Origin of Life. What Good Science Shows

dna-163466_960_720Origins of Life

How would you complete the following sentence?

LIFE IS THE RESULT OF ․․․․․.

  1. EVOLUTION
  2. CREATION

SOME might assume that a scientifically-minded person would pick “evolution” and that a religious person would pick “creation.”

There are “theories” that life just came together through the effect of multiple “accidents.” These are not really “theories” by the earlier accepted definition. They are not even good educates guesses (a hypothesis.) They are a thesis, and as we delve deeper into these they look more like an evolutionary fantasy. No one has absolutely proven any of it, nor can they demonstrate it well with good mathematics. It looks less like real science all the time.

There are a good many excellent and highly regarded scientists in physics, biology, theoretical physics, astronomy, genetics, and other fields who say the universe looks more like a dream! It appears as of these past two or three years (2015 – 2018) that ALL of it appeared quite suddenly. 

Where did all of that energy and organization come from? We’ll go deeper and consider this — for readers who have the courage to read, “listen,” think and learn.

The fact is, many educated people​—including a number of scientists​—question the validity of the theory.

Consider Gerard, a professor of entomology who was taught evolution at college. “When I took tests,” he says, “I would give the professors the answers they wanted​—but I did not believe it.”

Why is it that even some scientifically-minded people have trouble accepting evolution as the origin of life? To answer that, consider two questions that baffle many researchers: (1) How did life get its start? and (2) How did living things develop?

Two Questions Worth Asking

1 How Did Life Get Its Start?

WHAT SOME SAY. Life arose spontaneously from nonliving matter.

WHY SOME PEOPLE ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH THAT ANSWER. Scientists know more about the chemistry and molecular structure of life than ever before, yet they still cannot define with certainty just what life is. A wide gulf separates nonliving matter from even the simplest living cell.

Scientists can only speculate about what conditions on earth were like billions of years ago. They have differing views about where life began​—for instance, whether within a volcano or under the ocean floor. Another belief is that life’s building blocks first formed elsewhere in the universe and arrived here embedded in meteors. But that does not answer the question of how life began; it just pushes the issue farther into space.

Scientists speculate about the existence of molecules that preceded genetic material as we know it today. These molecules are supposedly more likely to arise spontaneously from inert material and are self-replicating. Yet, science has found no evidence that such molecules ever existed, nor have scientists been able to create any such molecule in a laboratory.

Living things are unique in the way they store and process information. Cells convey, interpret, and carry out instructions contained within their genetic code. Some scientists liken the genetic code to computer software and the chemical structure of the cell to computer hardware. But evolution cannot explain the source of the information.

Protein molecules are necessary for the function of a cell. A typical protein molecule consists of hundreds of amino acids strung together in a specific sequence. Additionally, the protein molecule must fold into a specific three-dimensional shape for it to be useful. Some scientists conclude that the odds of even one protein molecule forming spontaneously are extremely improbable. “Since a functioning cell requires thousands of different proteins,” writes physicist Paul Davies, “it is not credible to suppose they formed by chance alone.”

Actually the mathematics border on proving life coming about spontaneously  as just shy of “impossible.”

Permit me to follow this argument for a moment more.

A living cell develops from an extremely complex design. Presuming the “lightning strikes mud” thesis leading to life we can see that 3 molecules can form as a start for DNA. But DNA is vastly more complex and must be surrounded by a cell membrane and tiny organs called “organells.” All of this developing “spontaneously” in a hostile environment, unprotected with nothing to feed upon is beyond absurd.

For such cells to specialize into organs and develop into a complex live animal is beyond this doctor’s imagination.

Further, the statistics about this happen also indicate several million potential failures with each “try.” The argument comes out sounding like the lies of 8-year-old boys telling fishing stories.

Our Conclusion:  After decades of research in virtually all branches of science, the information we have continues to indicate that life comes only from preexisting life.

 2 How Did Living Things Develop?

WHAT SOME SAY. The first living organism gradually developed into a variety of living things, including humans, through a process of random mutation and natural selection.

WHY SOME PEOPLE ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH THAT ANSWER. Some cells are more complex than others. According to one reference, how simpler cells could develop into more complex cells is “often rated the second major evolutionary mystery, after the origin of life.”

Scientists have discovered within each cell intricate molecular machines composed of protein molecules that cooperate to perform complex tasks. These tasks include transporting and converting nutrients into energy, repairing parts of the cell, and conveying messages throughout the cell. Could random mutations and natural selection account for the assembling and functioning of such sophisticated components? Many find that concept difficult to accept.

Animals and humans develop from a single fertilized egg. Inside the embryo, cells multiply and eventually specialize, taking on different shapes and functions to form distinct parts of the body. Evolution cannot explain how each cell “knows” what to become and where it should move within the organism.

Scientists now realize that for one kind of animal to develop into another kind of animal would require that changes take place within the cell, at the molecular level. Since scientists cannot demonstrate how evolution can produce even the “simplest” cell, is it plausible that random mutations and natural selection could be responsible for the different kinds of animals on the planet? Regarding the structure of animals, Michael Behe, professor of biological sciences, says that while research “has revealed unexpected, stunning complexity, no progress at all has been made in understanding how that complexity could evolve by unintelligent processes.”

Human beings are conscious and self-aware, have the ability to think and reason, and possess moral qualities such as generosity, self-sacrifice, and a sense of right and wrong. Random mutations and natural selection cannot explain the existence of these unique qualities of the human mind.

CONCLUSION. While many insist that an evolutionary origin of life is an indisputable fact, others are not satisfied with the answers that evolution provides regarding how life began and how life developed.

AFTER considering the evidence, many people conclude that life is the product of a superior intelligence. Consider the example of Antony Flew, a professor of philosophy who at one time was a leading advocate of atheism. When he learned about the staggering complexity of life and the physical laws of the universe, Flew changed his opinion. Citing an ancient approach to reasoning, he wrote: “We must follow the argument wherever it leads.” For Professor Flew, the evidence pointed to the existence of a Creator.

Gerard, mentioned earlier in this series of articles, came to a similar conclusion. Despite his advanced education and his career in entomology, he said: “I saw no proof that life arose spontaneously from nonliving matter. The order and complexity of living things convinced me that there has to be an Organizer and Designer.”

Just as a person can learn about an artist by examining his artwork, Gerard came to discern the Creator’s qualities by studying the natural world. Gerard also took time to consider a book attributed to the Creator​—the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16) There he found satisfying answers to questions about mankind’s past and practical solutions to the problems facing people today. He thus became convinced that the Bible was also the product of a superior mind.

As Gerard found, the Bible’s answers are worth considering. We encourage you to examine them for yourself.

Did You Know?

THE BIBLE IS NOT ANTISCIENCE. On the contrary, it encourages people to examine the natural world. (Isaiah 40:26) While the Bible is not a science textbook, it is consistent with scientific fact. For example, the Bible does not support creationism. It does not state that the earth was created in six literal 24-hour days. The term “day” as used in Genesis applies to periods of considerable length. *

The Bible Teaches That . . .

LIFE COMES ONLY FROM LIFE. “With you [God] is the source of life.”​—Psalm 36:9.

GOD MADE PLANT AND ANIMAL LIFE “ACCORDING TO THEIR KINDS.” (Genesis 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25) The Bible does not define the boundaries of these “kinds.” This allows for a degree of variation within each kind.

GOD CREATED HUMANS WITH THE CAPACITY TO DISPLAY THE SAME MORAL QUALITIES THAT HE POSSESSES. These qualities include love, goodness, and justice. “God said: ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.’”​—Genesis 1:26.

WAS IT DESIGNED?

The Honeycomb

HONEYBEES (Apis mellifera) construct their honeycombs with wax secreted from glands found on the underside of their abdomen. The honeycomb is regarded as an engineering marvel. Why?

Consider: For centuries, mathematicians suspected that partitions in the shape of hexagons were better than equilateral triangles or squares​—or any other shape—​for maximizing space with the least amount of building material. But they could not fully explain why. In 1999, Professor Thomas C. Hales provided mathematical proof for the advantage of what he termed “honeycomb conjecture.” He demonstrated that regular hexagons are the best way to divide a space into equal parts with minimal structural support.

By using hexagonal cells, bees can make the best use of all the space available to them, produce a light but sturdy honeycomb with a minimum amount of wax, and store the maximum amount of honey in a given space. Not surprisingly, the honeycomb has been described as “an architectural masterpiece.”

Today, scientists mimic the bees’ honeycomb to create structures that are both resilient and space efficient. Aircraft engineers, for example, use panels patterned after the honeycomb to build planes that are stronger and lighter and thus use less fuel.

What do you think? Did the superior structure of the honeycomb come about by evolution? Or was it designed?

An Answer Worth Considering

AFTER considering the evidence, many people conclude that life is the product of a superior intelligence. Consider the example of Antony Flew, a professor of philosophy who at one time was a leading advocate of atheism. When he learned about the staggering complexity of life and the physical laws of the universe, Flew changed his opinion. Citing an ancient approach to reasoning, he wrote: “We must follow the argument wherever it leads.” For Professor Flew, the evidence pointed to the existence of a Creator.

Gerard, mentioned earlier in this  article, came to a similar conclusion. Despite his advanced education and his career in entomology, he said: “I saw no proof that life arose spontaneously from nonliving matter. The order and complexity of living things convinced me that there has to be an Organizer and Designer.”

Just as a person can learn about an artist by examining his artwork, Gerard came to discern the Creator’s qualities by studying the natural world. Gerard also took time to consider a book attributed to the Creator​—the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16) There he found satisfying answers to questions about mankind’s past and practical solutions to the problems facing people today. He thus became convinced that the Bible was also the product of a superior mind.

As Gerard found, the Bible’s answers are worth considering. We encourage you to examine them for yourself.

Did You Know?

THE BIBLE IS NOT ANTISCIENCE. On the contrary, it encourages people to examine the natural world. (Isaiah 40:26) While the Bible is not a science textbook, it is consistent with scientific fact. For example, the Bible does not support creationism. It does not state that the earth was created in six literal 24-hour days. The term “day” as used in Genesis applies to periods of considerable length. *

The Bible Teaches That . . .

LIFE COMES ONLY FROM LIFE. “With you [God] is the source of life.”​—Psalm 36:9.

GOD MADE PLANT AND ANIMAL LIFE “ACCORDING TO THEIR KINDS.” (Genesis 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25) The Bible does not define the boundaries of these “kinds.” This allows for a degree of variation within each kind. 

As examples: A Lion and Tiger have been mated to produce a “Liger”. It’s still a feline — a cat. Cats will only reproduce more variations on cats.

GOD CREATED HUMANS WITH THE CAPACITY TO DISPLAY THE SAME MORAL QUALITIES THAT HE POSSESSES. These qualities include love, goodness, and justice. “God said: ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.’”​—Genesis 1:26.

 QUESTION 1

How Did Life Begin?

When you were a child, did you ever startle your parents by asking, “Where do babies come from?” If so, how did they respond? In the 1960 almost no one could comfortably speak about sex. Now, in the 20-teens it is discussed so much it is boring. It is boring because love is an after-thought! And….that is not a healthy thought style because it will not lead to a healthy society.

Many countries have at least one city wherein “play for pay” is legal. Eventually these cities (Kiev, Ukraine for example) become so rife with sexually transmissible diseases the entire population is looked upon as a menace!

Someone may claim this is “psychologically healthy” but we cannot prove that. Such practices are apparently unhealthy for many minds and obviously unhealthy physically!

Depending on your age and their personality, your parents might have ignored the question or given you a hurried, embarrassed answer. 

Just as many parents feel awkward about discussing where babies come from, some scientists seem reluctant to discuss an even more fundamental question​—Where did life come from? Receiving a credible answer to that question can have a profound effect on a person’s outlook on life.

What do many scientists claim? Many who believe in evolution would tell you that billions of years ago, life began on the edge of an ancient tidal pool or deep in the ocean. They say that in some such a location, chemicals spontaneously assembled into bubble-like structures, formed complex molecules, and began replicating. They believe that all life on earth originated by accident from one or more of these “simple” original cells.

Other equally respected scientists who also support evolution disagree. They speculate that the first cells or at least their major components arrived on earth from outer space. Why? Because, despite their best efforts, scientists have been unable to prove that life can spring from nonliving molecules. In 2008, Professor of Biology Alexandre Meinesz highlighted the dilemma. He stated that over the last 50 years, “no empirical evidence supports  the hypotheses of the spontaneous appearance of life on Earth from nothing but a molecular soup, and no significant advance in scientific knowledge leads in this direction.”1

Following this argument a bit further we must consider that a gene, the design of the cell, is extremely complex. A laboratory experiment managed to bring 3-molecules together. An RNA and DNA sequence in a gene is on order of hundreds of thousands of times more complex.

Further the cell needs a membrane (a skin) to hold all of its parts and protect it. It requires small organs called organelles to digest incoming nutrients and turn them into energy. But, in a tidal pool of water with no other life, perhaps hot, acidic, pounded by elements, the statistical probability of one cell surviving while surrounded with so many life threatening challenges, the chances then of survival increase with each of these “chance attempts.” The entire thesis is just shy of impossible.

What does the evidence reveal  Life always comes from preexisting life. If we go back far enough in time, is it really possible that this fundamental law was broken? Could life really spontaneously spring from nonliving chemicals? What are the chances that such an event could happen?

Researchers have learned that for a cell to survive, at least three different types of complex molecules must work together​—DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), and proteins. Today, few scientists would assert that a complete living cell suddenly formed by chance from a mix of inanimate chemicals. What, though, is the probability that RNA or proteins could form by chance? *

Many scientists say that life could arise by chance because of an experiment first conducted in 1953. In that year, Stanley L. Miller was able to produce some amino acids, the chemical building blocks of proteins, by discharging electricity into a mixture of gases that was thought to represent the atmosphere of primitive earth. Since then, amino acids have also been found in a meteorite. Do these findings mean that all the basic building blocks of life could easily be produced by chance?

“Some writers,” says Robert Shapiro, professor emeritus of chemistry at New York University, “have presumed that all life’s building blocks could be formed with ease in Miller-type experiments and were present in meteorites. This is not the case.”2 *

Consider the RNA molecule. It is constructed of smaller molecules called nucleotides. A nucleotide is a different molecule compared to an amino acid and is only slightly more complex. Shapiro says that “no nucleotides of any kind have been reported as products of spark-discharge experiments or in studies of meteorites.”3 He further states that the probability of a self-replicating RNA molecule randomly assembling from a pool of chemical building blocks “is so vanishingly small that its happening even once anywhere in the visible universe would count as a piece of exceptional good luck.”4

A gene is a self-replicating machine that builds more genes, checks them after building, corrects mistakes and finally allows the finished product to become part of another cell. To say that mere “chemicals” could do this without intelligence causing it to happen is yet “another mystery” of evolution. Put a different way, we live in and swim in a sea of miracles happening constantly!

RNA (1) is required to make proteins (2), yet proteins are involved in the production of RNA. How could either one arise by chance, let alone both? Ribosomes (3) will be discussed later. What about protein molecules? They can be made from as few as 50 or as many as several thousand amino acids bound together in a highly specific order. The average functional protein in a “simple” cell contains 200 amino acids. Even in those cells, there are thousands of different types of proteins. The probability that just one protein containing only 100 amino acids could ever randomly form on earth has been calculated to be about one chance in a million billion.

If the creation of complex molecules in the laboratory requires the skill of a scientist, could the far more complex molecules in a cell really arise by chance?

Researcher Hubert P. Yockey, who supports the teaching of evolution, goes further. He says: “It is impossible that the origin of life was ‘proteins first.’”5 RNA is required to make proteins, yet proteins are involved in the production of RNA. What if, despite the extremely small odds, both proteins and RNA molecules did appear by chance in the same place at the same time? How likely would it be for them to cooperate to form a self-replicating, self-sustaining type of life? “The probability of this happening by chance (given a random mixture of proteins and RNA) seems astronomically low,” says Dr. Carol Cleland *, a member of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Astrobiology Institute. “Yet,” she continues, “most researchers seem to assume that if they can make sense of the independent production of proteins and RNA under natural primordial conditions, the coordination will somehow take care of itself.” Regarding the current theories of how these building blocks of life could have arisen by chance, she says: “None of them have provided us with a very satisfying story about how this happened.”6

If it takes an intelligent entity to create and program a lifeless robot, what would it take to create a living cell, let alone a human?

Why do these facts matter? Think of the challenge facing researchers who feel that life arose by chance. They have found some amino acids that also appear in living cells. In their laboratories, they have, by means of carefully designed and directed experiments, manufactured other more complex molecules. Ultimately, they hope to build all the parts needed to construct a “simple” cell. Their situation could be likened to that of a scientist who takes naturally occurring elements; transforms them into steel, plastic, silicone, and wire; and constructs a robot. He then programs the robot to be able to build copies of itself. By doing so, what will he prove? At best, that an intelligent entity can create an impressive, even artificially intelligent machine.

There are people buying artificially intelligent robots these days. They even fall in lust or in love with these machines, proving that they live in “Fantasy Land” and are living the life of a psychotic! That is where ALL of this very mixed up society is headed. We’re headed toward ultimate psychosis. When someone as powerful as Vladimir Putin says nuclear war is survivable, but doesn’t consider how anyone can survive a nuclear winter, you’re hearing half an answer. The end of such a war would only prove the psychosis of those then in government! Without the Christ taking control over this situation, we are headed for universal annihilation, and that, My Friend, is evidence of complete insanity.

If scientists ever did construct a cell, they would accomplish  something truly amazing​—but would they prove that the cell could be made by accident? If anything, they would prove the very opposite, would they not?

What do you think? All scientific evidence to date indicates that life can come only from previously existing life. To believe that even a “simple” living cell arose by chance from nonliving chemicals requires a huge leap of faith.

Given the facts, are you willing to make such a leap? Before answering that question, take a closer look at the way a cell is made. Doing so will help you discern whether the theories some scientists propound about where life came from are sound or fanciful.

FACTS AND QUESTIONS

  • Fact: All scientific research indicates that life cannot spring from nonliving matter.

Question: What is the scientific basis for saying that the first cell sprang from nonliving chemicals?

  • Fact: Researchers have recreated in the laboratory the environmental conditions that they believe existed early in the earth’s history. In these experiments, a few scientists have manufactured some of the molecules found in living things.

Question: If the chemicals in the experiment represent the earth’s early environment and the molecules produced represent the building blocks of life, whom or what does the scientist who performed the experiment represent? Does he or she represent blind chance or an intelligent entity?

  • Fact: Protein and RNA molecules must work together for a cell to survive. Scientists admit that it is highly unlikely that RNA formed by chance. The odds against even one protein forming by chance are astronomical. It is exceedingly improbable that RNA and proteins should form by chance in the same place at the same time and be able to work together.

Question: What takes greater faith​—to believe that the millions of intricately coordinated parts of a cell arose by chance or to believe that the cell is the product of an intelligent mind?

CONTINUE FROM HERE for

Part II

 

Is Any Form of Life Really Simple?

(Steve, Delete everything below here and replace it.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

would tell you that billions of years ago, life began on the edge of an ancient tidal pool or deep in the ocean. They feel that in some such location, chemicals spontaneously assembled into bubblelike structures, formed complex molecules, and began replicating. They believe that all life on earth originated by accident from one or more of these “simple” original cells.

Other equally respected scientists who also support evolution disagree. They speculate that the first cells or at least their major components arrived on earth from outer space. Why? Because, despite their best efforts, scientists have been unable to prove that life can spring from nonliving molecules. In 2008, Professor of Biology Alexandre Meinesz highlighted the dilemma. He stated that over the last 50 years, “no empirical evidence supports  the hypotheses of the spontaneous appearance of life on Earth from nothing but a molecular soup, and no significant advance in scientific knowledge leads in this direction.”1

What does the evidence reveal? The answer to the question, Where do babies come from? is well-documented and uncontroversial. Life always comes from preexisting life. However, if we go back far enough in time, is it really possible that this fundamental law was broken? Could life really spontaneously spring from nonliving chemicals? What are the chances that such an event could happen?

Researchers have learned that for a cell to survive, at least three different types of complex molecules must work together​—DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), and proteins. Today, few scientists would assert that a complete living cell suddenly formed by chance from a mix of inanimate chemicals. What, though, is the probability that RNA or proteins could form by chance? *

Stanley Miller, 1953

Many scientists feel that life could arise by chance because of an experiment first conducted in 1953. In that year, Stanley L. Miller was able to produce some amino acids, the chemical building blocks of proteins, by discharging electricity into a mixture of gases that was thought to represent the atmosphere of primitive earth. Since then, amino acids have also been found in a meteorite. Do these findings mean that all the basic building blocks of life could easily be produced by chance?

“Some writers,” says Robert Shapiro, professor emeritus of chemistry at New York University, “have presumed that all life’s building blocks could be formed with ease in Miller-type experiments and were present in meteorites. This is not the case.”2 *

Consider the RNA molecule. It is constructed of smaller molecules called nucleotides. A nucleotide is a different molecule from an amino acid and is only slightly more complex. Shapiro says that “no nucleotides of any kind have been reported as products of spark-discharge experiments or in studies of meteorites.”3 He further states that the probability of a self-replicating RNA molecule randomly assembling from a pool of chemical building blocks “is so vanishingly small that its happening even once anywhere in the visible universe would count as a piece of exceptional good luck.”4

RNA (1) is required to make proteins (2), yet proteins are involved in the production of RNA. How could either one arise by chance, let alone both? Ribosomes (3) will be discussed in section 2.

What about protein molecules? They can be made from as few as 50 or as many as several thousand amino acids bound together in a highly specific order. The average functional protein in a “simple” cell contains 200 amino acids. Even  in those cells, there are thousands of different types of proteins. The probability that just one protein containing only 100 amino acids could ever randomly form on earth has been calculated to be about one chance in a million billion.

If the creation of complex molecules in the laboratory requires the skill of a scientist, could the far more complex molecules in a cell really arise by chance?

Researcher Hubert P. Yockey, who supports the teaching of evolution, goes further. He says: “It is impossible that the origin of life was ‘proteins first.’”5 RNA is required to make proteins, yet proteins are involved in the production of RNA. What if, despite the extremely small odds, both proteins and RNA molecules did appear by chance in the same place at the same time? How likely would it be for them to cooperate to form a self-replicating, self-sustaining type of life? “The probability of this happening by chance (given a random mixture of proteins and RNA) seems astronomically low,” says Dr. Carol Cleland *, a member of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Astrobiology Institute. “Yet,” she continues, “most researchers seem to assume that if they can make sense of the independent production of proteins and RNA under natural primordial conditions, the coordination will somehow take care of itself.” Regarding the current theories of how these building blocks of life could have arisen by chance, she says: “None of them have provided us with a very satisfying story about how this happened.”6

If it takes an intelligent entity to create and program a lifeless robot, what would it take to create a living cell, let alone a human?

Why do these facts matter? Think of the challenge facing researchers who feel that life arose by chance. They have found some amino acids that also appear in living cells. In their laboratories, they have, by means of carefully designed and directed experiments, manufactured other more complex molecules. Ultimately, they hope to build all the parts needed to construct a “simple” cell. Their situation could be likened to that of a scientist who takes naturally occurring elements; transforms them into steel, plastic, silicone, and wire; and constructs a robot. He then programs the robot to be able to build copies of itself. By doing so, what will he prove? At best, that an intelligent entity can create an impressive machine.

Similarly, if scientists ever did construct a cell, they would accomplish  something truly amazing​—but would they prove that the cell could be made by accident? If anything, they would prove the very opposite, would they not?

What do you think? All scientific evidence to date indicates that life can come only from previously existing life. To believe that even a “simple” living cell arose by chance from nonliving chemicals requires a huge leap of faith.

Given the facts, are you willing to make such a leap? Before answering that question, take a closer look at the way a cell is made. Doing so will help you discern whether the theories some scientists propound about where life came from are sound or are as fanciful as the tales some parents tell about where babies come from.

FACTS AND QUESTIONS

  • Fact: All scientific research indicates that life cannot spring from nonliving matter.

Question: What is the scientific basis for saying that the first cell sprang from nonliving chemicals?

  • Fact: Researchers have recreated in the laboratory the environmental conditions that they believe existed early in the earth’s history. In these experiments, a few scientists have manufactured some of the molecules found in living things.

Question: If the chemicals in the experiment represent the earth’s early environment and the molecules produced represent the building blocks of life, whom or what does the scientist who performed the experiment represent? Does he or she represent blind chance or an intelligent entity?

  • Fact: Protein and RNA molecules must work together for a cell to survive. Scientists admit that it is highly unlikely that RNA formed by chance. The odds against even one protein forming by chance are astronomical. It is exceedingly improbable that RNA and proteins should form by chance in the same place at the same time and be able to work together.

Question: What takes greater faith​—to believe that the millions of intricately coordinated parts of a cell arose by chance or to believe that the cell is the product of an intelligent mind?

 

QUESTION 2

Is Any Form of Life Really Simple?

Could the more than 200 different kinds of cells that make up your body really form by accident?

Your body is one of the most complex structures in the universe. It is made up of some 100 trillion tiny cells​—bone cells, blood cells, brain cells, to name a few.7 In fact, there are more than 200 different types of cells in your body.8

Despite their amazing diversity in shape and function, your cells form an intricate, integrated network. The Internet, with its millions of computers and high-speed data cables, is clumsy in comparison. No human invention can compete with the technical brilliance evident in even the most basic of cells. How did the cells that make up the human body come into existence?

What do many scientists claim? All living cells fall into two major categories​—those with a nucleus and those without. Human, animal, and plant cells have a nucleus. Bacterial cells do not. Cells with a nucleus are called eukaryotic. Those without a nucleus are known as prokaryotic. Since prokaryotic cells are relatively less complex than eukaryotic cells, many believe that animal and plant cells must have evolved from bacterial cells.

In fact, many teach that for millions of years, some “simple” prokaryotic cells swallowed other cells but did not digest  them. Instead, the theory goes, unintelligent “nature” figured out a way not only to make radical changes in the function of the ingested cells but also to keep the adapted cells inside of the “host” cell when it replicated.9 *

What does the Bible say? The Bible states that life on earth is the product of an intelligent mind. Note the Bible’s clear logic: “Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God.” (Hebrews 3:4) Another Bible passage says: “How many your works are, O Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made. The earth is full of your productions. . . . There are moving things without number, living creatures, small as well as great.”​—Psalm 104:24, 25.

Could even a “simple” cell really arise from nonliving chemicals?

What does the evidence reveal? Advances in microbiology have made it possible to peer into the awe-inspiring interior of the simplest living prokaryotic cells known. Evolutionary scientists theorize that the first living cells must have looked something like these cells.10

If the theory of evolution is true, it should offer a plausible explanation of how the first “simple” cell formed by chance. On the other hand, if life was created, there should be evidence of ingenious design even in the smallest of creatures. Why not take a tour of a prokaryotic cell? As you do so, ask yourself whether such a cell could arise by chance.

THE CELL’S PROTECTIVE WALL

To tour a prokaryotic cell, you would have to shrink to a size that is hundreds of times smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. Keeping you out of the cell is a tough, flexible membrane that acts like a brick and mortar wall surrounding a factory. It would take some 10,000 layers of this membrane to equal the thickness of a sheet of paper. But the membrane of a cell is much more sophisticated than the brick wall. In what ways?

Like the wall surrounding a factory, the membrane of a cell shields the contents from a potentially hostile environment. However, the membrane is not solid; it allows the cell to “breathe,” permitting small molecules, such as oxygen, to pass in or out. But the membrane blocks more complex, potentially damaging molecules from entering without the cell’s permission. The membrane also prevents useful molecules from leaving the cell. How does the membrane manage such feats?

Think again of a factory. It might have security guards who monitor the products that enter and leave through the doorways in the factory wall. Similarly, the cell membrane has special protein molecules embedded in it that act like the doors and the security guards.

The cell membrane has “security guards” that allow only specific substances to pass in or out

 Some of these proteins (1) have a hole through the middle of them that allows only specific types of molecules in and out of the cell. Other proteins are open on one side of the cell membrane (2) and closed on the other. They have a docking site (3) shaped to fit a specific substance. When that substance docks, the other end of the protein opens and releases the cargo through the membrane (4). All this activity is happening on the surface of even the simplest of cells.

INSIDE THE FACTORY

Imagine that you have been allowed past the “security guard” and are now inside the cell. The interior of a prokaryotic cell is filled with a watery fluid that is rich in nutrients, salts, and other substances. The cell uses these raw ingredients to manufacture the products it needs. But the process is not haphazard. Like an efficiently run factory, the cell organizes thousands of chemical reactions so that they take place in a specific order and according to a set timetable.

A cell spends a lot of its time making proteins. How does it do so? First, you would see the cell make about 20 different basic building blocks called amino acids. These building blocks are delivered to the ribosomes (5), which may be likened to automated machines that link the amino acids in a precise order to form a specific protein. Just as the operations of a factory might be governed by a central computer program, many of the functions of a cell are governed by a “computer program,” or code, known as DNA (6). From the DNA, the ribosome receives a copy of detailed instructions that tell it which protein to build and how to build it (7).

What happens as the protein is made is nothing short of amazing! Each one folds into a unique three-dimensional shape (8). It is this shape that determines the specialized job that the protein will do. * Picture a production line where engine parts are being assembled. Each part needs to be precisely constructed if the  engine is to work. Similarly, if a protein is not precisely constructed and folded to exactly the right shape, it will not be able to do its work properly and may even damage the cell.

The Cell “Factory”​—How Proteins Are Made: Like an automated factory, the cell is full of machines that assemble and deliver complex products

How does the protein find its way from where it was made to where it is needed? Each protein the cell makes has a built-in “address tag” that ensures that the protein will be delivered to where it is needed. Although thousands of proteins are built and delivered each minute, each one arrives at the correct destination.

Why do these facts matter? The complex molecules in the simplest living thing cannot reproduce alone. Outside the cell, they break down. Inside the cell, they cannot reproduce without the help of other complex molecules. For example, enzymes are needed to produce a special energy molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), but energy from ATP is needed to produce enzymes. Similarly, DNA (section 3 discusses this molecule) is required to make enzymes, but enzymes are required to make DNA. Also, other proteins can be made only by  a cell, but a cell can be made only with proteins. *

Microbiologist Radu Popa does not agree with the Bible’s account of creation. Yet, in 2004 he asked: “How can nature make life if we failed with all the experimental conditions controlled?”13 He also stated: “The complexity of the mechanisms required for the functioning of a living cell is so large that a simultaneous emergence by chance seems impossible.”14

If this skyscraper must collapse because it has a flimsy foundation, must not the theory of evolution collapse because it has no explanation for the origin of life?

What do you think? The theory of evolution tries to account for the origin of life on earth without the necessity of divine intervention. However, the more that scientists discover about life, the less likely it appears that it could arise by chance. To sidestep this dilemma, some evolutionary scientists would like to make a distinction between the theory of evolution and the question of the origin of life. But does that sound reasonable to you?

The theory of evolution rests on the notion that a long series of fortunate accidents produced life to start with. It then proposes that another series of undirected accidents produced the astonishing diversity and complexity of all living things. However, if the foundation of the theory is missing, what happens to the other theories that are built on this assumption? Just as a skyscraper built without a foundation would collapse, a theory of evolution that cannot explain the origin of life will crumble.

After briefly considering the structure and function of a “simple” cell, what do you see​—evidence of many accidents or proof of brilliant design? If you are still unsure, take a closer look at the “master program” that controls the functions of all cells.

HOW FAST CAN A CELL REPRODUCE?

Some bacteria can make replicas of themselves within 20 minutes. Each cell copies all the controlling “computer programs.” Then it divides. If it had unlimited access to fuel, just one cell could increase in number exponentially. At that rate, it would take only two days to produce a clump of cells with a weight more than 2,500 times greater than that of the earth.15 Cells that are more complex can also replicate quickly. For example, when you were developing in your mother’s womb, new brain cells formed at the astounding rate of 250,000 per minute!16

Human manufacturers often have to sacrifice quality to produce an item at a fast pace. How is it possible, then, that cells can reproduce so fast and so accurately if they are the product of undirected accidents?

FACTS AND QUESTIONS

  • Fact: The extraordinarily complex molecules that make up a cell​—DNA, RNA, proteins—​seem designed to work together.

Question: What seems more likely to you? Did unintelligent evolution construct the intricate machines depicted on page 10, or were those machines the product of an intelligent mind?

  • Fact: Some respected scientists say that even a “simple” cell is far too complex to have arisen by chance on earth.

Question: If some scientists are willing to speculate that life came from an extraterrestrial source, what is the basis for ruling out God as that Source?

 

QUESTION 3

Where Did the Instructions Come From?

Why do you look the way you do? What determines the color of your eyes, your hair, your skin? What about your height, your build, or your resemblance to one or both of your parents? What tells the ends of your fingers to grow soft pads on one side and hard, protective nails on the other?

In Charles Darwin’s day, the answers to such questions were shrouded in mystery. Darwin himself was fascinated by the way traits are passed along from one generation to the next, but he knew little about the laws of genetics and even less about the mechanisms within the cell that govern heredity. Now, however, biologists have spent decades studying human genetics and the detailed instructions that are embedded in the amazing molecule called DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Of course, the big question is, Where did these instructions come from?

What do many scientists claim? Many biologists and other scientists feel that DNA and its coded instructions came about through undirected chance events that took place over the course of millions of years. They say that there is no evidence of design in the structure of this molecule nor in the information that it carries and transmits nor in the way that it functions.17

What does the Bible say? The Bible suggests that the formation of our different body parts​—and even the timing of their formation—​involves a figurative book that originates with God. Notice how King David was inspired to describe matters, saying of God: “Your eyes saw even the embryo of me, and in your book all its parts were down in writing, as regards the days when they were formed and there was not yet one among them.”​—Psalm 139:16.

What does the evidence reveal? If evolution is true, then it should seem at least reasonably possible that DNA could have come about by means of a series of chance events. If the Bible is true, then DNA should provide strong evidence that it is the product of an orderly, intelligent mind.

When considered in the simplest of terms, the subject of DNA is quite  understandable​—and fascinating. So let us take another trip to the inside of a cell. This time, though, we will visit a human cell. Imagine that you are going to a museum designed to teach you about how such a cell works. The whole museum is a model of a typical human cell​—but magnified some 13,000,000 times. It is the size of a giant sports arena, the kind that can seat an audience of about 70,000 people.

You enter the museum and stare awestruck at this wondrous place full of strange forms and structures. Near the center of the cell stands the nucleus, a sphere about 20 stories tall. You make your way there.

A “Feat of Engineering”​—How DNA Is Packed: Packing the DNA into the nucleus is an amazing feat of engineering—​like packing 24 miles of very fine thread into a tennis ball

You go through a door in the nucleus’ outer skin, or membrane, and look around you. Dominating this chamber are 46 chromosomes. Arranged in identical pairs, they vary in height, but the pair nearest you is about 12 stories tall (1). Each chromosome has a pinched place near the middle, so it looks a bit like a link sausage but is as thick as a massive tree trunk. You see a variety of bands running across the model chromosomes. As you draw closer, you see that each horizontal band is divided by vertical lines. Between those are shorter horizontal lines (2). Are they stacks of books? No; they are the outer edges of loops, packed tightly in columns. You pull at one of them, and it comes free. You are amazed to see that the loop is composed of smaller coils (3), also neatly arranged. Within those coils is the main feature of all of this​—something resembling a long, long rope. What is it?

THE STRUCTURE OF AN AMAZING MOLECULE

Let us simply call this part of the model chromosome a rope. It is about an inch (2.6 cm) thick. It is looped tightly around spools (4), which help to form the coils within coils. These coils are attached to a kind of scaffold that holds them in place. A sign on the display explains that the rope is packed very efficiently. If you were to pull the rope from each of these model chromosomes and lay it all out, from end to end it would stretch about halfway around the earth! *

One science book calls this efficient packaging system “an extraordinary feat of engineering.”18 Does the suggestion that there was no engineer behind this feat sound credible to you? If this museum had a huge store with millions of items for sale and they were all so tidily  arranged that you could easily find any item you needed, would you assume that no one had organized the place? Of course not! But such order would be a simple feat by comparison.

In the museum display, a sign invites you to take a length of this rope in your hands for a closer look (5). As you run it between your fingers, you see that this is no ordinary rope. It is composed of two strands twisted around each other. The strands are connected by tiny bars, evenly spaced. The rope looks like a ladder that has been twisted until it resembles a spiral staircase (6). Then it hits you: You are holding a model of the DNA molecule​—one of the great mysteries of life!

A single DNA molecule, tidily packaged with its spools and scaffold, makes up a chromosome. The rungs of the ladder are known as base pairs (7). What do they do? What is all of this for? A display sign offers a simplified explanation.

THE ULTIMATE INFORMATION STORAGE SYSTEM

The key to the DNA, the sign says, lies in those rungs, the bars connecting the two sides of the ladder. Imagine the ladder split apart. Each side has partial rungs sticking out. They come in only four types. Scientists dub them A, T, G, and C. Scientists were amazed to  discover that the order of those letters conveys information in a sort of code.

You may know that Morse code was invented in the 19th century so that people could communicate by telegraph. That code had only two “letters”​—a dot and a dash. Yet, it could be used to spell out countless words or sentences. Well, DNA has a four-letter code. The order in which those letters​—A, T, G, and C—​appear forms “words” called codons. Codons are arranged in “stories” called genes. Each gene contains, on average, 27,000 letters. These genes and the long stretches between them are compiled into chapters of a sort​—the individual chromosomes. It takes 23 chromosomes to form the complete “book”​—the genome, or total of genetic information about an organism. *

The genome would be a huge book. How much information would it hold? All told, the human genome is made up of about three billion base pairs, or rungs, on the DNA ladder.19 Imagine a set of encyclopedias in which each volume is over a thousand pages long. The genome would fill 428 of such volumes. Adding the second copy that is found in each cell would make that 856 volumes. If you were to type out the genome by yourself, it would be a full-time job​—with no vacations—​lasting some 80 years!

Of course, what you would end up with after all that typing would be useless to your body. How would you fit hundreds of bulky volumes into each of your 100 trillion microscopic cells? To compress so much information so greatly is far beyond us.

A professor of molecular biology and computer science noted: “One gram of DNA, which when dry would occupy a volume of approximately one cubic centimeter, can store as much information as approximately one trillion CDs [compact discs].”20 What does that mean? Remember, the DNA contains the genes, the instructions for building a unique human body. Each cell has a complete set of instructions. DNA is so dense with information that a single teaspoonful of it could carry the instructions for building about 350 times the number of humans alive today! The DNA required for the seven billion people living on earth now would barely make a film on the surface of that teaspoon.21

A BOOK WITH NO AUTHOR?

One gram of DNA carries as much information as a trillion CDs could

Despite advances in miniaturization, no man-made information storage device can approach such a capacity. Yet, the compact disc offers an apt comparison. Consider this: A compact disc may impress us with its symmetrical shape, its gleaming surface, its efficient design. We  see clear evidence that intelligent people made it. But what if it is embedded with information​—not random gibberish, but coherent, detailed instructions for building, maintaining, and repairing complex machinery? That information does not perceptibly change the weight or the size of the disc. Yet, it is the most important feature of that disc. Would not those written instructions convince you that there must be some intelligent mind at work here? Does not writing require a writer?

It is not far-fetched to compare DNA to a compact disc or to a book. In fact, one book about the genome notes: “The idea of the genome as a book is not, strictly speaking, even a metaphor. It is literally true. A book is a piece of digital information . . . So is a genome.” The author adds: “The genome is a very clever book, because in the right conditions it can both photocopy itself and read itself.”22 That brings up another important aspect of DNA.

MACHINES IN MOTION

As you stand there in the quiet, you find yourself wondering if the nucleus of a cell is really as still as a museum. Then you notice another display. Above a glass case containing a length of model DNA is a sign that reads: “Push Button for Demonstration.” You push the button, and a narrator explains: “DNA has at least two very important jobs. The first is called replication. DNA has to be copied so that every new cell will have a complete copy of the same genetic information. Please watch this simulation.”

Through a door at one end of the display comes a complex-looking machine. It is actually a cluster of robots closely linked together. The machine goes to the DNA, attaches itself, and begins to move along the DNA as a train might follow a track. It moves a little too fast for you to see exactly what it is doing, but  you can easily see that behind it, there are now two complete DNA ropes instead of one.

The narrator explains: “This is a greatly simplified version of what goes on when DNA is replicated. A group of molecular machines called enzymes travel along the DNA, first splitting it in two, then using each strand as a template to make a new, complementary strand. We cannot show you all the parts involved​—such as the tiny device that runs ahead of the replication machine and snips one side of the DNA so that it can twirl around freely instead of getting wound up too tight. Nor can we show you how the DNA is ‘proofread’ several times. Errors are detected and corrected to an amazing degree of accuracy.”​—See the diagram on  pages 16 and 17.

 Replication​—How DNA Is Copied

  1. This part of the enzyme machine splits the DNA into two separate strands
  2. This part of the machine takes in a single strand of DNA and uses it as a template to create a double strand
  3. Ring-shaped sliding clamp that guides and stabilizes the enzyme machine
  4. Two complete DNA strands are formed

If DNA were the size of a railroad track, the enzyme machine would be moving at the rate of over 50 miles per hour

The narrator continues: “What we can show you clearly is the speed. You noticed this robot moving at a pretty good clip, didn’t you? Well, the actual enzyme machinery moves along the DNA ‘track’ at a rate of about 100 rungs, or base pairs, every second.23 If the ‘track’ were the size of a railroad track, this ‘engine’ would be barreling along at the rate of over 50 miles (80 km) per hour. In bacteria, these little replication machines can move ten times faster than that! In the human cell, armies of hundreds of these replication machines go to work at different spots along the DNA ‘track.’ They copy the entire genome in just eight hours.”24 (See the box “ A Molecule That Can Be Read and Copied,” on page 20.)

“READING” DNA

The DNA-replicating robots trundle off the scene. Another machine appears. It too moves along a stretch of DNA, but more slowly. You see the DNA rope entering one end of this machine and emerging from the other​—unchanged. But a single strand, a new one, is coming out of a separate opening in the machine, like a growing tail. What is going on?

Again the narrator provides an explanation: “DNA’s second job is called transcription. The DNA never leaves the safe shelter of the nucleus. So how can its genes​—the recipes for all the proteins your body is made of—​ever be read and used? Well, this enzyme machine finds a spot along the DNA where a gene has been switched on by chemical signals coming in from outside the cell nucleus. Then this machine uses a molecule called RNA (ribonucleic acid) to make a copy of that gene. RNA looks a lot like a single strand of DNA, but it is different. Its  job is to pick up the information coded in the genes. The RNA gets that information while in the enzyme machine, then exits the nucleus and heads to one of the ribosomes, where the information will be used to build a protein.”

Transcription​—How DNA Is “Read”

  1. The DNA is unwound here. An exposed strand passes information to the RNA
  2. The RNA “reads” the DNA, picking up the code within a gene. The DNA code tells the transcription machine where to start and stop
  3. Loaded with information, the RNA exits the cell nucleus and goes to a ribosome, where it will impart the instructions on how to build a complex protein
  4. Transcription machine

As you watch the demonstration, you are filled with wonder. You are deeply impressed by this museum and the ingenuity of those who designed and built its machines. But what if this entire place with all its exhibits could be set in motion, demonstrating all the thousands upon thousands of tasks that go on in the human cell at the same time? What an awe-inspiring spectacle that would be!

You realize, though, that all these processes carried out by tiny, complex machines are actually going on right now in your own 100 trillion cells! Your DNA is being read, providing directions to build the hundreds of thousands of different proteins that make up your body​—its enzymes, tissues, organs, and so on. Right now your DNA is being copied and proofread for errors so that a fresh set of directions is there to be read in each new cell.

 WHY DO THESE FACTS MATTER?

Again, let us ask ourselves, ‘Where did all these instructions come from?’ The Bible suggests that this “book” and its writing originate with a superhuman Author. Is that conclusion really out-of-date or unscientific?

Consider this: Could humans even build the museum just described? They would run into real difficulty if they tried. Much about the human genome and how it functions is little understood as yet. Scientists are still trying to figure out where all the genes are and what they do. And the genes comprise only a small part of the DNA strand. What about all those long stretches that do not contain genes? Scientists have called those parts junk DNA, but more recently they have been modifying that stance. Those parts may control how and to what extent the genes are used. And even if scientists could create a full model of the  DNA and the machines that copy and proofread it, could they make it actually function as the real one does?

Famous scientist Richard Feynman left this note on a blackboard shortly before his death: “What I cannot create, I do not understand.”25 His candid humility is refreshing, and his statement, obviously true in the case of DNA. Scientists cannot create DNA with all its replication and transcription machinery; nor can they fully understand it. Yet, some assert that they know that it all came about by undirected chance and accidents. Does the evidence that you have considered really support such a conclusion?

Some learned men have decided that the evidence points the other way. For example, Francis Crick, a scientist who helped to discover DNA’s double-helix structure, decided that this molecule is far too organized to have come about through undirected events. He proposed that intelligent extraterrestrials may have sent DNA to the earth to help get life started here.26

More recently, noted philosopher Antony Flew, who advocated atheism for 50 years, did an about-face of sorts. At 81 years of age, he began to express a belief that some intelligence must have been at work in the creation of life. Why the change? A study of DNA. When asked if his new line of thought might prove unpopular among scientists, Flew reportedly answered: “That’s too bad. My whole life has been guided by the principle . . . [to] follow the evidence, wherever it leads.”27

What do you think? Where does the evidence lead? Imagine that you found a computer room in the heart of a factory. The computer is running a complex master program that directs all the workings of that factory. What is more, that program is constantly sending out instructions on how to build and maintain every machine there, and it is making copies of itself and proofreading them. What would that evidence lead you to conclude? That the computer and its program must have made themselves or that they were produced by orderly, intelligent minds? Really, the evidence speaks for itself.

 A MOLECULE THAT CAN BE READ AND COPIED

How can DNA be read and copied so reliably? The four chemical bases used in the DNA ladder​—A, T, G, and C—​form the ladder’s individual rungs by always pairing in the same way: A with T, and G with C. If one side of a rung is A, the other side is always T; G always meets C. Therefore, if you have one side of the ladder, you know the other side of the ladder. Where one side of the ladder reads GTCA, the other side must read CAGT. The partial rungs differ in length, but when they pair up with their complements, they make complete rungs of one uniform length.

Discovering that fact led scientists to another breakthrough about this remarkable molecule: DNA is perfectly suited for being copied over and over. The enzyme machine that replicates DNA takes in free-floating units of those four chemicals from the environment in the nucleus. Then it uses them to complete each rung on the split DNA strand.

So a DNA molecule really is like a book that is read and copied over and over again. In the average life span of a human, DNA is copied some 10,000,000,000,000,000 times, with amazing fidelity.28

FACTS AND QUESTIONS

  • Fact: DNA is packaged within the chromosomes in a manner so efficient that it has been called a “feat of engineering.”

Question: How could such order and organization arise by undirected chance events?

  • Fact: DNA’s capacity to store information still has no equal in today’s computer age.

Question: If human computer technicians cannot achieve such results, how could mindless matter do so on its own?

  • Fact: DNA contains all the instructions needed to build a unique human body and maintain it throughout life.

Question: How could such writing come about without a writer, such programming without a programmer?

  • Fact: For DNA to work, it has to be copied, read, and proofread by a swarm of complex molecular machines called enzymes, which must work together with precision and split-second timing.

Question: Do you believe that highly complex, highly reliable machinery can come about by chance? Without solid proof, would not such a belief amount to blind faith?

 

QUESTION 4

Has All Life Descended From a Common Ancestor?

Darwin thought that all life might be traced to a common ancestor. He imagined that the history of life on earth resembled a grand tree. Later, others believed that this “tree of life” started as a single trunk with the first simple cells. New species branched from the trunk and continued to divide into limbs, or families of plants and animals, and then into twigs, all the species within the families of plants and animals alive today. Is that really what happened?

What do many scientists claim? Many give the impression that the fossil record supports the theory of a common origin for life. They also claim that because all living things use similar “computer language,” or DNA, that all life must have evolved from a common ancestor.

What does the Bible say? The Genesis account states that plants, sea creatures, land animals, and birds were created “according to their kinds.” (Genesis 1:12, 20-25) This description allows for variation within a “kind,” but it implies that there are fixed barriers separating the different kinds. The Bible account of creation also leads us to expect that new types of creatures would appear in the fossil record suddenly and fully formed.

What does the evidence reveal? Does the evidence support the Bible’s description of events, or was Darwin correct? What have discoveries over the past 150 years revealed?

DARWIN’S TREE CHOPPED DOWN

In recent years, scientists have been able to compare the genetic codes of dozens of different single-celled organisms as well as those of plants and animals. They assumed that such comparisons would confirm the branching “tree of life” proposed by Darwin. However, this has not been the case.

What has the research uncovered? In 1999 biologist Malcolm S. Gordon wrote: “Life appears to have had many origins. The base of the universal tree of life appears not to have been a single root.” Is there evidence that all the major branches of life are connected to a single trunk, as Darwin believed? Gordon continues: “The traditional version of the theory of common descent apparently does  not apply to kingdoms as presently recognized. It probably does not apply to many, if not all, phyla, and possibly also not to many classes within the phyla.”29 *

Recent research continues to contradict Darwin’s theory of common descent. For example, in 2009 an article in New Scientist magazine quoted evolutionary scientist Eric Bapteste as saying: “We have no evidence at all that the tree of life is a reality.”30 The same article quotes evolutionary biologist Michael Rose as saying: “The tree of life is being politely buried, we all know that. What’s less accepted is that our whole fundamental view of biology needs to change.”31 *

WHAT ABOUT THE FOSSIL RECORD?

Many scientists point to the fossil record as support for the idea that life emerged from a common origin. They argue, for example, that the fossil record documents the notion that fish became amphibians and reptiles became mammals. What, though, does the fossil evidence really show?

“Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life,” says evolutionary paleontologist David M. Raup, “what geologists of Darwin’s time, and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record.”32

In reality, the vast majority of fossils show stability among types of creatures over extensive amounts of time. The evidence does not show them evolving from one type into another. Unique body plans appear suddenly. New features appear suddenly. For example, bats with sonar and echolocation systems appear with no obvious link to a more primitive ancestor.

In fact, more than half of all the major divisions of animal life seem to have appeared in a relatively short period of time. Because many new and distinct life forms appear so suddenly in the fossil record, paleontologists refer to this period as “the Cambrian explosion.” When was the Cambrian period?

Let us assume that the estimates of researchers are accurate. In that case, the history of the earth could be represented by a time line that stretches the length of a soccer field (1). At that scale, you would have to walk about seven eighths of the way down the field before you would come to what paleontologists call the Cambrian period (2). During a small segment of that period, the major divisions of animal life show up in the fossil record. How suddenly do they appear? As you walk down the soccer field, all those different creatures pop up in the space of less than one step!

The relatively sudden appearance of these diverse life forms is causing some evolutionary researchers to question the traditional version of Darwin’s theory.  For example, in an interview in 2008, evolutionary biologist Stuart Newman discussed the need for a new theory of evolution that could explain the sudden appearance of novel forms of life. He said: “The Darwinian mechanism that’s used to explain all evolutionary change will be relegated, I believe, to being just one of several mechanisms​—maybe not even the most important when it comes to understanding macroevolution, the evolution of major transitions in body type.”33

PROBLEMS WITH THE “PROOF”

Why do some textbooks change the scale of the fossils that they depict as following a proposed sequence?

Above left: scale of fossils as shown in some textbooks

Above right: real relative size

What, though, of the fossils that are used to show fish changing into amphibians, and reptiles into mammals? Do they provide solid proof of evolution in action? Upon closer inspection, several problems become obvious.

First, the comparative size of the creatures placed in the reptile-to-mammal sequence is sometimes misrepresented in textbooks. Rather than being similar in size, some creatures in the series are huge, while others are small.

A second, more serious challenge is the lack of proof that those creatures are somehow related. Specimens placed in the series are often separated by what researchers estimate to be millions of years. Regarding the time spans that separate many of these fossils, zoologist Henry Gee says: “The intervals of time that separate the fossils are so huge that we cannot say anything definite about their possible connection through ancestry and descent.”34 *

Commenting on the fossils of fish and amphibians, biologist Malcolm S. Gordon states that the fossils found represent only a small, “possibly quite unrepresentative, sample  of the biodiversity that existed in these groups at those times.” He further says: “There is no way of knowing to what extent, if at all, those specific organisms were relevant to later developments, or what their relationships might have been to each other.”35 *

WHAT DOES THE “FILM” REALLY SHOW?

An article published in National Geographic in 2004 likened the fossil record to “a film of evolution from which 999 of every 1,000 frames have been lost on the cutting-room floor.”36 Consider the implications of that illustration.

If “95 frames” of the fossil record show that animals do not evolve from one type into another, why do paleontologists arrange the remaining “5 frames” to imply that they do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note from Dr. Newdell (Website Operator and “general lunatic in charge”):  I am not running a church and am not promoting any particular denomination. I have been searching for useful information to support arguments using good science to prove God exists and our life and our universe could not possibly have come into existence by accident. Further, to imagine it did leaves said imaginer with No Hope beyond death, and no reason to maintain decent moral behavior and a peaceful world. This material came from www.jw.org

 

Bibliography

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  13. “The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2002,” October 7, 2002.
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  16. Molecular Biology of the Cell, Second Edition, by Bruce Alberts et al, 1989, p. 405.
  17. Molecular Human Reproduction, “The Role of Proteomics in Defining the Human Embryonic Secretome,” by M. G. Katz-Jaffe, S. McReynolds, D. K. Gardner, and W. B. Schoolcraft, 2009, p. 271.
  18. Between Necessity and Probability: Searching for the Definition and Origin of Life, by Radu Popa, 2004, p. 129.
  19. Between Necessity and Probability: Searching for the Definition and Origin of Life, pp. 126-127.

 (Box) How Fast Can a Cell Reproduce?

  1. Origin of Mitochondria and Hydrogenosomes, by William F. Martin and Miklós Müller, 2007, p. 21.
  2. Brain Matters​—Translating Research Into Classroom Practice, by Pat Wolfe, 2001, p. 16.
  3. Where Did the Instructions Come From?
  4. Research News Berkeley Lab, (http://​www.lbl.gov/​Science-​Articles/​Archive/ LSD-molecular-DNA.html), article: “Molecular DNA Switch Found to Be the Same for All Life,” contact: Lynn Yarris, p. 1 of 4; accessed 2/10/2009.
  5. Life Script, by Nicholas Wade, 2001, p. 79.
  6. Bioinformatics Methods in Clinical Research, edited by Rune Matthiesen, 2010, p. 49.
  7. Scientific American, “Computing With DNA,” by Leonard M. Adleman, August 1998, p. 61.
  8. Nano Letters, “Enumeration of DNA Molecules Bound to a Nanomechanical Oscillator,” by B. Ilic, Y. Yang, K. Aubin, R. Reichenbach, S. Krylov, and H. G. Craighead, Vol. 5, No. 5, 2005, pp. 925, 929.
  9. Genome​—The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters, by Matt Ridley, 1999, pp. 7-8.
  10. Essential Cell Biology, Second Edition, by Bruce Alberts, Dennis Bray, Karen Hopkin, Alexander Johnson, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts, and Peter Walter, 2004, p. 201.
  11. Molecular Biology of the Cell, Fourth Edition, by Bruce Alberts et al, 2002, p. 258.
  12. No Ordinary Genius​—The Illustrated Richard Feynman, edited by Christopher Sykes, 1994, photo with no page number supplied; note caption.
  13. New Scientist, “Second Genesis​—Life, but Not As We Know It,” by Bob Holmes, March 11, 2009, (http://​www.newscientist.com/​article/ mg20126990.100) accessed 3/11/2009.
  14. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence​—A Philosophical Inquiry, by David Lamb, 2001, p. 83.
  15. Associated Press Newswires, “Famous Atheist Now Believes in God,” by Richard N. Ostling, December 9, 2004.

(Box) A Molecule That Can Be Read and Copied

  1. Intelligent Life in the Universe, Second Edition, by Peter Ulmschneider, 2006, p. 125.
  2. Has All Life Descended From a Common Ancestor?
  3. Biology and Philosophy, “The Concept of Monophyly: A Speculative Essay,” by Malcolm S. Gordon, 1999, p. 335.
  4. New Scientist, “Uprooting Darwin’s Tree,” by Graham Lawton, January 24, 2009, p. 34.
  5. New Scientist, January 24, 2009, pp. 37, 39.
  6. Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, “Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology,” by David M. Raup, January 1979, p. 23.
  7. Archaeology, “The Origin of Form Was Abrupt Not Gradual,” by Suzan Mazur, October 11, 2008, (www.archaeology.org/​online/ interviews/​newman.html), accessed 2/23/2009.
  8. In Search of Deep Time​—Beyond the Fossil Record to a New History of Life, by Henry Gee, 1999, p. 23.
  9. Biology and Philosophy, p. 340.
  10. National Geographic, “Fossil Evidence,” November 2004, p. 25.
  11. The Evolutionists​—The Struggle for Darwin’s Soul, by Richard Morris, 2001, pp. 104-105.

(Box) What About Human Evolution?

  1. The Human Lineage, by Matt Cartmill and Fred H. Smith, 2009, Preface, p. xi.
  2. Fossils, Teeth and Sex​—New Perspectives on Human Evolution, by Charles E. Oxnard, 1987, Preface, pp. xi, xii.
  3. From Lucy to Language, by Donald Johanson and Blake Edgar, 1996, p. 22.
  4. Anthropologie, XLII/​1, “Palaeodemography and Dental Microwear of Homo Habilis From East Africa,” by Laura M. Martínez, Jordi Galbany, and Alejandro Pérez-Pérez, 2004, p. 53.
  5. In Search of Deep Time​—Beyond the Fossil Record to a New History of Life, p. 22.
  6. Critique of Anthropology, Volume 29(2), “Patenting Hominins​—Taxonomies, Fossils and Egos,” by Robin Derricourt, 2009, pp. 195-196, 198.
  7. Nature, “A New Species of Great Ape From the Late Miocene Epoch in Ethiopia,” by Gen Suwa, Reiko T. Kono, Shigehiro Katoh, Berhane Asfaw, and Yonas Beyene, August 23, 2007, p. 921.
  8. Acta Biologica Szegediensis, Volume 46(1-2), “New Findings​—New Problems in Classification of Hominids,” by Gyula Gyenis, 2002, pp. 57, 59.
  9. New Scientist, “A Fine Fossil​—But a Missing Link She’s Not,” by Chris Bead, May 30, 2009, p. 18.
  10. The Guardian, London, “Fossil Ida: Extraordinary Find Is ‘Missing Link’ in Human Evolution,” by James Randerson, May 19, 2009, (http://​www.guardian.co.uk/​science/​2009/ may/​19/​ida-fossil-missing-link), accessed 8/25/2009.
  11. New Scientist, May 30, 2009, pp. 18-19.
  12. Critique of Anthropology, Volume 29(2), p. 202.
  13. Science and Justice, Vol. 43, No. 4, (2003) section, Forensic Anthropology, “Anthropological Facial ‘Reconstruction’​—Recognizing the Fallacies, ‘Unembracing’ the Errors, and Realizing Method Limits,” by C. N. Stephan, p. 195.
  14. The Human Fossil Record​—Volume Three, by Ralph L. Holloway, Douglas C. Broadfield, and Michael S. Yuan, 2004, Preface xvi.
  15. Scientific American Mind, “Intelligence Evolved,” by Ursula Dicke and Gerhard Roth, August/​September 2008, p. 72.
  16. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, “How Neandertals Inform Human Variation,” by Milford H. Wolpoff, 2009, p. 91.
  17. Conceptual Issues in Human Modern Origins Research, Editors G. A. Clark and C. M. Willermet, 1997, pp. 5, 60.
  18. Wonderful Life​—The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, by Stephen Jay Gould, 1989, p. 28.

 

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