowledged that some fifty years of well-funded investigation have led to one barricade after another. The old intractable problems remain as new ones come to light. (Fazale R. Rana, “Origin-of-Life Predictions Face Off: Evolution vs Biblical Creation,” Facts for Faith 6 (Q2 2001), pp.41-47)
…..Origin of life researchers cannot identify any location on primordial Earth suitable for production of prebiotic molecules. Those studying the problems cannot explain how the uniform “handedness” (homochirality) of amino acids, nucleotids, and sugars could emerge in any so-called prebiotic soup.
Data from the geological, geochemical, and fossil records all place impossible constraints on naturalistic scenarios. Life arose rapidly and early in Earth’s history - as soon as Earth could possible support it. Origin of life researchers recognize that life had no more than tens of millions of years to emerge. Life also appeared under amazingly harsh conditions - conditions that would not allow life to survive, let alone originate.
Earth’s first life was complex chemically… Consistent with this. Investigators have discovered that life in its most minimal form requires an astonishing number of proteins that must be spatially and temporally organized within the cell.
Many [under the leadership of militant atheist Richard Dawkins converted to the Space Religion] now speculate that life may have originated somewhere other than on Earth.
* Hugh Ross and Fazale Rana, Origins of Life, Navpress 2004, CO, pp.25-27
Further Reading: Religion Helps Science to Be Rightly Guided, by Harun Yahya