Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Evolution as Myth (Part 3 of 5)

As discussed in the first installment of this series, all myths contain a creation narrative meant to explain how life got going. Evolution is no different. In the case of Evolution, the creation myth is entitled: "Abiogenesis." In this post, Henry, Dyke and Cruze summarize not only the ridiculous improbabilities associated with abiogenesis, but the utter lack of evidence that it did, or ever could, occur at all -- regardless of the probability.

This is a crucial issue, even to those sympathetic to the theistic worldview. Many Christians despise the idea of an old Earth in general, or the Big Bang in particular, because they believe that to accept either of these is to capitulate to an anti-Biblical science simply to allow Evolution enough time to "get going." Nothing could be further from the truth. The problem with Evolution, as this post points out, is not that it needs enough time to get going, but that it lacks a mechanism to ever get going at all. I have mentioned this before (here), but the authors put specific numbers on the problem of the origin of life from non-life.
cytochrome c, a small protein found throughout the biological realm, had to appear early in the evolutionary process. Yet information theorist Hubert Yockey calculated a probability of ~10-75 to generate it spontaneously from an amino acid-rich environment. To put this into perspective: a 10-75 chance is less likely than winning the Powerball lottery nine weeks in a row, buying only one ticket per week!
For reference, mathematicians define an impossibility as something with a probability of less than 1 in 10 to the 50th power. But cytochrome c is a simple structure. The simplest self-sustaining life form must consist of 1500 to 2000 gene products, each of them more complex than a simple cytochrome c. The authors provide even more mind blowing confirmation about the ridiculous improbability of abiogenesis in their article but, as is always the case, hard core naturalists cannot back down from their appeal to abiogenesis because, for pure Darwinian Evolution to get started, abiogenesis must be true. Just because it's unlikely (no matter how unimaginably unlikely), that doesn't mean it didn't happen. To which the authors refer us to the work of Trevors and Abel with respect to the incredible complexity of the genetic code:
Could the genetic code have been spontaneously generated? Biologists J. T. Trevors and D. L. Abel conclude: "The argument has been repeatedly made that given sufficient time, a genetic instruction set and language system could have arisen. But extended time does not provide an explanatory mechanism for spontaneously generated genetic instruction. No amount of time proposed thus far, can explain this type of conceptual communication system. It is not just complex. It is conceptually complex."
All this has led one researcher to conclude:
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 had to be satisfied to get it going.
A Creationist conclusion you ask? Oh no. That quote is from no one other than Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the DNA molecule and one of the most ardent proponents of Darwinian Evolution and abiogenesis you will ever find.

A miracle? I think in this case I would be glad to agree with Dr. Crick.

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