How would you answer the complaint that there has been insufficient time, by several orders of magnitude, for life to spontaneously arise on an infant earth?
Welcome to the forum, Doug. Of course, the answer would depend on my relationship with the person, and my understanding of their motivation in making that statement. As I have just general knowledge of the issue, I would probably ask questions to see what they thought and why, and perhaps explore the issues together.
My limited understanding of the issue if asked what I thought about it would be that our understanding of abiogenesis is so poor at present that it is impossible to make those sort of statements. There simply is no way we can calculate the odds and time required, so it is nonsense.
It is interesting if someone is arguing against abiogenesis that they are In essence arguing that given enough time, it is indeed possible. Sort of like the old joke, now that we have agreed it is possible, now all we are arguing about in the amount of time.
I would answer by saying that the person is probably confused by the difference between the probability of an event and the time it would take for the event to occur. We don’t know how likely/unlikely abiogenesis actually was on the early earth. But even if we thought we had a good estimate of the probability, that would not tell us anything about how long it would take. It should take only a moment’s reflection to understand why this is.
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