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The Theory of Spontaneous Generation


In his book, 'The Selfish Gene', Richard Dawkins speculates that in the beginning, the earth had an atmosphere composed of carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia and water. Through energy  supplied by sunlight, and perhaps by lightning and exploding volcanoes, these simple compounds were broken apart and then they reformed into amino acids, accumulated in the sea and  combined into protein-like compounds. Ultimately, he says, the ocean became the "organic soup," but still lifeless.Then according to Dawkins' description, "a particularly remarkable molecule  was formed by an accident" - a molecule that had the ability to produce itself. Though admitting that such an accident was exceedinalv improbable, ^ maintains that it must nevertheless have  happened. Similar molecules clustered together, and then, again by exceedingly improbable accident, they wrapped a protective barrier of other protein molecules around themselves as  membrane. Thus it is claimed, the first living cell generated itself.


At this point a reader may begin to understand Dawkins comment in the preface to his book: "This book should be read almost as though it were science fiction". But readers on the subject will  find that his approach is not unique. Most other books on evolution also skim over the staggering problem of explaining the emergence of life from nonliving matter.The recent explosive increase  of knowledge has only served to magnify the gulf between nonliving and living things. Even the oldest known single-celled organisms have been found to be  incomprehensibly complex.

Nevertheless let us analyze the possibility of the occurrence of the events as proposed by the spontaneous generation theory. The principal steps involved are:


*Presence of the right primitive atmosphere

*Formation of an 'organic soup' i.e., concentration in the oceans of 'simple' molecules necessary for life.

*Emergence of proteins and nucleotides in the soup

*Formation of a cell with a membrane

*Development of a genetic code and replication.


The Primitive Atmosphere


Problem  I:   Was oxygen present in the earth's primitive atmosphere?

Explanation: With oxygen present, simple compounds (originally present m the primitive atmosphere) wouldn't combine to form amino acids. Without oxygen, the amino acids formed would be  immediately decomposed by the cosmic rays. Solution: Oxygen is clearly necessary for amino acids to be preserved for. the next stage in the spontaneous generation of life, yet.the presence of  oxygen prevents the formation of amino acids. There is no solution to this problem.


Problem II: Was energy (supplied by sunlight or lightning or volcanoes) present or not?

Explanation:: If energy was not present, simple compounds would not have split and no formation of amino acids would take   place.   If  energy   was   present,   that   energy   would

immediately decompose any amino acids formed into simpler compounds.

Solution: Amino acids just can't be formed without energy and with energy they can't survive. There is no way spontaneous generation can proceed beyond this stage.


Formation of the Organic Soup


Problem III: Did the amino acids stay inside the water or outside it?

Explanation: After the amino acids formed in the atmosphere it is assumed that they somehow managed to reach the ocean in the same area so as to form an organic soup. Now if the amino  acids stay inside the water they would not combine to form Proteins because water favors breaking up of big molecules and not their formation. But if they are outside the water, they would be  immediately decomposed by the cosmic rays. Solution: Amino acids have to be in water for reaction and further combination to occur. But that veiy water inhibits further combination. So the  organic soup just can't be formed. "In other words," evolutionist Francis Hitching says, "the theoretical chances of getting through even this first and relatively easy stage (getting amino acids) in  the evolution of life are forbidding." This means there would be no accumulation of organic soup. Biochemist George Wald believes this to be "the most stubborn problem that confronts us  (evolutionists)." (Scientific American, "Tlie Origin of Life", by George Wald, pp.49, 50).


Problem IV: How did specific amino acids form in the organic soup?


Explanation: There are over 100 amino acids, but only 20 are needed for life's proteins. Moreover, they come in two shapes: some of the molecules are "right-handed" and others are "left-handed". Should they be formed at random, as in the theoretical organic soup, it is most likely that they would be half right-handed and half left-handed.And there is no known reason why either shape should be preferred in living things. Yet, of the 20 amino acids used in producing life's proteins, all are left-handed! How is it that at random, only the specifically required kinds would be united in the soup?

Solution: Physicist J.D. Bernal Life's use of only    acknowledges,"We may never be able      to explain it"


Formation of Proteins


Problem V: How did the right proteins form?

Explanation: The proteins needed for life have very complex molecules. 20 specific left-handed amino acids need to combine in a specific sequence to form a protein useful for life. What chance  is there that the correct amino acids would come together to form a protein molecule? It could be likened to having a big, thoroughly mixed pile containing equal numbers of red beans and white  beans. Over 100 different varieties of beans. Now, if you plunged a scoop into this pile, what do you think you would get? To get the beans that represent the basic components of a protein, you  would have to scoop up only red ones - no white ones at all! Also, your scoop must contain only 20 varieties of the red beans and each one must be in a specific, pre-assigned place in the  scoop. In the world of protein, a simple mistake in any one of these requirements would cause the protein that is produced to fail to function properly. Would any amount of stirring and scooping  in our hypothetical bean pile have given the right combination? No. Then how could it have been possible in the hypothetical organic soup?


What is the chance of even a simple protein molecule forming at random in an organic soup? Evolutionists acknowledge it to be only one in 10A113 (1 followed by 113 zeroes). Some proteins  serve as structural materials and others as enzymes. The latter speed up needed chemical reactions in the cell. Without such help the cell would die. Not just a few, but 2,000  proteins serving  as enzymes are needed for the cells activity. What are the chances of obtaining all of these at random? One chance in 10A40,000.


Solution: Any event that has once chance in just 10A50 is dismissed by mathematicians as never happening. So even the probability of one in 10A113 is a mathematical .impossibility. An idea of  the odds, or probability involved is seen in the fact that the number 10*113 is larger that the estimated total number of all the atoms in the universe And one chance in 10A40,000 is "an  outrageously small probability," astronomer Fred Hoyle asserts, "that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup."


Formation of the Genetic Code


Problem VI: Which came first - proteins or DNA? Explanation: The old puzzle of 'the chicken or the egg' rears it's head relative to proteins and DNA. Hitching says: "Proteins depend on DNA for  their formation. But DNA cannot form without preexisting protein." Which came first: the protein or the DNA?


Solution: Hitching asserts "The answer must be: they developed in parallel." In effect, he is saying that "the chicken" and 'the egg' must have evolved simultaneously, neither one coming from the  other. Does this strike you as reasonable? This is just a sample of the kind of intractable problems involved in the spontaneous generation theory. There are also problems in the formation of the  cell membrane, the emergence of nucleotides and the replication mechanism, which are equally, if not more, formidable.


Is It Scientific?


If a spontaneous beginning for life is to be accepted as scientific fact, it should be established by the scientific method. This has been described as follows: observe what happens; based on  those observations, form a theory as to what may be true; test the theory by further observations and by experiments; and watch to see if the predictions based on the theory are fulfilled.


In an attempt to apply the scientific method, it has not been possible to observe the spontaneous generation of life. There is no evidence that it is happening now, and of course no human  observer was around when evolutionists say it was happening. No theory concerning it has been verified by observation. Laboratory experiments have failed to repeat it. Predictions based on the  theory have not been fulfilled. With such an inability to apply the scientific method, is it honest science to elevate such a theory to the level of fact?


Not all Scientists Accept It


Biologist Edwin Conklin said, "The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the unabridged dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop."

Astronomer Chandra Wickramsinghe said, "From my earliest training as a scientist I was very strongly brainwashed to believe that science cannot be consistent with any kind of deliberate  creation.... For life to have been a chemical accident on earth is like looking for a particular grain of sand on all the beaches in all the planets in the universe - and finding it." In other words, it is  just not possible that life could have originated from a chemical accident. Regarding the question of how life originated, astronomer Robert Jastrow said, "To their chagrin (scientists) have no  clear-cut answer, because chemists have never succeeded in reproducing nature's experiments on the creation of life out of nonliving matter. Scientists do not know how that happened.;

Hitching says, "To put it at its mildest, one may question an evolutionary theory so beset by doubts among even those who teach it. ... It fails to explain some of the most basic questions of all:  how lifeless chemicals came alive?" Based on the evidence, the spontaneous generation of life theory appears better to fit the realm of science fiction than scientific fact.