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Primordial soup theory of abiogenesis is more likely to be true than (Insert competing theory here).

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/26/2011 Category: Science
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,770 times Debate No: 14940
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




Hello, I'm new to this website so I ask you to please forgive my clumsy introduction and debate-setting.
Gileandos has agreed in the comments section of an open challenge to debate the topic of abiogenesis on the grounds of the above resolution.
I'd like to debate abiogenesis because it seems on this website, the topic comes up often, but is usually sidestepped. There are more than a few debates on evolution, in which the creationist/intelligent design advocate will say that evolution can't explain how life began to which the evolutionist will invariably respond "of course evolution can't, they're different fields". While they are indeed different fields, I think that abiogenesis is an important and rarely discussed topic.
The terms are as follows:
-While semantics, smoke-and-mirrors, crafty mathematical or logical proofs, and other parlor tricks are undeniably fun, I'd prefer my opponent keep the debate on the substantive issues at hand, not my sloppy use of language
-The debate should remain civil, I can handle the occasional jibe, off color joke or whimsical assault on my character but, the arguments need to stay academic.
-I will be defending primordial soup theory as a general concept, not any particular position within primordialism (the debate is not to be about whether it was sea vents or the sun that provided the necessary heat for proto life to form. Rather, it is to be about whether or not life began according to some sort of Primordial soup theory).
For readers unfamiliar with abiogenesis, I suggest that you peruse the following wikipedia articles.
Since I don't know what sort of explanation for the beginnings of life my opponent will be defending, I can't engage any specific arguments of his (though I suspect he will be defending some form of Creationism). However I will outline my position and arguments for Primordial Soup theory. I reserve the right to expand upon, and clarify these arguments.
Generalized Primordial Soup theory
This will be my general position, though I may draw from different specific hypotheses within the field to defend the plausibility and probability of this general position.
1. ~3850 mya, during and shortly (geologically speaking) after the late heavy bombardment period, the earth's atmosphere was primarily composed of things like methane, ammonia, water, hydrogen sulfide, phosphate, carbon monoxide and/or carbon dioxide. This is known as "chemically reducing". Oxygen (molecular oxygen that is) did not come to the scene in large amounts until ~2000 mya.
2. In this environment, some monomers (including amino acids) are able to form with the catalyst of either electricity or ultraviolet light. This was demonstrated in 1953 in the now famous Miller-Urey experiment (the experiment yielded more amino acids than are found naturally in life).
3. These organic molecules accumulated in particular areas (probably, though not necessarily, deep sea vents). This formed a "soup"
4. Polymers formed from this soup. Some of these polymers were self replicating. Proteinoid microspheres formed, creating (proto)cellular integrity, as well as other functions of life. (This was confirmed by a series of experiments in the 70s by Sidney W. Fox). Through other transformations, fueled by natural selection, these early "cells" began to resemble modern life.
1. Primordial soup theory is accepted by the scientific consensus (Though there is disagreement on certain specifics, the validity of the theory is withstanding peer review).
2. Primordial soup theory accurately predicts when life formed (the time frame suggested by primordial soup corresponds with the early fossil record and indirect evidence of early photosynthesis). Additionally, there are "relics" of the proto life (an example of this is thermosynthesis still occurring in cell division, seed germination and thelike).
3. Contrary to popular belief, scientists have recreated many of the steps necessary for life to begin (either with experiments or theoretical models). These include but are not limited to:
a. Creation of amino acids from early earth atmospheres (Miller-Urey experiment)
b. Spontaneous creation of proteinoid membranes or "microspheres" (Sidney Fox's experiments)
c. Creation of self sustaining and self replicating RNA (Lincoln & Joyce).
d. Models explaining pre-life metabolisms (see: also, pretty much everything by Dr. Muller has to do with early metabolisms).
e. Models explaining assorted phenomena such as homochirality.
Although research into the field of abiogenesis is relatively young, great strides have been made. Primordial soup theory offers the most testable hypotheses and predictions compared to other positions. It fits the available evidence about when and where life on earth began, and the process follows simple and proven chemical and Darwinian laws.
Thank you, and Bonne Chance!


I thank my opponent for this debate. I also agree the proponents of evolution do indeed overlook this speculative science due to the very statement that it poses hypotheses that cannot be tested.

I will first give a logical argument for Intelligent Design as a whole vs. a Primordial concept.

< Evolutionand abiogenisis sees what is and tries to work backwards from the available data, make hypotheses based on that data, makes quite a few assumptions and then tests each of those hypotheses to attempt a conclusive concept.
Assumptions would be = (more are made but these are the focus for this debate)
1) All Natural Laws have always existed as they are today.
2) Nothing outside of the Natural Realm has inserted itself into the process.

The Primordial soup model utilizes the Evolutionary model and asserts a similar process for proto-life. The same assumptions are necessary for the model to be asserted. It also ignores anything that comes before it in the same way the Evolutionary Model ignores the necessity of a proto scenario.

It is a reverse hypothesis with little to no data to assert founded on assumptions just "commonly" held true.

The humorous portion is that abiogenesis does not and cannot postulate changes within the laws of physics. It must assume the governing physics today existed, otherwise it would further render the hypothesis impossible to test for any certainty.

< ID sees what is and starts from the beginning utilizing reason and logic, available data, makes hypotheses that can be tested based on that data, utilizing as few assumptions as possible.

ID accepts the mainstream scientific theory of the Big Bang.

1)It poses that everything natural cannot generate itself. This has proven as zero matter is constantly and currently spontaneously generated anywhere around us "ex nihlo". If you have seen flying spaghetti monsters pop into existence around you please let me know….
2)It also puts forward the fact that once everything was generated into existence, things popping into existence out of absolute "nothing" ceased popping into existence.
3)Due to 1 & 2 the Laws of Physics can be shown to have changed in the past.
4)Due to 1 & 2 it is shown that a slow period of change was at one time completely and absolutely unnecessary for generation.
5)It poses that physics are NOT Static. This is also postulated (not Big Bang Alone) due to the alpha constant in other galaxies is shown to be very different resulting with different systems of physics within our own universe not to mention other possible universes/spatial dimensions.
6)It poses that due to the mathematical possibility of a 4th spatial dimension (from anna and kata)… a secondary law of physics may at any time superimpose itself within the Natural Realm.
7)In light of the claim of so many 4th dimensional beings interacted via religions, UFO's etc… that defy the known laws of Physics, it poses another layer of existence that envelopes our own.
8)The leading competitive model, Primordialism, can only assert the possible "concept" of proto matter slowly changing. It takes for granted that the laws of physics were constant and that everything functioned as it always has. It also has very little data to support the concept and anything that would be asserted by the model would always be speculative as nothing could be posed as certain to have happened EVEN if the laws of physics have indeed remained static through those events.
9)Christianity and other Historic claims are made for a "sudden Start" to life.

You can see the ID's deductive reasoning is superior to primordialism in any form.
Due to:
1)Generation of all matter then generation of no matter ex nihlo with zero need for slow successive changes.
2)Due to the generation of all matter; Physics having changed at least once in the known universe.
3)Physics being localized to this Galaxy and open to change within the universe.
4)Mathematics postulating a 4th Spatial Dimension
5)Overwhelming number of Historic Claims of interaction with beings and places adjacent to our own.
6)Primordialism of low certainty.
7)Christianity claims a succession of single short term events for the generation of life.

Conclusion: Intelligent design would be superior for a belief system above the "goo" concepts. Primordialism is speculative at best but the layout for ID's model of abiogenisis asserts only facts that are clear and present to all.

To address my opponent's scientific evidence of any of the "goo" theories, I will just state that even the scientists put forth the evidence in no way claim these evidences as factual supports of abiogenisis but rather speculative reasoning.

Many competing scientists have already drawn those concepts into doubt and the scientists themselves have stated they may not be accurately representing these proto-life concepts due to the unknown state of the conditions at the time of proto-life.

Even if a test tube generates a quasi proto-life evolutionary scenario, it would only represent a "possibility" and never a certainty.

By sheer reasoning and logic if the generation of the universe needed only a single spontaneous event then given all of the facts above the most plausible scenario is a "sudden start" model to life.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for his response.

My opponent claims abiogenesis makes these assumptions.

"1) All Natural Laws have always existed as they are today."

1 this isn't true. There's no reason why certain natural laws changed before the end of the late heavy bombardment period, or after life had already begun.

2 Scientists suppose that relevant physical laws were the same in the past as they are now because there is absolutely no evidence to suggest otherwise. We believe the position that both adequately describes the available evidence and requires fewer unnecessary postulations than an opposing viewpoint. It would be unnecessary for us to believe that any relevant physical laws changed between ~3850 mya and ~2000 mya.

Suppose I come upon a boiling pot of water with a lit stove beneath it. I could believe that the transfer of heat from the stove caused the water to boil, though this would force me to assume that no relevant physical laws had changed. I could also believe that the laws of physics had changed for one reason or another and this allowed the water to boil at room temperature. Though I cannot be certain that the naturalistic explanation for the boiling water is correct, it is clearly the better of the options at hand.

3 we cannot test hypotheses that demand a different set of physics. And if we could, they would be even more speculative

"2) Nothing outside of the Natural Realm has inserted itself into the process."

False. Abiogenesis only provides a reasonable path for which it would not be necessary for anything supernatural to insert itself. This "assumption" is really more of a conclusion - that it wasn't necessary for anything supernatural to be involved in the exact process of inorganic matter becoming life, and so it would be silly of us to assume that some supernatural decided to involve itself in a process that would be possible without it.

We can use the pot of water dealy, while it is possible that something supernatural had aided the water's boiling, given that there is a perfectly reasonable natural explanation we should defer to that.

"< ID sees what is and starts from the beginning… utilizing as few assumptions as possible"
I am unaware of any research being done that gives any positive results for ID. I'm unable to argue the scientific merits of this work if I don't know what it is. Furthermore, I find it unlikely that ID utilizes fewer, or less sensationalist assumptions than Primordial Soup does. My opponent seems to rely on the notion that life began suddenly. Evolutionary biology came to the conclusion that life develops gradually because it fits the available data.

My opponent makes several arguments suggesting that the laws of physics can and do change. First, let's suppose that all of these are genuine reasons that suggest that the laws of physics do indeed change. Saying that the laws of physics can change does not in any way suggest that they did in order for life to suddenly burst into existence. If I happen upon some phenomenon, and there is a perfectly reasonable, natural explanation, I should defer to that being true, unless there is some reason why the natural explanation is flawed.
But there's no evidence suggesting that physics changes.
"It also puts forward the fact that once everything was generated into existence, things popping into existence out of absolute "nothing" ceased popping into existence."

False. Things were never generated ex nihlo. According to the "mainstream" big bang theory (which my opponent accepts) at t=0, there was a bundle of energy. This bundle didn't simply pop into existence, it makes no sense to say that there was nothing before t=0, as there wasn't time (I'm already making the mistake of saying "was" when referring to something timeless). My opponent has yet to offer any reason why there was nothing, and that the bundle of energy popped in. There is a huge body of scientific literature on the fact that time began with the big bang.

"a slow period of change was at one time completely and absolutely unnecessary for generation."

So what? Life forming from inorganic matter isn't generation. A slow period being unnecessary for the formation of the universe has absolutely no bearing on what else happens spontaneously (should I believe that nations, books, or trees form spontaneously, simply because the universe did?).

"This is also postulated (not Big Bang Alone) due to the alpha constant in other galaxies is shown to be very different…"

1 there is no published literature, it is currently under peer review. There is plenty of paradigm shattering research done that turns out to be wrong. It's unfair for my opponent to claim research that is unpublished, since the criticism is also unpublished and I don't have access to it.

2 one of the researchers involved specifically states that he doesn't think that the results are genuine.

3 At best, this just proves that the "alpha constant" isn't a constant at all. It suggests that there are deeper physical laws that affect the alpha constant, not that the laws changed. The article talks of an axis of evil in which the alpha constant varies, this suggests that some other factor affects the alpha constant in a predictable way, not that the laws of physics change.

There is a fourth dimension (and more) it's not just possible, it's necessary to reconcile relativity with quantum physics. However, there's no evidence that has suggested that some fourth dimensional intervention caused life to burst into existence. Again, simply saying that it could happen doesn't mean that we should prefer a supernatural (or 4th dimensional) force when there is a perfectly acceptable natural reason (I shouldn't think that a pot of water boiled as a result of supernatural forces if there is a reasonable heat source nearby). There is no evidence of any 4th dimensional beings, other than differing and inconsistent testimonies.

Finally my opponent says that Christianity claims a sudden beginning of life

1 "Christianity" as a whole is inconsistent about how life began. A literal interpretation of Genesis claims that life began suddenly.

2 Ancient people claimed a lot of things that were wrong.

3 Empirical results point to a gradual development of life. Kerogen appeared in the atmosphere long before the oxygenization of the atmosphere.

The only point my opponent puts against my case is that scientists aren't sure about abiogenesis. This is half true. Researches like Muller are "spitballing". However, scientist are confident that monomers formed in the earth's oceans, proto life beginning in the late Hadean, and it undergoing transformations to become more like modern life.

Essentially, my opponent would have you believe that because primordial soup isn't undeniable truth, we should believe in shifting laws of physics and interdimensional beings involving themselves. I have shown that the laws of physics don't change, and even if they did, we should always defer to the adequate explanation that requires fewer unnecessary postulations. While I do need to suppose that relevant physical laws were not changed during the formation of life, and that the supernatural did not involve itself in the actual process of life's beginning, my opponent must assume the opposite, despite this having no predictive ability, and is a far more unnecessary postulation. Although these sorts of analogies are tired, if there's a phenomenon with natural explanations, and no serious flaws, I should defer to that explanation, although possible that physics changed or something supernatural was involved. Until my opponent presents positive evidence for supernatural intervention, or a fatal flaw with primordial soup, we defer to the naturalistic explanation. Simply saying that the universe began suddenly has no bearing on how life began.


I want to thank my opponent for a reply.

I can see that my explanations will add much to the debate and to my opponents overall understanding of intelligent design as well as the sudden start model.

Most of the statements were entirely ignoring the claims of Christianity as well as the supernatural aspects of those claims. I hope to alleviate that in my opponent's viewpoint.

The fundamental belief system of Christianity and the Sudden Start model is the fact that God has indeed inserted Himself and His will into the universe. He has altered natural laws at His whims and Intelligent Design asserts this with falsifiable scientific formulas.
My opponent has stated in his reply that he is unaware of Intelligent Design argumentation." I am unaware of any research being done that gives any positive results for ID"

I would suggest to my opponent a through research through the scientific community researching Intelligent design would be in order and aid him in future debates.

These two institutes support scientific efforts and will list and discuss the material of those ID scientists.

Additionally, a third dimensional scientific means cannot initiate interaction between a fourth spatial dimension. It can only work within a third dimensional reference and measure the effects.

The main source of this interdimensional interaction is via direct communication from the 4th Dimension. Personal Experience and the recorded interactions (the bible) are the current means for this.

I will briefly address the content of my opponents reply due to character constraints.
I hope to add to my opponent's viewpoint. I do feel however that all aspects of my opponents reply points fell dramatically short in making a positive case for the "Goo" Theory.

<< The big bang theory neither suggests eternality nor generation. It only recognizes an infinitely dense starting point of all matter with unknown physical laws yet changing physical laws after the bang itself.

Ex Nihilo is not necessary for the argument to remain entirely intact. All known causes could be purely transformative and the argument still remains. Even the source of zero point material could be extra dimensional rather than ex nihilo. Physcial laws in either case, were still flux.
In the positive for "ex nihilo" it is more logical. The necessity of ex nihilo remains in the concept for first cause. Natural Matter requires a first cause, mainstream cosmology does not recognize an eternality view of the zero point material.
Thus ex nihilo is more logical than transformative.
To compound that, the scripture's claim (revealed from the extra dimensional beings) that it was indeed ex nihilo.

<< My opponent has only suggested that Natural Laws were stable and that he asserts his viewpoint is superior due to no evidence to the contrary.
I wish to direct my opponent to the very evidence to the contrary already stated. God has claimed the contrary and it has been recorded for us.
The second point that I believed was missed that the "Goo" theory would have to show overwhelming evidence that the natural laws became static in light of the fact they started out in flux as posed by the commonly held big bang theory.
The "Goo" theory just assumes that it was stable at the time it speculates life formed.
In light of the speculative nature of both these assumptions and the claim directly recorded from a superior intelligence and society, I believe "sudden start" model remains superior.

<< I feel a bit redundant as my opponent continued to ignore the supernatural claims that sparks the "sudden start" theory. The fact that some superior being known as God came down to earth and made a bunch of claims is the whole point of the debate.

Additionally the boiling pot metaphor is not quite accurate. Imagine if you stumbled upon a boiling pot continuing to boil despite that the Stove is not plugged in. To compound that a 15ft Tall white robed, bronzed face angel with a flaming sword states he is causing it to boil… That would be more than sufficient reason to assume a non-natural cause of the boiling pot.

<< My opponent points to the work not having a peer review. That is quite to the contrary. Even as of this article the work has been under peer review for 10 years. However, noone is quick to say this is correct research. They are waiting for more evidence one way or another.
The teams have developed a ton of data none of it having been refuted yet or in 10 years have they found a flaw in the research. Every bit of data points to a differing alpha constant.
The dissenting opinions are not on the team but other scientist who find a concept of differing alpha within the universe hard to believe. NOT that they have data pointing to something different.
If they are correct this again only points to the fine tuning argument, true… but more specifically just another example that naturalism shows itself as limited in its viewpoint and continues to make assumptions inaccurately.

<<< Concerning my opponents "viewpoint" on Christianity.
My opponent claims that Christianity as a whole is inconsistent about how life began. That is an illogical statement. Science as a whole has been inconsistent about a lot of things. Do I toss out science as a means of understanding the world?
Secondly I do not know of a single denomination that asserts that God did not "suddenly start" life. There may be individuals but I do not know of any mainstream denominations. At that, I do not know any historical interpretations pre Darwin in which Christians belief in Genesis account was other than literal.

<<< Concerning my opponents claim, Ancient people claimed a lot of things that were wrong…
They also claimed a lot of things that were right. The baby should be tossed out with the bathwater?
Also modern people have claimed a lot of things that were wrong… Global warming scandal, Monsanto and Genetically modified foods are safe, the more processed your food the better it is for you!
I could go on but I won't.

<< This just points to the different methods that are used. Empiricism only works if all facets are taken into account. Naturalism cannot do this as it only views the natural and cannot account for the Supernatural involvement. The supernatural involvment is only logical considering the evidences.

Again I want to assert that nothing was meaningful in my opponents reply. A lot of nuh uh's and reinterpretations.

However, the scienctific understanding below shows that a "Sudden Start" theory is to be preferred.

1)Generation of all matter then generation of no matter ex nihlo with zero need for slow successive changes.
2)Due to the generation of all matter; Physics having changed at least once in the known universe.
3)Physics being localized to this Galaxy and open to change within the universe.
4)Mathematics postulating a 4th Spatial Dimension
5)Overwhelming number of Historic Claims of interaction with beings and places adjacent to our own.
6)Primordialism of low certainty.
7)Christianity claims a succession of single short term events for the generation of life.

I look forward to a response with more impact from my opponent.
Debate Round No. 2


twerj forfeited this round.


I am sorry my opponent forfeited and his account is no longer active.
I would have enjoyed the full extent of this debate.

I also want to again point everyone that the Sudden Start Model is completely grounded in scientific data.
This scientific data is all verifiable and has more validity than a "goo to you" view of the origins of life. That is not to say that there may be other natural explanations more viable.

I realize this evidence will not coincide with the belief system of naturalists.

I can only hope that the voters do view my debate methodology and argumentation as superior to my opponent's who withdrew from the debate.

If any naturalist wishes to debate this issue with more effectiveness please open up discussions with me for a challenge.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Gileandos 5 years ago
Twerj's account is no longer active? Does that mean he is no longer around to finish the debate?
Posted by Gileandos 5 years ago
It is entirely accurate. Intelligent Design is the most logical choice in light of the clear evidence from science.
Posted by tvellalott 5 years ago
You should be out earning billions for Christianity Gileandos. That's some amazing spin doctoring.
Posted by twerj 5 years ago
Thanks, I look forward to it.
Posted by Gileandos 5 years ago
Great flow and easy readability to your first round. I will accept shortly.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by tvellalott 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Gah. I'm disappointed that twerj didn't finish this. Conduct to Con.