GOD AND SCIENCE ARE NOT ENEMIES - PART III
A final look at the fascinating book “The Case for a Creator,” by Lee Strobel. This time in the field of biology.
One of the biggest discussion points is the issue of how life actually started. How did we get from lifeless chemicals, to the simplest single-cell organisms? One famous experiment, by Stanley Miller in 1953, claimed to have simulated the creation of life by “zapping” an approximation of the primordial soup with electricity. This formed amino acids, which are the raw material of protein molecules, which in turn are the building blocks of cells. For a while, this experiment was held to provide solid evidence that life could have been the result of random chemical interactions, thereby removing the need for a Creator.
When the dust settled however, it was discovered that Miller’s recipe for the primordial soup was almost definitely wrong, and that if we were to replay the experiment with a more accurate recipe, no amino acids would be formed. The levels of nitrogen required to form amino acids were most likely not present in the soup. Additionally, Miller’s experiment produced only 2 or 3 of the protein-forming amino acids out of the 22 that exist. Yet another problem was that the amino acids that did develop, promptly reacted with other chemicals in the soup to form a brown sludge that was very unfriendly to the development of life.
It has been calculated that, for one protein molecule to form by random chance, the odds would be 1 in 100,000 trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion! And a single, minimally complex cell requires somewhere between 300 – 500 protein molecules!
This led biochemist Franklin M. Harold to say “We should reject, as a matter of principle, the substitution of intelligent design for the dialogue of chance and necessity; but we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical system, only a variety of wishful speculations.” As a sidebar, I have to say I admire the man’s faith! By his own description, you need a lot more faith to believe in pre-biotic natural selection, than to believe in God.
Let’s just say we get over the hump of life actually starting, there remains another fascinating hurdle for Darwinian evolution – something called irreducible complexity. Think of an eye. It has thousands of working parts. And the eye will not work at all without a large number of those parts. Darwinian evolution states that random mutations occur in life forms all the time, and those that are beneficial to the mutant give it an increased chance of survival, therefore an increased chance of procreating its own (mutated) genes, therefore spreading its mutation out into the species, thereby making the mutation mainstream. The problem is this – the chances of a life form without an eye, mutating an entire eye all at once, are so astronomical as to be safely in the realms of fantasy. The thousands of components that make up an eye would need to be mutated separately – and no single part of an eye is beneficial to a life form by itself. A mutation that was just one part of an eye would not give the creature a survival advantage, therefore it is highly unlikely that the mutation would be perpetuated into the mainstream of the species. A mutation of one part of an eye would die out before a second part of an eye was mutated, let alone the thousands of parts required for an eye to actually work and become an advantage for the life form. It is impossible for an eye to evolve under the rules of natural selection.
And it doesn’t just apply to incredibly complex things like eyes. The example of a flagellum is quoted in the book. This little thingy acts like an outboard motor for bacteria, and requires 30 – 35 proteins to form. Some of these proteins form the propeller (which, incidentally, can rotate at 10,000rpm – try getting the family sedan up there and see what mess you make!), others attach the propeller to the driveshaft, and others act as bushes, so that the driveshaft can penetrate the bacterial wall and connect to a “motor” inside! Each of these proteins would need to form by evolutionary mutation, and would be useless without the other proteins. It seems that natural selection is not really viable at the molecular level either.
I’ll finish with three great quotes contained in the book:
Darwin himself was honest enough to say in The Origin of the Species, “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.”
George Sim Johnson, writing in the Wall Street Journal, said “Human DNA contains more organised information than the Encyclopaedia Britannica. If the full text of the encyclopaedia were to arrive in computer code from outer space, most people would regard this as proof of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. But when seen in nature, it is explained as the workings of random forces.”
Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA, said “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”
And finally, a MISQUOTE from the December 31, 1999 issue of Time Magazine, and a quote from the Bible:
“Charles Darwin didn’t want to murder God, as he once put it. Don’t worry, Charlie, you’re off the hook!”
“The wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” Isaiah 29:14.
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