Let us define natural as "can be observed in nature", supernatural as "cannot be observed in nature".

Virtually everyone today believes that all life had to have arisen from nonliving matter. A point of disagreement is whether life arose naturally through abiogenesis or supernaturally through some creation narrative.

Life has never been observed in nature to arise from nonliving matter. Therefore, does this imply (using the above definitions) that the life is of supernatural origin?

  • There is the underlying assumption that life and non- living matter are somehow vastly different, that "Life entered into the material plane" However "life" has a particular material definition and the reigning scientific paradigm is that life is a deterministic, material consequence. Think of "abiogenesis" not as the beginning of life but rather the beginning of the science of Biology. – christo183 Jul 27 '19 at 8:44
  • 1
    The origin of Nature as defined here is not Nature. So does Nature have a supernatural origin? – user20253 Jul 27 '19 at 11:12

You defined natural and supernatural in an absolute sense: can or cannot. You said life arising from nonliving matter has never been observed, which does not rule out that it cannot arise in such a way. Therefore, no, the observation does not imply life has supernatural origins by your own definition.

  • But my statement "Life has never been observed in nature to arise from nonliving matter" is logically equivalent to "Life cannot be observed in nature to arise from nonliving matter". – Craig Feinstein Jul 26 '19 at 17:26
  • 2
    No. It's not. It's not easy to derive a positive claim from a negative observation. Especially those of scientific nature. For example if a test does not detect signs of disease in a person. It could mean there is no disease or the disease is slow growing and below detection at the time. And for abiogenesis we know that it is a rare event and that the conditions required are vastly different than modern conditions. So your logic doesn't follow. – Equinox Jul 26 '19 at 17:33
  • I have never typed the words I'm going to ask the doctor to remove my head followed by a complete recitation of the alphabet. But you bet your sweet head I could do it. – Devin Burke Jul 26 '19 at 19:15

Before asking this question you should consider the category of virus among organisms. https://medium.com/the-philipendium/is-a-virus-a-living-creature-8664a9496ece

Now you can verify your own statement -- 'Life has never been observed in nature to arise from nonliving matter.'

Volcanoes and lightning are natural; I believe. Now read this one also: https://www.universetoday.com/19889/did-lightning-and-volcanoes-spark-life-on-earth/

To observe something, our sense organs must develop and must be active. So, regarding your question, ignoring the ideas in the links and the importance of act of observing, we cannot reach a conclusion as you proposed. I can't find any correlation in your question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.