Friday, January 19, 2007

No Engines

… continuation of “No Engines, No Wings – Won’t Fly”

The first two definitions of evolution are not problematic. It is only evolution in the third sense that won’t fly. I will refer to this form of evolution as Evolution (with a capital ‘E’) because it is the prevailing view among the influential leaders of the scientific community. This is Darwinian (or neo-Darwinian) Evolution – the view that single-cell life emerged from non-life and, after billions of years of mutation and transformation, can account for all the diversity of life we see on Earth today. Before addressing the third (controversial) definition discussed above, Evolution must first prove capable of accounting for the Origins of Life. If it cannot do that, it can never get off the ground. This is Evolution’s greatest obstacle, and the reason it still sits quietly on the runway. There are several aspects of this problem.

First, natural selection is, by definition, a process that works by rewarding an organism’s advantageous mutations. This is the source of the “survival of the fittest” concept with which we have all become so familiar. Those mutations that provide the organism with some kind of benefit are “selected” and further enhance the propagation of the species. But the early, lifeless Earth contained no organisms! The logical problem that arises is that, before life existed, there were no advantageous mutations on which natural selection could work.

Second, Evolution presumes that first
life must have emerged gradually after billions of years of geological and environmental preparation that transformed the planet into a life friendly Petri dish. The problem is that the geological and biological evidence shows that this presumption is wholly inaccurate. Instead, the scientific indications are that the Earth was being pounded by meteors and the like during the Late Heavy Bombardment which occurred between 3.8 and 3.9 billion years ago. Conditions during that time were so hostile that no form of life could possibly have survived it. However, most researchers also agree that was present on the Earth 3.86 billion years ago. In other words, life appeared almost simultaneously with the end of the heavy bombardment. This evidence runs completely counter to the Evolutionary model we are asked to accept. But that’s not all.

Third, Evolution also maintains that this first life would have been simplistic in form and chemical makeup, then gradually progressed into more complex structures. Instead, the evidence of life we see is exactly the opposite. Those organisms that popped up 3.86 billion years ago were incredibly complex – so complex that some researchers suggest there is evidence of photosynthetic processes in place from the very beginning.

Fourth, any form of life must, by definition, be able to utilize energy from its surroundings and transform that energy so that it can develop, grow and sustain itself. This we call metabolism. At the same time, the continued existence of life means that, no matter how simple the life form is, it must have the ability to replicate itself. Biologists wrestle over which of these processes must have arisen first. But, within that debate, there exists an even more intractable problem that has become a classic “chicken or the egg” scenario for Evolutionists. As biochemist Fazale Rana puts it:

This conundrum refers to the complete interdependence that proteins and DNA have on one another when it comes to their synthesis and biochemical roles in the cell … Even though scientists refer to DNA as a self-replicating molecule, its synthesis, and hence its replication, requires a suite of proteins. In other words, proteins replicate DNA [but] without DNA, the cell cannot produce proteins

In short, Evolution is left to explain how, if highly complex entities like proteins and DNA are said to emerge through painfully slow processes, one could have arisen without the other. To accept the claims of Evolution is to believe that both of these vital developments must have occurred simultaneously.

Fifth, Darwin conceived of the site where life must have first formed in a letter to his friend Joseph Hooker in 1871:

It is often said that all the conditions for the first production of a living organism are present, which could ever have been present. But if (and Oh! what a big if!) we could conceive in some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity, etc., present, that a protein compound was chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex changes, at the present day such matter would be instantly devoured or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed

We cannot fault Darwin for speculating about what has come to be known as the “pre-biotic soup” where life first sprang into existence. We can, however, call to task those who have failed to produce such a soup for their continued insistence that we accept its existence. Research based on the Oparin-Haldane hypothesis, like the much-touted Miller-Urey experiment, have done nothing but cast further doubt on the reality of Darwin’s “warm little pond.” Miller-Urey assumed environmental conditions on the early Earth that have since been proven to be incorrect. In discovering this, scientists have run up against yet another chicken-or-the-egg dilemma regarding the presence of oxygen in the early atmosphere. Rana again …

Oxygen’s presence, either in the atmosphere or dissolved in oceanic or subterranean water, shuts down prebiotic chemistry pathways … Ironically, oxygen’s absence would also have turned off prebiotic chemistry … either way, in the presence of oxygen or in the absence of oxygen, the soup is ruined because prebiotic molecule formation is stymied

Or, as one of Jerry Seinfeld’s most famous characters might have screamed at Darwin, “No soup for you!” [I couldn’t resist] Tying these Darwinian takeoff inhibitors together, Evolutionary scientists have gone to great lengths to try to recreate the conditions of the early earth to show how life could have emerged from non-life. Unlike their blind and purposeless friend, natural selection, these researchers know the outcome. They know what it takes to constitute life. They know how cells function. They know how amino acids, proteins, and DNA are constructed (this, by the way, constitutes another mountain Evolutionary biochemistry must climb which I have not even begun to address here). They stage trials that commence with pristine environmental factors and involve researchers that “tweak” various experimental parameters, but still they cannot reproduce the formation of even the simplest building block of single-cellular life. For all their blustery pronouncements and pitiful promises, Michael Behe shows that even those inside the field admit that:

More than 30 years of experimentation on the origin of life in the fields of chemical and molecular evolution have led to a better perception of the immensity of the problem of the origin of life on Earth rather than to its solution. At present all discussions on principal theories and experiments in the field either end in stalemate or in a confession of ignorance.

The failure of the Evolutionists in this area is so complete they have essentially given up on the project. They still refuse to surrender their naturalistic presumptions however. In a tacit admission that they have not found, and do not expect to find, any plausible explanation for the origin of life from on the Earth, the latest attempt to rescue naturalism from its abysmal failures centers on the claim that life must have arrived here from some extraterrestrial location. Panspermia they call it ...
a theory which holds that the stuff of life is everywhere and that we humans owe our genesis and evolution to a continual rain of foreign microbes. It means, simply, that we might all be aliens.
In the "non-directed" form of this theory these microbes originated elsewhere and were deposited here by interstellar “winds.” Though it is an interesting theory, it does absolutely nothing to alleviate the problems with the naturalistic case for the origin of life. It simply pushes all those problems off to some foreign world we have not yet found. But it gets better.

With
"directed" panspermia the search for the origin of life is said to end with us behind bars. Here, life on Earth is posited to be the project of some extra-terrestrial intelligent agent who put us here for some kind of experiment. It ends up that Earth is a zoo. In the end, the meticulously regulated actions of our most prominent origin of life researchers cannot even fathom a working model for the origin of life. The most plausible explanation naturalism can offer ends up with humanity being the project of some cosmic zookeeper.

Naturalistic scientists scoff at those who suggest that the evidence for the origin of life may point to the actions of an Intelligent Designer. Yet, at the end of the day, that is exactly what they offer us in return.
There is no plausible naturalistic explanation for the origin of life. And, for that reason, Evolution is a theory that never gets off the ground.

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