The Origin of Life: Not so Simple (Part III)

This post will provide a final discussion of an article in Scientific American entitled “A Simpler Origin for Life” by Robert Shapiro. Part I explained why the Miller-Urey experiment and the DNA-first hypothesis is deficient. In Part II, I explained Shapiro’s apt criticisms of the RNA-world hypothesis. Those who have abandoned the RNA-world hypothesis still seek a self-replicating molecule to qualify as the climax of chemical-origin of life scenarios–the “pre-RNA world.” However, Shapiro observes not only that “no trace of this hypothetical primal replicator and catalyst has been recognized so far in modern biology,” but also that “the spontaneous appearance of any such replicator without the assistance of a chemist faces implausibilities that dwarf those involved in the preparation of Read More ›

The Origin of Life: Not so Simple (Part II)

Writing in Scientific American Robert Shapiro recounts many criticisms of popular models for the chemical origin of life. Part I recounted why many origin of life theorists reject the possibility that DNA was the first genetic molecule. As noted, Shapiro even takes aim at those who suggest that the Miller-Urey experiment chemistry was important for forming prebiotic molecules on meteorites because studies of these meteorites show “a bias toward the formation of molecules made of fewer rather than greater numbers of carbon atoms, and thus shows no partiality in favor of creating the building blocks of our kind of life.” Due to these deficiencies, Shapiro then notes that increasing numbers of prebiotic chemists now turn to RNA as the first Read More ›

The Origin of Life: Not so Simple (Part I)

In an article titled “A Simpler Origin for Life“–a title which hides the implication of the article, Robert Shapiro, writing in Scientific American, highlights many problems with chemical origin of life scenarios. Shapiro quotes Richard Dawkins on his worship of the first self-replicating molecule and says “[a]t some point a particularly remarkable molecule was formed by accident. We will call it the Replicator.” (emphasis in original) That’s “Replicator” with a capital “R“. But, as Shapiro explains, the conventional explanation is not nearly so simple: Unfortunately, complications soon set in. DNA replication cannot proceed without the assistance of a number of proteins–members of a family of large molecules that are chemically very different from DNA. Proteins, like DNA, are constructed by Read More ›

Scientists Continue to Debate the Controversy that Doesn’t Exist

As Paul Nelson has recognized, it’s ironic when scientists issue press releases alleging they’ve refuted intelligent design (ID), supposedly resolving a scientific controversy they claim doesn’t even exist. Pro-ID biochemist and Discovery Institute fellow Michael Behe has already responded to a recent paper doing just that. In what appears to be another good example of a retroactive confession of Darwinist ignorance, the press release from the authors acknowledges that “[t]he development of complex features such as new protein structures by the process of evolution is largely elusive.” But I thought Nicholas Matzke of the NCSE had long ago told a reporter that “[t]he origin of genetic information is thoroughly understood.” I guess these Darwinist biochemists see it differently. They nonetheless Read More ›

Darwinists Begin Their Attacks on New Mexico Academic Freedom Bill

I recently predicted that Darwinists in New Mexico would oppose an innocuous academic freedom bill which protects the teaching of science, and science only, in the science classroom, even if the science challenges neo-Darwinism. As the bill states, “‘Scientific information’ does not include information derived from religious or philosophical writings, beliefs or doctrines,” but teachers will be given “the right and freedom, when a theory of biological origins is taught, to objectively inform students of scientific information relevant to the strengths and weaknesses of that theory.” How could this bill possibly allow the teaching of anything but science in the science classroom? Darwinists’ attacks upon the bill have already begun, as Marshall Berman presented a talk at Los Alamos National Read More ›