Joined: April 2005
I don't know which version you're using here.
In order to avoid getting bogged down in semantics, I would like to reframe the question. What it comes down to is not what mechanism so much as the broader question: Is it possible for life as we know it to have emerged by a process that relies only on random occurrences or is some kind of intelligent input from the outside required?
As far as I'm concerned, that is the really important question. To answer that question, we have to investigate whether systems of equal complexity and organization could have or have emerged by unguided, accidental processes. So far, it seems to me that we cannot point to any system of equal complexity and organization and declare unequivocally that it emerged by accidental processes.
Another way of approaching the problem is to investigate whether systems of this complexity and organization are capable of emerging as the result of intelligent input. Here, we can tentatively answer yes. We have numerous examples of highly organized, complex systems that are the result of intelligent input, although they are not as sophisticated as living systems and cannot replcate themselves..
Applying Feynman's criteria, we then ask ourselves: at the present time, with our present knowledge, which mechanism seems most likely, the one based on random mutation and natural selection or the one based on intelligent input.
You know my answer. What's yours?
All of this of course, does not and should not prevent us from investigating the actual processes and mechanisms that are present in living cells and their genomes. Perhaps we will uncover some previously undiscovered first principle that was involved. Perhaps we will never know.