Joined: Feb. 2008
"Is it supposed to?
I always understood them to be 2 separate things." (Sorry, haven't figured out the quote function yet.)
From reading people like Dawkins, Dennett, Stenger, Darwin, and others, evolutionary theory most definitely includes the origin and diversity of life.
I think you ask a very telling question here: What difference does the origin of life make to current evolutionary theory about the diversity of life? (I'm summarizing.) There are two ways to answer that question. First, if it makes no difference (as you seem to be saying) then what's all the fuss about ID? Second, I think it would make a huge difference. If we look at a cancer cell as nothing but a highly successful Darwinian accident, that assumption will affect how we attempt to combat it. But if we can assume it was designed, we can reverse-engineer the cancer cell and potentially develop much more effective ways of defeating it's internal programming. Not the best example, perhaps, b/c I'm sure someone is going to turn around and say, "How could a good God design cancer?" But that's a philosophical question about the nature of God, not a scientific one.