So you’re telling me there’s a chance?
There’s no way I can condense what I’m about to write, so please do bear with me. It’ll be worth it.
When you’re considering the debate over evolution and creation, there is a rather large problem for the evolutionists; how did life originate? How did molecules organize themselves into the first self-replicating organism?
People try to imagine what life might have looked like back then. But it’s important to bear in mind that they’re just imagining; the simplest life-forms we know of that are capable of autonomous survival are not exactly simple, and we have no reason to think that they ever were simple. In fact, the simplest life-forms still require about 1000 different proteins to survive, these being single-celled organisms (like e. coli).
With this in mind, read the following excerpt. It’s written by Dr John Baumgardner, giving us some straight-forward calculations on the probability of life arising by chance. It’s certainly worth the effort to get your head around what Baumgardner is saying:
“Let us first establish a reasonable upper limit on the number of molecules that could ever have been formed anywhere in the universe during its entire history. Taking 1080 [the number 1 followed by 80 zeros] as a generous estimate for the total number of atoms in the cosmos, 1012 [the number 1 followed by 12 zeros] for a generous upper bound for the average number of interatomic interactions per second per atom, and 1018 seconds (roughly 30 billion years) as an upper bound for the age of the universe, we get 10110 as a very generous upper limit on the total number of interatomic interactions which could have ever occurred during the long cosmic history the evolutionist imagines. Now if we make the extremely generous assumption that each interatomic interaction always produces a unique molecule, then we conclude that no more than 10110 unique molecules could have ever existed in the universe during its entire history.
“Now let us contemplate what is involved in demanding that a purely random process find a minimal set of about 1000 protein molecules needed for the most primitive form of life. To simplify the problem dramatically, suppose somehow we already have found 999 of the 1000 different proteins required and we need only to search for that final magic sequence of amino acids which gives us that last special protein. Let us restrict our consideration to the specific set of 20 amino acids found in living systems and ignore the hundred of so that are not. Let us also ignore the fact that only those with left-handed symmetry appear in life proteins. Let us also ignore the incredibly unfavourable chemical reaction kinetics involved forming long peptide chains in any sort of plausible non-living chemical environment.
“Let us merely focus on the task of obtaining a suitable sequence of amino acids that yield a 3D protein structure with some minimal degree of essential functionality. Various theoretical and experimental evidence indicates that in some average sense about half of the amino acid sites must be specified exactly. For a relatively short protein consisting of a chain of 200 amino acids, the number of random trials needed for a reasonable likelihood of hitting a useful sequence is then in the order of 20100 (100 amino acid sites with 20 possible candidates at each site), or about 10130 trials. This is a hundred billion billion times the upper bound we computed for the total number of molecules ever to exist in the history of the cosmos!! No random process could ever hope to find even one such protein structure, much less the full set of roughly 1000 needed in the simplest forms of life. It is therefore sheer irrationality for a person to believe random chemical interactions could ever identify a viable set of functional proteins out of the truly staggering number of candidate possibilities.” (John Baumgardner; extract from In Six Days edited by Dr John F Ashton, p.207-208.)
Baumgardner is not the only scientist to have made such calculations; in fact, I think Sir Fred Hoyle was the first (you can check out his calculations on his Wikipedia page). Any honest person would read the above and say, it can’t happen – life cannot originate by chance.
But the real problem is that such an admission opens the door to larger questions too scary to handle.