I already discussed this in my most recent post, so I won't discuss the overall idea further. I do want, however, to discuss one comment in the post I just linked.
The vents provide chemical gradients that early life would have used before learning how to create their own gradients. Of course we have no idea, beyond speculation, how this actually could have happened.
People love buzzwords. Throw out the word "homophobe" to someone who says that homosexuality is sin, and you can short circuit any reasonable discussion of the matter.
Anti-evolutionists love to accuse scientists of speculation.
There's nothing wrong with speculation.
Scientists speculate. They have to. In this case, they are speculating based on evidence that's been accumulating, especially over the last couple decades.
Speculation and the Scientific Method
The scientific method works. The scientific method is at the foundation of all our fabulous scientific advancements.
The scientific method calls for speculation. Here are the steps:
- Observe something and wonder why it's so (in this case, observe that life began with microbes and wonder how they came to be)
- Form a hypothesis (In other words, speculate as to why this is so)
- Make predictions based on your speculation (hypothesis)
- Test your predictions
- Repeat 3 and 4, adjusting your speculation/hypothesis as you accumulate results, or throw it out and start over if it's proven false.
Unfortunately, it's difficult for step 5 to result in absolute proof on the positive side. Even after several centuries, Newton's law of gravity had to be adjusted when Einstein's theory of relativity came along.
It's much easier to falsify something.
For example, let's speculate that fundamentalist Bible interpretation is correct, and there was no death before the first man. The prediction I come up iwth is that the most ancient fossils, found the deepest in the earth, would include humans.
They don't. They change over time. It is clear to see that there were trilobytes, then there were dinosaurs and other reptiles, and only then—after dinosaurs disappear from the fossil record—do we find mammals.
Therefore, I conclude that the speculation that fundamentalists interpret the Bible accurately is false, and there was death before Adam.
Now, I'm operating on the speculation, highly tested and reliable, that God is real, that Jesus is his Son, and that he speaks through the Bible.
That Bible says that the things God created testify of his glory. Scientists and even atheists are listening to the creation and being astounded and impressed, even if they don't glorify God for it. In the meantime, many of those who claim to believe the Bible ignore nature's testimony, which the Bible commands them to listen to, and they resort even to slander and dishonesty to deny that testimony.
Back to Hydrothermal Vents and Speculation
In the meantime, the current educated speculation is that life arose in hydrothermal vents.
It is not wrong to speculate. It is essential. It is wrong not to test your speculation.
Even Jesus agrees with that. He said:
You shall know them by their fruit … A good tree cannot bring forth rotten fruit, and a rotten tree cannot bring forth good fruit. (Matt. 7:16,18)
It might be good to look at who's producing the results (fruit).
In the area of technology and medicine, it's science that's producing the results. In the area of how men should live, the results could hardly be worse. You can read all over the place that 10% of US citizens are being treated for depression, and that psychologists think up to 30% really ought to be.
It's hard for me to imagine 75 people in Rose Creek Village needing to be treated for depression. And if 25 of our 250 people were so badly depressed that they needed medication and counseling, we'd be scrambling everywhere to find out what we're doing wrong.
The fact is, living Scripturally in submission to God is powerfully effective. It doesn't make life easy—in fact, it's prone to making it hard—but it produces what everyone wants: peace and abundant joy.
I'm willing to argue that tests show those predictions to be highly reliable.