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Part I   Part III

In Part II, I want to address the first necessary pillar for Darwinian Evolution: Abiogenesis, or life from non-life.

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? A grand designer? Of course, if you have a grand designer, then we are answerable to someone, a creator.

In 1953, Stanley Miller created a mix of chemicals 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.((Behe, Michael J. Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press: New York, 2006. Print.)) Researchers today reject this experiment because the mixture he used to represent our earth’s atmosphere (methane and ammonia) was largely inaccurate.((House, Wayne H. Intelligent Design 101. Grand Rapids: Kregl Publications, 2008, Print.)) According to Scientific American, the early earth atmosphere mainly was nitrogen with a mix of carbon, methane, water, and vast amounts of water vapor.((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/))

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, one of the necessary ingredients for accurately representing an early earth’s atmosphere.((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/))

Some may say the Miller experiment is over 60 years old, and only old textbooks reference it anymore. That is rubbish. With just a couple of minutes on the Internet, you will land several current references to the Miller-Urey experiment and no mention of the errors. You can also Google 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.((Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Stanley Miller.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 28 Feb. 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/Stanley-Lloyd-Miller.))

Even PBS mentions Stanley Miller and the idea of Panspermia, which is life on earth was seeded from another planet.((KCTS Television. “Meteorites & Life. Did We Come From Comet Dust?” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 2005, www.pbs.org/exploringspace/meteorites/murchison/page5.html.)) 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 still need to ask how life started from another location. 

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:

  • On the absence or rarity of transitional varieties.
  • On the origin and transitions of organic beings with peculiar habits and structure.
  • Organs of extreme perfection and complication.
  • Organs of little apparent importance.

Darwin continued, “Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms?”((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))

Finally, his famous quite that many are familiar with, “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.”((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))

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 were not insurmountable. Why? Because the cell was a black box, 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, which Michael Behe pointed out when he wrote Darwin’s Black Box, which helped launch the Intelligent Design movement. Behe’s efforts landed his book on the National Review’s list of the twentieth century’s 100 most important nonfiction works.

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 aircraft 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 we would lose the data in weak or flimsy containers. Wrapped in titanium or steel with shock-resistant insulation, FDR can survive impacts of over 300 mph and continue to transmit for up to a month. They can also endure temperatures of over 1000 degrees, operate at -55 degrees, and are equipped with underwater locator beacons that can transmit at depths of 20,000 feet. It is incredible to think about what punishment those black boxes can take and still provide valuable information to help solve aircraft accidents every year.

Dr. Michael Behe’s book had nothing to do with the black boxes we find in commercial aircraft but simply the biological cell. They could see the cell do some fantastic things but had no idea how. The cell and its inner working parts and functions were a black box to science in the 1850s. Science could not peer into 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.”((Behe, Michael. “Lilliputian Biology.” The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press, 2006. pgs. 6-11. Print.)) 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 rendered useless.

Back to the Flight Data Recorders, all the data is lost should an aircraft’s FDR fail to survive the impact. Should an FDR fail to resist the high temperatures of a crash, the information is lost. Should the FDR locator beacon fail, the data could be lost. The data is lost if the FDR fails to resist crushing water pressures. If any systems fail that are designed to keep the data safe, the information is lost. That is what Dr. Michael Behe is talking about in an irreducibly complex system. Should any parts not work, the whole system fails. 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. Without the base, you have nothing to mount the other parts on. Without the hammer, you have nothing to kill the mouse with. Should you lack the spring, you have nothing to give the hammer its force. Missing the holding bar, you have nothing to hold the hammer back in its position to strike. Missing the catch, you have nothing to trigger or even place the bait on 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 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 work, but they also 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.((Behe, Michael. “Lilliputian Biology.” The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press, 2006. pgs. 6-11. Print.))

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

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

Part III


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Why I am not an Evolutionist – Part II by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://christianapologetics.blog/.

 

  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. []

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