Is directed panspermia a viable theory for the origin of life?
Directed panspermia is the term for a speculative theory of how life began on Earth. Exogenesis is the general idea that life originated somewhere other than Earth, and then somehow migrated here. Panspermia and directed panspermia are subsets of exogenesis; the former is the hypothesis that basic forms of life from other planets were spread to Earth, and sparked the evolutionary process. Directed panspermia takes it further and says that those basic forms were placed here on purpose—that a higher form of life "seeded" our planet, in an attempt to bring about the thriving, teeming world of species we see today.
The scientific community does not generally accept these ideas, mostly because they are seen as running contrary to naturalistic evolution. Spontaneous generation, or abiogenesis—the idea that life came from non-living matter—is the accepted view, mostly because exogenesis is entirely speculative. There is little evidence to suggest that exogenesis, panspermia, or directed panspermia ever happened, or ever could happen. Also, the scientific institution tends to favor the naturalistic explanation, both for the origin and progress of life, because it leaves out any possibility of a Creator, or Intelligent Designer, concepts which they wholly reject.
In fact, Francis Crick, one of the discoverers of DNA, re-affirmed his belief in naturalistic evolution after becoming a supporter of directed panspermia. He originally promoted the idea of directed panspermia because after discovering DNA he felt that it was impossible that DNA could have evolved. Based on his understanding of DNA, he thought (despite being staunchly atheist) that there must have been some kind of intelligence behind its creation. But, in the end, his distaste for the idea of intelligent design won out, and he now supports naturalistic evolution, and the idea that DNA evolved, despite the significant questions this view raises.
Christians often come across passages in the Bible that are difficult to understand, or hard to accept. For example, the Bible does not explain where dinosaurs came from. In cases like this, we simply take it on faith that God chose, for some reason, not to reveal the answer. The same kind of faith can be seen in the story of Francis Crick and directed panspermia. When confronted with evidence for intelligent design, he eventually chose to remain committed to his belief in naturalistic evolution. This is an interesting comparison. Despite their denouncement of Christianity as "blind faith" there is sometimes little difference between the faith of scientists in the theory of evolution and the faith of Christians in God's Word.
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