I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY
FROM THE DUST OF THE EARTH
THE ORIGIN OF LIFE
No discussion of the world as it exists today
would be complete without an overview of the origin of life itself. The
questions concerning how life began are complex from a scientific viewpoint,
but when viewed at the most basic level, it comes down to two questions
"Did life begin by chance?" or Did life begin through
the power of a supernatural source?" "How did life itself get
started?" is the question that has concerned many scientists, past
and present. Even the most diehard evolutionist must come to grasp with
the difficulties concerning life arising by chance. There are many theories
and explanations given out by philosophers and scientists alike, but life
coming from non-living matter has yet to be recreated in any lab or by
mankind willing it to happen.
1 WORLD VIEW Vs. BIBLICAL VIEW
For thousands of years, two world views have dominated
thought as to the meaning of the universe and all that we observe within
it. The first as expressed in the Bible is...
1) God created the universe, space, time, matter,
The second world view has been perhaps best stated
by Carl Sagan in his book Cosmos' and is..
2) "The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was,
or ever will be".
It is interesting to note that both world views
express the eternal but are opposed in outlook. The first view states
that God is eternal, existed before the present universe, and outside
of it. The second view states that there is nothing outside the dimensions
of space or time, everything that exists is a result of natural forces.
The first view is one of design by a higher power, the second is one of
When considering the origin of life, the same two
world views apply. The Bible is constant in its assertion that God is
the creator of life. The world however, puts forth the concept that random
chance resulted in life.
Lets apply the equations used earlier that express
the two world views "mathematically",
INTELLIGENT DESIGN FORMULA
Matter + Energy + Information (from God) = LIFE
Matter + Energy + Chance Chemistry = LIFE
THE SOFTWARE OF LIFE
To review some of the information covered earlier,
in the living world, both plant and animal, we find that all living systems
are made up of both hardware and software. Living systems are constructed
of elements that are literally found in the non-living "dust of the
earth". These elements are connected into the physical form of each
living entity. But what makes one entity different from all others? The
answer is found in the software of life which is contained within the
DNA strands of each molecule of every living system. Remember that earlier
in this study, any theory of how creatures "evolved" on the
earth had to consider and explain how those changes occurred within the
DNA molecule. Science is quite aware that DNA stores an incredible amount
of information. In fact, when examined in detail, DNA is the most complex
software package known to exist, as recognized in the quote from Bill
Gates. DNA stores the information not only for building a living system
from scratch' but also the information for the day-to-day operation
of that living system.
Just as any theory of the evolution had to explain
DNA, any theory on the origin of life must be able to explain not only
the origin of life's hardware, but also the origin of the extremely complex
coded information found in the DNA strands of all living systems. No computer
is able to function without the software that runs it. In like manner,
a construct of earth dust' is will not be alive without the software
that tells it how to function, both must be present for life to be present.
AGAIN, A DISCUSSION OF THE COMPLEXITY OF DNA
All living systems use DNA and RNA (RNA is composed
of short strands that are only one side of the ladder' structure
of DNA) to produce and reproduce the proteins that make up a living creature.
DNA itself reproduces itself by the use of approximately 20 different
protein enzymes. In a human cell, approximately 6 billion information
pairs are reproduced in 15 to 20 minutes. This is more information than
is found in most computer programs and is reproduced with incredible accuracy.
DNA transfers information to RNA which in turn leads to the manufacture
of proteins for both accurately reproducing itself and for the construction
and operation of living structures.
Here is the critical point of the preceding paragraph:
DNA must be reproduced through the use of proteins, but you can't make
proteins without DNA. This is the circular paradox - no proteins without
DNA and no DNA without proteins! It brings to mind the age old question
of which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Science has not considered that DNA arose by itself
in its complete form. Neither has science properly explained how simple
proteins arose by chance and much less so how random simple proteins acted
to produce DNA. Keep in mind too, that DNA by itself is not life. Science
has yet to produce a viable theory that explains the moment that life
came to be.
THEORIES ON HOW LIFE BEGAN
Possibly the earliest explanation of how life came
to be is still the dominant theory today for the scientific community:
Spontaneous Generation. What is spontaneous generation (S.G.)? In essence,
S.G. says that all of the required elements were by chance put together
one day and life happened.
That's what S.G. says, life just happened! This
was first proposed by the Greek Philosopher Anaximander, that life arose
from mud when exposed to light and that evolved into all life forms. Darwin
obviously did not come up with an original idea when he proposed his theory
of evolution. In the middle ages, it was believed that life (in the form
of molds and fungus) arose from soups and broth's, rats were produced
from piles of trash, and that fruit flies arose from fruit. It is easy
to see how a middle ages scientist' could believe this as they had
no knowledge of DNA or of the microscopic life all around them. Louis
Pasture's experiments put an end to the these middle age ideas when he
showed what was actually happening with a microscope. He also produced
the world's first antibiotic - penicillin.
Darwin in 1859 suggested that life arose in some
little pond as a result of sunlight acting on various organic salts. This
sounds like Darwin read the Greek Philosophers as it is essentially the
same explanation as Anaximander.
In the 1920's new theories about the origin of
life were put forth. I.A. Oparin and J. Haldane proposed that long ago,
life had arisen from non-life when the atmosphere was very different than
today. Ultraviolet light acting on a primitive atmosphere consisting of
water, ammonia, and methane, created a dilute soup that contained that
building blocks of life.
These building blocks of life are the proteins
we call amino acids. All proteins are made up of many amino acids. It
must be noted that Mr. Oparin and Mr. Haldane say that all of this happened
when the atmosphere was quite different than today. What was missing from
that early atmosphere, was oxygen. Consider the importance of oxygen?
Oxygen is vitally important to all life on the planet, virtually all life
must have it to exist today. However, during the time postulated by Oparin
and Haldane, oxygen would have had an interesting effect on non-living
proteins - it would have destroyed them. Through the process of oxidation
(rusting), oxygen destroys non-living proteins if allowed to act on them.
STANLEY MILLER AND HIS FAMOUS EXPERIMENT
In 1953, using the theories of Oparin and Haldane,
a graduate student named Stanley Miller performed an experiment that caused
enormous interest within the scientific community. This and the similar
experiments performed after Mr. Miller, are all called Spark and
Soup' experiments and are discussed in virtually every biology textbook
as evidence for life by random chance. Mr. Miller took a glass flask containing
boiling water, ammonia, methane, and hydrogen and caused electric arc
between two electrodes inside the flask. The idea was that mixture was
similar' to the primitive atmosphere and the electric spark simulated
lightning that would add energy to the mixture. He then let the mixture
or soup react with the electric spark for a number of days. What was produced
was considered to be amazing, a mixture that contained very simple amino
acids, the building blocks of life. The scientific community came to the
conclusion that HERE IS PROOF! Several went so far as to proclaim this
as evidence that random chemistry can produce living systems. The "spark
and soup" experiments are still the most important experiments to
the scientific community used as evidence to show that life could have
and did come from random chance.
AN EXAMINATION OF STANLEY MILLER"S EXPERIMENT
Could there possibly be any problems with the conclusions on Mr. Miller's
experiment? One must critically examine the results. Mr. Miller's experiment
produced the following chemicals - 85% tar, 13% carboxylic acid, two amino
acids- 1.05% glycine, 0.85% alanine, and trace amounts of other amino
acids and organic compounds. Two amino acids were indeed produced in measurable
amounts but there are many issues to be considered before the "spark
and soup" experiments can be used as evidence of random chance leading
to life. The following list touches on many problems not adequately considered
or explained by those who want to use Mr. Miller's experiment as proof
of life from chance.....
1) There is NO geochemical evidence anywhere that
the primordial soup ever existed. The chemical mixtures used as a starting
point are pure theory.
2) There is strong evidence that oxygen was abundant
on the early earth. When ultraviolet light acts on water, hydrogen gas
and oxygen gas are produced. If oxygen was present was present then no
organic compounds would be produced that would last. Another problem is
that if there was no oxygen, then there was no ozone layer and too much
ultraviolet light hits the earth's surface, also destroying any organic
compounds. To quote Michael Denton in "Evolution, a Theory in Crisis"
, "Here is a catch 22 situation, if oxygen was present then no organic
compounds. If oxygen wasn't present, then no organic compounds".
3) Atmospheric scientists have concluded that if
the early atmosphere was made of methane, ammonia, and hydrogen, it would
have been destroyed in a few thousand years. Not long enough to generate
4) The Miller soup that was created during the
experiment is extremely poisonous to living systems (who overlooked this
one). Had Stanley drunk the product of his experiment, he would never
have been able to publish his results. Amino acids bond far more readily
to carboxylic acids than they do to each other. This means that no long
chain proteins could have been produced, including and most importantly,
5) The action of water on amino acids causes them to break down. The water
produced in the experiment will destroy the proteins eventually.
6) The issue of "chirality" which will
be discussed in depth later. Chirality involves the "left-hand"
and "right-hand" nature of amino acids.
There are some in the scientific community who
have commented on the absurdity of using "spark and soup" experiments
to explain life by random chance. Robert Shapiro, a Ph.D. chemist, in
his book "Origins, a Skeptics Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth",
1986, pg. 105: "Let us sum up, the experiment performed by Miller
yielded tar as its most abundant product. There are approximately 50 compounds
called building blocks' of life. Only two of the 50 occurred in
Responding to reports that others had performed
the experiment and produced DNA nucleotides, Shapiro went on to say, "Regarding
the nucleotides of DNA and RNA, they have never been reported in any amount
in these spark and soup' experiments, yet a mythology has emerged
that maintains the opposite. I have seen several statements in scientific
sources that claim that proteins and nucleic acids themselves have been
produced. These errors reflect the operation of an entire belief system.
The facts do not support this belief. Such thoughts may be comforting,
but they run far ahead of any experimental validation".
Mr. Shapiro brings up two very important facts.
First, the amino acids that comprise the letters of the DNA code, have
never been produced in any of these experiments. No letters, no code.
Second, there is a belief system (or faith) in operation that is affecting
the "outcome" of scientific study.
The problems discussed above are only some of the
issues against random generation of the proteins that make up living systems.
Next we will discuss a huge problem facing the random generation believing
community - the subject of chirality.