By Babu G. Ranganathan
The newly discovered life form reported recently by NASA is not alien. It was discovered on our own earth and it is not made up of strange, mysterious chemicals. The building blocks of its DNA are only very slightly different from the building blocks of DNA found in all the other forms of life. But, like in all the other forms of life on earth, the building blocks have to be in a precise sequence for its cellular machinery to work. There is absolutely no evidence that the sequence (i.e. the code) of this life form ever evolved or came about by chance. That's wishful, blind evolutionary hope!
Life isn't something that can happen by chance processes, no matter how much time is hypothesized. 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!
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 energy-converting and directing mechanisms in nature.
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.
Thanks to evolution's popular high priests and evangelist writers such as 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. It is a passive process in nature. If some life form develops a feature that helps it survive we say it was "selected". That's natural selection. It's another term for "survival of the fittest". It's not a creative or organizing force. Furthermore, natural selection operates only once there is life and reproduction and not before so it cannot be used for explaining the origin of life.
The cell seems to be irreducibly complex. For example, without DNA there can be no RNA, and without RNA there can be no DNA. And without either DNA or RNA there can be no proteins, and without proteins there can be no DNA or RNA. They're all mutually dependent upon each other for existence! It could not have gradually evolved! Evolutionists generally believe that it took one billion years for the first life form or cell to have evolved. That belief, although still taught as gospel in many elementary and secondary schools, cannot be sustained by modern science.
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!
There are natural limits to evolution or biological change in nature which not even mutations are capable of over-coming, especially considering that mutations are accidental changes in the genetic code caused by random environmental forces like radiation. Most biological changes are not because of true mutations but because of new combinations of already existing genes.
Since chance processes do not produce genetic information, it is much more logical to believe that the genetic and biological similarities between various forms of life are because of a common Genetic Engineer or Designer (God) Who designed similar functions for similar purposes in all the various species and forms of life.
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. And, as mentioned, 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.
Again, the recent news of artificial life is not creation of any life. In artificial life, scientists, through intelligent design, build a DNA molecule from "scratch" and then implant that DNA into an already living cell. Genetic engineering and artificial life projects all happen by intelligent design - not by chance. Just ask the scientists behind the projects!
Science cannot prove that we are here by either chance or design, but the scientific evidence can be used to support one or the other.
It is only fair that evidence supporting intelligent design be presented to students alongside of evolutionary theory. No one is being forced to believe in God so there's no real violation of separation of church and state.
But, when all the evidence is presented it should show beyond all reasonable doubt that life didn't originate by chance but by design.
The Institute for Creation Research (www.icr.org) offers excellent articles, books, and resources from highly qualified scientists showing how true science supports creation.
The author, Babu G. Ranganathan, has his bachelor's 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 articles may be accessed at www.religionscience.com.