BBC News and Darwinism’s biggest conundrum: How did life begin?
by Harun Yahya
On October 31, 2016, an article was published in the evolutionist web site BBC News claiming that “we are now closer to finding out the secret for the origin of life.” The goal was to be able to give the impression that Darwinism could give a Darwinist explanation to the question on “the origin of life”, the greatest conundrum of Darwinism throughout history. Darwinists had attempted a “rescue operation” after this definite defeat.
Even at the beginning of the article it was clearly stated that this text was prepared as an ideological objection to the truth of creation.
“How did life begin? For much of human history, almost everyone believed some version of “the [false] gods did it”. Any other explanation was inconceivable. That is no longer true. Over the last century, a few scientists have tried to figure out how the first life might have sprung up. They have even tried to recreate this Genesis moment in their labs: to create brand-new life from scratch. So far nobody has managed it, but we have come a long way. Today, many of the scientists studying the origin of life are confident that they are on the right track – and they have the experiments to back up their confidence.”
As it can be seen, the Darwinists have confessed that there is still no evidence in their hands, but they are trying to manipulate public perception by utilizing the idea that they “have come a long way”. As it is known, believing in an unproven argument is an ideological approach, not a scientific one. The author of the article, Marshall, created the impression that he will explain a secret to his readers by using the title “The Secret of How Life on Earth Began”. On the one hand, he mentions various scientific claims, and on the other hand, he attempts to give an objective approach by touching upon why these claims could not have happened in the evolutionary sense. However, at the end of the article, he reached the conclusion that “we are closer now to understand the beginning of life in an evolutionary sense” which is based on the false evidence he put forward previously. However, there is no proven foundation to this so-called evidence, which is nothing more than stories. The only thing the article has done is putting forward claims in the form of “this or that might have happened” based on assumptions, some of which are completely imaginary and some others are just not suitable for the conditions of those days.
If we were to address the scientific invalidity of the claims:
Abiogenesis: A scenario without evidence
Explaining how life began is one of the darkest aspects of the scenario of evolution. Evolutionists have no explanation on the subject of abiogenesis, which is the formation of living things from inanimate matter. In the so-called evolutionary trees, the pre-initial cell period is depicted as a black nebula, thus acknowledging the fact that there is no information regarding that period. In order to avoid such questions, some explanations have been formulated such as, “Evolution deals with the stages of diversification of species after the first cell formation; this first cell issue is the subject of abiogenesis, not evolution “. The fact that the evolutionist Richard Dawkins, in one of his confession- like statements, said the life could have begun with a “self-replicating imaginary molecule” that came from an outside world, serves as the acknowledgment of the impossibility of life emerging on earth just by coincidence.[i] Four years ago, Dawkins launched a contest with two million-pounds prize money on the website owned by his foundation on “generating theories on the origin of life”. Launching a research competition like that is the proof that the theory for the beginning of life, which forms the basis of the theory of evolution, has not yet been established, let alone there being any explanations for it.
Let’s evaluate a number of claims that have been mentioned on the BBC News web site one by one.
The fallacy of denying the soul in so-called scientific terms
According to the author, the existence of the soul was denied with a complete materialist approach. The fact that some molecules that constitute living cells became obtainable in the laboratory environment starting from the beginning of the 19th Century is shown as an evidence for this. It was also claimed that obtaining urea from ammonium cyanate was the beginning of this process.
It was then claimed that, in 1859 Darwin proved that the extraordinary diversity of life came from a common ancestry in his book The Origin of Species, thus scientifically debunking the concept of soul.
The simplicity of the so-called evidence that a person, who is aware of the scientific discoveries of today, presents for denial of the existence of the soul is unconceivable. A primitive logic such as “the theory of evolution has been put forward thus the question regarding the existence of soul is no longer valid” is not an evidence, but rather a rotten claim. First of all, the theory of evolution is a theory that has collapsed in every aspect. It explains neither the existence of biological life nor the Darwinists’ greatest conundrum, the existence of the soul. It is in fact impossible for the theory of evolution to give an explanation for the soul. If we go back to that claim, all the materials that make up our physical body are naturally derived from inorganic substances, the atoms. Obtaining urea from ammonium cyanate is just a simple chemical discovery. There is no need for an organic structure for the formation of this substance. Proteins, sugars, fat and nucleic acid molecules that constitute the basis of organic structures need living cells. They cannot be produced outside of the cells, in a deliberate laboratory environment. Even if we assume that these can be produced under laboratory conditions, it is not a proof that can debunk the existence of the soul. Each organelle of the cell, each protein, acts with complete consciousness. There are many examples we can present for this. Yet, the source of this consciousness cannot be explained without a metaphysical power. Therefore, it is not possible to explain life only by means of matter.
If Darwinists are to deal with the subject of the existence of soul, they have to explain the existence of the entity who perceives electrical signals as a colorful world, and which can see without eyes, and can hear without ears. As long as they keep ignoring this subject, they must accept that they are helpless against the existence of soul.
The ideological perspectives of the so-called evolutionist scientists who are involved in the issue are also quite interesting. The author explains this himself, and clearly states that all those people who try to explain the origin of life through an evolutionist reasoning such as Alexander Oparin, J.B.S. Haldane embrace atheistic and communist ideologies. According to Armen Mulkidjanian from the University of Osnabrück in Germany, “In the Soviet Union these opinions were accepted happily because they didn’t need God [may God forbid the thought]. In the western world, if you look for people who were thinking in this direction, they all were lefties, communists and so on.”
The Darwinists’ quandary in explaining how life began
The first attempt to prove the theories regarding the beginning of life through experiments, which started with Darwin and continued with Haldane, is the well known Miller-Urey experiments. Miller joined together the four chemicals that he predicted would be present at the beginning of the world in glass test tubes. The tubes contained boiling water, hydrogen gas, ammonia and methane. He obtained glycine and alanine amino acids by applying the cold trap method. Despite the fact that what he obtained was nothing more than two molecules of inanimate matter, this menial experiment has been used by evolutionists as a method of explaining the origin of life for many years. However, it was later understood that the so-called primitive atmosphere he formed was faulty. Even though there were a few attempts that followed this, nobody attempted to prove the origin of life with such methods after that. After many scientific discoveries, life turned out to be much more complex than it was initially assumed to be. Living things weren’t just chemical carrying bags; every cell was as complex as a city. For this reason, it was impossible to even imagine the idea of re-building them from scratch.
It is highly unreasonable to claim that life originated under destructive natural conditions while not even a single protein may be obtained under controlled conditions with today’s technology in a laboratory setting. The reason why the Miller experiment is adopted by others is not because the experiment yielded results, but because there hasn’t been any other attempt at all.
Primitive cells don’t exist
In the so-called theory of evolution, which had to explain the emergence of life through chance events, the origin of the first cell is still a conundrum. According to the fossil evidence, the first cell emerged in complete form on every aspect 3.8 billion years ago and this directly points to Creation. For that reason, evolutionists create scenarios that attempt at debunking this clear scientific truth. According to these scenarios, long before the formation of this complete cell, there must have been so-called organic molecules and cells, which should be considered as “primitive”. But this so-called primitive ancestor has never been found. Moreover, evolutionists do not have a consensus on how this process works and they are never able to do so. Since, each hypothesis that they introduce would require the living cell to be fully and completely alive at that instance but Darwinists continue to hold onto their ideological notions, hoping that one day someone will come and give an evolutionary explanation to the origin of the first cell.
A cell has certain features that it must possess in order to sustain its life. When one of these features is missing, the presence of other features becomes meaningless; because in such a case death becomes inevitable for the cell. The qualities of the cell, which we will talk about only roughly here, have hundreds of specifications hidden in their details. It is impossible for only one of these details to be missing in the cell’s composition. The genetic diseases we often encounter today are caused by the disorders in such minor details and their consequences are serious illnesses and even death. For this reason, the first cell should have originated in complete form.
The essential features that a cell must have are:
1. A cell membrane that separates the cell from the outside environment
2. A system to provide energy necessary for the continuation of cellular activities
3. Genetic material that will store the information of the cell and transmit it to future generations
Apart from these generalized three essential features, the cell also has many vital functions such as digestion, excretion, cell skeleton, transport systems, etc. Let’s examine each one of these three essential qualities.
A cell membrane cannot be formed on its own
When examined from the outside, the most vital formation that defines a cell structurally is the cell membrane. The cell membrane is vital for keeping the building blocks of the cell together in the cell. Being aware of this fact, evolutionists say that a membrane of lipid molecules is required for the cell but they overlook the fact that lipids are also organic molecules. Each of the lipid molecules in the structure of the cell membrane is formed as the consequence of a quite complex system, which itself is a result of multi-phased reactions. Therefore, the formation of the cell membrane needs lipids that are already available. Thus, another intact cell is needed to provide for these lipid molecules.
The lipid structure of the cell membrane only permits free passage of small molecules that dissolve in fat. However, it doesn’t permit the passage of water, water-soluble substances, and big molecules. Cell membrane must contain protein gates and channels that provide controlled movement of these molecules in and out of the cell. Protein, on the other hand, has to be synthesized with the help of hundreds of proteins from the structure of the DNA and RNA, and has to be transported to the cell membrane. Therefore, again a fully functional cell is required.
Sustaining vital functions requires energy
Almost no mechanism in a cell can operate without energy. As soon as any system such as the cell’s membrane transport system, protein production, division, etc., is left without energy, the system stops. This means death. Therefore, the existence of an energy generating system in the first cell is inevitable. Photosynthesis is the primary mechanism by which energy can be stored and used. Glucose is obtained by utilizing solar energy. Glucose is then converted to ATP by glycolysis. Photosynthesis is carried out by means of at least forty separate reactions and glycolysis by ten. When we consider that each of these steps is catalyzed by separate enzymes, it becomes clear that we are faced with a highly complex structure. Such a system must definitely be present in the “first cell”. The “first cell” which has such a complex structure is certainly not “primitive”. It is already known that even the oldest fossilized cells (the 3.8 million years old cyanobacteria) were carrying out photosynthesis.
RNA cannot exist prior to the cell
The process by which DNA is used to produce proteins is extremely complex. This constitutes a big problem for anyone who wants to explain the origin of life through evolution because it is impossible to even imagine how such a complex structure could have originated. Any explanation for the origin of life must thus explain how a structure consisting of organelles such as the DNA, RNA, and ribosome existed and started operating.
For this reason, in order to simplify the process, British chemist Leslie Orgel argued that there weren’t any DNA or proteins at first, but only RNA molecules. This molecule, like the DNA, must have replicated itself and displayed enzymatic activity by folding like a protein. Despite his wide provocations on the subject, he had no evidence that could establish the basis of his claim. His allegation being completely a philosophical idea, it nevertheless claimed the attention of evolutionist circles, which had no legs to stand on. However, even if we were to assume that a single RNA molecule had come into existence on its own, how would an RNA molecule with no other organelles, or rather no cell, could function and remain alive?
There is one more thing to remember here. The structure what we call as RNA, in other words the ribonucleic acid, contains a nucleic acid base in the form of a sugar with five carbons, purine or pyrimidine called ribose. The RNA-based scenario collapses completely when we consider that these three organic structures have to be produced in the cell.
Moreover, no RNA that replicates itself has been found in living cells. In other words this claim is purely a product of fiction. The structures that make up the RNA, like proteins, cannot come together and merge in water-containing environments, or be formed without ribosomes and enzymatic factors. John Sutherland, who is known for his work on molecular biology, explains this in the following way:
There were certain key aspects of RNA chemistry that didn’t work. Each RNA nucleotide is made of a sugar, a base and a phosphate. But it had proved impossible to persuade the sugar and base to join up.
This situation is explained in the well-known biology textbook Alberts in the following way:
Although self-replicating systems of RNA molecules have not been found in nature, scientists are confident that they can be constructed in the laboratory.[ii]
For evolutionists, fictionalizing without genetic material would be extremely meaningless. The genetic material contains information about the cell. Without the DNA, the information regarding other structures of the cell cannot be stored and a real cell division does not occur. The presence of genetic material also requires many different systems to coexist at the same time as we have explained above. This cannot happen without an instantaneous Creation. Indeed, in this article, evolutionists have confessed why their claims are simply not feasible. The necessity of the existence of genetic material is emphasized as follows:
A cell, which has a cell wall but not a gene, will not do much. Although it can be divided into daughter cells, it will not be able to pass on any information to its offspring.
Life originated instantaneously
As we can see, evolutionists, who could not find any proof for the so-called theory of evolution, have failed in their efforts to fabricate evidence even on a theoretical level. The first cell appears suddenly 3.8 billion years ago in fossil records. It has emerged with all the features we find in today’s cells and has continued its existence without undergoing any changes. And prior to that, there is no indication of the existence of life among the layers of the earth. There are no semi-developed cellular remains in geological layers that supposedly attempted to evolve. As explained in detail above, a living being cannot be expected to live without the existence of a fully functioning cell. A gradually improving cell model is impossible.
Since natural selection, which is allegedly based on chance, does not have the capacity to innovate new information, it can never be the explanation for the formation of structures containing information such as proteins and genes: Thus, what is left is only the claim of coincidence. However, the claim of coincidence is the most irrational, absurd and incompetent attempt that has been raised throughout human history.
The main issue that needs to be explained is where the information required to develop the highly complex mechanism of life comes from. Even if your toolbox contains atoms, natural laws and coincidences just as the evolutionists claim, how did life come into existence? How did this complex and well-ordered information come about? That question remains unanswered for Darwinists; and so long as they try to find an answer to this question through evolution, it will continue to remain so.
The ideas put forward by BBC News are no more than the myths of modern irreligious cultures. It is clear that the aforementioned article is nothing but a poor effort that Darwinists have embarked on in order to avert the great defeat they have experienced.
We never see the building blocks of an inanimate material construct a complex and functional structure on their own; this only happens by the guidance of a mind and intelligence that is far superior to that of humans and that Mind stands clearly apparent before us and manifests Himself in every detail He creates. That Mind is Almighty God, the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth.
It is He Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then established Himself firmly on the Throne. He knows what goes into the earth and what comes out of it, what comes down from heaven and what goes up into it. He is with you wherever you are – God sees what you do. (Surat al-Hadid, 4)
[ii] Molecular Biology of The Cell fifth edition Alberts, p. 402