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The odds of life forming are incredibly small (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (The odds of life forming are incredibly small (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CB010:

The proteins necessary for life are very complex. The odds of even one simple protein molecule forming by chance are 1 in 10113, and thousands of different proteins are needed to form life. (See also Primitive cells arising by chance.)

Source: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. 1985. Life--How Did It Get Here? Brooklyn, NY, pg. 44.


CreationWiki response:

The odds of life forming by chance is so incredibly small as to be virtually impossible. This is also why scientists have, in recent years, resorted to looking for life from outer space, and have speculated that life must have come to Earth from a meteorite or comet. But this only shifts the problem to a realm that is totally out of our reach, or to replicate (i.e. demonstrate) or prove, and is a matter of blind faith in the power of Nature to do what we have never before seen it do (or even come close to doing) on earth.

To give you some idea of the complexity of the most basic self- replicating bacterium, we first need to break it down into some of its "basic" (yet still incredibly complex) components. For example, all known living organisms are made up of, DNA, RNA, ribosomes, and MANY different types of proteins.

Proteins come in thousands of different types. They are, however, all made up of 21 basic amino acids. However, living organisms are only made up of the Left-Handed (or L-types of) amino acids, whereas experiments in the lab (such as that performed by Stanley Miller) produce both Left-Handed and Right-Handed amino acids. The most basic protein molecule consists of only 8 amino acids, yet it has never been observed to form naturally. The most simple bacterium known to man is the Mycoplasma. It consists of 40,000 protein molecules of 600 different types. It also has DNA (which it uses to make new protein molecules), and RNA (which copies the information from the DNA and then transfers that information to the ribosome (which is located in a different part of the cell)). Ribosomes read the information brought to them via the RNA molecule -- which got it from the DNA -- and use it to line up (Left-Handed Only) amino acids in their respectively correct order, in order to make all sorts of complex Protein molecules.

In other words there is NO WAY that a self-replicating organism such as a Mycoplasma (which is itself only a parasite, and requires a more complex "host" organism to survive) could have somehow made itself -- meaning that (according to the best of our knowledge) there MUST BE A CREATOR.

For more on this see:

Additional thoughts

The proteins necessary for life are very complex. The odds of even one simple protein molecule forming by chance are 1 in 10113, and thousands of different proteins are needed to form life. (See also Primitive cells arising by chance.)

CreationWiki response:

The probability analysts may have a point that the possibility of life getting here is very small, with the chance being much higher than the amount of molecules or atoms that is calculated to be in the universe (which gets rid of the Talk Origins point number 4 which states that innumerable trials would be going on everywhere, which is more of a belief than a fact, as though the universe is actually trying to create life). But there is a more fundamental problem with this probability analysis.

Firstly, what do these probabilities mean? Do they mean that in one place all molecules and elements for life would be at the same place at the same time? It would appear so. If this is the case, then does that necessarily mean that they are going to come together, and even if they do, does that make the thing that results alive? If it's that simple, then why not simply get the right ingredients, put it in a container at the same time at the right temperature and watch life emerge and develop? Probably because it is not that simple. The chemicals that go into life as we know it don't have a law or a natural process that says that they must come together. And the same chemicals that are in a live body are also in a dead body. What's missing? There appears to be more to life than just chemicals. This is just reductionist thinking.

It is well known that the living world is full of organisms that can be compared to machines and genetic codes that can be compared to computer programs. Why? Because they are complicated, complex to the point of design, although evolutionists do not like to admit it. The integrated complexity that exists within living things, like us humans for example, is amazing. One system works by using another system which uses another system which is probably based on the first system. Even our cells are complicated things although they are so small, knowing what foods to take in and what poisons to leave out, having a power center and a bit that decodes the information in the DNA and processes it.

Talking about life getting together is similar to talking about cars forming themselves, or even basic computer programs making themselves. These things are not just improbable, they are impossible without intelligence. The evolutionist may use words like "incredulity" to make it seem that we are arguing about these things because we can't believe it. But the main point is that it has never been seen to happen. They are talking about speculation and pipe dreams, based on .... guess what .... philosophical dogmatic naturalism. To them, there must be a natural explanation.

The website talked about organic compounds happening by themselves in space and then leaps to the conclusion that life forming on its own is possible. Again, the reductionist philosophy is brought out i.e., if you have all the ingredients it should be able to happen. Firstly note that they never found life, only what they call a "complex" organic molecule. It is only faith or hope in the naturalistic program of "science-falsely-called" that would make them say that it may help in the formulation of life, something they still don't fully understand. It's similar to saying, "we found naturally occurring brick-like stones. Maybe it helped to build a house with central heating and a good plumbing system. It's never been seen. But we have houses with a central heating system, and they must have been built without intelligence." But for real science, knowledge, which is based on observation, these people have nothing but speculation and faith.


However, biochemistry is not chance, making the calculated odds meaningless. Biochemistry produces complex products, and the products themselves interact in complex ways.

Biochemistry (see link) is the chemistry that happens inside living, biological systems. There is already genetic information and biological machinery to form the proteins and molecules in life. In nature, you may see an ingredient in life here and there, but that doesn't mean that when they come together (if they ever get to on their own), that "hey presto!" we have life, just like you'll see the materials that make a car here and there, that doesn't mean you're gonna get a car to form on its own. Without information and scientific observation, evolutionists have nothing, not even a chance.

The calculation of odds assumes the creation of life in its present form. The first life would have been very much simpler.

This first life has never been observed and even if it existed, it left no trace. All evolutionists have at the bottom of their hypothetical geologic column are possible fully formed bacteria and possibly some pollen. That's the observed evidence based on a hypothetical column. Anything else they have is imagination, faith, scant traces of observed science from the present, and the power to force their opinion and naturalistic faith-conclusions upon the unsuspecting public and indoctrinate our children. And they say that it is only the bible-believing creationists that have the religion???

Another way of looking at how close nature has come to making a living organism is to consider the following.

From a purely scientific perspective, we note that Stanley Miller's experiments only produced 13 of the 21 basic (amino acid) building blocks of protein molecules. To put this in perspective, lets assume that a modern computer running Windows Vista, with Monitor and Printer, and plugged into an electric source of power is comparable to the most basic self-replicating bacterium. Let's also assume that the Computer system consists of 21 basic materials (i.e. gold, silver, aluminum, tin, lead, silicon, plastic, etc...). Then what Miller found is equivalent to finding 13 of the 21 basic materials with which "computers" are made of. But even if we had all 21, we still need to order them ALL into the correct pieces (i.e. wire, solder, plastic frame, screws, circuit boards, Integrated Circuits, fan, Power Supply, smooth glass, etc..) --- something that simply WILL NOT happen all by itself. This is one of the many reasons why more and more people today are turning to Intelligent Design, as the evidence clearly indicates that God (or an outside Intelligent Influence) must have intervened in the Creation/Origin of Life on this Planet.

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