[Home] [Site map] [Updates] [Projects] [Contents; 1. Introduction; 2. Philosophy (1), (2), (3), (4) & (5); 3. Religion (1) & (2); 4. History (1), (2) & (3); 5. Science; 6. Environment (1), (2) & (3); 7. Origin of life (1) & (2); 8. Cell & Molecular (1), (2) & (3); 9. Mechanisms (1), (2) & (3); 10. Fossil Record; 11. `Fact' of Evolution; 12. Plants; 13. Animals; 14. Man (1) & (2); 15. Social; 16. Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography A-C, D-F, G-I, J-M, N-S, T-Z]
"PROBLEMS OF EVOLUTION": 7. ORIGIN OF LIFE (3) 1. Evolutionists have no explanation for the origin of life 2. Problems of Miller-Urey experiments 3. The problem of the naturalistic origin of life 4. Problems for all naturalistic origin of life theories 5. Problems of origin of life approaches 6. Problems of origin of life locations 1. Aqueous (watery) environments 1. Condensation reactions 2. Ocean 1. Oceanic organic `soup' 1. Too dilute 2. Ocean sediment 3. Ponds, pools, lakes, etc 1. Volcanic pools 4. Panspermia 7. Life still cannot be synthesised in a laboratory 8. No evidence of extraterrestrial life 9. The more known about life, the harder it is to imagine how it arose
"PROBLEMS OF EVOLUTION": 7. ORIGIN OF LIFE (3) 6. Problems of origin of life locations 1. Aqueous (watery) environments 1. Condensation reactions"Condensation reactions. Once prebiotic compounds (such as amino acids, sugars, and nucleotide bases) assemble and accumulate to form either global or localized `primordial soups,' the stage is set for the next phase of life development. In this phase, prebiotic compounds react with one another to form more complex molecules that eventually result in important biomolecules, including proteins and nucleic acids (RNA and DNA). These biomolecules consist of chainlike structures that form when smaller subunit molecules link together. Chemists refer to reactions thought to have produced complex biomolecules on early Earth as `condensation reactions.' When condensation reactions take place, the reactants collectively lose two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom in the form of a water molecule. For example, if two glycine molecules (amino acids) condense, the product is diglycine and a water molecule. Because water is a by-product, condensation reactions are thermodynamically prohibited in an aqueous environment, such as a prebiotic soup." (Rana F.R. & Ross H.N., "Origins of Life: Biblical And Evolutionary Models Face Off," Navpress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004 p.52)[top] 2. Ocean 1. Oceanic organic `soup' 1. Too dilute"Concentrating Little Ponds. The realization that an organic soup would have been too dilute for direct formation of polymers may seem devastating to chemical evolution views. However, as Bernal has written, `The original concept of the primitive soup must be rejected only in so far as it applies to oceans or large volumes of water, and interest must be transferred to reactions in more limited zones.' [Bernal J.D., `Thermodynamics and kinetics of spontaneous generation,' Nature, Vol. 186, 28 May 1960, p.694]. By this he meant lakes, pools, lagoons, and the like." (Thaxton C.B., Bradley W.L. & Olsen R.L., "The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories," , Lewis & Stanley: Dallas TX, 1992, Second Printing, pp.61- 62. Emphasis original)[top] 2. Ocean sedimentBBC 23 February, 2005 ... "Ancient life thrives in the deep" These bacteria may affect some of the Earth's geological processes Our planet's murky deep sea sediments are a buzzing hotbed of life .... Scientists suggest between 60 to 70% of all bacteria live deep beneath the surface of the Earth, far from the Sun's life- giving rays. Some of the new bacteria identified are about 16 million years old, surviving 400 metres below the sea bed. This hostile habitat might be where life first evolved more than 3.8 billion years ago, researchers believe. "There is evidence that life evolved in the deep sediments," [said] ... John Parkes. "There is clear evidence that life existed more than 3.8 billion years ago. Although, for there to be a big enough biomass for us to detect it in the rocks, it must have been evolving long before that." But before that time, the surface of the Earth was a brutal place, battered by space rocks and volcanic eruptions. So, Dr Parkes thinks deep sediments may have been the kindest place for life to begin. "It might be that life was developing in the sub- surface long before [3.8 billion years] where it was protected from meteorite impacts," he said. "And as soon as the surface of the Earth became more hospitable, the bacteria were able to move up and colonise it." ...[top] 3. Ponds, pools, lakes, etc"Concentrating Little Ponds. The realization that an organic soup would have been too dilute for direct formation of polymers may seem devastating to chemical evolution views. However, as Bernal has written, `The original concept of the primitive soup must be rejected only in so far as it applies to oceans or large volumes of water, and interest must be transferred to reactions in more limited zones.' [Bernal J.D., `Thermodynamics and kinetics of spontaneous generation,' Nature, Vol. 186, 28 May 1960, p.694]. By this he meant lakes, pools, lagoons, and the like. These more limited zones might then have been the locus of life's origin rather than the ocean. The significance of these local places is their associated mechanisms for concentrating essential chemicals. By concentrating the monomers, the probability of their molecular interaction would have been increased, thus increasing reaction rates according to the law of mass action. ... Two mechanisms for concentrating organic chemicals in lakes, pools, lagoons, etc. have been suggested. These are (1) simple evaporation and (2) freezing the body of water. Both of these concentrating mechanisms have been suggested as playing a significant role in enhancing chemical evolution rates. ... Critique of Concentrating Mechanism. There is no known geological evidence for organic pools, concentrated by these or other mechanisms, ever existing on this planet. ... Still, if by some means concentrated pools did develop, not only would the desired materials concentrate, but also the undesirable impurities. For example, an evaporating pond concentrating nonvolatiles such as amino acids would also concentrate sea salts such as NaCl. ... Salt has greater affinity for water than do these organic compounds. Therefore, in order for the salt to be dissolved the organic compounds must precipitate out of solution. It is another type of `impurity,' however, that would have been the greatest obstacle to the successful concentration of organic compounds in limited zones. This would be the host of oceanic organic compounds such as amines, amino acids, aldehydes, ketones, sugars, carboxylic acids, etc. that would have destructively interacted in the ocean. The usual consequences of concentrating these would be, according to the law of mass action, merely an acceleration of the many destructive reactions (as well as the constructive reactions) that would also occur at slower rates in the more dilute ocean, as already discussed. ... Stemming from this discussion, however, it is our observation that what is needed is a natural *sorting* mechanism. The problem demands a means of selecting organic compounds and isolating them from other chemicals with which they could destructively interact. Yet there is nothing (but the need) to suggest that such a sorting mechanism ever existed on this planet. In other words, for these more limited zones (e.g., lakes, pools, lagoons), as for the ocean itself, it is difficult to imagine significant concentrations of essential organic compounds ever accumulating. As we have seen, degradative forces need to be taken into account in realistic estimates of concentrations, and they have frequently been ignored." (Thaxton C.B., Bradley W.L. & Olsen R.L., "The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories," , Lewis & Stanley: Dallas TX, 1992, Second Printing, pp.61-62,64-66. Emphasis original)[top] 1. Volcanic poolsLife on Earth `unlikely to have emerged in volcanic springs', The Royal Society,13 Feb 2006. The latest findings of experiments to re-create the conditions under which life could emerge from chemical reactions suggest that volcanic springs and marine hydrothermal events are unlikely to have provided the right environment, a leading researcher from the United States will tell an international meeting tomorrow (14 February 2006) at the Royal Society, the UK national academy of science. David Deamer, professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of California at Santa Cruz, will reveal his results to delegates at a two-day international scientific meeting on 'Conditions for the emergence of life on the early Earth'. His results, not yet published, were obtained from experiments carried out in the volcanic regions of Kamchatka, Russia, and Mount Lassen, California, USA. Ahead of his presentation, Professor Deamer said: "It is about 140 years since Charles Darwin suggested that life may have begun in a 'warm little pond'. We are now testing Darwin's idea, but in 'hot little puddles' associated with the volcanic regions of Kamchatka and Mount Lassen. "The results are surprising and in some ways disappointing. It seems that hot acidic waters containing clay do not provide the right conditions for chemicals to assemble themselves into 'pioneer organisms'. "We found that organic compounds like amino acids and the bases of DNA, which are the building blocks for life, became strongly held to the surfaces of clay particles in the volcanic pools in Kamchatka. Phosphate, another essential ingredient for life, also became held to the surface of the clay. We saw the same thing in a boiling pool at Mount Lassen. "The reason this is significant is that it has been proposed that clay promotes interesting chemical reactions relating to the origin of life. However, in our experiments, the organic compounds became so strongly held to the clay particles that they could not undergo any further chemical reactions. "In addition, when we introduced soap-like molecules into the pools, they did not form membranes, which would be required to form cells." Professor Deamer added: "We don't know what to make of this yet, but these results do appear to narrow down some of our ideas about where life could have begun. One possibility is that life really did begin in a 'warm little pond', but not in hot volcanic springs or marine hydrothermal vents." ... See also "Darwin's warm pond theory tested," BBC, 13 February 2006; Study pours cold water on Darwin's theory of life, The Times, February 14, 2006 & Theory of life's hot beginnings cools down under new research, The Australian, February 15, 2006..[top] 7. Life still cannot be synthesised in a laboratory Despite confident pronouncements by scientists at least as far back as 1946 that life will be created in a laboratory "in the not too distant future" (Eiseley, 1946, p.205), and in 1960 when "a highly distinguished international panel of experts ... All considered the experimental production of life in the laboratory imminent, and one maintained that this has already been done" (Simpson, 1960, p.969), "we have come nowhere near creating life in the laboratory" (Silver, 1998, p.339). Even with all the knowledge and tools of biotechnology, after over a half-century of trying, scientists still cannot synthesise life out of non-living matter in a laboratory (Horgan, 2002). "Certainly nobody has been able to cook up a primitive soup with water, salts, a few gases and ultraviolet light (or some other energy source) and let it stew away till a neat RNA replicating system arose from it (Crick, 1981, p.85)."But what if life is eventually created in a laboratory, by the application of high intelligence, and advanced 21st century technology? "...the fact that we can synthesize amino acids and nucleic acids from inorganic starting materials does not explain how life started. We are intelligent beings who can purposefully bring together chosen chemicals under carefully controlled conditions. This is very different from accounting for the spontaneous formation of living systems in an inanimate world empty of all intelligence. And we have come nowhere near creating life in the laboratory." (Silver, 1998, p.339) "But supposing that life could originate in the laboratory already hinted in the Miller-Urey experiment? ... because man with a vast chemical equipment and an equally vast body of chemical data at his disposal can synthesize complex chemicals, it does not mean that Nature with only chance as its guide and creator can make life ..." (Ramm, 1955, p.183).Indeed, "The day when biochemists can take the basic chemicals (carbon, oxygen, etc.) and from these construct amino acids, and then protein molecules, and then the DNA molecules which can specify their reproduction and future organization, all without benefit of any pre-existing living material, is yet a long way off. ... But even if, someday it is accomplished, that achievement will not prove that the same thing happened by chance three billion years ago. Rather, it will prove, if anything, that an exceedingly high concentration of intelligent planning and precisely controlled laboratory apparatus were necessary for the accomplishment" (Morris, 1985, p.49). "In like manner, even if it were possible in a laboratory today to create life ... this would not prove that it happened in the past. It would prove that it is possible for intelligence to bring about such results, but it would not prove that the nonintelligent brought about evolution in the past. It would, it is true, render it quite reasonable that an intelligent being could have done it in the past. But certainly it would not prove that evolution was the product of matter in motion." (Clark & Bales, 1966, pp.95-96). So, far from being a not a materialistic-naturalistic model of the origin of life, it would in fact be further evidence that the origin of life required an Intelligent Designer ( Wilder-Smith, 1988, pp.xix-xx)! When the Materials and Methods section of the scientific paper that reported the laboratory experiment that created life is read, with all of the right steps, with the right materials, in the right concentrations, at the right temperatures, etc, such that it could be duplicated by another laboratory, then maybe it will really sink in that "the origin life" was not "almost a miracle" but actually "a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going (Crick, 1981, p.88. My emphasis). That would indeed be "design with a vengeance" (Ratzsch, 1998, p.291. My emphasis)! [top] 4. Panspermia There are several major problems with Panspermia (i.e. life originating elsewhere, being transported as a "seed" to Earth): 1. It just pushes back the problem: the same problems of life originating and developing had to be solved somewhere. 2. Cosmic radiation would sterilise any life enroute to Earth across interstellar distances. 3. The time frame. The Universe is ~14 billion years old and life on Earth began ~4 bya. That was when the Universe was ~10 billion years old and a very different place. The volume of space was much smaller (since volume increase by the cube of distance) and radiation much greater because radiation falls off with the square of distance. So the combined effect of both was that radiation back then ~10 bya was very much greater. For life to arise somewhere else, develop, then cross interstellar space and arrive here, means it had to originate well before ~4 bya (say ~5 bya) when the Universe was an even more hostile place. 4. There is also the `needle in a haystack problem' that one of my (atheist) biology lecturers pointed out. The Earth from the perspective of another interstellar exoplanet is an invisible point (even with a telescope). Unless one is arguing for Directed Panspermia (in which case one has to factor in the extra time frame for intelligent technological beings to arise- on Earth it took ~4 billion years), it is effectively impossible for a bacterium to be wafted undirected by its star's solar wind and find Earth. 5. Our star's (the Sun) solar wind would blow away from our Solar System any "seed" (e.g. bacterial spore) being blown from another star's solar wind (assuming the latter had the energy to keep blowing a spore over interstellar distances). 6. Any such "seed" which managed to survive its entry descent to Earth ~3.9 bya (when fossil evidence of life on Earth exists) would find a young planet that was undergoing the last stages of the Late Heavy Bombardment with incoming asteroids melting the crust and boiling the oceans and with lethal UV rays on its surface since there was no ozone layer. [top] 8. No evidence of extraterrestrial life "All Earth life is based on nucleic acid, and the key DNA molecule is always found to be arranged as a double helix wound in a right- handed sense. If extraterrestrial microbes contained left-handed DNA, or some other molecular basis altogether, it would suggest an independent origin and provide powerful evidence against the miracle hypothesis. " (Davies, 1995, p.18). "... the discovery of life on one other planet-e.g., Mars-can ... `transform the origin of life from a miracle to a statistic.'" (Shklovskii & Sagan, 1977, p.358). Yet, despite the widespread belief of evolutionists that life must pervade the universe, after decades of searching, astronomers have found no signs of life elsewhere in the cosmos (Horgan, 2002). A 1996 report of fossilized bacteria in a meteorite from Mars turned out to be wrong (Horgan, 2002). If life arose naturalistically then it would be common in the Universe, given the claimed billions of Earth- like planets, and intelligent life should be less common, on perhaps only millions of those claimed Earth- like planets. However, this gives rise to Fermi's paradox, if intelligent life was common in the Universe, then we should already be aware of that: "Some friends of the great physicist Enrico Fermi were once trying to persuade him, so the story goes, that an abundance of life and technological civilizations must exist on an almost limitless number of other worlds. `OK,' he said, `but where is everybody?' That was in 1943, and although much has happened since to make a convincing theoretical case for an abundance of life throughout the universe, we are still asking Fermi's question. However, having the advantage of several decades of scientific progress, we are now able to offer possible answers, and technology s available (mainly in radio astronomy) to begin to check our answers. What was once only entertaining speculation has become firmly based in science and technology. Fermi's question is tantalising. A mass of indirect evidence from widely different sources supports the probability that extraterrestrial life and civilizations do exist, yet no one has so far discovered any acceptable direct evidence." (Ashpole, 1989, p.7). Based on this naturalistic logic, some scientists have been lead to reconsidering whether some UFO sightings are in fact extraterrestrial visitors: "Decades ago, it was physicist Enrico Fermi who pondered the issue of extraterrestrial civilizations with fellow theorists over lunch, generating the famous quip: "Where are they?" That question later became central to debates about the cosmological census count of other star folk and possible extraterrestrial (ET) visitors from afar. Fermiís brooding on the topic was later labeled "Fermiís paradox". It is a well-traveled tale from the 1950ís when the scientist broached the subject in discussions with colleagues in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Thoughts regarding the probability of earthlike planets, the rise of highly advanced civilizations "out there", and interstellar travel -- these remain fodder for trying to respond to Fermiís paradox even today. Now a team of American scientists note that recent astrophysical discoveries suggest that we should find ourselves in the midst of one or more extraterrestrial civilizations. Moreover, they argue it is a mistake to reject all UFO reports since some evidence for the theoretically- predicted extraterrestrial visitors might just be found there." (David, 2005). But this misses the point of Fermi's paradox: if there were ET's we should be well aware of it. Even if ETs did not make contact (and why wouldn't they), why would they bother concealing themselves? The obvious answer, which is not even considered, is that there are in fact no ETs and that life (including intelligent life), is not an automatic, naturalistic process, but requires a Creator/Intelligent Designer.top] 9. The more known about life, the harder it is to imagine how it arose The more scientists know about life, the harder it is becoming for them to imagine how it arose naturalistically (Horgan, 2002). For example, Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, has stated that "the origin of life appears to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have to be satisfied to get it going" (Horgan, 2002; Crick, 1981, p.88). [top]
Copyright © 2003-2006, by Stephen E. Jones. All rights reserved. This page and its contents
may be used for non-commercial purposes only.
If used on the Internet, a link back to my home page at http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones would be appreciated.
Created: 3 November, 2003. Updated: 9 March, 2006.