The law of biogenesis. Have you heard of it? Louis Pasteur proved that living organisms come from other living organisms and do not spontaneously come to life from non-living material. 150 years later there are some that believe that all life arose from a cell or cells that spontaneously generated from non -living material. Perhaps the law of biogenesis is more of a guideline rather than a law. Or perhaps everything that has ever been observed in nature by scientists over the last 150 years affirms the validity of this law. So the spontaneous generation of a theoretical original cell is a violation of this law and is contradictory to scientific observation.
No, not really. Let’s look at several of the insurmountable problems associated with the theory of spontaneous generation (evolution)
Problem 1. Amino acids.
Amino acids would be needed to form the protein molecules contained in the first theoretical non-living cell. These amino acids would have been formed by natural processes. Dr. Stanley Miller performed a series of experiments to show how amino acids could be produced by generating electric arcs in a gaseous mixture of hydrogen, methane and ammonia along with water. The main problem with producing Amino acids by natural processes, apart from formation within a living organism is that a mixture of left-handed and right-handed amino acids will be formed. These two forms of amino acids are chemically the same but the component atoms of each are put together differently. In fact, mirror images of each other. In living organisms, virtually all amino acids are left handed. The Miller experiment produced a 50/50 mixture of both. Half left-handed and half right-handed. Typically one right-handed amino acid in in protein molecule will render the protein useless or inactive. In other words, if you have an enzyme molecule that performs a particular function in a cell or organism that contains only one right-handed amino acid, that enzyme will not work.
Problem 2. Specific sequence of amino acids in proteins:
Proteins are made of 20 different amino acids. The amino acids are chemically bonded together like links in a chain. The specific arrangement or sequence of amino acids determines the characteristics and function of each protein molecule. To calculate the probability of the correct amino acid sequence in a given molecule in the first theoretical non-living cell, you only need to know two things:
The probability of a particular amino acid in the sequence being the correct amino acid out of a possible 20 amino acid is one chance in 20.
Multiply all the probabilities together.
In other words, if one of the theoretical protein molecules in the theoretical cell had 50 amino acid links, multiply 20 x 20 x 20 etc. 50 times. So the probability of the first two links being in the correct sequence is 20 x 20 = 400 or one chance in 400. The probability of the first 3 links being in the correct sequence is 20 x 20 x 20 = 8000 or one chance in 8000. As a mathematical shortcut to visualize how big of a number you get when multiplying 20 x 20 fifty times, do this:
Multiply 2 x 2 fifty times (2 x 2 x 2 ……) and tack on 50 zeros to the end of that number.
To calculate the chance of getting all 50 sequences correct AND all left handed, consider that each link could be a right-handed version of any of the 20 amino acids or a left-handed version of any of the 20 amino acids but only one of the 40 possible amino acids is correct for each link. The probability of the first amino acid being correct and left-handed is one chance in 40. The probability of the first two amino acids being correct is 40 x 40 = 1600 or one chance in 1600. The probability of the first three links being in the correct sequence is 40 x 40 x 40 = 64000 or one chance in 64000. The probability of the first 4 links being in the correct sequence in one chance in 2,560,000 or about one chance in 2 and a half million. To get a handle on the probability of getting all 50 links in the correct sequence multiply 4 x 4 fifty times and tack on 50 zeros to the end of that number. That is a really big number. Please enter your answer in the comments section below.
A protein with only 50 links is relatively small in nature. Some enzymes are made up of thousands of amino acids. The first theoretical non-living cell must have had many protein molecules perhaps 100 or more. To give an unfair advantage to those who reject the law of biogenesis lets suppose the first cell or proto cell had only 50 protein molecules that contained 50 amino acids each. To get an idea of the size of the number that represents the probability of all the amino acids being in the correct sequence and all left handed in in all the protein molecules:
multiply 4 x 4 2500 times and tack on 2500 zeros on to the end of that number. I am no math whiz but I believe that would be a really big number. It is bigger than the estimated total number of fundamental particles in the observable universe”
So, if every particle in the universe represented a trial and error formation by natural processes of just two of the theoretical proteins, you could possibly get two molecules that were correct at the same time somewhere in there. The odds would still be against it. By the way, proteins have not been observed to form by natural processes apart from living organisms and isn’t that what scientific theory is all about? The observable and reproducible? How many universes of chances do we need to get the first cell right?
By the way. All of the above math is overkill. Just the left-hand, right-hand problem destroys any hope of spontaneous generation. The chance of all the links in all 50 protein molecules being correct can be calculated by multiplying 2 x 2 2500 times. Every time you multiply by two you cut the probability in half. Please write your answer in the comments section below. One more thing while we are on the subject of multiplying by two. How many times you would need to fold a piece of paper in half to make it thick enough to reach to the moon? The number of folds is as ridiculously small as the piece of paper needed is large.
Problem 3. Specific sequence of the genetic material.
DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) is the molecule inside a cell that among other things contains the code for making protein molecules. As a cell grows it takes in nutrients and produces protein molecules. When the cell is large enough it splits into two cells. The ability for the cell to produce the correct amino acid sequences in the various protein molecules is dependent on the specific sequence of molecules in DNA called nucleotides. If the sequence of nucleotides is incorrect the cell will produce proteins with the wrong amino acid sequence. The DNA molecule contains the code for every type of protein in the cell as well as the code for the specific structure of the cell. The probability that the DNA in the first non-living theoretical cell contained the correct code for all the types of protein molecules in that cell is the combined improbabilities of at least one of each type of protein molecule in that cell having the correct amino acid sequences at the point in time the cell spontaneously transitioned from being dead to being alive. You may want to re-read that last sentence a few times so the implications become apparent.
Problem 4. All the component parts in the same place at the same time.
Cells contain structures called organelles. They are like small organs within the cell that have specific functions. Some of the organelles and other structures one might expect to find in this theoretical cell are endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, nucleus, DNA, RNA, and cell membrane. At the very least, the theoretical minimum set of component parts to sustain cellular life needed to be present at the same time and place. The component parts needed to be structurally correct and needed to, by chance and unknown natural processes not associated with living organisms, be in a state of correct assemblage. That is a strange concept. The complete simplest theoretical cell needed to be produced by a set of natural processes, then transition from a dead state to a living state, and then grow and reproduce by an entirely different set of natural processes other than the ones that originally generated it. Highly improbable? No. Totally impossible.
Cornucopia of other problems:
Due to the fact that there is massive amounts of calcium on land and in the oceans, there would be no free phosphorus to form DNA. All the theoretically free phosphorus would end up in the form of calcium phosphate in no time.
The theoretical primordial earth atmosphere contained no oxygen. As useful molecules were theoretically being produced by bolts of lightning they would be destroyed by ultraviolet light since there would be no ozone layer. Some molecules would end up in the ocean and if submerged deep enough to be unaffected by UV radiation would be in the ocean along with other lucky molecules in a state of near infinite dilution. At some later time some of these molecules might end up on land in a muddy little evaporating puddle or pond with less dilution. Then they would be destroyed by ultraviolet light. If the atmosphere contained oxygen, these same molecules would be oxidized and useless.
The same lightning that could produce organic molecules could and would far more easily destroy previously generated molecules. That is just how the physics works. Some fortunate few would make it to the depths of the ocean.
Some might theorize that the first living cell might be of the type that would exist near a submerged volcanic vent far from the perils of the earths surface. This cell would reproduce and future generations of cells would produce oxygen by some method other than photosynthesis. As impossible as this is, you still have to get to that first cell. So all the afore mentioned problems still apply.
The math in regard to the left and right-handed amino acids is a little flawed. One of the amino acids, glycine, is left handed only. With that in mind the odds are slightly better so spontaneous generation is totally possible. Not. In all fairness, the Miller experiment produces several amino acids with left-hand and right-hand versions that do not occur in living organisms. In other words the Miller experiment produced all the right amino acids as well as some wrong ones. These could just as well be factored in.
Some researchers have concluded that under certain conditions amino acids could be generated with about 90 percent being left-handed. This does not help much. So instead of half of 2500 amino acids statistically being right handed in the theoretical cell, only 250 will statistically be wrong. Then we multiply the results with the probability of all 2500 amino acids being in the correct sequence.
A chemist once came up with this great party game to help illustrate math probabilities like those in this article. He suggested that you get 17 people to line up in a row. Then line up in a different order. Keep lining up in a different order until all the possible combinations have been used. How many unique arrangement of 17 people in a row are there? More than 355 trillion combination. This can be calculated by multiplying 17 x 16 x 15 x 14 x 13 x 12 x 11 x 10 x 9 x 8 x 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2. Since guinea pigs are so well suited for scientific experimentation, guinea pigs can be used instead of people in this experiment. The results are the same.
One last thought. Someone once wrote something like this:
If you had an infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of typewriters all the books that have ever been written and would ever be written would be written.
The problem is there is no such thing as an infinite number of monkeys and typewriters. Ok. Let’s deal with the finite. Start with a meaningful paragraph 2500 characters in length. Forget case and punctuation let’s just get the spelling correct. There is 1 chance in 26 of getting the first letter correct. What is the probability of getting the first two letters correct?…….
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