Origin of Life Researchers: Intelligent Design of Self-Replicating RNA Molecules Refutes Intelligent Design

A recent Nature news article remarks about the production of the first self-replicating RNA molecules capable of catalyzing their own replication. Origin of life researchers are excited about this because they think it shows one possible step in their story about how life might have arisen via natural processes, without intelligent design (ID). One big problem with their story: under no uncertain terms did natural processes produce this molecule. One line from the Nature article says it all: “Joyce and his colleague Tracey Lincoln made paired RNA catalysts.” (emphasis added) One pro-ID chemist explained to me privately the precise design parameters that were required to produce the self-replicating enzymes and to use it to produce life: The system is completely Read More ›

Origin of Life Theorists Perpetuate the Implausible Miller-Urey Experiment

A ScienceNOW news release from last Thursday, October 16, states that re-analyses of the products of Stanley Miller and Harold Urey’s famous origin of life experiments from the 1950s have shown that more amino acids were present than were previously thought. Origin of life theorist Robert Hazen is quoted saying the study “highlights how easy it is to make the building blocks of life in plausible prebiotic conditions.” But did the experiments use “plausible prebiotic conditions”? The news release acknowledges that ammonia and methane were “gases presumed at the time to be the main constituents of the atmosphere billions of years ago.” (emphasis added) Even Miller himself admitted that he ASSUMED these atmospheres because they produced the desired result for Read More ›

Leading Origin of Life Researcher: “Genetic Information More or Less Came out of Nowhere”

Earlier this summer we highlighted Susan Mazur’s reporting about the Altenberg 16 conference, in which Mazur wrote that there are “hundreds of other evolutionary scientists (non-Creationists) who contend that natural selection is politics, not science, and that we are in a quagmire because of staggering commercial investment in a Darwinian industry built on an inadequate theory.” Many Darwinists, needless to say, did not like Mazur’s reporting, and they attacked her harshly. They probably are also not going to like Mazur’s latest article, where she interviews University of California, Santa Cruz origin of life researcher David Deamer. When asking Deamer about the “origin of the gene,” he replied, “I think genetic information more or less came out of nowhere by chance Read More ›

Leslie Orgel: Metabolic Origin of Life “Unlikely”; Complexity Requires “A Skilled Synthetic Chemist” (Part 2)

In Part 1 I discussed the eminent and late origin of life theorist Leslie Orgel’s criticisms of theories that self-sustaining metabolic pathways could spontaneously come into existence on the early earth and evolve into life. Orgel’s was skeptical that this could occur because “the chance of a full set of such catalysts occurring at a single locality on the primitive Earth in the absence of catalysts for disruptive side reactions seems remote in the extreme.” Indeed, according to Orgel, the type of complexity we normally find in the metabolic pathways of life require “a skilled synthetic chemist.” But what if we assume that such pathways could come into existence? Even if such pathways existed, they would still be far from Read More ›

Leslie Orgel: Metabolic Origin of Life “Unlikely”; Complexity Requires “A Skilled Synthetic Chemist” (Part 1) (Updated)

Last year I blogged about Robert Shapiro’s excellent article in Scientific American that gave cogent critiques of many standard models of the chemical origin of life. Shapiro critiqued the view that a primordial soup existed on the early earth that ultimately gave birth to a self-replicating molecule, which eventually evolved into RNA and then DNA. After critiquing this standard model, Shapiro gave his alternative explanation, proposing that life evolved from metabolic pathways that naturally occurred on the early earth. As I wrote at that time, Shapiro “gives scant explanation for how these life-like metabolic networks can come into existence naturally, and he gives no details as to how these thermodynamic states produce real life–life as we know it today.” Now Read More ›