By Editorial Staff
Published December 22, 2007
Evolutionists claim that life originated by natural processes, when one organism changed into another solely by chance. They propose that successive species of life arose over eons of time to produce the vast complexity and diversity of life we see in the world today. However, upon closer examination of these “natural processes,” one finds the statistical probability of life originating by chance to be incredibly small and unlikely.
The origin of life by natural processes would involve the following steps: 1) Formation of simple building blocks such as proteins and nucleic acids; 2) Arrangement of these molecules into biologically important compounds such as proteins and DNA; 3) Assembly of these proteins into a metabolically active system, and; 4) Origin of the first completely independent, stable and self-replicating cell. The probability of each step occurring by chance has been calculated by many scientists, and their conclusion has been that life could not simply arise by chance.
The Problem with Jelly Beans
Most of the cell’s important functions are carried out by compounds called proteins which are a chain of amino acids linked together. There are 20 amino acids which can be arranged in any combination and the average protein consists of over 400 amino acids linked together. The protein’s characteristics and function is determined by the number and particular arrangement of amino acids. A protein can be represented by a sentence which derives its meaning from the particular arrangement of letters, or amino acids.
According to evolutionary theories, amino acids were synthesized spontaneously and then linked together to form the first protein from a generic amino acid “soup.” In experiments attempting to synthesize amino acids, the products have been a mixture of right-handed and left-handed amino acids. (Amino acids, as well as other organic compounds, can exist in two forms which have the same chemical composition but are three-dimensional mirror images of each other; thus termed right and left-handed amino acids.)
One would think that the formation of amino acids into protein would randomly use both left and right-handed amino acids and result in approximately 50 percent use of each. However, every protein in a living cell is composed entirely of left-handed amino acids, even though the right-handed isomer can react in the same way. Thus, if both right and left-handed amino acids are synthesized in this primitive organic soup, we are faced with the question of how life has used only the left-handed amino acids for proteins.
We can represent this dilemma by picturing a huge container filled with millions of white (left-handed amino acids) and black (right-handed amino acids) jelly beans. What would be the probability of a blind-folded person randomly picking out 410 white jelly beans (representing the average sized protein) and no black jelly beans? The odds that the first 410 jelly beans would be all one color are one in 2 410 or 109 123.
To put the odds in perspective, there are only about 10 18 seconds in 4.5 billion years, the approximate claimed age of the earth, and it has been estimated that there are only 10 30 particles in the universe. Yet the probability of choosing all left-handed amino acids, without even considering their particular order or specific arrangement, is much larger than that!
Monkeys Typing Shakespeare?
Proteins are functional because the amino acids are arranged in a specific sequence, not just a random arrangement of left-handed amino acids. The formation of functional proteins at random could be likened to a monkey trying to type a page of Shakespeare using the 26 letters of the alphabet. Anyone knows that the monkey is not capable of accomplishing the task set before him.
What is the probability of synthesizing a protein with a specific sequence? Let us simplify the situation first. For example, if there are 17 students in a class, how many possible ways exist for them to order themselves in a line? It would take the students a long time to physically try all the possibilities since there are over 355 trillion different ways. If the number of students were increased to 20, equal to the number of amino acids that exist, the number of possible ways would be over 10 18 different ways, the number of seconds in 4.5 billion years!
Remember: this is a simple example of a specific arrangement of 20 amino acids. The probability is even greater when we consider that there are 20 possibilities for each spot. Also, in a specific protein of 100 amino acids, or in the formation of a hemoglobin molecule which has 574 amino acids arranged in a specific sequence, the probability becomes astronomical!
If only one amino acid is changed in the sixth position, the disease sickle cell anemia results. The RNA within the tobacco mosaic virus contains about 6,000 nucleotides. The probability that this molecule resulted by the random chance arrangement of the four nucleotides is 1 out of 4 6000 or 2.3×10 3216 !
A Trillion Years to Solve the Rubik’s Cube
Life is not contained within a single protein, however. Several proteins are required for even the basic functions of the simplest living organism. Even the most simple known cell, such as the mycoplasma, may have 750 proteins. The list of proteins essential for survival may be narrowed down to 238 proteins. The probability of forming these 239 proteins from left-handed amino acids has been calculated to be 1 in 10 29,345. Remember, the estimated number of particles in the universe is 10 30. (It seems that the evolutionists certainly believe in miracles … but not in a Miracle Maker!)
Many times we hear evolutionists using the term “primitive cell,” although we have no example of such. One of the simplest living systems, the tiny bacterial cell, is exceedingly complex. Dr. Michael Denton describes the bacterial cell, which weighs less than 10 -12 grams, as: “… in effect a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up of one thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world.“1
Our human body has over 200,000 types of proteins in its cells, and the odds of just one of those proteins evolving by chance is vast. Sir Fred Hoyle, still an evolutionist, likens this to a blindfolded subject trying to solve the Rubik’s cube. The blindfolded man has no way of knowing whether he is getting closer to the solution or actually farther away. According to Hoyle, if the blindfolded subject were to make one random move every second, it would take him on the average three hundred times the supposed age of the earth, 1.35 trillion years, to solve the cube.2
Out of the 200,000 proteins in our body, roughly 2,000 provided the very essential function of cellular metabolism, similar to that in a bacterial cell. The odds of those essential enzymes arriving by chance is extremely large, almost improbable. As stated by Drs. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, “the trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (10 20) 2000 = 10 40,000, which is an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.“3 This is about the same chance as throwing an uninterrupted sequence of 50,000 sixes with a pair of dice.
Hoyle described the thinking of those who leap to these improbable conclusions as a “junkyard mentality.” To believe natural processes assembled a living cell is like believing a tornado could pass through a junkyard containing the bits and pieces of a airplane, and leave a Boeing 747 in its wake, fully assembled and ready to fly!
The magic ingredient in the evolutionists’ model is time and chance, but it seems to take more faith to believe in chance than it does to have faith in the creative power of God. Nobel prize winner and discoverer of DNA’s double helix structure, biochemist Francis Crick, concedes: “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 to have been satisfied to get it going.“4
Dr. Hubert P. Yockey, former chief of the Reactor Branch at Aberdeen Proving Ground in England, accurately summed up our present scientific situation: “one must conclude that … a scenario describing the genesis of life on earth by chance and natural causes which can be accepted on the basis of fact and not faith has not yet been written.”
A Dead Cell Is a Dead Cell
When we gaze into the microscope of life, we observe the precision of an unparalleled system. Yet, even if we took all the proteins essential for a living cell and placed them within a test tube, we would still not succeed in producing life. A dead cell has all the essential components to function but something has offset the precision of its operation. Dead cells in a test tube will always remain dead no matter what is done to them, even though they seem to have the ingredients for life. Life does not simply consist of a mere assemblage of the right compounds or proteins.
When God created life in the beginning, He created life in its entirety – living cells, animals and plants. God imparted His life into all living things and was also the sustainer of what He made. Jesus Christ is often referred to as the source of life (John 1:4, John 14:6) and we know that all things were made through Him (John 1:30). It was through Jesus that God created the world (Hebrews 1:2) and by Him all things exist (Hebrews 2:10). The life of God is the very essence of all living things. Not only was it His infinite wisdom that assembled all the ingredients of life in perfect order, but it was His life that charged those ingredients with life itself.
1 Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Bethesda, MD: Adler & Adler, Publishers, Inc., 1985), p. 250.
2 Fred Hoyle, The Intelligent Universe (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1983), p. 12.
3 Fred Hoyle and C, Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space. (London: J.M. Dent and Sons, 1981), p. 24.
4 Francis Crick, Life Itself (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981), p. 88.
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