“Researchers Solve Puzzle of Origin of Life on Earth”. That was the headline of an article published on SciTechDaily.com just a few days ago. It reports the findings of a team of researchers from the University of Washington, recently published in “The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”. The problem is that the headline just isn’t true. Their research hasn’t even come close to solving the puzzle of how life originated on Earth – and they know it! It’s yet another case of deliberate deception on the part of atheist scientists who are determined to prove the possibility of life evolving without supernatural intervention. Let me explain.
THE GREAT EVOLUTIONARY STUMBLING BLOCK
The greatest stumbling block for the theory of evolution has always been to explain how the first living cells developed in the very beginning; how inanimate chemicals gave rise to living cells through natural, chance processes. Because if evolution is true and there is no God, then that is what must have happened. Proving HOW this could have happened has become the holy grail of evolutionary theory.
Earlier last century the concept of lightning striking a primordial soup of chemicals was thought to be sufficient, but as time has passed and the fields of genetics and microbiology have progressed, the absurdity of that proposition has become increasingly apparent. The single cell is now understood to be literally millions of times more complex than the naïve scientists of the early 20th century envisaged.
This is not a scientific paper, but let me give you a very basic overview of the complexity of the single cell.
THE MOLECULAR COMPLEXITY OF THE CELL
Dr. George Javor, professor of biochemistry at Loma Linda University, California, has calculated the following statistics regarding the number and type of molecular components inside a single E. coli cell (G.T. Javor, Loma Linda University, grisda.org/origins/25002.htm):[i]
- 4 million protein molecules made up of 4,000 different types of proteins
- 255,000 nucleic acid molecules made up of 660 different types of nucleic acids
- 4 million polysaccharide molecules (a type of sugar) made up of 3 different types
- 22 million lipid (fat) molecules made up of 100 different types
- As yet uncounted millions of metabolic intermediate molecules made up of 800 different types
- As yet uncounted millions of mineral molecules made up of 30 different types
So, a single E. coli cell has 26 million functioning molecules, comprised of approximately 4,750 different types of molecules. But that’s just the start of a cell’s complexity. Because these intra-cellular molecules are not merely inanimate building blocks of the cell’s physical structure, they are incredibly complex molecular machines, carrying out a stunning array of mechanical tasks within the cell. Contrary to what scientists believed at the beginning of last century, there is no such thing as a ‘simple’ cell. Cells are now understood to be extraordinarily sophisticated biological factories, teeming with hundreds of tiny molecular machines scurrying throughout the cell, carrying out hundreds of specialised tasks, all of which are essential for the cell to function effectively and remain viable. And ALL of these molecular machines had to come into existence SIMULTANEOUSLY in order for a cell to be a living thing.
(Harvard University Biology Department have produced a fascinating computer enhanced video of the inside of a single human cell, depicting the myriad of molecular machines moving and working together. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJyUtbn0O5Y])
Not only is a cell teeming with these molecular machines, but these machines are interdependent. For a cell to be a living, functioning, viable entity, ALL of these molecular machines had to come into existence SIMULTANEOUSLY. Thus, scientists now describe the humble cell as ‘irreducibly complex’. Take any of these molecular machines away from the cell, and it ceases to be a viable, living cell.
THE SOPHISTICATED PROGRAMMING OF THE CELL
Furthermore, these intra-cellular molecular machines are activated by super-sophisticated coding that programs not only their inter-dependent functioning, but also their initial construction and ongoing repair. DNA is the “computer coding” that resides within the nucleus of almost every cell in your body. It is the complete instruction manual of how to build every component of your body, how to repair it when bits break and how to ensure its ongoing proper functioning. It is a vastly complex piece of code. It contains 3.2 billion “letters” which are combined to spell out very specific genetic instructions, built into a biological construct in the shape of a spiralling double helix. To give you an idea of how much information is in human DNA, the Encyclopedia Britannica has 200 million letters across 32 volumes. Human DNA, by comparison, has 3.2 billion letters – that is approximately 16 sets of the 32 volume Encyclopedia Britannica! And all of that information resides in the nucleus of every living cell in your body!
The Human Genome Project was an international research project aimed at mapping the exact sequence of base pairs (or “letters”) within the entire human DNA. It was an enormous task and remains, to this day, the largest collaborative biological project ever undertaken. Starting in 1990, using the most sophisticated computers available and involving hundreds of geneticists from around the world, it took until 2003 until the entire DNA sequence was mapped. It took 13 years, with the best available computers running 24/7, to determine the exact order of all 3.2 billion base pairs within our DNA! That is how vast and complex the operating software is within every cell (with a couple of exceptions)!
And evolutionary theory cannot propose ANY MEANS by which even ONE WORD of that coding could have come into existence via random chemical reactions.
You see, a single cell is not a simple blob of protoplasm as it was once thought to be. It is an irreducibly complex molecular factory governed and directed by a software program that is more sophisticated than any computer program devised by humankind. And evolutionary theory offers NO EXPLANATION how such a complex software program could have come into existence through random reactions of inanimate chemicals.
STATISTICAL IMPOSSIBILITY OF ABIOGENESIS
The late Dr. Sir Fred Hoyle stated that the single cell is so unbelievably complex that the chance of it forming from non-living matter by natural chemical processes is “greater than the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a fully functioning 747.”
Dr Hoyle estimated the chance of just one simple protein molecule forming by pure chance from chemical reactions has been calculated as 1 in 10 to the power of 195. Furthermore, he calculated the probability of a fully functioning cell, with its millions of interdependent molecular machines, forming by itself to be 1 in 10 to the power of 40,000. To put that in perspective, the supposed age of the universe (13.7 billion years) in seconds is only 10 to the power of 120.
Subsequent probability estimates have been even less favourable. Biophysicist Dr. Harold Morowitz more recently estimated that the chance creation of a living cell from natural processes is 1 in 10 to the power of 10 BILLION.
And, of course, all these probability estimates are only dealing with the formation of the physical structures within a cell (molecular protein machines); they do not even begin to factor in the creation of the living cell’s complex DNA software, FOR WHICH THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION AT ALL! That is because the huge amount of information and complex instruction in DNA can only have originated from AN INTELLIGENT MIND. Dead chemicals don’t write computer programs!
Dr Dean Kenyon, Professor Emeritus of Biology at San Francisco University was once a committed evolutionist, and even co-authored the evolutionist textbook, ‘Biochemical Evolution’ in 1969. But as the science of biology progressed and the irreducible complexity of the single cell became increasingly apparent, he abandoned evolutionary theory as scientifically untenable and became convinced that abiogenesis – the creation of life from non-life via chance natural processes – was impossible. He wrote:
“I no longer believe that life arose spontaneously from non-living matter.” (Kenyon, D., Foreword to What is Creation Science? by Henry Morris, San Diego, Creation-Life Publishers, pp. i-iii, 1982.)
THAT MISLEADING AND DECEPTIVE HEADLINE
So, let’s return to the momentous headline that recently appeared in various science journals and online science magazines: “Researchers Solve Puzzle of Origin of Life on Earth”. What was their momentous discovery? Have they discovered how the first cell formed? Has the holy grail of evolution finally been uncovered?
No. All that they discovered was that by adding RNA molecules to fatty acid cell membranes, the cell membranes became more durable and less likely to deteriorate in salty ionised solutions such as might have been present on ancient Earth. To put it more simply, they took a PRE-EXISTING RNA molecule and added it to a PRE-EXISTING cell membrane and noticed that the cell membrane became more durable. They did not artificially produce ANY PART of a functioning cell, nor did they show how these components could come into existence by themselves!
At the end of the researchers’ paper they stated that their next step is to try to work out how individual protein molecules could “bind to each other and form functional machines” (quoted in scitechdaily.com).
My response would be to say to them, “Good luck with that! Because THAT is the essence of the puzzle you claim to have solved, and you have just admitted that you really haven’t even BEGUN to solve it!”
This kind of gross exaggeration and deception in public scientific announcements is, sadly, not unusual. In 2015, sciencemag.org published an article entitled, “Researchers May Have Solved Origin of Life Conundrum”. Without going into the complexities of the paper, it too was a complete over-exaggeration which provided NO EXPLANATION as to how a simple cell with its millions of functioning molecular machines and its unbelievably complex software coding could have arisen.
SCIENTISTS CONTINUE TO BE BAFFLED
Today, as of this very moment, the scientific community remains completely baffled as to how life could have originated via natural means:
“The novelty and complexity of the cell is so far beyond anything inanimate in the world today that we are left baffled by how it was achieved.” (Dr. M. W. Kirschner, professor and chair, department of systems biology, Harvard Medical School, USA.).
“We must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.” (Dr. M. Harold Franklin, Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Colorado State University.)
“The biggest gap in evolutionary theory remains the origin of life itself… the gap between such a collection of molecules [amino acids and RNA] and even the most primitive cell remains enormous.”(Dr. Chris Wills, professor of biology at the University of California, USA.)
“We are as much in the dark today about the pathway from nonlife to life as Charles Darwin was when he wrote, ‘It is mere rubbish thinking at present of the origin of life; one might as well think of the origin of matter.’”(Dr. Paul Davies, director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University.)
THE ORIGIN OF LIFE EXPLAINED
Of course, there is a very simple and obvious explanation for the origin of life. This explanation has actually been around for a very long time. And it makes perfect sense. You can find this explanation in the first verse of the Bible:
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
The complexity of the single cell, with its myriad of interdependent molecular machines and its enormous library of detailed operating instructions cries out for an Intelligent Designer. In fact, the more science discovers about genetics and microbiology, the more the concept of abiogenesis (non-life giving rise to life) becomes an utter nonsense.
For more information, I highly recommend the following resources:
“No More Monkey Business: Evolution in Crisis”, Kevin Simington (smartfaith.net and Amazon)
“Evolution Impossible”, John Ashton (Amazon)