Life — How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation?
|The divine comedy|
Life — How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation? is a book published in 1985 by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania.
The book sets out to answer the supposed question of whether life originated through evolution or creation. However, as with many anti-evolution texts, Life confuses the theory of evolution (concerned with the development of life) with abiogenesis (hypotheses concerning the origin of life). As the theory of evolution itself makes no claims about the origin of life the book attempts to answer a non-existent question.
Life consists primarily of a series of mined quotes and appeals to authority. It is a good source of creationist claims, mostly based on arguments from incredulity, on topics that include abiogenesis, transitional fossils, mutation, fine-tuned universe, evidence of design, and doubt about evolution.
As evidence of the inadequacies of evolution, the authors of Life rely heavily on quotes from J. Francis Hitching, who they identify as an "evolutionist", though in reality he is simply a sensationalist author. Other quotes in Life come from The Neck of the Giraffe, a book which discredits creationism as much or more than it does evolution.
As an example of reliance on Hitching, Life makes the unreferenced claim:
What is the chance of even a simple protein molecule forming at random in an organic soup? Evolutionists acknowledge it to be only one in 10^113 (1 followed by 113 zeros). But any event that has one chance in just 10^50 is dismissed by mathematicians as never happening. An idea of the odds, or probability, involved is seen in the fact that the number 10^113 is larger than the estimated total number of all the atoms in the universe!:44
This argument quite obviously comes from Hitching's discussion of the subject:
...let us consider a simple protein containing only 100 amino acids. There are 20 different kinds of L-amino acids in proteins, and each can be used repeatedly in chains of 100. Therefore, they could be arranged in 20^100 or 10^130 different ways. Even if a hundred million billion (10^17) of these combinations could function for a given purpose, there is only one chance in 10^113 of getting one of these required amino acid sequences in a small protein consisting of 100 amino acids. By comparison, Sir Arthur Eddington has estimated there are no more than 10^80 (or 3,145X10^79) particles in the universe...Mathematicians usually consider 1 chance in 10^50 as negligible. In other words, when the exponent is higher than 50, the chances are so slim for such an event ever occurring, that it is considered impossible.:70-71
However, Hitching indicated he was quoting directly from Impact, a monthly Institute for Creation Research publication. Thus the argument based on acknowledgments from "evolutionists" in fact comes from a creationist. There are other similar examples of misattribution in Life.
- Abiogenesis, for scientific discussion about how life arose
- List of fallacious quotes by creationists, for most of the book's quotations
- EvoWiki, review of Life — How Did It Get Here?
- Reviewed by a former Jehovah's Witness Corey Carroll, talkorigins.
- Critical analysis by a practicing Jehovah's Witness minister.
Life was published in 1985. Today, JWs generally instead use two smaller brochures to propagate their brand of creationism. These are deconstructed in the following two links:
- Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Life- How did it get here? By evolution or by creation? Watchtower, 1985.
- Francis Hitching, The Neck of the Giraffe, Signet, 1983. ISBN 0451622324
- Glycolosis and Alcoholic Fermentation, Jean Sloat Morton