What is Life?

Where did it come from?

Possible objection no 3
Possible objection no 3

This is nothing more than a "God of the gaps" argument

This is a common objection directed at all intelligent design arguments.
The accusation is that design arguments are just a lazy way of looking at the world. The reasoning goes that when we find something difficult to explain, rather than make the required effort to do the scientific research to solve the problem, we give up and simply declare that God must have done it.

This accusation is usually accompanied with the accusation that the design argument is in fact a science stopper. It is a line of reasoning that discourages science from advancing the boundaries of knowledge.
It stops science !

Is this accusation fair?

In an effort to analyze this accusation lets change the context of the accusation and see how well the logic stands up.

Lets imagine that our friends over at SETI have discovered an interesting new signal coming from a part of space they have never scanned before.
The signal begins to raise hope that they have at last discovered intelligent live elsewhere in the universe.

The first course of action is of course to stifle any premature excitement and look for a natural explanation of this new phenomena. After much research many of the known possible natural explanations are one by one being discounted. Excitement rises but the search for an explanation continues.

Concurrently other members of the team are analyzing the signal and discovering mathematical patterns imbedded in the signal. At this point their discovery is made public. Down the road however, we have a group of individuals who are sceptical about the possibility of intelligent life existing elsewhere in the universe. These individuals quite rightly encourage more research into the phenomena.

As research continues it becomes clear that the signal contains complex computational code. These are in fact functional instructions to build something, this is software! After much time and effort the semiotic protocols behind the signal begin to be unpicked. What now begins to emerge is the tantalizing prospect of being able to harness this alien technology to enhance our world in ways we have never previously even dreamed of.

During the course of this lengthy process, the confidence of those hoping to find alien life continues to rise and their efforts progressively switch over from looking for what is beginning to look like a unlikely search for a natural explanation to understanding and utilizing the technology arising from their discovery.

However our sceptical colleagues down the road emphasise the need to continue to look for a natural explanation for what has been discovered. Refusing to even consider the prospect of the existence of alien life, they chide their colleagues for their enthusiasm with the accusation that they are simply being lazy and have fallen victim to  "Alien of the gaps" reasoning.

While our sceptics are obsoletely correct in the desire to continue to look for an alternative explanation, they are refusing to consider the weight of evidence uncovered. Science is supposed to follow the evidence wherever it leads even if we are personally uncomfortable with the direction it is headed.

Sceptical assessment is at the very centre of good science. However there comes to a point where in the face of mounting contrary evidence, previously held paradigms need to be replaced. This is how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced. (Flat earthers take note)

Refusing to engage with evidence and accusing those who have considered the evidence and arrived at a differing conclusion as being lazy, is in fact hypocritical. By all means remain sceptical, but to remain objective it is important to engage with evidence.

To bring our analogy up to date for anyone who might have missed the parallel, the signal this article is considering has come to us not from deep space but from deep time. Without question the signal imbedded at the very heart of biology has  proved to be far more sophisticated than we ever imagined. This truly is software !

See Craig Ventor again:-

And unlocking the power of this software certainly has the prospect of transforming the world we live in.


As a consequence of these discoveries our initial theories as to how such a signal could be produced without the need for an intelligent input look increasingly inadequate. If SETI's signal from space did indeed originate from an intelligent alien life form, no amount of a dismissive accusations of a lazy "alien of the gaps" reasoning will change that fact.

See Stephen Larson again, (watch all,  but for this point focus on 3 to 6 mins)

It might well be an interesting exercise to ask yourself how far along the journey would it be, from faint signal from space through the discovery of functional software to the utilising of this emerging alien technology, before  science began to take seriously the possibility of intelligent alien life forms?
At the end of this process, any belligerent alien sceptics without any viable alternative explanation * would begin to look a lot like flat earthers.
(* See objection 2)

The gap that exists in our understanding of how life began only exists because materialists blindly refuse to acknowledge that the only demonstrable cause of semiotic code is prior intelligence.