Home Church Community

Statement of Beliefs

Contact Us

Search Our Site

Bible Study Resource



Printer Friendly Version

Basic Worldview:
103 Science, the Bible,
and Creation



Origins - Section Three:
Evolution, Environment for Life 2


Origins - Section One: Introduction and the Basics
Origins - Section Two: Premature Dismissals
Origins - Section Two: Application of the Basics
Origins - Section Three: Creation
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Origin of Life
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Environment for Life 1
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Environment for Life 2
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Another Planet
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Origin of Species
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Speciation Factors
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Speciation Rates
Origins - Section Four: Time and Age, Redshift
Origins - Section Four: Philosophical Preference
Origins - Section Four: Cosmological Model 1
Origins - Section Four: Cosmological Model 2
Origins - Section Four: Dating Methods, Perceptions, Basics
Origins - Section Four: Global Flood Evidence
Origins - Section Four: Relative Dating
Origins - Section Four: Dating and Circular Reasoning
Origins - Section Four: The Geologic Column
Origins - Section Four: Radiometric Dating Basics
Origins - Section Four: General Radiometric Problems
Origins - Section Four: Carbon-14 Problems
Origins - Section Four: Remaining Methods and Decay Rates
Origins - Section Four: Radiometric Conclusions, Other Methods
Origins - Section Five: Overall Conclusions, Closing Editorial
Origins - Section Five: List of Evidences Table
Origins Debate Figures and Illustrations


Evolution on the Origin of Life: Energy and Safety, a Suitable Environment (Cont'd.)

In addition to the tide pools suggestion there is also another alternative that has been put forward by evolutionary scientists trying to solve this dilemma. Instead of fueling the origin of life by photosynthesis, chemosynthesis has been suggested. Chemoautotroph is the term used to designated organisms that utilize organic or inorganic compounds rather than photoautotrophs, which use sunlight, or heterotrophs, which use organic compounds from other living organisms for energy.

Community Ecology, Biotic elements of communities, Trophic pyramids and the flow of energy, Autotrophs and heterotrophs – The base of the pyramid is composed of species called autotrophs, the primary producers of the ecosystem. They do not obtain energy and nutrients by eating other organisms. Instead, they harness solar energy by photosynthesis (photoautotrophs) or, more rarely, chemical energy by oxidation (chemoautotrophs) to make organic substances from inorganic ones. All other organisms in the ecosystem are consumers called heterotrophs, which either directly or indirectly depend on the producers for food energy.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

This process of using organic or inorganic compounds instead of sunlight for energy is called chemosynthesis. Notice that the location for these early life forms are “deep-sea hydrothermal vents.”

"Archaebacteria – Archaebacteria often live in extreme conditions that were once considered inhospitable to life. Some archaebacteria live in deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the Pacific Ocean. Located at depths of 3 km (2 mi), the hot vents provide a dark environment with extremely high temperature and pressure where few creatures can survive. Instead of deriving energy from the sun, these microorganisms obtain energy by oxidizing inorganic chemicals that spew from the hot vents. In a process known as chemosynthesis, archaebacteria harvest energy from chemical reactions involving hydrogen sulfide and other inorganic compounds." – "Archaebacteria," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

"Ocean, Life in the Ocean, The Food Cycle – Hot vents support thriving communities of marine life. However, the food cycle at hot vents is not based on phytoplankton. Instead, such microscopic organisms as bacteria and archaea serve as the food base. Archaea are single-celled organisms that rank among the oldest forms of life on Earth. In a process called chemosynthesis, these microorganisms use energy from chemicals in the water instead of sunlight to produce food and grow." - Worldbook, Contributor: Dana R. Kester, Ph.D., Professor of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island.

The following quotes further describe the chemosynthesis energy source suggestion. It is important to note that this scenario hypothetically locates the origin of life to the deep floor of the ocean where hydrothermal vents of water are heated by cracks in the floor’s surface.

“And that, says Jack Corliss, is where hydrothermal vents come into the picture. Since his discovery of the Galápagos hot springs, Corliss, who now works at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland, and a growing number of his colleagues have been promoting the notion that hydrothermal vents were the birthplace of life. The thing about the hot springs, Corliss says, is that they provide a nice, safe, continuous process by which you can go from very simple molecules all the way to living cells and primitive bacteria. The crux is the word continuous. For besides providing safe harbor for the development of life, vents offer a natural temperature gradient. The vents have it all, from the cracking front in the interior, where temperatures reach 1300 degrees and cool water filtering down from above cracks the superheated rock, to the 40-degree seafloor. Whatever temperature you want, says Corliss, you have your choice. And any chemist will tell you that where you find a temperature gradient is where you’ll find chemical reactions--maybe even the ones that began life.” – How Did Life Start?, by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

Evolution, IX STEPS IN EVOLUTION – Widely accepted evidence suggests that the first organisms were archaebacteria, primitive cells without nuclei. These cells may have evolved in waters with extremely high temperatures and no oxygen.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Notice that the quote above insists that there was “no oxygen” in these deep ocean, high temperature vents. As mentioned previously, later on we will see quotes later attesting to the fact that oxygen is a significant obstacle to the formation of pre-biotic compounds, because it also causes the breakdown of any existing compounds. This is why, of all the possible factors and characteristics of the deep ocean environment, the quote above takes the time to specifically mention “no oxygen.” However, even though the quote above specifically denies the presence of oxygen, the evolutionary biologist in the quote below from Discover magazine directly asserts the presence of oxygen is not only a byproduct of these vents but one that is essential to the formation of organic compounds.

The vents have it all, from the cracking front in the interior, where temperatures reach 1300 degrees and cool water filtering down from above cracks the superheated rock, to the 40-degree seafloor. Whatever temperature you want, says Corliss, you have your choice. And any chemist will tell you that where you find a temperature gradient is where you’ll find chemical reactions--maybe even the ones that began life. The reactions Corliss envisions began at the cracking front, half a mile deep in the planet’s crust, where seawater encountered hot magma. There, in this seething caldron, elements like carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulfur interacted to form new, organic compounds. Just as in the Miller-Urey experiments, says Corliss, if you heat simple molecules to high temperature, you can make organic compounds.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

Moreover, there is also a sufficiency of quantity issue with this suggested energy source. Ultimately, strictly chemical reactions (chemosynthesis as opposed for photosynthesis), such as those deep enough in the ocean where sunlight does not penetrate, are not likely to produce enough energy to fuel inorganic reactions.

Extraterrestrial life, The chemistry of extraterrestrial life – Since after a certain period of evolution, lives of unabashed heterotrophy lead to malnutrition and death, autotrophs must exist. Chemoautotrophs are, of course, a possibility but the inorganic reactions that they drive usually require a great deal of energy; at some stage in the cycle, this energy must probably be provided by sunlight. Photoautotrophs, therefore, seem required. Organisms that live very far subsurface will be in the dark, making photoautotrophy impossible. Organisms that live slightly subsurface, however, may avoid ultraviolet and charged particle radiation and at the same time acquire sufficient amounts of visible light for photosynthesis.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Furthermore, as the quotes above and the quotes below attest, these deep sea vents might provide the necessary energy for the formation of pre-biotic compounds by means of their great heat. However, the maximum temperature in which life is possible appears to be 230 degrees.

“Meanwhile deep-sea thermophiles have been found near vents at temperatures as high as 230 degrees.” – “Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places,” by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

Here the chemosynthesis suggestion faces safety and improbability issues. First, chemosynthesis would have to take place within a very narrow range of temperatures, hot enough for reactions to occur but not too hot or the same compounds would be ruined. The quotes below state that while heat could provide a potential source of energy, heat also poses a problem because it has the tendency to break down important pre-biotic chemical compounds.

Extraterrestrial life, The chemistry of extraterrestrial lifeLife on Earth lies within a rather narrow range of temperature. Above the normal boiling point of water, much loss of configurational structure or three-dimensional geometry occurs. At these temperatures proteins become denatured, in part because above the boiling point of water the hydrogen bonding and van der Waals forces between water and the protein disappear. Also, similar bonds within the protein molecule tend to break down. Proteins then change their shapes, their ability to participate in lock-and-key enzymatic reactions is gravely compromised, and the organism dies…Molecular factors While the bonds that characterize life on Earth are too weak at high temperatures, they are too strong at low temperatures, tending to slow down the rates of chemical reactions generally.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Enzyme, Chemical nature. – A large protein enzyme molecule is composed of one or more amino acid chains called polypeptide chains. The amino acid sequence determines the characteristic folding patterns of the protein's structure, which is essential to enzyme specificity. If the enzyme is subjected to changes, such as fluctuations in temperature or pH, the protein structure may lose its integrity (denature) and its enzymatic ability. Denaturation is sometimes, but not always, reversible.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Yet there are absolutes: life has its limits. There is just so hot that chemistry can go, just so cold that processes like photosynthesis can occur; they become too slow.” – Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places, by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

Enzyme, Mechanism of enzyme actionIn most chemical reactions, an energy barrier exists that must be overcome for the reaction to occur. This barrier prevents complex molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids from spontaneously degrading, and so is necessary for the preservation of life. When metabolic changes are required in a cell, however, certain of these complex molecules must be broken down, and this energy barrier must be surmounted. Heat could provide the additional needed energy (called activation energy), but the rise in temperature would kill the cell. The alternative is to lower the activation energy level through the use of a catalyst. This is the role that enzymes play.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

“But heat is a double-edged sword. It facilitates chemical reactions, but it can also destroy the products of those reactions. If exposed to high heat for too long, organic compounds decompose. It’s a very simple argument: if you keep a roast too long in an oven that’s too hot, it’s going to get charred, says Miller, who has little use for this scenario either. The vent hypothesis is a real loser. I don’t understand why we even have to discuss it, he says, his voice rising to an exasperated falsetto.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

As the quote above states, the over-heating problem is so significant that Stanley Miller rejects the “vent hypothesis” as a “real loser” that is not even worthy of discussion. Even supporters of the deep ocean vent theory admit that in order for it to work, you’d have to get the compounds so hot to interact properly that they’d need to cool “very rapidly.” And only if they cooled very rapidly would they be “preserved” rather than destroyed. This creates an improbability obstacle for the deep-sea thermal vent suggestion.

“Corliss, however, thinks he has an ace in the hole: a vent’s temperature gradient. He thinks it likely that the circulating seawater cooled the newly formed compounds almost immediately. If you quenched them very rapidly, you could preserve them, he says. Then they rose and mixed and worked their way up in the hot springs, through this huge complex of fractures, cooling as they went.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

In addition to the “safety” issue surrounding the problems posed by heat, there is also another danger posed by the watery setting. Not only would the water itself breakdown any potential formations of important pre-biotic chemicals, but at these depths there is also the extreme likelihood that any pre-biotic compounds that did manage to form would dissipate into the ocean without every encountering another organic molecule to interact with and eventually form life.

Life, The origin of life, Production of simple organic moleculesDespite the breakdown by water of molecular intermediates, condensing agents are often quite effective in inducing polymerization, and polymers of amino acids, sugars, and nucleotides have all been made this way. A famous British scientist, J.D. Bernal, suggested that adsorption of molecular intermediates on clays or other minerals may have concentrated these intermediates. Such concentration could offset the tendency for water to break down polymers of biological significance.”– Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

“Finally the organic compounds were deposited onto the clay minerals lining the mouth of a vent. And there they stayed. Rather than simply emerging and dissipating into the vast ocean where they might never encounter another organic molecule, the compounds accumulated on the clay surface. There, in a concentrated colony, they were able to interact with one another and with the endless supply of new compounds rising in the hot springs, until over time the first stirrings of primitive life emerged.” – How Did Life Start?, by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

Here again, the suggested solution is that these very real obstacles could be avoided if the pre-biotic compounds adhered to the presence of clay surfaces. This additional requirement adds yet another factor to the improbability to the scenario. And while the clays lining the vents seem to fit theoretically, as demonstrated by the quote below, this suggested solution is questioned by other evolutionary scientists. In the Discover article below, evolutionary scientist David Deamer indicates that he prefers to “tide pools” over the hydrothermal vent theory.

There are many exotic new ideas these days about where life originated. Some researchers say the grand event took place around the furnaces of underwater hydrothermal vents; others look in the spray of ocean bubbles; and still others prefer clay. But Deamer’s choice is tide pools, an idea that harks back at least as far as Darwin’s warm, still ponds.” – “First Cell,” By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

Moreover, as we can see from the quote above, Stanley Miller even considers this scenario, including the added role of the clays, as “too far-fetched.”

This scenario, attractive as it may seem, is--like so many others--too farfetched for Miller. It’s not that I don’t want to entertain new ideas--that’s fine, he says. The question is, does this chemistry work? Actually work in the lab? Either it does or it doesn’t. His point is well taken. Whatever else may be said about Miller’s ideas, his experiments worked. Talk, even informed talk, is cheap. If they’re to have an impact comparable to Miller’s, these champions of crystals and vents and interstellar particles must demonstrate their scenarios. But how? You can’t try to make early life at existing hot springs--they’re already replete with bacteria and other life-forms, so the environment just can’t be the same as it was on the primordial planet. And re-creating an ancient hydrothermal vent in the lab is a mind-boggling prospect. Still, vent researchers are busily conducting experiments designed to do just that…And Cairns-Smith is investigating the chemical relationships between minerals and organic compounds. But while he recognizes the importance of experimental proof, Cairns-Smith cheerfully acknowledges that he may never come up with any.” – How Did Life Start?, by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

As we can see from the quote above, the main problem that other evolutionary scientists, such as Stanley Miller, have with the chemosynthesis, hydrothermal vent hypothesis is that there is no experimental data at all to support or demonstrate this chemosynthesis, hydrothermal vent scenario. In fact, as the end of the quote states, even proponents of the hydrothermal vent scenario admit not only that there is no experimental support for it but also that they may never be able to generate any experiment or experimental data even capable of supporting it.

Here the chemosynthesis suggestion attains the status of being un-testable, therefore un-falsifiable, and consequently unscientific. In an earlier section of this series, we discussed the scientific method and specifically the requirement that in order to be considered “truly scientific” and within the realm of science rather than mere “pseudoscience,” a theory has to be “confirmed by actual experience,” able to be “checked,” and “repeatedly tested experimentally.”

Empiricisma philosophical approach that views experience as the most important source of knowledge. It is the philosophical outlook of most scientists.” – Worldbook Encyclopedia, Contributor: W. W. Bartley, III, Ph.D., Former Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, Stanford University.

Empiricism – in philosophy, the attitude that beliefs are to be accepted and acted upon only if they first have been confirmed by actual experience.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Popper, Karl RaimundPopper wanted to mark the boundary between scientific and nonscientific accounts of the physical, psychological, and social world. Nonscientific accounts include those offered by astrology, mythology, and some forms of traditional philosophy and religion. This approach connects Popper with two overlapping philosophical movements, Logical Positivism and Empiricism. Philosophers representing these movements argue that meaningful scientific accounts differ from nonscientific ones in that only the scientific can be tested by experience.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Ivan Soll, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

“Empiricism, Criticism and evaluation, Criticism and evaluationOne important philosopher of science, Karl Popper, has rejected the inductivism that views the growth of empirical knowledge as the result of a mechanical routine of generalization. To him it is falsifiability by experience that makes a statement empirical.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Science, philosophy of, Historical development, The 20th-century debate: Positivists versus historians – Meanwhile, the qualified Realism of Planck and Hertz was carried further by such men as Norman Campbell, an English physicist known for his sharpening of the distinction between laws and theories, and Karl Popper, an Austro-English philosopher recognized for his theory of falsifiability, both of whose views reflect the explicit methodology of many working scientists today.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Science – A theory developed by a scientist cannot be accepted as part of scientific knowledge until it has been verified by the studies of other researchers. In fact, for any knowledge to be truly scientific, it must be repeatedly tested experimentally and found to be true. This characteristic of science sets it apart from other branches of knowledge. For example, the humanities, which include religion, philosophy, and the arts, deal with ideas about human nature and the meaning of life. Such ideas cannot be scientifically proved. There is no test that tells whether a philosophical system is "right." No one can determine scientifically what feeling an artist tried to express in a painting. Nor can anyone perform an experiment to check for an error in a poem or a symphony.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Joseph W. Dauben, Ph.D., Professor of History and the History of Science, City University of New York.

As we have seen from the quotes above, the chemosynthesis hydrothermal vent hypothesis is simply un-falsifiable. Thus, concerning the requirement that a theory must be falsifiable, the chemosynthesis hydrothermal vent hypothesis fails to meet the basic criteria of the scientific method. And, as we have also seen, this is exactly why evolutionary scientists like Stanley Miller reject this suggestion as “too far fetched.” This barrier stands in addition to the sufficient quantity and multiple “safety” obstacles also inherent to this theory.

With the failure of the deep-sea floor chemosynthesis scenario, we return once again to the ultraviolet light suggestion, which employs a location at least a few tens of meters deep but not too deep under water. Our present return to this theory does not overturn the obstacles inherent to this scenario as described earlier. It should be stated for review that numerous quotes already established the inadequacy of this model including the depth and unavailability dilemma, the numerous prohibitive “safety” issues involving both the ultraviolet light and the water itself as well as the fact that only the most basic chemical compounds have been produced experimentally under this scenario, leaving it nowhere near the complex molecules necessary for the origin of life. In particular, we noted that without the presence of clays or other minerals in the water, water will breakdown pre-biotic molecules.

Life, The origin of life, Production of simple organic moleculesDespite the breakdown by water of molecular intermediates, condensing agents are often quite effective in inducing polymerization, and polymers of amino acids, sugars, and nucleotides have all been made this way. A famous British scientist, J.D. Bernal, suggested that adsorption of molecular intermediates on clays or other minerals may have concentrated these intermediates. Such concentration could offset the tendency for water to break down polymers of biological significance. Of special interest is the possibility that such concentration matrices included phosphates, for this would help explain how phosphorus could have been incorporated preferentially into prebiological organic molecules at a time when biological concentration mechanisms did not yet exist. Mineral catalysis implies that organic synthesis could also occur in deep water where ultraviolet light had been filtered out.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

We went on to note that the adherence of pre-biotic compounds to submarine clay surfaces has been suggested as a solution to this prohibitive tendency of water. However, as stated earlier, even if this suggested solution were adequate to prevent water from breaking down the important pre-biotic molecules, the ultraviolet scenario would still face another insurmountable difficulty.

Like water, oxygen prevents the formation of pre-biotic compounds. The requirement that there must be “no oxygen” present is stipulated when describing the possibility of pre-biotic compounds assembling on the early earth.

Evolution, IX STEPS IN EVOLUTION – Life originated about 3.5 billion years ago, when the earth's environment was very different than it is today. Especially important was the lack of significant amounts of free oxygen in the atmosphere. Experiments have shown that rather complicated organic molecules, including amino acids, can arise spontaneously under conditions that are believed to simulate the earth's primitive environment.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Evolution, IX STEPS IN EVOLUTION – Widely accepted evidence suggests that the first organisms were archaebacteria, primitive cells without nuclei. These cells may have evolved in waters with extremely high temperatures and no oxygen.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

But even though the presence of oxygen is prohibitive to evolutionary origin of life scenarios, modern evolutionists now believe oxygen was more present in the early earth than before and in enough quantity that it would inhibit any form of energy from bringing about the assembly of pre-biotics in the first place. In fact, the presence of oxygen would cause other compounds to form instead.

“For example, what if the primordial atmosphere wasn’t anything like the one Miller and Urey imagined? Would it be so easy to produce organics then? The Miller-Urey experiment was a strong foundation because it was consistent with theories at the time, says geochemist Everett Shock of Washington University in St. Louis. The problem is that subsequent research has swept away a lot of those ideas. The Miller-Urey atmosphere contained a lot of hydrogen. But now the atmosphere of the early Earth is thought to have been more oxidized. That makes Miller’s scenario less probable, because it’s a lot harder to make organic molecules in the presence of oxygen. A hydrogen-rich atmosphere is relatively unstable. When zapped by lightning or other sources of energy, molecules in that environment readily tumble together into organic compounds. Not so in a heavily oxidized atmosphere. While an infusion of energy may cause a few simple organics to form, for the most part the results are inorganic gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide. These are the constituents of smog, says Shock. So basically what you’re getting is a lot of air pollution.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

As indicated by the quote immediately above, oxygen is more stable than other suggested components to the primitive earth environment. Consequently, oxygen would tend to inhibit lightning or other sources of energy from assembling pre-biotic compounds, causing other compounds, such as “smog,” to form instead.

Second, not only would oxygen prohibit the formation of any pre-biotic compounds, but it would also breakdown any pre-biotic compounds that did manage to form.

Life, The origin of life, The earliest living systemsThe cell may have arisen in response to the need for maintaining a high concentration of scarce building blocks or enzymes, or as protection against the gradually increasing abundance of oxygen on the primitive Earth. Oxygen is a well-known poison to many biological processes, and in contemporary higher organisms the mitochondria that handle molecular oxygen are kept in the cytoplasm, far from contact with the nuclear material...As the competition for building blocks increased among early life forms, and also perhaps as the abiological production of organic molecules dwindled because of the increasing oxygen abundance, the strictly heterotrophic way of life became more and more costly.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Earth, geologic history of, Development of the atmosphere and oceans, Formation of the secondary atmospherePrimitive organisms, such as blue-green algae (or cyanobacteria), cause carbon dioxide and water to react by photosynthesis to produce carbohydrates, which they need for growth, repair, and other vital functions, and this reaction releases free oxygen...The earliest primitive organisms produced free oxygen as a by-product, and in the absence of oxygen-mediating enzymes it was harmful to their living cells and had to be removed.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The insurmountable problem with the ultraviolet scenario is that utilizing ultraviolet light as an energy source for the origin of life inherently involves photosynthetic processes. And photosynthesis (or photoautotrophy) inherently produces free oxygen as a byproduct and releases it into the environment immediately surrounding the pre-biotic compound or even the photosynthetic organism. Photoautotrophs on land would not only be susceptible to lethal ultraviolet radiation, but they also release oxygen into the surrounding atmosphere.

Life, Life on earth, Metabolism – A green plant is a typical example of a photoautotroph. It uses sunlight to break water into oxygen and hydrogen. Hydrogen is then combined with carbon dioxide to produce such energy-rich organic molecules as ATP and carbohydrates, and the oxygen is released back into the atmosphere.”  – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

“On July 20, 1976, the Viking 1 spacecraft had touched down on Mars, and the Friedmanns, along with millions of other Americans, had listened to Cronkite describe the historic landing…But mission biologists eventually concluded that the soil on Mars was sterile: no life, they said, could survive the combination of ultraviolet solar radiation, extreme dryness, and lethally oxidizing compounds found on the planet’s surface.” – “Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places,” by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

Similarly, photoautotrophs in water release oxygen into their surrounding water.

Bacteria, VII BACTERIA IN OUR DAILY LIVES – During photosynthesis, cyanobacteria also release oxygen, which dissolves in the water. A great variety of aquatic organisms rely entirely on this oxygen for their survival. Many scientists are concerned that breakdown of the ozone layer may damage cyanobacteria and other phytoplankton, threatening the survival of the organisms that depend on them for food and oxygen.” – "Bacteria," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Consequently, there is simply no way for the ultraviolet light scenario to work. Even if all the improbabilities and obstacles facing the origin of a self-replicating RNA molecule also capable of causing protein synthesis were overcome at the right depth of ocean water with submarine clays available to prevent the water from breaking them down, there still would be nothing to protect these molecules from destruction by oxygen. Consequently, even if the chicken-and-egg dilemma between DNA, RNA, and enzymes were solved by RNA, the larger chicken-and-egg dilemma would remain. The only solution to prohibitive role of oxygen is the presence of a membrane capable of protecting essential molecules from oxygen. But this requires not only the arrival of RNA and a membrane at the same time and at the same location, but also that these 2 items would somehow combine and interact to bring about this essential protective function and without isolating the RNA from other resources needed for self-replication and protein synthesis. This coinciding arrival and assembly of RNA and a functional membrane again defies probability to the point of implying foresight, just as was stated to be the case concerning the probability of DNA, RNA, and enzymes or the four base pairs of DNA all arriving in a coinciding manner.

“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.” – “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” Christian de Duve, American Scientist, September-October 1995

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.” – “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” Christian de Duve, American Scientist, September-October 1995

Once again, the quotes below by secular sources, evolutionary scientists, and mainstream scientific magazines assert and attest to these insurmountable problems facing the evolutionary theory as it currently stands.

The quote blow attests to the fact that membranes are necessary to protect against harmful chemicals and elements in the environment in general. Below we will see that oxygen is specifically listed as one of these harmful elements.

Essential Ingredients – ‘Water is necessary for life,’ says Steven Benner. ‘At some point the nucleotide components had to move into an aqueous environment.’ Also essential are fats, from which cell membranes are constructed. In every organism, genetic material is housed inside a membrane that keeps dangerous substances out while letting in food and other necessary molecules. After the ribose, nucleobases, and phosphate combine to form nucleotides, fats are required to make this membrane.” – “What Came Before DNA?,” by Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 25 No. 06, June 2004, Biology & Medicine

"Cell, The plasma membraneA thin membrane, some .005 micrometre across, surrounds every living cell, delimiting the cell from the environment around it. Enclosed by this plasma membrane are the cell's constituents, often large, water-soluble, highly charged molecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and substances involved in cellular metabolism. Outside the cell, in the surrounding water-based environment, are ions, acids, and alkalis that are toxic to the cell, as well as nutrients that the cell must absorb in order to live and grow. The plasma membrane, therefore, has two functions: first, to be a barrier keeping the constituents of the cell in and unwanted substances out; and second, to be a gate allowing transport into the cell of essential nutrients and movement from the cell of waste products." – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The membrane of any cell has to do many things at once. It has to be impermeable enough to keep essential things (like DNA) in and harmful things (like viruses and poisons) out. Yet a cell membrane can’t form a perfect seal. It has to be able to flush out waste and heat from its own system and take in nutrients from the surrounding medium. And the first cell membrane, like the membranes of many single-celled organisms today, probably had to be able to collect energy as well.” – By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

Consequently, given this role for membranes, it is not a surprise that all life that we observe today has a membrane.

All organisms alive today keep their DNA, RNA, and proteins together inside cell membranes. These oily bubbles prevent big molecules from getting out while letting smaller food molecules in.” – “What Came Before DNA?,” by Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 25 No. 06, June 2004, Biology & Medicine

In the quote below, the phrase “at some point in the evolution of biological catalysts” is simply shorthand to refer to the origination of self-replicating molecules, such as hypothetical self-replicating and catalytic RNA, which we discussed at length in our previous section. As such, this quote is asserting that membranes are regarded as an absolutely necessary, early step in any progression toward the origin of life.

Cell, The evolution of cells, The development of genetic informationAt some point in the evolution of biologic catalysts the first cell was formed. This would have required the partitioning of the primitive soup of biologic catalysts into individual units, each surrounded by a membrane. Membrane formation might have occurred quite simply, since many amphiphilic molecules—half hydrophobic (water-hating) and half hydrophilic (water-loving)—aggregate to form bilayer sheets in which the hydrophobic portions of the molecules line up in rows to form the interior of the sheet and leave the hydrophilic portions to face the water. Such bilayer sheets can spontaneously close up to form the walls of small, spherical vesicles, as do the phospholipid bilayer membranes of present-day cells. As soon as the biologic catalysts became compartmentalized into small individual units, or cells, the units would have begun to compete with one another for the same ingredients in the surrounding soup. Now the development of variant, but efficient, catalysts would have served only the cell itself and its progeny, rather than being dissipated throughout a much larger volume.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

In fact, membranes are deemed so necessary in order for the origin of life to occur that some evolutionary scientists have advanced what they call “the membrane first” hypothesis.

“When he returned to Davis, Deamer pursued the membrane first hypothesis, experimenting with mixtures of three compounds researchers believed existed on the early Earth: fatty acids, glycerol, and phosphates. In the right concentrations, he found, they formed into lipids, and in turn, the lipids spontaneously assembled into liposomes.” – “First Cell,” By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

The relegation of membranes as first in the chain of events or nearly first, further highlights the need for RNA and membranes to originate and assemble in a coinciding functional manner that defies probability to the point of requiring teleology. In fact, as we continue to see quotes from this Discover article, we will see that the entire article is about developing a scenario in which RNA and membranes could have developed in a coinciding manner.

The next quote below from Discover magazine goes on to simply assert that you cannot have life until you have a membrane and so, in order to explain the origin of life, you have to explain how essential pre-biotic molecules “got encapsulated in a cell.”

“To most who search for life's origins, genes are everything. But as David Deamer keeps reminding them, without a container for those genes, there can be no lifePart of the definition of life, says David Deamer, is that it is in a place…For the past 18 years, though, Deamer has been gently reminding his colleagues that these questions define only part of the puzzle of life. DNA does not float loosely through the oceans. Life is constrained in a place--or, to be more specific, within a boundary. Life is chemical interaction, and for that interaction to occur, life’s molecules must be close to one another. Without a physical boundary of some sort, without a skin, a bark, or a cell membrane, an organism is nothing more than a diffusing blur of molecules. To explain how the first creature came to be, you have to explain how its innards got to be distinguished from its surroundings. In other words, you’ve got to explain how the first single-celled creature got encapsulated in a cellA cell membrane’s importance to life is often underappreciated, says Deamer. People say, ‘Well, it’s just a little bag.’ But it’s much more. It’s the interface between life and everything that’s outside.” – “First Cell,” By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

Later on in the same article, the author specifically identifies some sort of hypothetical self-replicating precursors of modern RNA as the “molecules” that need to have gotten encapsulated into a membrane.

There are many exotic new ideas these days about where life originated. Some researchers say the grand event took place around the furnaces of underwater hydrothermal vents; others look in the spray of ocean bubbles; and still others prefer clay. But Deamer’s choice is tide pools, an idea that harks back at least as far as Darwin’s warm, still ponds. Twenty years ago researchers showed that the wet and dry cycles of actual tide pools could bond together several precursors of RNA. It seemed reasonable to think that these pools could have been the cradle for genetic molecules, and it was likely that liposomes would have sloshed into the pools as well.” – “First Cell,” By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

For the record, the term “liposome” in the quote above is a reference to hypothetical bubble-like structures that have been suggested as potential precursors of modern membranes.

“In the early sixties biophysicist Alec Bangham of the Animal Physiology Institute in Cambridge, England, made a remarkable discovery about lipids: they can put themselves together. When he extracted lipids from egg yolks and threw them into water, he found that the lipids would naturally organize themselves into double-layered bubbles roughly the size of a cell. Bangham’s bubbles soon became known as liposomes.” – “First Cell,” By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

Furthermore, the reason that these lipid bubbles are believed to be a potential precursor to modern membranes, is that modern membranes, although much more sophisticated, are also comprised of lipids.

“When Deamer began his work on membranes as a graduate student in the early sixties, biologists were just learning what membranes were made of: thin films of oil composed of molecules called lipids, tadpolelike things with little heads and long tails. The heads are made of charged groups of atoms, such as sugars or phosphates, while the tails are long chains of uncharged carbon and hydrogen atoms.” – “First Cell,” By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

And this is why the following quote states that lipids are essential for life (right alongside proteins and nucleic acids), which also indirectly indicates that membranes are essential for life.

Protein – complex molecule composed of amino acids and necessary for the chemical processes that occur in living organisms. Proteins are basic constituents in all living organisms…All known enzymes, for example, are proteins and may occur in very minute amounts; nevertheless, these substances catalyze all metabolic reactions, enabling organisms to build up the chemical substances-other proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids-that are necessary for life.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

In the next quote below (which we have already seen above), free nucleic acids are contrasted with the idea of nucleic acids inside a cell. Thus, inside a cell as opposed to free nucleic acids outside a cell, refers to the arrival of a cell membrane, dividing items within the cell from the external world. Notice that this quote consequently suggests that the membrane was necessary to protect the cell from the presence of oxygen in its external environment, which would have been harmful to the otherwise unprotected “free nucleic acids.”

Life, The origin of life, The earliest living systems – Even the evolution of enzymatic reaction chains may have occurred in free nucleic acids before the origin of the cell. The cell may have arisen in response to the need for maintaining a high concentration of scarce building blocks or enzymes, or as protection against the gradually increasing abundance of oxygen on the primitive Earth. Oxygen is a well-known poison to many biological processes, and in contemporary higher organisms the mitochondria that handle molecular oxygen are kept in the cytoplasm, far from contact with the nuclear material...As the competition for building blocks increased among early life forms, and also perhaps as the abiological production of organic molecules dwindled because of the increasing oxygen abundance, the strictly heterotrophic way of life became more and more costly.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

It is important to keep in mind that this membrane-development scenario is itself necessary in order to make even the ultraviolet light scenario work by providing the required protection from oxygen that would otherwise destroy any progression toward the origin of life. In order to understand the obstacles that face the membrane-development scenario, and therefore, further disable the ultraviolet light scenario, we need to explore exactly the membrane-development scenario.

The first questions concern how exactly the liposomes (the simple, hypothetical bubble-like precursors to modern membranes) might form and how the essential pre-biotic molecules could get associated with them and eventually get inside them. The quote below asserts with very little detail that these liposomes simply form spontaneously in mixtures of lipids and water and simply that the chemical reactions might have taken place on their surface or inside them. But this is just a summary and no explanation is given for how and why these things might occur.

Life, The origin of life, Modern theoriesScientists have developed three major theories to explain the transition from early organic molecules to living cells. All three theories are based on the idea that the simple organic compounds formed more complex ones, which then gave rise to the structures that make up cells…A third theory is based on the facts that cell-like structures with membranes will form spontaneously in mixtures of certain lipids and water and that such structures fold into shells the size of small cells. This theory claims that the chemical reactions leading to the formation of complex organic compounds took place inside and on the surface of these shells. Scientists are experimenting to determine which, if any, of these theories corresponds most closely to the known facts.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Harold J. Morowitz, Ph.D., Robinson Professor of Biology and Director of Krasnow Institute, George Mason University.

Fortunately, Discover magazine doesn’t just give a summary, but actually includes the details theorizing how these 2 crucial events might unfold. The origination of liposomes starts with fatty acids, glycerol, and phosphates, all of which evolutionists believe existed on the early earth.

“When he returned to Davis, Deamer pursued the membrane first hypothesis, experimenting with mixtures of three compounds researchers believed existed on the early Earth: fatty acids, glycerol, and phosphates. In the right concentrations, he found, they formed into lipids, and in turn, the lipids spontaneously assembled into liposomes.” – “First Cell,” By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

These elements will then form lipids, which will naturally assemble into the small “shells” (or liposomes) mentioned in the Worldbook article above.

“In the early sixties biophysicist Alec Bangham of the Animal Physiology Institute in Cambridge, England, made a remarkable discovery about lipids: they can put themselves together. When he extracted lipids from egg yolks and threw them into water, he found that the lipids would naturally organize themselves into double-layered bubbles roughly the size of a cell. Bangham’s bubbles soon became known as liposomes. Deamer was intrigued when he learned of these cellular shells.” – “First Cell,” By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

To get the necessary pre-biotic compounds inside these “shells” or liposomes, you have to put them in shallow pools, which would have been heated by the sun until they were fully dried, and then re-hydrate them.

“A short trek inland, in a grove of redwoods, is Deamer’s new lab, where he has been for the past year. Santa Cruz is a more appropriate setting for his work than the flat farms around Davis; what is happening down on the beach is much like what Deamer thinks happened at the dawn of life. He [Deamer] opens a jar of lipids, extracted from egg yolk, and mixes some of the clear oil into a small test tube of water. To the naked eye the water seems unchanged, except that it has taken on a slightly milky quality; in actuality it is now full of microscopic bilayered bubbles. Deamer extracts a few drops from the mixture and puts them on a glass slideWhy don’t we get the hot plate going?...That’s our tide pool, Deamer says, nodding toward the hot plate. Imagine a primitive sun beaming down on that. We’re going to let it dry downAfter a few minutes of primordial heat, the lipids and DNA on the slide have dried into a thin film. Deamer fills his tide pool again by adding a few drops of water…Looking through the eyepieces, you can see lipids squirting out from the dried film into the surrounding water. At first they writhe like snakes; gradually they swell into bubbles. Some of them are dim, but others glow with the intense fluorescent green dye attached to the DNA. The glow is clear proof that as the planes of lipids curled up into vesicles, the DNA that had been sandwiched in between them got trapped inside.” – By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

“There are many exotic new ideas these days about where life originated. Some researchers say the grand event took place around the furnaces of underwater hydrothermal vents; others look in the spray of ocean bubbles; and still others prefer clay. But Deamer’s choice is tide pools, an idea that harks back at least as far as Darwin’s warm, still ponds. Twenty years ago researchers showed that the wet and dry cycles of actual tide pools could bond together several precursors of RNA. It seemed reasonable to think that these pools could have been the cradle for genetic molecules, and it was likely that liposomes would have sloshed into the pools as well. All this organic stuff is accumulating on early beaches, Deamer says, and the sun is heating and drying it, and lots of natural experiments are taking place that I’m trying to re-create in the laboratory.” – By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

However, there are other problems with the membrane-development scenario, which in turn leaves the ultraviolet scenario without a working solution.

First, although amino acids have also been produced through re-hydration indicating that evaporation pools might be a possible location for the formation of such compounds, evolutionary scientists question the viability of the “dry heating and return to solution” aspect of this scenario.

Life, The origin of life, Production of polymersDehydrating agents must be used to initiate polymerization. The polymerization of amino acids to form long protein-like molecules was accomplished through dry heating by a U.S. investigator, S.W. Fox. The polyamino acids that are formed are not random polymers and have some distinct catalytic activities. The geophysical generality of dry heating and return to solution, however, has been questioned.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Second, even when these questionable re-hydrating techniques were used to get RNA inside the liposomes, the RNA doesn’t and “can’t do anything” but simply “fills up” the entire “primitive membrane.”

“The researchers began by forming liposomes out of 14-carbon lipids and used Deamer’s tide pool method to capture an enzyme known as an RNA polymerase. In modern cells this enzyme grabs nucleotides and puts them together into RNA. Four nucleotides are needed to make real RNA, but for simplicity’s sake, Deamer and his co-workers used only one…The liposomes had indeed allowed nucleotides to enter through their pores, and the polymerase had assembled them into RNA. The researchers thus showed that primordial liposomes forming in tide pools could have performed some essential cellular tricks…As an analogy to early life, their quasi cell has obvious limits, Deamer and Chakrabarti know. It builds simplified RNA, using only one nucleotide rather than the full complement of four, and once the RNA is produced, it can’t do anything--it simply fills up the liposome.” – By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

Third, as indicated by the closing sentences of the quote above, it is important to note that even if there were total success in these experiments, that it would still be a long way from the origin of life because several essential parts of the process would remain without explanation, including the need to demonstrate how growth and division are managed and a much fuller model for exactly how energy is utilized in this process.

Fourth, it is important to note from the quote above how much the scientists have had to simplify the process in order to make it work. They are using only one single nucleotide as opposed to the usual four required in all observed life. (By using only one nucleotide, the experiment doesn’t address the prohibitive improbabilities of life originating without foresight using all four nucleotides, each originating on its own and all four being available at the same place and time.) Additionally, these experiments are also using “rare,” specially selected liposomes with smaller 14-carbon-long tails as opposed to the lipids that are have tails “16 to 18 carbon atoms long” that are found in modern cells. The reason that the liposomes have to be specially selected with tails 14-carbon atoms long is that other sizes simply don’t allow the process to work.

One big problem was that these early membranes would simply have been too good at separating what they enclosed from the environment outside. A cell needs to pull in ions and toss them out all the time, so it overcomes its membrane’s impermeability with intricate channels, pumps, and shuttles. Swallowed by a liposome, a primitive genetic molecule would have been unequipped to manufacture channels through the membrane. The liposome would not be a shelter but a prison--or at least, so it seemed. People think that membranes are permeable to nutrients and ions only if you put a channel through them, says Deamer. That’s the end of the story, because that’s the way it’s brought up in textbooks. But he has recently discovered that the textbooks are wrong. Modern cells contain lipids with tails 16 to 18 carbon atoms long, with the rare 14-carbon tail appearing in some microbes. Tails with 12 or fewer atoms don’t appear in any cell membranes, anywhere. To determine the effect of tail length on permeability, Deamer prepared lipids with a range of tails and tried to make liposomes with them. By measuring how well they could trap charged dye molecules, he could measure their impermeability. Short tails, he found, couldn’t form bilayers at all; the best they could manage were little clumps of particles. Lipids with tails of at least 16 atoms, on the other hand, formed tightly sealed liposomes that held their dye stubbornly. However, tails with 10 to 14 atoms could also form liposomes, though they were leaky…In 1992, Chakrabarti managed to slip amino acids, which are three times bigger than potassium, through the leaky membrane. Perhaps, the researchers speculated, the earliest membranes were made of such short-tailed lipids; then, once the first cells had the genetic machinery up and running to make protein channels, they could make lipids with longer tails for better insulation without starving themselves.” – By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

Here there is a trade off. Lipids with short tails (apparently less than 10 carbon atoms long) don’t form liposomes or bubbles at all. Conversely, lipids with tails of 16 carbon atoms or longer, such as found in modern cells, formed liposomes with that were so tightly sealed that they prevented the experimental chemicals from getting either in or out. Consequently, to allow for the necessary permeability, the scientists selected lipids with tails from 10 to 14 carbon atoms long even though tails of 12 or less carbon atoms are never found in observed cells and tails of 14 carbon atoms are “rare.” This kind of contemplative selection process, which was necessary in order to guarantee functionality, is equivalent to employing foresight during the experiment. And frankly, it completely countermands any attempt to demonstrate the origin of life through automatic, routine processes that occur without foresight.

Fifth, as indicated by the quotes below, the initial chemical reactions necessary to transform basic pre-biotic compounds in a forward process toward life are “highly unstable” and would require “aid” from catalysts to keep them from “spontaneously degrading.”

“As the basic molecules of life move from space to a planetary environment, they begin to interact and undergo chemical reactions that produce larger and more complicated molecules. These larger molecules will ultimately become the building blocks of the earliest life-forms. The initial chemical reactions are highly unstable and require the aid of minerals to keep the newly formed organic building blocks from spontaneously degrading. Steven Benner, a biochemist at the University of Florida, theorizes that minerals containing borate may have acted as a catalyst in “stabilizing and guiding” these vital chemical processes.” – “What Came Before DNA?,” by Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 25 No. 06, June 2004, Biology & Medicine

So, not only would RNA and all 4 nucleotides have to make it inside the membrane, but also these hypothetical “minerals” necessary to keep the initial chemical reactions inside the liposome from “spontaneously degrading.”

And finally we arrive at the most significant barrier to the membrane-development scenario. As mentioned earlier, to get the necessary pre-biotic compounds inside these “shells” or liposomes, you have to put them in shallow pools, which would have been heated by the sun until they were fully dried, and then re-hydrate them.

“A short trek inland, in a grove of redwoods, is Deamer’s new lab, where he has been for the past year. Santa Cruz is a more appropriate setting for his work than the flat farms around Davis; what is happening down on the beach is much like what Deamer thinks happened at the dawn of life. He [Deamer] opens a jar of lipids, extracted from egg yolk, and mixes some of the clear oil into a small test tube of water. To the naked eye the water seems unchanged, except that it has taken on a slightly milky quality; in actuality it is now full of microscopic bilayered bubbles. Deamer extracts a few drops from the mixture and puts them on a glass slideWhy don’t we get the hot plate going?...That’s our tide pool, Deamer says, nodding toward the hot plate. Imagine a primitive sun beaming down on that. We’re going to let it dry downAfter a few minutes of primordial heat, the lipids and DNA on the slide have dried into a thin film. Deamer fills his tide pool again by adding a few drops of water…Looking through the eyepieces, you can see lipids squirting out from the dried film into the surrounding water. At first they writhe like snakes; gradually they swell into bubbles. Some of them are dim, but others glow with the intense fluorescent green dye attached to the DNA. The glow is clear proof that as the planes of lipids curled up into vesicles, the DNA that had been sandwiched in between them got trapped inside.” – By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

“There are many exotic new ideas these days about where life originated. Some researchers say the grand event took place around the furnaces of underwater hydrothermal vents; others look in the spray of ocean bubbles; and still others prefer clay. But Deamer’s choice is tide pools, an idea that harks back at least as far as Darwin’s warm, still ponds. Twenty years ago researchers showed that the wet and dry cycles of actual tide pools could bond together several precursors of RNA. It seemed reasonable to think that these pools could have been the cradle for genetic molecules, and it was likely that liposomes would have sloshed into the pools as well. All this organic stuff is accumulating on early beaches, Deamer says, and the sun is heating and drying it, and lots of natural experiments are taking place that I’m trying to re-create in the laboratory.” – By Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

Specifically, it is important to note that the pools must be shallow, because they have to frequently dry up and then re-hydrate in order to provide the theoretical mechanism for how RNA gets trapped inside the liposome bubble. As we have stated, the membrane-development scenario is necessary in order to make the ultraviolet scenario work because without it, the ultraviolet scenario provides no means of protection from oxygen that would prohibit the origination of life. However, as covered in detail earlier, the ultraviolet scenario must take place in water that is “some tens of meters” deep at the least in order to avoid having the ultraviolet light itself destroy the important pre-biotic compounds. For reference, here again are the quotes establishing that without protection by dozens of meters of water, ultraviolet light will eradicate any potential progression toward life. 

Life, The origin of life, The antiquity of life – The fossil record, in any complete sense, goes back only about 600,000,000 years. In the layers of sedimentary rock known by geological methods and by radioactive dating to be that old, most of the major groups of invertebrates appear for the first time. All these organisms appear adapted to life in the water, and there is no sign yet of organisms adapted to the land. For this reason, and because of a rough similarity between the salt contents of blood and of seawater, it is believed that early forms of life developed in oceans or pools. With no evidence for widespread oxygen-producing photosynthesis before this time, and for cosmic abundance reasons described above, the oxygen content of the Earth's atmosphere in Precambrian times was very likely less than today. Accordingly, in Precambrian times, solar ultraviolet radiation, especially near the wavelength of 2,600 Å, which is particularly destructive to nucleic acids, may have penetrated to the surface of the Earth, rather than being totally absorbed in the upper atmosphere by ozone as it is today. In the absence of ozone, the ultraviolet solar flux is so high that a lethal dose for most organisms would be delivered in less than an hour. Unless extraordinary defense mechanisms existed in Precambrian times, life near the Earth's surface would have been impossible. Sagan suggested that life at this time was generally restricted to some tens of metres and deeper in the oceans, at which depths all the ultraviolet light would have been absorbed, although visible light would still filter throughIt has been suggested that the colonization of the land, about 425,000,000 years ago, was possible only because enough ozone was then produced to shield the surface from ultraviolet light for the first time.– Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Bacteria, VII BACTERIA IN OUR DAILY LIVES – During photosynthesis, cyanobacteria also release oxygen, which dissolves in the water. A great variety of aquatic organisms rely entirely on this oxygen for their survival. Many scientists are concerned that breakdown of the ozone layer may damage cyanobacteria and other phytoplankton, threatening the survival of the organisms that depend on them for food and oxygen.” – "Bacteria," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Life, Extraterrestrial life, The chemistry of extraterrestrial life – Life on Earth is structurally based on carbon and utilizes water as an interaction medium…The planet, therefore, should have an atmosphere and some near-surface liquid, although not necessarily an ocean. If the intensity of ultraviolet light or charged particles from the sun is intense at the planetary surface, there must be some place, perhaps below the surface, that is shielded from this radiation but that nevertheless permits useful chemical reactions to occur…Organisms that live slightly subsurface, however, may avoid ultraviolet and charged particle radiation and at the same time acquire sufficient amounts of visible light for photosynthesis.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Life, Extraterrestrial life, Molecular factorsBut life does require an interaction medium, an atmosphere, and some protection from ultraviolet light and from charged particles of solar origin.– Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Even if all the other problems with the membrane-development scenario were resolved or ignored, this is clearly the most debilitating, fundamental, and insurmountable problem for the membrane-development scenario, and ultimately for the ultraviolet light scenario as well. In attempting to provide the ultraviolet light scenario with the necessary protection from oxygen (by means of a membrane), the membrane-development scenario requires a shallow environment (to get the organic material inside the membrane), which results in direct exposure to destructive ultraviolet light. Consequently, as it currently stands, evolutionary theory as a whole has no explanation for how to avoid both prohibitive damage by ultraviolet light and oxygen at the same time in a single scenario.

In summary, we can see that membrane-development scenario, which is necessary for the ultraviolet light scenario to avoid failure due to the presence of oxygen, is itself faced with barriers. Its basic mechanism of re-hydration is questioned by some scientists. The chemical compounds involved have been highly simplified and specially designed and selected for functionality, which incorporates teleology and nullifies automatic, routine processes as the mechanisms. This high degree of simplification avoids addressing the enormous improbabilities of life originating without foresight in a real scenario that accurately reflects what we actually observe all around us in nature. And even when the simplified RNA enters into the specially selected liposome, it can’t do anything further along the progression toward life but simply fills up the space. Any minerals necessary to keep the unstable, complex chemical reactions inside the liposome from degrading are still missing. Ultimately, the shallow water setting inherently robs the entire process of necessary protection from lethal ultraviolet radiation that prevents the origination of life. And finally, in the same way that teleology is indicated by the improbability of any coinciding origin of proteins and DNA or all four base pairs functionally ready to interact with one another, the coinciding origin and assembly of a membrane and a self-replicating, catalytic precursor, such as some hypothetical form of RNA, likewise defies probability to the point of indicating teleology and foresight.

“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.” – “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” Christian de Duve, American Scientist, September-October 1995

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.” – “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” Christian de Duve, American Scientist, September-October 1995

In conclusion, concerning the various environments and energy sources suggested for the origin of life under evolutionary conditions, we can see that evolutionary theory as it currently stands does not have a working scenario for how automatic, routine processes proceeding without foresight could result in the origin of life. The life-prohibiting meteorite and cometary bombardment of the earth at the exact timeframe when life would have to originate on earth creates a lack of time for life to originate at any point in the known history of the earth.

That’s worried people for the last 10 to 15 years, says Christopher Chyba, a planetary scientist based at NASA’s Ames Research Center, south of San Francisco. There seems to be a contradiction between the fact that we’re here and evidence that early Earth was not very hospitable to the formation of organics. How do you resolve the dilemma?” – How Did Life Start?, by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

Furthermore, the obstacles involving the need for energy as well as safety from other prohibitive factors create an additional chicken-and-egg scenario, in which items like ultraviolet light or oxygen have to be both present and cannot be present, in order for life to originate. This creates the lack of any feasible environment in which life could originate.

The obstacles involving the functional interdependence among cell components such as RNA, DNA, proteins, enzymes, ribosomes, carbohydrates, fats, and membranes create an irreducible complexity and a lack of the simplicity necessary for items to slowly evolve from basic chemicals to sophisticated, interacting, chemical systems.

In addition, resolving the “energy and safety environmental” chicken-and-egg dilemma as well as the interdependent cell component chicken-and-egg dilemma at just the right time, just when hostile meteoric conditions were subsiding, creates a situation that inherently requires coinciding events that defy probability and display the foresight and purposeful coordination of teleology. And, as we have seen, these facts have been established using secular sources, evolutionary scientists, and mainstream scientific magazines. Even Stanley Miller himself asserted that simply no one knows how the first self-replicating system could have originated, no matter what energy source or environment they are utilizing.

When Miller analyzed the brew, he found that it contained amino acids, the building blocks of protein. The lightning had reorganized the molecules in the atmosphere to produce organic compoundsPeople were stunned. Articles appeared in major newspapers across the countryThus emerged the picture that has dominated origin-of-life scenarios. Some 4 billion years ago, lightning (or another energy source, like ultraviolet light or heat) stimulated a hydrogen-rich atmosphere to produce organic compounds, which then rained down into the primitive ocean or other suitable bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, or even a warm little pond, as Charles Darwin once suggested. Once there, these simple compounds, or monomers, combined with one another to produce more complicated organics, or polymers, which gradually grew even more complex until they coalesced into the beginnings of self-replicating RNA. With that came the RNA world and ultimately the evolution into cells and the early bacterial ancestors of life. The picture is powerful and appealing, but not all origin-of-life researchers are convinced. Even Miller throws up his hands at certain aspects of it. The first step, making the monomers, that’s easy. We understand it pretty well. But then you have to make the first self- replicating polymers. That’s very easy, he says, the sarcasm fairly dripping. Just like it’s easy to make money in the stock market--all you have to do is buy low and sell high. He laughs. Nobody knows how it’s done. Some would say the statement applies as well to the first easy step, the creation of simple organic compounds.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

Consequently, our definition of evolutionary theory on the issue of the origin of life is not a biased description. Instead, it is entirely accurate to describe the evolutionary theory for the origin of life in the following terms:

4) Various theoretical scenarios are offered for the origin of life. And although each individual scenario is acknowledged to be insufficient due to environmental prohibitions involving chemicals and energy sources, the known geologic history of the earth, and statistical improbabilities particularly those surrounding the arrival of cellular systems that are currently irreducibly functionally interdependent, the origin of life is asserted to be the result of automatic, routine processes, in a yet unobserved environment perhaps even occurring on another planet at an unknown time in the past when conditions and time allotments would be ideal.

As indicated by the closing lines of this definition, these interlocking barriers prohibiting the development of even a theoretical suggestion for the origin of life on earth without foresight (let alone observing or demonstrating such a theory experimentally) are so well-recognized that many evolutionary scientists have abandoned any earth-based origin for life in favor of life originating on another planet, where conditions could be more ideal. This brings us to the last controversial aspect of point 4 of the definition of evolutionary theory.


Related Images



Gene Pool
(Figures 1-6)




Defining the
Boundaries of Kinds



Gaps in the
Fossil Record




Britannica
Geologic Column



Misperceptions of
Dating Methods
(Figures 1-8)




Dating Facts



Dating Procedures
(Figures 1-13)




Isotope Dating Chart



Cosmology
Figure 1



Cosmology
Figure 2 (a-d)



Cosmology
Figure 3 (a-f)