This was my last actual entry on my old blog, and I’ve decided to offer it as the first ‘real’ post on my new blog site as well…
I’ve already said plenty, I imagine, on the problem of homogenizing the creation stories in Genesis 1-3. But what about “Pasteurizing” them? Before this is dismissed as nonsense, let me explain. Young-earth creationists regularly refer to Pasteur’s work disproving spontaneous generation, and suggest that Pasteur’s conclusion that “life does not arise from non-life” disproves a natural explanation for life’s origins (actually, they usually confuse matters and suggest that it disproves evolution, but I’ll let that one slide for now).
Pasteur was not addressing the question of whether, in ancient earth conditions very different from those today, natural processes could lead to the origin of life. Pasteur was addressing the notion that life forms such as maggots appeared fully-formed in raw mean, mice in cheese, mold on bread, and so on. No scientist thinks that either today or in the past, living things arose in one giant leap like that. The author of Genesis, however, presumably accepted (as did all people in that period in history) idea of spontaneous generation and of the earth’s generative power, since he has God command the earth to bring forth living things. So young-earth creationists, in drawing attention to Pasteur’s work, have misunderstood it and its relationship to both the scientific study of origins and to the Bible.
By way of follow up to my last post, let me also provide a link to the TalkOrigins page “Quote Mine Project“.