Biology and Philosophy

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 739-764

First online:

The argument from biogenesis: Probabilities against a natural origin of life

  • R. C. CarrierAffiliated withColumbia University

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No evidence exists that the accidental origin of life is too improbable to have occurred naturally, but there are numerous attempts to argue so. Dizzying statistics are cited to show that a god had to be responsible. This paper identifies the Argument from Biogenesis, then explains why all these arguments so far fail, and what would actually have to be done to make such an argument succeed. Describes seven general types of error, with examples. Includes a table of forty-seven statistics used by over twenty authors to date.

Key words

biochemistry biogenesis god life naturalism origin probability statistics