Origin Of Life — By Design Or Chance? -- By: Robert Goette

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 04:4 (Autumn 1991)
Article: Origin Of Life — By Design Or Chance?
Author: Robert Goette


Origin Of Life — By Design Or Chance?

Robert Goette

Life From Nonlife

Macroevolution — the idea of life originating from non-life—begins with a scenario much like the one put together from a number of evolutionary origins theories and summarized John Horgan in a recent issue of Scientific American.

Scientific Version of Genesis begins with the condensation of the solar system from a cloud of gas and dust 4.5 billion years ago. Organic chemicals could have been delivered by impacts or synthesized in the atmosphere, tidal pools or deep-sea hydrothermal vents. These chemicals combined to form more complex organic compounds, including proteins and nucleic acids. Impacts and a stifling greenhouse effect, caused by carbon dioxide spewed from volcanoes, could have rendered the earth’s surface unfit for life until 3.8 billion years ago. But by 3.5 billion years ago—give or take about 300 million years—photosynthetic microbes resembling blue-green algae had emerged. These primitive organisms sometimes formed dense mounds, called stromatolites, along the shores of shallow seas. (Horgan 1991:117)

What is the evidence for such a scenario as described above? The Scientific American stated in a headline at the top of the article, “Scientists are having a hard time agreeing on when, where and — most important — how life first emerged on the earth.” The rest of the article verifies this statement by pointing out weaknesses in each of the proposed theories.

A Difficult Problem

Stanley Miller, one of the pioneer ‘origin of life’ experimenters, is quoted as saying, “The problem of the origin of life has turned out to be much more difficult than I, and most other people, envisioned” (Horgan 1991:117). Actually this current statement differs little from what Miller confessed 17 years ago in book coauthored with Leslie Orgel:

It must be admitted from the beginning that we do not know how life began. ... While we cannot be certain that these compounds and mechanisms were important for the most primitive organisms, it is simplest to suppose that most of them were. ... we are attempting to reconstruct a historical process. It is not possible to test a hypothesis concerning the origin of life by running rapidly through the entire process in the laboratory ... related systems should be studied in such a way that extrapolation to primitive earth conditions is possible ... we do not yet have one plausible, detailed, and complete hypothesis. (Miller and Orgel 1974;1–2, emphasis added)

Biogenesis

There are evolutionists who accuse creationists of confusing first cause with evolution. They s...

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