Origins of Life
by Fazale Rana and Hugh Ross, Navpress, PO Box 35002,
Colorado Springs, CO 80935, 300 pages,
 $19.99 hardback, ISBN 1-57683-344-5.

In 1986 Hugh Ross began an organization called "Reasons to Believe." This organization is an advanced apologetic program with material appropriate for college and post graduate level students and faculty. They have produced a series of books and materials in apologetics that have good scientific material and present it on a high academic level. Denominational creationists whose belief systems are rooted in dispensationalism have rejected Ross's approach because he does not subscribe to a young earth. Atheists have found it difficult to counter Ross's material, but generally dismiss him as too theoretical in his approach.

This book fits all that has been said in the previous paragraph. The book is divided into five chapters which explore both a biblical approach and various naturalistic approaches to the origins of life and models that are used to explain how life originated. There is a chemical analysis including the problem of polarization of molecules, a good dissection of the Miller-Oparin hypothesis, and even a discussion and historical development of the life on Mars issue. Rana has a Ph.D. in chemistry from Ohio University, and Ross has a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Toronto. Their expertise shows well in this book as the explanations are technical and well done.

The book contains a Reasons to Believe (RTB) model which includes predictions that make it falsifiable. There are eight such predictions which the book then explores giving scientific evidence to show support. They are:

  1. Life appeared early in Earth's history, while the planet was still in its primordial state.
  2. Life originated in and persisted through the hostile conditions of early Earth.
  3. Life originated abruptly.
  4. Earth's first life displays complexity.
  5. Life is complex in its minimal form.
  6. Life's chemistry displays hallmark characteristics of design.
  7. First life was qualitatively different from life that came into existence on creation days three, five, and six.
  8. A purpose can be postulated for life's early appearance on Earth.

Ross's critics on both sides will maintain their objections, but the book is useful, up-to-date, and informative. You may not agree with everything in it, but you will learn from it. We recommend it.

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