Origin of Life, Part 2: Evolutionists’ Popular Ideas, current and defunct

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Last month we began looking at what’s wrong with the naturalistic origin of life, especially since Miller and Urey supposedly showed that amino acids could be synthesized in the Earth’s hypothetical primitive atmosphere around 4 Ga (Gigaannum = billion years ago). In 1955 the generally accepted age of Earth was 3.3 billion yrs, but meteorites radiometrically dated to 4.5 Ga changed the official age of Earth.[1]

I’m sure some evolutionists were hoping for greater age to satisfy the overwhelming need for lots of time to deal with the probability constraints we learned last month. William Dembski’s universal probability bound of 10 150 is the total number of events that could possibly take place only if the universe were 10 times older than scientists believe. Even the chance formation (10 195) of a single functional protein comprised of 150 amino acids from a “soup” consisting of the entire universe would greatly exceed the total number of specified events throughout cosmic history.

This doesn’t even consider the daunting infinitesimal probability of developing the hypothetical RNA World evolutionists are fond of invoking. They theorize that RNA would act as a repository of biological information and as ribozymes capable of reproducing themselves (never demonstrated—read here). The consequent random development of proteins could then take over the job done by the crudely functional ribozymes and the system of transcription and translation, as well as the development of DNA necessary for reproduction of a living cell. This is why atheists take comfort in the hypothetical multi-verse. With an infinite number of universes, at least one universe could have the proper fine-tuning of physical constants that would permit life and provide the probabilistic resources needed to overcome the improbability of the naturalistic origin of life.

At the prestigious Institute for Advanced Study, Lucy Colwell considered the spatial orientation of amino acids and their side chains that produce the functional protein folds. She computed the conformational search space for a protein 150 amino acids long, saying, “Assuming, conservatively, that each degree of freedom can only take a restricted set of say 10 values, this provides a minimum of 103=1000 different structural conformations per amino acid—that is (103)150 possible configurations for a protein consisting of just 150 amino acids.”[2]

Leading Creationist Websites Examine Origin of Life Hypotheses.

Before we go any further with our series, please consider the many written or filmed resources available on the Internet for laymen or scientists or both. YouTube is the number one source for videos of all kinds. However, in order to locate most of these videos, it is initially better to go to the websites set up by creationists or Intelligent Design advocates (remembering that ID seldom equals creationism).

www.CreationInTheCrossfire.org. This link will take you to our website, which lists many creationist websites.

www.AnswersInGenesis.org (AIG) The most useful site for young families is AIG, which has articles for all from Answers magazine. Answers Research Journal is for the highly technical audience. Their online store sells downloadable ebooks, videos, DVDs, and books.

www.creation.com is Creation Ministries International (CMI). They have thousands of free articles addressing every subject on creation and evolution. Some are for the laymen and others are highly technical. Many articles are from their magazines, Creation for families and Journal of Creation for scientists. They have a great daily video series, Creation Magazine LIVE, that covers many topics in half-hour segments, which can also be seen on YouTube. Richard Fangrad and Calvin Smith host this program. The half-hour programs are posted every two weeks, but they also produce daily snippets as well as books, videos, and DVDs.

Henry Morris and Duane Gish helped establish The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) which is the grandfather creationist organization. All their Acts & Facts from 1973 to present are available online at www.icr.org. They also have many fine books, videos, DVDs, and That’s a Fact online 60-second videos.

Creation Research Society (CRS) is found at www.creationresearch.org. Their Creation Matters magazine (bimonthly) is excellent for most readers, and all but the current version are available for viewing and downloading. They produce Creation Research Society Quarterly, which is more technical. They have several levels of membership. Voting members must have a postgraduate degree in a recognized area of science. Sustaining membership is open to all.

Discovery Institute is best known for Intelligent Design advocacy, and their companion website www.evolutionnews.org is loaded with articles, books, and videos. Keep in mind that ID does not endorse creationism, although evolutionists view them as creationists. Typically, they do not endorse macroevolution, but accept non-cumulative microevolution and deep time (long ages). Nevertheless, they have some very fine scholars and thinkers. Much of their material is studied by creationists. AIG’s Terry Mortenson explains Intelligent Design vs. the Intelligent Design Movement in a DVD.

All these organizations, and others, have voiced opinions about the abiotic origin-of-life in some warm little pond on earth or elsewhere.

Abiotic Amino Acids Arouse Atheists’ Ardor

The results of the Miller/Urey experiments gave hope to atheists and evolutionary ideologues who believe all life evolved from a common ancestor in the slime of the primordial soup. Although most scientists now reject the protein-first hypothesis in favor of current ideas, textbooks and professors still teach Miller/Urey results as evidence that organic molecules can form spontaneously in nature.

Biology Textbooks Rubberstamp Misleading Information on Origin of Life

The following is a brief review of what several high school and college textbooks say on the origin of life. Much of the Internet chatter by atheists parrots the ideas present in these textbooks.

After considering the Miller/Urey experiments and whether organic compounds formed extraterrestrially or terrestrially, William Keeton and James Gould explain in their college textbook[3] that under a variety of conditions the abiotic synthesis of many organic molecules inevitably would have formed and dissolved in the early Earth’s seas. They say that the real problems for the origin of life are the formation of polymers such as polypeptides and nucleic acids and the development of the first cell. They ask,

“How could these polymers have formed from the mixture of building-block substances present in the single ‘soup’ of the ancient oceans? This question is not easy to answer, and several hypotheses are currently being investigated.”

They admit that such polymerization reactions are unlikely in the absence of protein enzymes, but “on a vast timescale enough rare and unlikely events would probably occur to produce, collectively, a major change,” echoing George Wald’s belief that even the wildly improbable becomes virtually certain given enough time.[4]

Afterwards, they cite the experiments of Sidney Fox, who heated amino acids in a nearly dry mixture, and said that in experiments of both the Miller and Fox types, “polymers often form before monomers.” They do not explain what polymers formed.

We have already seen that water prevents polymerization of amino acids and RNA bases, which is why Fox performed the “nearly dry” experiments. Neither Fox nor Miller/Urey got the kind of polymers that would have produced functional proteins and RNA.[5]

In his 1970 college textbook, Biochemistry, Albert Lehninger described the alleged way inanimate matter could cross the great divide to become alive: “We now come to the critical moment in evolution in which the first semblance of ‘life’ appeared, through the chance association of a number of abiotically formed macromolecular components.”[6]

Lehninger’s book is widely used at the university level, with updated editions coming out every few years since his death (1986), to keep students up-to-date with what is going on in biochemistry and related fields. These upcoming scientists and science professors are strongly indoctrinated with the fanciful ideas of the naturalistic origin of life. Here are a few telling section headers following the discussion of the Miller/Urey experiments along with the introductory or pertinent sentence for each section:[7]

Biomolecules First Arose by Chemical Evolution

Earth formed about 4.5 Ga; life began 3.5 Ga.

RNA or Related Precursors May Have Been the First Genes and Catalysts

The discovery that RNA molecules can act as catalysts in their own formation suggests that RNA or a similar molecule may have been the first gene and the first catalyst.

Biological Evolution Began More Than Three and a Half Billion Years Ago

Earth was formed about 4.5 billion years ago, and the first evidence of life dates to more than 3.5 billion years ago. [This age is often repeated, and is one of the mantras of the evolutionary establishment.]

The First Cell Was Probably a Chemohetero­troph

The earliest cells that arose in the rich mixture of organic compounds, the primordial soup of prebiotic times, were almost certainly chemoheterotrophs.

Eukaryotic Cells Evolved from Prokaryotes in Several Stages

Starting about 1.5 billion years ago, the fossil record begins to show evidence of larger and more complex organisms, probably the earliest eukaryotic cells.

It is no wonder then that most college life science graduates, regardless of major, believe life arose by naturalistic processes. The process of evolutionary indoctrination begins in preschool and continues through life via school, television, movies, books, and even in evangelical church pulpits as theistic evolution. There is no more evidence for theistic evolution than there is for atheistic evolution. We reviewed Stephen Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt in 2013 and saw that the Cambrian Explosion remains as much a mystery today as in Darwin’s time.

Next month, we’ll explore the RNA World Hypothesis and say more about high school and college textbooks’ unbridled indoctrination of students into methodological naturalism, which automatically rejects intelligent design as a possibility for the origin of life even if it is undeniably obvious that biological beings have been intelligently designed.

[1] Patterson, C., Tilton, G., Inghram, M., Science “Age of the Earth,” 21 Jan 1955, p. 69.

[2] [2] Colwell, Lucy, “Using Protein Sequences to Predict Structure,” www.ias.edu, Spring 2014.

[3] Keeton, W., Gould, J., Biological Science, 6th ed., pp. 529-530, 1996.

[4] Wald, G., Sci Am “The Origin of Life,” Aug 1954 pp. 44-53

[5] Menton, D., “The Origin of Life” http://creation.com/the-origin-of-life

[6] Lehninger, A., Biochemistry, p. 782, 1970.

[7] Nelson, D., Cox, M., Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, 5th edition, 2006, pp. 32-34.

About the Author

Jon Covey and is wife Anita have been long-time members of the South Bay Creation Science Association. Jon and Anita write the monthly Creation in the Crossfire newsletter and have been invaluable in adding great research and insight into the creation articles we send out.