Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Start of Life

A lot of people belief or are made to belief that evolution is the only possible base of the human existence. The explanation of the start of life is that it sprung forth out of a random fusion of atoms, coincidental being all together in a nice little warm pool of mud. Leaving in the middle of Evolution is of any importance at all for a debate about the excistence of God, as off course for a few atoms to meet and start life those atoms are required first, this short article will look at the possibility that life started by a random occurance or chance.

Biochemistry research presented in another article (which will give supporting references) leaded me to the conclusion that the possibility that random atoms would line up and attach them self to each other to potentially even form the first basic element needed for life is near to impossible (or actually near to imposable is still to close). The required atoms for the most basic element required to start building the simplest cell don't naturally look for each other and line up in the right way. With the chance being so small only an infinite repetition of all the required elements being together in the perfect atmosphere could possibly result in a (one) amino acid to be formed.

There are different theories thought out regarding the existence of the universe. One of these theories, the oscillation model or the continuous creation model, would be in favor of the theory of evolution since it gives an infinite or near infinite amount of cycles. There is a chance that even the smallest chance of spontaneous life will occur when something is repeated an unlimited amount of times. This is however not the case as we discussed in the article on the Big Creation.

Then looking at the plausibility of a life sustainable environment, the article "Astronomical Evidences for God of the Bible" [1] gives 28 parameters crucial for the earth to sustain life which needs to be within critical limits for life even to be possible let alone spontaneous start to be. Observing these few parameters mentioned only a trillionth of a trillionth of a percent of all stars will have a planet capable to sustain advance life. When you consider that that the observed universe has less than a trillion galaxies with each on average only a hundred billion stars life would not even be likely to be found possible on one planet.

Philosophers William Lane Craig and Richard Swinburne's reply to the non-theists explanation shows how extremely unlikely the event is that the life on earth did indeed start by chance by the following example: Suppose a hundred sharpshooters are sent to execute a prisoner as a firing squad and the prisoner survives. The prisoner should not be surprised that he does not observe that he is dead. After all, if he were dead, he could not observe his death. Nonetheless, he should be surprised that he observes that he is alive [2].

Dr. Ross' extend to Craig's argument: the prisoner could conclude, since he is alive, that all the sharpshooters missed by some extremely unlikely chance. He may wish to attribute his survival to an incredible bit of good luck, but he would be far more rational to conclude that the guns were loaded with blanks or that the sharpshooters all deliberately missed. That is, someone must have arranged that he should live. Likewise, the rational conclusion to draw from the incredible fine-tunedness of the universe and the solar system is that someone arranged that we should live.

Also, there is more and more development on the 'intelligent design' thesis. With intelligent design in this article is meant a very clear indication that the world is the way it is, not by chance, but by a guiding hand. There are multiple interpretation around of the term 'intelligent design', which do not all mean the same, but I like to look at it in a broad sense: the evidence supporting an intelligent force influencing the world.

This means, that there is no real problem with evolution, although I don't know if I agree with all the statements and claims that are made around the evolution theory, in a way it is not important for me. The definition of the intelligent design thesis as "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection".

Currently the main opposition against intelligent design are scientist who do not want to accept intelligent design as a science as it cannot be tested, and thus, deny that it exists. Dr. Dembski has written a lot on the topic of intelligent design and reasons why we should be open to accept it as science.

However, independent of the fact of intelligent design being a science or not, the examples of Dr. Behe most strike me, as they give concrete examples of irreversible complex organism in micro biology. Irreversible complexity is a description of a part of an organism, which could not be formed by natural selection. This would be the case where for example one part out of a complex 'machine' in a cell will render the whole 'machine' useless. This means that the only way that the organism through natural selection (something is further evolved as every small little change makes the organism stronger and as such natural selection will favor this organism to dominate) dominate when all the elements needed for the function of this 'machine' come together at once.

(work in progress... to be continued)

  1. H. Ross, "Astronomical Evidence for the God of the Bible", Reasons to Belief

  2. W.L. Craig, "Barrow and Tipler on the Anthropic Principle vs. Divine Design," in British Journal of Philosophy and Science, 38. (1988), p.392

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