Continued from Part I

Abiogenesis or life from non-life. The first pillar supporting Darwinian evolution. 
A is not. Bio is life. Genesis is beginnings.

At one point in the history of our planet, there was no life. Then at another point, there was life. Where did this first life come from? If you are an evolutionist then that life must have started by accident, but how could that happen?

Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA who is also a staunch evolutionist wrote a memo as a warning to his fellow researchers, “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”1 I have to ask why do they have to keep that in mind? What is staring them in the face that they can’t come to grips with? The answer is a grand designer, because if you have a grand designer, then we are answerable to someone, a creator. 

In 1953, Stanley Miller created a mix of chemicals that were to represent our earth’s early atmosphere in the laboratory. Miller then sent pulses of electrical current through the chemical mixtures for several days to represent possible lightning strikes. A thick tar coated the flasks and within this tar Miller found some amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. In turn, proteins are necessary for life.2 Researchers today reject this experiment because the mixture he used that was to represent our earth’s atmosphere, (methane and ammonia), was greatly inaccurate.3 According to Scientific American, the early earth atmosphere was mostly nitrogen with a mix of carbon, methane, water and vast amounts of water vapor.4

Even if the artificial atmosphere conditions Miller created in the lab were accurate, the problem of amino acids forming to create a protein was even more problematic. For amino acids to form a protein chain, they must lose a molecule of water, and with water being so abundant on earth you have another hill to overcome. On top of that, amino acids dissolve in water, and water is one of the necessary ingredients for an accurate representation of an early earth’s atmosphere.5

Some may say the Miller experiment is over 60 years old, only old textbooks reference it any more. That is rubbish, with just a couple minutes on the Internet you will land several current references to the Miller-Urey experiment without any mention of the flaws. Just do a Google search for Stanley Miller and at the top of the list is encyclopedia Britannica and the article on Miller highlights his experiment without any mention of its flaws.6

PBS mentions Stanley Miller and the idea of Panspermia, which is life on earth was seeded from another planet.7 Of course, that just pushes back the dilemma a step; how life initially began is still not answered because if life on earth was seeded then we need to ask how life began from whence it was seeded?

Darwin recognized many of the shortcomings of his theory. In the Origin of Species, in chapter 6 titled Difficulties on Theory he wrote, “These difficulties and objections may be classed under the following heads:—

Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms?

“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Most people who quote that statement of Darwin stop there and never include the next sentence. At first glance, you would think that Darwin is expressing great doubts about his theory, but what most leave out is, “But I can find out no such case.”8

I don’t want to be accused of cherry-picking quotes and pulling them out of context. Darwin certainly saw obstacles with his theory, but he also felt they could be resolved. Why? In part, because the cell was a black box and he had no idea what was within it, let alone the DNA instructions within the nucleus which can contain about 3 billion bases.

Not only is the single cell a complex powerhouse, but so is the code within DNA that is found in the nucleus of the cell. DNA relies on proteins for its production, but proteins rely on DNA for their production. So which came first the chicken or the egg?

Exactly one hundred years before I was born Darwin published ‘On the Origin of Species’. At that time Darwin had no idea how complex the cell was. Michael Behe wrote Darwin’s Black Box in reference to the cell and what Darwin did not know 100 years ago. 

In the 1700’s the first crude microscopes were assembled and Galileo used one to discover the compound eyes of certain insects. Robert Hooke found cells in plant life and cork, he was also the first to use the word, ‘cell’. A couple decades later Leeuwenhoek, a self-taught Dutch scientist discovered bacteria.

In the 1800’s Matthias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann researched the cell and they both realized that all life was made up of this tiny unit. Schleiden wrote, “Thus the primary question is, what is the origin of this peculiar little organism, the cell?”9 A few years later when Darwin published his famous work, the cell was still a puzzle, a mysterious black box.

But technology had its limits. The microscope due to physical limitation cannot resolve two points that are closer than 1/2 of the wavelength of the light we use to see them. Once the electron microscope was invented in 1930’s and researchers began using it in the 1950’s the black box became a detailed structure. What was seeming simple became amazingly complex. As the decades rolled on we discovered the cell was far from the smallest component. With the discovery of atoms and biochemical advances, a new challenge to Darwinian evolution began to take shape.10

For many of you, when you hear the term Black Box, you think of the flight data recorder, (FDR) that records the cockpit conversations and flight data of all commercial aircraft. When there has been an accident, one of the first clues to what caused the accident that investigators look for is the aircraft’s black box.

For obvious reasons, flight data recorders are designed to be very durable, since the data would be lost in weak or flimsy containers. FDR’s are wrapped in titanium or steel, with a shock resistant insulation that enables them to survive impacts of over 300 mph and continue to transmit for up to a month. They can also endure temperatures of over 1000 degrees and still operate at -55 degrees. FDR’s are also equipped with underwater locator beacons that can transmit at depths of 20,000 feet. It is pretty amazing if you think about what those black boxes can take, and still provide valuable information to help solve some aircraft accidents that happen every year.

Darwin’s Black Box, has nothing to do with the black boxes we find in commercial aircraft, but simply the biological cell. Back in Darwin’s day, the cell was a black box to scientists. They could see it do some amazing things but had no idea how. The cell and its inner working parts and functions was a black box to science in the 1850’s. Science could not peer into it and see its marvelous design, let alone understand what parts molecules or atoms played in the world of microbiology.

In his book Behe coined the term “irreducible complexity” and explained it this way, “By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”11 In other words, all the parts are needed for the system to work. If just one part of the machine was missing or not functioning as it should, then the machine would be destroyed or rendered useless.

For example, should an aircraft’s FDR fail to survive the impact, then all the data is lost. Should an FDR fail to resist the high temperatures of a crash, the data is lost. Should the FDR locator beacon fail, the data could be lost. Should the FDR fail to resist water pressures, the data is lost. The point I am trying to make is if any of the systems that are designed to keep the data safe, fail in the event of an accident, the data is lost. That is what Dr. Michael Behe is talking about in an irreducibly complex system. Should any of the parts not work, the whole system will malfunction. He gave another, even better example, a mousetrap. The mousetrap has a base, hammer, spring, (to move the hammer), a holding bar, and a catch, (where you put the cheese).

Each of these parts are necessary for the mousetrap to function. Should you lack the base, you have nothing to mount the other parts on. Should you lack the hammer, you have nothing to kill the mouse with. Should you lack the spring, you have nothing to give the hammer its force. Should you lack the holding bar, you have nothing to hold the hammer back in its position to strike. Should you lack the catch, you have nothing to trigger, or even to attract the mouse to the trap. Each and every part is necessary for the mousetrap to work.

You might be asking what this has to do with the abiogenesis. Dr. Behe found quite a few irreducibly complex biological systems, and one of them he focused on was the bacterial flagellum. The bacterial flagellum uses an outboard motor system to move about and it has quite a few different parts, but if even one of these parts is missing or not functioning, it will not work.

Studies have shown that about 40 different protein parts are needed for the flagellum to function in the cell. Not only are all the protein parts required for the flagellum to function, they have to be added in the correct order, otherwise it will not function. So like the mousetrap, the bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex, and science cannot explain how this is possible in an evolutionary fashion.

Irreducibly complex systems are a real enigma for Darwinists because it takes a system that functions for natural selection to make improvements on it. How could life begin with a system as complex as the cell without first being an irreducibly complex system?

Stay tuned for Part III

Every time I write a paper on the origin of life, I swear I will never write another one, because there is too much speculation running after too few facts. – Francis Crick

 

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Why I Don’t Believe in Evolution – Part II by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Sources:

  1. Geisler, Norman. Turek, Frank. “The First Life: Natural Law or Divine Awe?” I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be an Atheist Crossway. 2004.
  2. Behe, Michael J. Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press: New York, 2006. Print.
  3. House, Wayne H. Intelligent Design 101. Grand Rapids: Kregl Publications, 2008, Print.
  4. Emspak, Jesse. “Early Earth’s Atmosphere was Surprisingly Thin.” Scientificamerican.com Scientific American, 14 May 2016 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/early-earth-s-atmosphere-was-surprisingly-thin/
  5. House, Wayne H. Intelligent Design 101. Grand Rapids: Kregl Publications, 2008, Print.
  6. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Stanley Miller.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 28 Feb. 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/Stanley-Lloyd-Miller.
  7. KCTS Television. “Meteorites & Life. Did We Come From Comet Dust?” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 2005, www.pbs.org/exploringspace/meteorites/murchison/page5.html.
  8. Darwin, Charles. “Difficulties on Theory.” On the Origin of Species. Or the Preservation of the Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Down, Bromley, Kent. 1859. pg 189. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1228/1228-h/1228-h.htm
  9. Behe, Michael. “Lilliputian Biology.” The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press, 2006. pgs. 6-11 Print.
  10. Behe, Michael. “Lilliputian Biology.” The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press, 2006. pgs. 6-11. Print.
  11. Behe, Michael. “Lilliputian Biology.” The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press, 2006. pgs. 6-11. Print.
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