Creation: Question Evolution Campaign — 1 of 15
A Sunday guest post by my brilliant husband, Gregg.
Every Sunday, my clever husband offers me a “day of rest” by taking over the homemaker duties here. His primary topic, the Biblical Truth of Creation vs. Darwinism, is a subject that has broad reaching scientific, social, and metaphysical implications and is gaining more and more attention in our modern culture. For believers and non-believers alike, the primary purpose is to present scientific, historical, logical, and/or sociological data in an empirical and defensible fashion, as much as possible written in layman’s terms, and in a format suitable for supplementing any homeschool curriculum whether you choose to believe the Biblical account — or secular guesses — about the origins of human life on earth.
Question #1. How did life originate?
British born Darwinist and Arizona State University Professor Paul Davies, Ph. D., is a theoretical physicist who works, today, in a field he has coined “astrobiology.” In 2003, when Professor Davies taught at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology in Sydney , he admitted, “Nobody knows how a mixture of lifeless chemicals spontaneously organized themselves into the first living cell. [New Scientist 179(2403):32, 2003]”
As recently as 2004, evangelical Darwinist Andrew Knoll, Ph. D., Harvard Professor of biology, said, “we don’t really know how life originated on this planet. [PBS Nova interview, How Did Life Begin? July 1, 2004. ]” He followed this remark with several remarks about how we “think” life began via purely natural and undirected processes, e.g.: Darwinism. However, only his above statement is entirely factual, and not personal opinion.
The truth is that a minimal cell needs several hundred proteins in order to survive. The vast majority of non-parasitical or symbiotic organisms require nearly a thousand proteins in order to survive.
The truth is that even if every atom in the entire universe were an experiment with all the correct amino acids present for every possible molecular vibration given the supposed evolutionary age of the universe (according to Darwinists timeframe), not even one average-sized functional protein could possibly form.
It is, in a word, impossible.
It only moves from utterly impossible to extremely unlikely when we change the assumptions of the equation. Say, for instance, we are given an age of the universe that is billions of TIMES longer than the supposed 15 billion years, or the laws of the universe and nature can be suspended, or a theoretical creature of such incredible simplicity is hypothesized as to all equal (guess what?) an impossibility in one or more of the assumptions.
The truth is that it has been shown, time and time again, to be utterly impossible.
Not unlikely. Not rare. Not improbable.
Period. End of discussion.
With that in mind, question number one from the Creation.Com “15 Questions” campaigns is:
How did life — with hundreds of proteins and strictly by chemistry without any intelligent design or intelligent agent — originate?
While this is a question that Darwinists cannot answer, it is a question for which believers in the Biblical account of creation can very easily answer.
The truth is there is a reason that Darwinists never seem to want to discuss the origin of life. They prefer to keep the argument in the area of life as we presently observe it, providing a naturalistic (materialistic) answer for how life exists and replicates. Given that you accept this very cherry-picked premise for the argument, you are meant to somehow infer that life also sprang into existence by entirely naturalistic (materialistic) means — without evidence, plausible explanation, reasonable precedent — and therefore accept the notion based entirely on faith in undirected random processes.
Even Charles Darwin in his racist diatribe entitled, “On Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of the Favoured Races” did not actually ever address origins. He filled the book with mahaps and supposes and if it were the cases and pointedly avoided the subject, assuming an inference based on an entirely materialistic worldview. This is not evidence and very, very far from proof.
The truth is that every assumption should have a solid foundation if it is to be held as cogent. After even a simplistic amount of objective study on the subject, one can safely conclude that the entire Darwinist argument is already full of holes the size of the Lincoln Tunnel. But by far and away the most enormous, the gaping chasm larger than the Grand Canyon, is at its foundation. The truth is there is simply no naturalistic explanation for the origin of life.
By my way of thinking, if there were a divine, supernatural, eternal, all powerful, all knowing, majestic, and holy being who we can call “God” who had the power to create everything including life via a supernatural act, then it is reasonable that God would do so. It is made more reasonable by the fact that knowledge of this act of creation has been revealed to mankind and evidences of it abound.
By my way of thinking, it is not reasonable to reject the possibility of a supernatural act and blather on in an endless argument from ignorance about how “it MUST have happened” via purely naturalistic means. This strikes me as unreasonable, that I must put my faith in dirt and rocks randomly deciding to form a living cell in any given timeframe. After all, such an argument from ignorance lacks grace, logic, balance, and evidence.
To sum up, believers in the Biblical account such as myself, put our faith in the divine, supernatural, eternal, all powerful, all knowing, majestic, and holy being we call God which Darwinists say demonstrates a lack of reason on our part. Darwinists put their faith in magical dirt and rocks which I (in my most self-righteous moments) would have to strictly define as simple idolatry of the variety that has been around for thousands of years.
I encourage readers to ponder the first question and reach your own conclusions.
I commit to you that I will publish every single comment that meets this blog’s commenting criteria. You may want to review that criteria before adding your opinion here.
God Bless you and yours.
Additional Posts dealing with Creation and Darwinism
I’m having trouble writing out a response to this. Maybe it’s because it’s been discussed here before.
Okay, I am just thinking out loud here; it may not be very organized.
I agree with the people who said we don’t know how it happened. Not only is it not known, there is not even a good guess at this point. There are possibilities being investigated, but each of those if they worked out would still be only parts of the puzzle. And even if a whole solid chain of events were ever worked out, I doubt that it could ever be shown that that was how it actually happened. It seems very unlikely that evidence could exist of such small molecular events after all this time.
But I don’t agree that we know it is impossible.
The comment about the number of proteins that must be present is not an argument that proves it was impossible. A minimal cell now needs a certain array of proteins. No one assumes that the cell spontaneously assembled in one moment of time with all the functions it has now. In order for reproducing ‘living’ cells to have developed from “dirt and rocks” (dissolved minerals, gases, inorganic molecules, plus whatever organic molecules were formed under the conditions of that time, or were carried in on meteorites) there would have had to have been simpler molecular stages. Was this possible under those conditions? I would have to say that we don’t know whether it was possible. But also we don’t know that it was impossible.
In your post you included this phrase “…or a theoretical creature of such incredible simplicity is hypothesized…”. I didn’t follow the rest of the sentence, but I think you were saying that it would be impossible for there to be a creature (or cell or proto-cell) of such simplicity. But I think you don’t know that.
Bacterial cells are able to make the organic molecules that are used as their building blocks. At one time it seemed impossible that cells could have developed naturally from chemicals because the process which made the organic building blocks required those same building blocks to produce them. This is why the Miller and Urey experiment was important. It’s not that it ‘proved’ that living cells had come from inorganic matter. It didn’t show that all the building blocks needed for cells now were produced. It did not show by itself that abiogenesis was possible – what it did was break that particular barrier that seemed to say it was impossible. If those organic molecules could be produced under the tested conditions, even if those weren’t exactly the right molecules or the right conditions it still said that organic building blocks could be produced without previously existing cells.
There was also another apparent barrier that seemed to make abiogenesis impossible: the fact that proteins are used to assemble DNA but DNA is required to make proteins. This barrier was broken by the realization that RNA could act as enzymes and as code carriers both. Some sequences of RNA can catalyze RNA copying. Does this ‘prove’ that RNA was the original source of the genetic code? No, there are still gaps. But it counters the argument that abiogenesis was impossible because of the DNA versus protein issue.
These are two examples of cases where people said abiogenesis was impossible and then some new information came along which took away that supposed impossibility. They were not enough to prove that it happened or show how it happened, but IMO they showed that you are on shaky ground to claim that it is impossible. Really you don’t have enough information to know.
As you have pointed out, cells are very complicated, but all the details work by chemistry and they work using chemicals that exist on this earth. We may not know all the details of how things cells work at this point, but we know a huge amount. And all the reactions work by chemical and physical properties. The mysteries of the past (going back to the 1800s when the vitalists thought that living cells required a life force to function) have been explained by biochemistry. To me it seems reasonable to keep looking to chemical interactions to understand where the chemical reactions in current living cells came from. That’s really the only place we can look. (BTW Davies, who is quoted in your post thought it might be worth looking on Mars because he thought conditions might be more promising there fro abiogenesis.)
Could a hypothetical all-powerful supernatural force have created cells from nothing? Well, by definition, yes. But also by definition, how can we possibly investigate that? It’s not possible. We have no evidence of any supernatural forces. But we can investigate the properties of RNA and related nucleotides to see what they CAN do, and the properties of lipid membranes to see what they can do, and other possible biochemical links in the chain.
And meanwhile, for biological evolution of the different species from bacterial cells, from simple eukaryotic cells, from other species, we cAN look at those, and it doesn’t matter for figuring those out whether the original bacteria; cells came from abiogenesis or were supernaturally created. But I think you prefer focusing on the very difficult and inaccessible question of the origin of life because you want to divert attention away from the much more accessible question of biological evolution. Biological evolution argues against Genesis kinds even if the original cells were created.
“These are two examples of cases where people said abiogenesis was impossible and then some new information came along which took away that supposed impossibility. They were not enough to prove that it happened or show how it happened, but IMO they showed that you are on shaky ground to claim that it is impossible. Really you don’t have enough information to know.”
I don’t think so because in each case they have their own set of problems. Urey-Miller produced toxins and poisons in an environment that was nothing at all like what is thought to have ever been the environment of the planet, for instance. How is that disproving anything at all? If anything, it supports the assertion that it IS impossible.
The only way it isn’t impossible is if I allow myself to assume that BILLIONS of years ago there was a magical/mythical environment and some magical/mythical proteins formed and then magical/mythical processes occurred that formed valid highly specific and complex information that formed some magical/mythical original first cell. That is a lot of mythical magic to swallow on absolutely zero current evidence, don’t you think?
“Biological evolution argues against Genesis kinds even if the original cells were created.”
I respectfully disagree. Transmutation on the order Darwin envisioned and espoused has never been shown to occur and observation is a part of operational science, after all. Modification within kinds is observed in every generation and the process referred to as “natural selection” is also observable. I have no argument with either and neither argues for transmutational transformations without swallowing a rather gigantic assumption.
Words can have a variety of different meanings and shades of meaning. “Mythical” can carry the meaning of something that is untrue in our usual physical world because it relies on supernatural events. So mythical can be used to accuse an idea of being untrue, and this, I think, is the way you have used it in your comment.
But ‘myth’ also has the meaning of a sacred story, a story of how things in the world came to be by the actions of supernatural individuals and forces such as gods. (We talk about Greek myths for example, and we consider them as untrue in our time and culture even though they were believed in their own time.) In this meaning, the word ‘myth’, as I understand it, does not necessarily mean that the myth is true or untrue, but just that it is a certain kind of story. To my understanding, much of Genesis, for example the story of Noah, can be characterized as a myth by its nature as a sacred story. It involves a Deity and supernatural events.The fact that you think it is literally true does not, again to my understanding, affect its characterization as a myth using that definition, even though you would disagree with the use of the other definition – something that is untrue .
Similarly, ‘magical’ can have different meanings. One meaning, to me anyway, is something that occurs by supernatural causes. Because supernatural causes have not been observed to act in our physical world, when you use the word magical you are using it above in the sense of impossible. But again there are events in the Bible which I think can be fairly described as magical, and that’s okay because in the Bible they occur by supernatural means. So I think you could legitimately consider the changing of Moses’ staff into a snake as an example of a magical occurrence.
So when you accuse the ideas of the origin of life of being mythical/magical you are saying that they are not possible by normal physical chemical means and you are saying that they are unbelievable for that reason.
I want to point out that there is a legitimate way in which stories from the Bible can be called mythical and magical (as opposed to the pejorative meanings). But science can never be accurately described as a literal myth or a literal magic using the those meanings (again, as opposed to the pejorative meanings of being unbelievable or untrue).
I understand that you are using the words to mean impossible, unbelievable and untrue, and that you do think that, so it is not incorrect for you to use those words for your own opinion. But when you (or others) use these words against science, it reminds me of the kid phrase, “I know you are, but what am I?” Whether the observations of science or the conclusions drawn correct or not in any particular case, the aims of scientific research are the opposite of myths and magic, and the opposite of supernatural stories.
I’m not sure if this makes an actual point; it doesn’t really make any kind of argument. It is my reaction to your use of those words.
“…. I have no argument with either and neither argues for transmutational transformations without swallowing a rather gigantic assumption.”
I don’t see the gigantic assumption that is a problem for you. Evolutionary theory proposes that the same types of changes that you accept within populations, species, or Biblical kinds, would reasonably have accumulated in different populations of ancestral species over time, leading to the different ‘kinds’ we see now.
We will never be able to observe the sequence of populations between, for instance, an ancestral carnivore and the types of carnivores we see now. But we have information we can use to draw conclusions for how the changes could have occurred. We do not have absolute proof, and maybe our ideas will change in the future. But we do have rational reasons for the conclusions about ancestral trees that have been drawn. Not having absolute knowledge (that we could only have gotten from time machine observations) is not the same as having no information at all.
Where is the insurmountable leap you see between dogs and bears, or dogs and cats? They’re placental mammals, have similar organs, fur, bones, etc. To me it seems reasonable that different populations of a carnivore ancestor could have acquired different mutations with accumulated result being the carnivores we see now. The genomes give us information about their relatedness, especially in the noncoding regions.
sorry, repeating myself again, and I know these points are all familiar to you already.
“….The only way it isn’t impossible is if I allow myself to assume that BILLIONS of years ago there was a magical/mythical environment …”
But IMO it is not a “Magical/mythical” environment. Ideas of what the earth would have been like a billion years ago are not based on imagination and story-telling. They are based on evidence we have today about chemistry and physics, about rocks and their behavior, about radioactive decay.
Do we know with 100% accuracy, do we have “proof”? No, because we can’t travel back in time. Can we rule out supernatural inputs from undetected, undetectable hypothetical forces (whose only sources are through stories told by humans)? Again, by definition, no. Science can only move forward by investigating the physical world that is available to us, but scientists can make logical assumptions about what might have happened in the past and then check them further against additional information. This is not mythical story telling.
“…The truth is that a minimal cell needs several hundred proteins in order to survive. The vast majority of non-parasitical or symbiotic organisms require nearly a thousand proteins in order to survive.”
I think you’re making assumptions that are IMO incorrect. You’re assuming that to go from a dissolved solution of chemicals to a cell, the chemicals must in one step form the proteins and other features of a hypothetical minimal cell arrived at by looking at the simplest currently existing cells.
Biochemists who investigate the possible mechanisms by which an original group of cells could have formed from a chemical solution do not make the assumption that in one swoop all the proteins, lipids, nucleotides etc. came together into a functioning proto-cell. They assume that it would be a process of many stages.
I think you’re making the assumption that the earliest cell must contain a defined set of proteins. Biochemists do not assume that in the earliest phases there had to be proteins. For instance, as I mentioned above, RNA molecules ( and I think also other nucleotide types, but I have not read up on it) can form chains that carry information and also have the ability to catalyze reactions (the way protein enzymes do) and I think (but not positive because I haven’t read up on it) have some structural ability since they can form double strands. The assumption is that a form of biochemical ‘natural selection’ could have gone on between various RNA molecules; a small model of the natural selection process was shown in a lab experiment.
(I see that I already said this in my first comment.)
“….By my way of thinking, if there were a divine, supernatural, eternal, all powerful, all knowing, majestic, and holy being who we can call “God” who had the power to create everything including life via a supernatural act, then it is reasonable that God would do so.”
To me, it is reasonable to say that such a being COULD do so; I don’t see any reason why such a being WOULD necessarily do so.
“It is made more reasonable by the fact that knowledge of this act of creation has been revealed to mankind and evidences of it abound.”
Obviously we disagree on this. First, if you’re talking about Genesis, what you see as knowledge having been revealed, I see as stories handed down over generations, told and retold, eventually copied into text, recopied and recopied. The source of the original supposed revelation is long gone. No way to tell whether it was revelation or a person’s imagination. (And people today sometimes have revelations which have turned out not to be true, or others which are based on particular mental states. No way to tell what kind of person first told the story of Genesis and why.) Other cultures have other different stories which purport to explain the same things. There is no evidence for the truth of that initial story; it is by faith that people accept it as true as far as I can see. This is not knowledge of anything, IMO.
Second, I don’t know what you mean as evidence. There is no direct evidence. I assume you mean the secondary arguments that you’ve posted here on many blog posts.
…”I don’t think so because in each case they have their own set of problems. Urey-Miller produced toxins and poisons in an environment that was nothing at all like what is thought to have ever been the environment of the planet, for instance. How is that disproving anything at all? If anything, it supports the assertion that it IS impossible.”
I think I should not have used the Urey example because I don’t know enough about that field.
I think you’re correct that at this time the consensus is that conditions on earth would have been different from the main Urey-Miller experiment. They did do another experiment that was supposed to relate to volcanic activity; that experiment used CO2 gas (which the original one didn’t) and hydrogen sulfide, something like that, for a volcanic gas. That experiment gave them an even better yield than the original one. I think this experiment used conditions that are closer to the current consensus about early earth conditions, but I don’t understand enough to make an argument.
About your comment about the toxins: I think when you have a simple model like their apparatus it naturally does not reproduce all the variables in the actual earth. So things like the accumulation of toxic compounds in one place in the model apparatus to me does not necessarily represent how those compounds would be associated on the actual earth. But to be honest that is a completely uninformed guess.
(If the conditions of Miller and Urey did not correctly represent the conditions of early earth then their results could not show that the origin of life was impossible under some different set of conditions.)