Home Church Community

Statement of Beliefs

Contact Us

Search Our Site

Bible Study Resource



Printer Friendly Version

Basic Worldview:
102 Atheism vs. Theism


Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 2

Prelude: "Atheism/Theism" vs. "Science, the Bible, & Creation"
Atheism: Introduction and Charges
Charge 1, Deduction and Induction
Charge 2, Question 1
Charge 2, Questions 2 and 3
Charge 2, Summary and Question 4
Charges 3 and 4, Definitions
Empirical Evidence
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 1
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 2
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 3
Occam's Razor and Conclusions
Footnote 1
Footnote 2 and 3
Proof of Life
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 1
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 2
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 3
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 4
Scientists: Life on Earth Imported from Outer Space
Atheisms Circle of Reasons
Is God a White Crow?



American Scientist Article

1) [A]biotic chemistry, which aims to reproduce in the laboratory the chemical events that initiated the emergence of life on earth some four billion years ago. Besides amino acids and other organic acids, experiments in abiotic chemistry have yielded sugars, as well as purine and pyrimidine bases, some of which are components of the nucleic acids DNA and RNA, and other biologically significant substances, although often under more contrived conditions and in lower yields than one would expect for a prebiotic process. - American Scientist article

First of all, this first quotes reflects that those general experiments of the past did, in fact, violate our first proposed conditional. By creating environments that were highly contrived and did not line up with what could be expected to exist in nature, the scientists involved intelligent agency in those experiments.

And notice that even with their contrived intervention to supercede the qualities of a natural environment, they still weren't able to produce the level of result necessary for life to arise under the hypothesized ancient earth conditions. Such a statement is equivalent to an admission that all those experiments simply attest to the necessity of intelligent agency since the experimental environments were highly contrived and did not accurately represent environments that would be available in nature.

2) Considerable debate in origin-of-life studies has revolved around which of the fundamental macromolecules came first--the original chicken-or-egg question. The modern cell employs four major classes of biological molecules--nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The debate over the earliest biological molecules, however, has centered mainly on the nucleic acids, DNA and RNA, and the proteins. - American Scientist article

3) Scientists considering the origins of biological molecules confronted a profound difficulty. In the modern cell, each of these molecules is dependent on the other two for either its manufacture or its function. DNA, for example, is merely a blueprint, and cannot perform a single catalytic function, nor can it replicate on its own. Proteins, on the other hand, perform most of the catalytic functions, but cannot be manufactured without the specifications encoded in DNA. One possible scenario for life's origins would have to include the possibility that two kinds of molecules evolved together, one informational and one catalytic. But this scenario is extremely complicated and highly unlikely. - American Scientist article

This article again attests to the chicken and egg problem of the origin of a living cell. However, this article describes an entirely different solution than the one depicted in the previous article about MIT experiments. Since DNA, RNA, and proteins are both "dependent on the other two for either its manufacture or its function" this article rules out the possibility that all these molecules could have evolved simultaneously on the grounds that it is so improbable that it becomes impossible.

So, if it is impossible that all these essential compounds evolved at once, how did it happen? According to this article, the other possibility is that one of these molecules could itself at one time perform all the other essential functions. Theorists considering this possibility started to look seriously at RNA.

4) The other possibility is that one of these molecules could itself perform multiple functions. Theorists considering this possibility started to look seriously at RNA. - American Scientist article

5) The chemical evolution leading to cellular life on earth almost four billion years ago likely passed through a stage where RNA alone performed all of the functions of the modern macromolecules RNA, DNA and protein. - American Scientist article

6) Thomas Cech at the University of Colorado at Boulder independently discovered RNA molecules that in fact could catalytically excise portions of themselves or of other RNA molecules. The chicken-or-egg conundrum of the origin of life seemed to fall away. It now appeared theoretically possible that an RNA molecule could have existed that naturally contained the sequence information for its reproduction through reciprocal base pairing and could also catalyze the synthesis of more like RNA strands. - American Scientist article

If RNA molecule could provide all the functions now carried out in cells by DNA, RNA, and proteins separately, then the chicken and egg problem might disappear. From here, this article delves into what would be necessary to give rise to RNA.

7) "In the first stage, a pathway had to develop that took raw organic material and turned it into RNA. The first building blocks of life had to be converted into the constituents of nucleotides, from which the nucleotides themselves had to be formed. From there, the nucleotides had to be strung together to produce the first RNA molecules. Efforts to reproduce these events in the laboratory have been only partly successful so far, which is understandable in view of the complexity of the chemistry involved. - American Scientist article

This article then admits that lab experiments to reproduce the origination of RNA have been only partially successful. So far, scientists have "only been partially successful" in just reproducing RNA from simpler organic material. But, not only is it necessary to experimentally recreate the origination of RNA, but it is also necessary to recreate the origination of RNA that performs the function of self-replication.

Before we move on, we should note that this article contains two other previous statements that will soon become quite relevant.

8) An important rule in this exercise is to reconstruct the earliest events in life's history without assuming they proceeded with the benefit of foresight. = Every step must be accounted for in terms of antecedent and concomitant events. Each must stand on its own and cannot be viewed as a preparation for things to come. Any hint of teleology must be avoided. - American Scientist article

9) It seems very unlikely that protometabolism produced just the four bases found in RNA, A, U, G and C, ready by some remarkable coincidence to engage in pairing and allow replication. Chemistry does not have this kind of foresight. - American Scientist article

Notice that in these experiments, it is important "to reconstruct the earliest events in life's history without assuming they proceeded with the benefit of foresight."

10) The development of RNA replication must have been the second stage in the evolution of the RNA world. The problem is not as simple as might appear at first glance. Attempts at engineering--with considerably more foresight and technical support than the prebiotic world could have enjoyed--an RNA molecule capable of catalyzing RNA replication have failed so far. - American Scientist article

Even though nature must proceed without "the benefit of foresight" these scientists have "failed so far" to reproduce RNA replication even with "considerably more foresight and technical support than the prebiotic world could have enjoyed." Yet they continue to suppose that what we cannot produce with considerably more foresight and technical support was likely to have come about without any foresight and technical support whatsoever.

Notice also that the author still considers such a self-replicating RNA molecule to be "theoretically possible" even though it is an experimental failure. Here again is Quote No. 6:

6) It now appeared theoretically possible that an RNA molecule could have existed that naturally contained the sequence information for its reproduction through reciprocal base pairing and could also catalyze the synthesis of more like RNA strands. - American Scientist article

It begs the question of how a hypothesis could become a theory when it fails the experimental stage. In the scientific method, a hypothesis only becomes a theory if it passes the experimental test phase.

Whereas attempts to simply recreate RNA have only been partially successful, attempts to recreate RNA that can self-replicate have utterly "failed so far." So, it is important to state that scientists cannot recreate natural conditions in which they have been completely successful at recreating RNA. And they have failed to create RNA with self-replication abilities. So, the chicken and egg dilemma has not been solved.

But that's not all. The very next sentence that appears right after the period in Quote No. 10 above reads as follows:

11) With the advent of RNA replication, Darwinian evolution was possible for the first time. - American Scientist article

Just one sentence after declaring that scientific experiments to engineer RNA replication "have failed so far" this article goes on to state that Darwinian evolution is NOT possible without RNA replication. This means that the current level of scientific experimentation demonstrates that Darwinian evolution is NOT possible. However, this article concludes the opposite, that with RNA replication a foregone conclusion, Darwinian evolution is now possible for the first time ever.

This implies that Darwinian evolution has been known to be impossible up until this time and, since RNA replication has failed in the lab, remains an impossibility to this very day. This also implies that these scientists have known Darwinian evolution has been impossible for some time now and yet, not only have they failed to tell us that information, but they have also ridiculed Creationists who even suggest such a thing.

But more importantly, this article reveals two other significant items. First, to this very day, scientists have yet to identify any natural mechanism let alone recreate any natural environment in a lab that is capable of bringing about the main elements of a living cell, including enzymes, proteins, DNA, and RNA. Once again, Quote No. 2:

2) Considerable debate in origin-of-life studies has revolved around which of the fundamental macromolecules came first--the original chicken-or-egg question. The modern cell employs four major classes of biological molecules--nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The debate over the earliest biological molecules, however, has centered mainly on the nucleic acids, DNA and RNA, and the proteins. - American Scientist article

Second, and most significantly, since a natural mechanism responsible for producing these elements (proteins, DNA, and RNA) has not been found, every time that a scientist creates an experiment utilizing one of these elements, they are themselves acting as the mechanism of cell development. When intelligent human beings insert into the experiment some element that there is no known natural mechanism to produce, intelligent intervention itself becomes the mechanism of the experiment.

As we shall see, that is exactly what happens in our next example.