By Babu G. Ranganathan
Millions of high school and college biology textbooks imply that Stanley Miller, in the 1950's, showed that life could arise by chance. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Miller, in his famous experiment in 1953, showed that individual amino acids (the building blocks of life) could come into existence by chance. But, it's not enough just to have amino acids. The various amino acids that make-up life must link together in a precise sequence, just like the letters in a sentence, to form functioning protein molecules. If they're not in the right sequence the protein molecules won't work. It has never been shown that various amino acids can bind together into a sequence by chance to form protein molecules. Even the simplest cell is made up of many millions of various protein molecules.
Also, what many don't realize is that Miller had a laboratory apparatus that shielded and protected the individual amino acids the moment they were formed, otherwise the amino acids would have quickly disintegrated and been destroyed in the mix of random energy and forces involved in Miller's experiment.
There is no innate chemical tendency for the various amino acids to bond with one another in a sequence. Any one amino acid can just as easily bond with any other. The only reason at all for why the various amino acids bond with one another in a precise sequence in the cells of our bodies is because they're directed to do so by an already existing sequence of molecules found in our genetic code.
In Nature there are what scientists call right-handed and left-handed amino acids. However, life requires that all proteins be left-handed. So, not only do millions of amino acids have to be in the correct sequence, they also all have to be left-handed. If a right-handed amino acid gets mixed in then the protein molecules won't function. There won't be any life!
Similarly, the nucleic acids in DNA and RNA must be in a precise sequence. The sugar molecules that make-up the various nucleic acids in DNA and RNA must be right-handed. If a nucleic acid with a left-handed sugar molecule gets into the mix then nothing will work.
If the cell had evolved it would have had to be all at once. A partially evolved cell cannot wait millions of years to become complete because it would be highly unstable and quickly disintegrate in the open environment, especially without the protection of a complete and fully functioning cell membrane. And even having a complete cell doesn't necessarily mean there will be life. After all, even a dead cell is complete shortly after it dies!
Of course, once there is a complete and living cell then the genetic code and other biological mechanisms exist to direct the formation of more cells. The question is how could life have arisen naturally when there was no directing mechanism at all in Nature.
The great British scientist Sir Frederick Hoyle has said that the probability of the sequence of molecules in the simplest cell coming into existence by chance is equivalent to a tornado going through a junk yard of airplane parts and assembling a 747 Jumbo Jet!
Thanks to popular evolutionist writers like Richard Dawkins, many in society have come to believe that natural selection will solve all of evolution's problems.
Natural selection cannot produce anything. It can only "select" from what is produced. Furthermore, natural selection operates only once there is life and not before.
Evolutionists believe that chance mutations in the genetic code will produce increasingly more complex genes for natural selection to use so that life can evolve from simpler species to more complex ones. There is no evidence that chance mutations can or will provide increasingly more complex genes for natural selection to act upon so that evolution would be possible from simpler species to more complex ones. It's like saying that the random changes caused by an earthquake will increase the complexity of houses and buildings!
Natural selection is not an active force. It is a passive process in Nature. Only those variations that have survival value will be "selected" or be preserved. Once a variation has survival value then, of course, it's not by chance that it is "selected". But, natural selection, itself, does not produce or design those biological variations. The term "natural selection" is simply a figure of speech. Nature does not do any active or conscious selecting. It is an entirely passive process. "Natural selection" is just another way of saying "natural survival". If a biological change occurs that helps a species to survive then that species, obviously, will survive (i.e. be "selected"). Natural selection can only "select" from biological variations that are possible in a species.
In the midst of arguments over evolution and intelligent design, it is amazing how many in society, including the very educated, believe that scientists had already created life in the laboratory. No such thing has ever happened.
All that scientists have done is genetically engineer already existing forms of life in the laboratory, and by doing this scientists have been able to produce new forms of life, but they did not produce these new life forms from non-living matter. Even if scientists ever do produce life from non-living matter it will only be through intelligent design or planning so it still wouldn't help support any theory of life originating by chance or evolution.
Even artificial, or synthetic life, is a creation by scientists, through intelligent design, of a DNA code built from "scratch" which is then inserted into an already existing living cell.
There simply is no scientific basis for believing life could have arisen by chance processes even if given the right environmental conditions to sustain life. What if we should discover life on Mars?
Even if we should discover life on Mars it wouldn't prove that such life originated by chance. Also, if we do find evidence of life on Mars it would have most likely have come from our very own planet - Earth! In the Earth's past there was powerful volcanic activity which could have easily spewed rock and dirt containing microbes into outer space much of which eventually could have reached Mars. A Newsweek article of September 21, 1998, p.12 mentions exactly this possibility.
"We think there's about 7 million tons of earth soil sitting on Mars", says scientist Kenneth Nealson. "You have to consider the possibility that if we find life on Mars, it could have come from the Earth" [Weingarten, T., Newsweek, September 21, 1998, p.12].
This would also explain, as MIT scientist Dr. Walt Brown has pointed out, why some meteorites contain organic compounds because they are remnants of the original debris spewed from the Earth due to very fierce ancient geological disturbances and activity.
Natural laws are adequate to explain how the order in life, the universe, and even a microwave oven operates, but mere undirected natural laws cannot fully explain the origin of such order.
The best little article ever written refuting the origin of life by chance is "A Few Reasons an Evolutionary Origin of Life Is Impossible" by scientist and biochemist Dr. Duane T. Gish. Dr. Gish presents "simple" but profound scientific barriers to evolution of life which aren't mentioned or covered in Johnny's high school biology textbook or in college textbooks for that matter. This article is truly great! Dr. Gish's aricle may be accessed at: http://icr.org/article/3140/ .
All this simply means that real science supports faith in an intelligent Designer behind the origin of life and the universe. It is only fair that evidence supporting intelligent design be presented to students alongside of evolutionary theory.
Science cannot prove that we're here by either chance or design. Both require faith. Where will you place your faith?
*The writer, Babu G. Ranganathan, has his B.A. degree with concentrations in theology and biology and has been recognized for his writings on religion and science in the 24th edition of Marquis Who's Who In The East. The author's website may be accessed at www.religionscience.com .