Evolution: Did Life Start by Chance?
by Rob Taylor
The Christian E-word, a word so emotionally charged that its mere mention sets off fire alarms in people's heads. It is pretty clear that many take offense at someone proposing that they are a descendant of a monkey (or anything below a monkey for that matter). However, the word itself is often taken out of context. The actual definition of "evolution" simply implies that things change over time, but the theological controversies attached to this topic often come when we try applying evolution to our origins.
Charles Darwin found that according to natural selection, living organisms possessing hindering traits will eventually die out and be replaced by the stronger, more advance breeds of that species. This is nature's way of weeding out weak species. All organisms that exist on our planet today are the strongest of the strong, the most superior at adapting to environmental changes and warding off predators. From his idea of natural seleciton, Darwin proposed a theory that all life on earth originated from a few protein molecules that formed from primordial gases about four and a half billion years ago.
What are the implications of evolution?
Almost all religious organizations of some kind attribute humans as having souls or spirits, which would clearly make a distinction between us and all other forms of life on the planet. Although, if it were true that we evolved from a primordial slime, the only distinction between us and them would be that our species has been blessed with a brain stem making us capable of organized thinking. This seems to make us appear rather inferior than what we have once thought, but does it, really?
Does believing in God mean rejecting evolution?
Not necessarily, in my opinion. Who is to say that the God of the Bible didn't use evolution as a tool to create man? Genesis 2:7 says "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." This might imply that after god helped life evolve to what was a recognizable human form, He gave that being a soul, and it became human. This seems to be a reasonable interpretation of the scriptures, but not a necessary one. It seems that the Bible has a monopoly either way.
Is there evidence for evolution?
On the hand of this arguement, the amount of evidence that we have for proving evolution is stupifyingly low. There is reasonable evidence that advanced primates such as Homo erectus became extinct a good while before Homo sapiens appeared on earth. Recent studies have been done comparing the DNA sequencing of modern humans with that of neanderthals. This has been done by comparing a subset of nucleotides that is apparent in all female primates. These particular strands of DNA are passed from mother to daughter and are unchanged over the course of time. Several dozen of the nucleotide pairs that are present in humans today are missing from the DNA sequences of the neanderthal. It seems that genetically we are too different from them to be their descendants.
A major factor attributed to many scientists' disbelief of evolution is the statistical odds of humans actually evolving from primordial gases. In order for an organism to evolve, something will trigger a mutation in a single gene in its sex cells. If the sex cell joins with another from that of the opposite sex during conception, then the offspring will be slightly different from the parents (if noticeable at all) in some particular way. This process will repeat several thousand times over possibly millions of years in order to completely transfigure the organism to a new species. Theoretically, that is how evolution works.
Molecular biophysicist, Horold Morowitz (Yale University), calculated the odds of life beginning under natural conditions (spontaneous generation). He calculated, if one were to take the simplest living cell and break every chemical bond within it, the odds that the cell would reassemble under ideal natural conditions (the best possible chemical environment) would be one chance in 10100,000,000,000.You will have probably have trouble imagining a number so large, so Hugh Ross provides us with the following example. If all the matter in the Universe was converted into building blocks of life, and if assembly of these building blocks were attempted once a microsecond for the entire age of the universe. Then instead of the odds being 1 in 10100,000,000,000, they would be 1 in 1099,999,999,916.
In Chuck Misslers book "The Creator Beyond Time and Space" he looks at this number a little differently. "This number is so large it would take several thousand blank books just to write it out. To put this number into perspective, it is more likely that you and your entire extended family would win the state lottery every week for a million years than for a bacterium to form by chance."
Missler also states in his book "Mathematicians tell us that if an event has a probability which is less likely then one chance in 1050, then that event is mathematically impossible. Such an event, if it were to occur, would be considered a miracle."
So far no link between two species during a transition period has ever been found, and according to the carbon dating of fossils, almost all forms of life seem to have abruptly appeared on the earth instead of going through a slow process of change. There has not been one factual case of an animal mutating into a transition state and creating a new species, and every day more and more species of plants and animals become extinct. As far as we've seen, it seems that life almost always tends to devolve rather than evolve.
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-Hugh Ross, "The Creator and the Cosmos", Copyright 1993 by Reasons to Believe. Revised edition, copyright 1995. NavPress, p.149-150.
- Mark Eastman, M.D. and Chuck Missler, "The Creator Beyond Space and Time", Copyright 1996 The Word For Today.
-Horold Morowitz, "Energy Flow in Biology" (New York; Academic Press, 1968)
-Robert Shapiro, "Origins: A Skeptics Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth", (New York: Summit Books, 1986), p. 128.