Charles Darwin, in Origin of the Species, never really addressed the question of how life came from no life. In Darwin’s Doubt, Stephen Meyer examines the improbability of this happening without an intelligent designer to make it happen. If you don’t agree with the theory of evolution, Darwin’s Doubt will give you more to talk about when you express your views.
Meyer points out in Darwin’s Doubt, that in Origin, Darwin talks about very simple life forms, but left it at that. Meyer then goes on to reveal that Darwin later speculated in a letter to a friend named Joseph Hooker, about some chemical interactions in a warm pond (“The Primordial Swamp”), that might have gotten things going. The letter was only half a page and he didn’t really solve the problem. Neither Darwin’s letter or his book answered the question of how life began, and neither has anyone since.
It’s fascinating to think that such an off the cuff remark, “warm little pond” should catch on so quickly, and the image it painted become so familiar all over the world.
The Cambrian Explosion
Meyer examines the mystery surrounding the “Cambrian Explosion”. The “Cambrian Explosion” refers to the sudden appearance, in the fossil record, of fossils from the Burgess Shale, thought to be 505 million years old. The content of this shale is said to be a fossil record of the end of the so-called “explosion”.
This period of time, lasting millions of years, is deemed to be highly significant because all major animal body types appeared during this time.
Two doubts that hang over Darwin’s Origin of the Species
The theory of evolution tells us that life began from very simple life forms, but there are, however, no ancestorial fossils in the fossil record from earlier layers of rock that provide a link to these complex life forms from the “Cambrian Explosion”, back to very simple life forms.
The ancestors of these fossils have yet to be found. In other words, there is a missing link that is still missing. There’s a huge gap of millions of years in the fossil record.
This mystery of how life began. This mystery intensified when in the early 50s scientists discovered the DNA double helix which revealed that single-cell organisms were much more complex than was first thought. Furthermore, during the last half-century, biologists have come to appreciate the vital importance of biological information-stored in DNA and elsewhere in cells, that is needed before the building process for living things can begin.
Meyer expands on the persuasive case he presented in his last book, Signature in the Cell. He states that the origin of life is best explained by intelligent design, rather than purely undirected evolutionary processes.
Meyer presents a compelling case that’s relatively easy to understand, in a very interesting, and thought-provoking book, and information that people need to be aware of because up until this point, public debate has been pretty one-sided.
Backstory from the 1950s
The discovery in 1953 of the double helix, the twisted-ladder structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), by James Watson and Francis Crick marked a milestone in the history of science and gave rise to modern molecular biology. This sector of science is largely concerned with understanding how genes control the chemical processes within cells.
In short order, their discovery yielded ground-breaking insights into how genetic code provides instructions for protein synthesis. During the 1970s and 1980s, it helped to produce new and powerful scientific techniques, specifically recombinant DNA research, genetic engineering, rapid gene sequencing, and monoclonal antibodies, techniques on which today’s multi-billion dollar biotechnology industry is founded.
Major current advances in science, namely genetic fingerprinting and modern forensics, the mapping of the human genome, and the promise, yet unfulfilled, of gene therapy, all have their origins in Watson and Crick’s inspired work. The double helix has not only reshaped biology, it has become a cultural icon, represented in sculpture, visual art, jewelry, and toys. [Taken from the page shown below]
Crick’s Wife took little interest in his and Watson’s discovery
Crick himself immediately understood the significance of his and Watson’s discovery.
As Watson recalled, after their conceptual breakthrough on February 28, 1953, Crick declared to the assembled lunch patrons at The Eagle that they had “found the secret of life.” Crick himself had no memory of such an announcement, but did recall telling his wife that evening “that we seemed to have made a big discovery.”
He revealed that “years later she told me that she hadn’t believed a word of it.” As he recounted her words, “You were always coming home and saying things like that, so naturally, I thought nothing of it.”
Crick and Watson throw a spanner in the works
Before their discovery, it was quite tempting for people to visualize the romantic notion of how life might have begun in a small body of dirty water. How it then learned to breathe the air and crawled out of the water, only to crawl back into the water of the ocean and relearn how to survive underwater: how silly! Making room for a large family perhaps, “this pond’s too small!”… a million years later: “Ah, that’s better”.
The most important thing concerning the origin of life that Crick and Watson’s discovery uncovered was the evidence of intelligent design. That even the simplest organism contained a vast complexity of finely tuned, highly organized array of inner workings, and software vastly far in advance of anything man has been able to create. Like our solar system compared to the milky way.
Evidence of intelligent design is everywhere. People like Richard Dawkins willingly concede that there is the appearance of intelligent design, but that it is just an illusion.
Furthermore, there had to be a will, a plan, a common language, and means of communication already in place, before the first living organism could be built.
Intelligent instructions come from an intelligent source.
A failing of human nature is the stubborn and foolish refusal of people with jealously guarded reputations to admit they were wrong. It even leads to bloodshed. This can be observed these days in all sectors of social leadership.
The lunatics have always been in charge of the asylum.
Dr. Stephen C Meyer explains there are two branches of evolutionary theory.
- Biological evolution: that attempts to explain how we get from the first living cell to all the various life forms we see on the planet, that have arisen from that time.
- Chemical evolutionary theory: It attempts to explain how we got from simple chemicals to the first living cell on Earth. The
The chemical evolutionary theory comes to an impasse
In the mid-1980s the field of chemical evolution came to an impasse because they couldn’t explain where the first information came from that is encoded in the DNA molecule.
If you think about your computer program or your computer, if you want to give your computer a new code or a new function, you have to provide new code or software. The same thing is true about life if you want to build a living cell, or a new form of life from an existing cell, you got to provide new information in the form of instructions in DNA that tell the cells how to build all the proteins and protein parts that are needed to keep cells alive.
So scientists began to think about where life came from. They realized that couldn’t find an answer to the question of, where the code came from in the DNA molecule, getting from chemistry to code, turned out to be a very big problem. The problem with the prebiotic soup idea is that elements and molecules in that situation tend to do the opposite of what the evolutionists are trying to argue, well, successfully have argued for that matter.
The law of entropy states that the universe is in a constant state of increasing randomness, and chemicals never come together by themselves to form more complex arrangments. Complex structures always breakdown into simpler ones, like an abandoned rusty car or a rotting carcass.
To check out Darwins Doubt, and other books by Stephen Meyer, on intelligent design; click here.
No going from no life to life
The answer to the question of how life came from no life has never been attempted, nobody knows even where to begin.
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“He waits in silence to lead us all home.” Roger Hodgson