[Remember NG's 2nd, of 13, TV presentations on the Cosmos, this Sunday at 9PM…]

We’ve highly recommended National Geographic’s

Beyond Our Galaxy

(2014¹)

that’s now available–in paper

where you buy books & magazines.

But what is it really saying, and not saying, about the origin of life?

For more use the DOOR.

 

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[MORE]

Let me put 3 things up front:

(1)   [Relates to my "¹" above] While I consider this yellow-edged paper anthology  excellent, and many of you should buy one, and though a lot of contributors are listed on p.127, I’m not sure who’s saying what and how editorial hands have shaped the pie. But NG, which I greatly respect, is putting their reputation on the line…alongside a (normal) desire to sell many copies.

(2)  Realize that many fantastic photos and drawings are spliced together as “artists’ conceptions,” and do not directly correspond to the words that appear near them. I have little problem with that, and many are very helpful. Just realize what’s been done.

(3)  Don’t expect “God comments” to fill in the blanks where some of you might want to put them. This book is a “wrestling” to put together what scientists, as scientists, have discovered as of now (early 2014) about the natural world. Our “God comments” and reflections are certainly appropriate because, to be blunt, we learn much that matters from evidence that isn’t strictly scientific. (Doing this, however, is tricky, difficult, necessary, and exciting as we live and consider resources beyond science that matter.)

Now…about the “Origin of Life”

In a previous post, we mentioned the detection of evidence for several hundred exoplanets (planets beyond our solar system). And according to what’s been found, there’s the strong suggestion there are “thousands” more.

And when we talk this way, we naturally wonder, are there other humans out there², or any other kind of life? As of now suggestions are all over the place, but evidence is zero.

Here, verbatim, is a quote on how NG approaches the “Origin of Life” in a sidebar on p.72. What I find helpful and fascinating about such summary bits is that they help me, and others who want to go deeper, to decide for themselves. Consider:  (1) What is actually known? (2) What is assumed? (3) What is perhaps hoped for? (4) and What is left out here?  (5) And,  are there any other ways, or places, to look for useful information beyond science?

Before we can talk about life on exoplanets, it would help to understand how life arose on Earth. We know from fossils that life arose soon after the planet was formed, and we know of many natural processes that can produce the basic molecules from which living systems are made. The main question is whether the assembly of those molecules into a living cell was the result of chance (in which case life may be rare) or the result of natural laws that we have yet to discover (in which case, it might be common).      –NG: Beyond Our Galaxy, p.72

Does science define its box³, or faith commitment, here? Must the explanation be only (a) “chance” or (b) undiscovered “natural laws”? This could make for an interesting small group discussion…

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¹ See my first comment after [MORE].

² Here we go again…I explore this in my novel Earth Is Not Alone (about which one reviewer from Australia said–paraphrasing–that this was the only  sci-fi adventure/romance she’s read that involves encountering humans–with similar appearance and DNA–in another world from a distinctly Christian perspective. See sidebar (above) at right. Such pure speculation also helps to ask ourselves what do we really know about just the Earth and ourselves, and on what basis–Bible, science, whatever. For some Christians concerned about origins, and balking at the astounding naturalistic assumption some scientists make that humans and other life is simply the result of innumerable “happy, purposeless accidents” over time, so that consequently God had to be around and “build” and “direct”–ignoring, for the moment the method–the way life turned out, then, if that is so, why could He not build life, and humans in particular, with similar or identical DNA and appearance on other planets as well using this pattern that pleased Him?)  [My sincere apologies about this last sentence, the longest I've ever written in a post. The Apostle Paul may roll his eyes at my ideas, but he'd have to admit I'm on his heels for pushing the envelope here on sentence length…] 

³ “Box.” This term is in no way intended as a pejorative comment. Admitting that science is not the only way to know, helps us avoid being ensnared by scientism.