Scientists have long considered the origins of life one of the great mysteries of all time and are searching for answers with great enthusiasm. Meanwhile, Answers in Genesis (AiG), claims this mystery, “will remain unresolved for them until they acknowledge God’s eyewitness account of the origin of life in the Bible.”
Neil DeGrasse Tyson is giving Ken Ham and his creationist followers nightmares. Ken Ham and his organization, Answers in Genesis (AiG), are still upset that Tyson dared suggest life on earth started without the help of the Christian God nearly a month after the premiere episode of Cosmos on Fox. Tyson fairly stated that the very origins of life are not yet understood by humans. That field of science, called abiogenesis, is searching for these answers. AiG is calling the evidence turned up by abiogenesis scientists flawed simply because abiogenesis has yet to turn up any verifiable results. It seems that creationists’ big target is not just Neil DeGrasse Tyson, but the reputation of science itself.
Ken Ham and AiG see people looking for answers and reason that since they haven’t found the answer yet, it must not exist. The field of abiogenesis has not found an answer to the origins of life. That is precisely why they are continuing their work. When scientists see an answer not being found, they just continue to look until they find it. That is the power of science. It gives humanity the ability to find real answers. This is why religions fear science. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
AiG continues in an attempt to discredit the science of abiogenesis, saying, “Abiogenesis has never been observed in experimental biology and violates the most fundamental law in biology, the law of biogenesis. Nevertheless, the authors of the review are confident there was a naturalistic chemical origin for life.”
The obvious irony of these statements is lost on these creationists. To make the honest claim abiogenesis has not been observed, and then to say this proves their creation story to be true is something that would catch the attention of a fifth-grader.
Secondly, the claim that abiogenesis breaks the law of biogenesis is simply not true. The law of biogenesis, attributed to Louis Pasteur, states that life cannot come from non-life. However, Pasteur did not demonstrate that this is impossible, only that it does not happen in the norm, and that life around us was more interconnected than previously thought. Pasteur argued this before we had any understanding of genetics which would have brought him even closer to the realization of just how connected we are. Pasteur would have concluded the simple fact all life derives from a single source, a common ancestor.
AiG obviously makes the assumption that their audience lacks basic scientific understanding. This gives AiG permission to free themselves of the shackles of facts and reality. Neil DeGrasse Tyson gives Cosmos viewers a naturalist’s explanation for the world. When a scientist says science does not yet know something, this is not a sign of the failures of science, but instead a great example of the indispensable honesty in which science thrives. The fact that AiG sees the words “I don’t know” as a weakness shows the lengths of intellectual dishonesty they are willing to go to fool their followers.
This reaction from AiG shows they’re starting to panic. Neil DeGrasse Tyson has become their public enemy number one. Tyson is charismatic, non-controversial, and makes science accessible to all kinds of people. On top of that he does not self-identify as an atheist giving him further reach across both sides of the aisle.
Each week millions of viewers tune in to listen to Neil DeGrasse Tyson as he explains the magnificence of the universe we live in. Creationists worry that the population may begin to understand the living world and realize it originates from natural events with no help from any supernatural force. The main fear is not that people will walk away from their faith, but that people will walk away from creationism. That would hurt AiG’s bottom line and push Ken Ham’s creation museum into further financial despair.
Salon.com points out, “Tyson has become the creationist scapegoat as they watch an intellectual world move right on by them. Their attempts to paint him in a dishonest light may convince their most loyal of followers into staying on board, yet will do nothing to expand the foundation they are trying to build off of.”
Neil DeGrasse Tyson uses his honesty and sense of wonder to make science feel cool. Much like Carl Sagan did with the original Cosmos series, he is helping to revive America’s interest in science, and nothing scares the religious fundamentalists more.