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Feedback archiveFeedback 2005

Creationists use “lowbrow” tactics?

25 April 2005

I have just read “the elusive origin of life” by John V. Collyer. His argument is one that people are sick and tired of. “Scientists aren’t sure about the exact mechanism of genesis by random generation, so therefore Creationism must be right.” That’s a pretty lowbrow way to argue a point. While flaws exist in most of the present theories of random genesis, that does not make the Creationist argument right.
That theory is still more scientifically flawed than any other. The confusion scientists are having lies in which of the many possible mechanisms for the origin of life is most probable. It’s not that they don’t have a feasable theory for life arising from chance reactions, it’s that they have many, and must simply see which is most supported by primeval evidence. As to the question of DNA first or protein first, the answer most give is “niether.” The most widely accepted theory is that a self-replicating molecule much more simple than DNA formed of the simple amino acids that Stanley Miller proved would arise naturally under early-Earth conditions. Such an “autocatalyst” would then slowly evolve into DNA over many generations.
Finally, I wonder if Collyer, who thinks that it would be “a miracle” for man to create life and that working towards that achievement is a “fruitless quest”, would think the projected creation of a simple organism by man described in Jonathan Sarfati’s article “reinforces” the creationist theory.
D.
USA

I have just read “the elusive origin of life” by John V. Collyer.

That’s nice.

His argument is one that people are sick and tired of.

Then they really need to see a doctor and go to bed earlier. ;)

“Scientists aren’t sure about the exact mechanism of genesis by random generation, so therefore Creationism must be right.” That’s a pretty lowbrow way to argue a point. While flaws exist in most of the present theories of random genesis, that does not make the Creationist argument right.

Yeah, it is low isn’t it, for creationists to use good logic such as the disjunctive syllogism. Just shouldn’t be allowed. Only evolutionists are allowed to do that, because there is a different standard for them which doesn’t apply to us. E.g. evolutionists right from the time of Darwin have been using exactly the same form of argument, e.g. the late Stephen Jay Gould:

‘Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution—paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce.’1

Another evolutionist, S. Wroe, also argued for evolution of a Giant Rat-kangaroo tooth, because he didn’t think that a creator would have designed it that way, even though it ‘had the potential to bite through just about anything’—see Rats! A toothless argument for evolution.

That theory is still more scientifically flawed than any other.

You could have informed us of some flaws.

The confusion scientists are having lies in which of the many possible mechanisms for the origin of life is most probable.

I’m a scientist, a chemist even, and I see only crystal clarity in what the principles of real chemistry imply about the origin of life by chemical evolution.

It’s not that they don’t have a feasable theory for life arising from chance reactions, it’s that they have many, and must simply see which is most supported by primeval evidence.

My impression, but I’m only a chemist, is that proponents of one theory shoot mortal wounds in rival theories, and the proponents return equally lethal fire. E.g. Graham Cairns-Smith has listed many insuperable chemical hurdles of the RNA World theory. Yet other chemical evolutionists argue that his own clay mineral origin-of-life is bizarre, and Cairns-Smith himself admits the lack of chemical evidence for this theory. I’m actually more agreeable than they are—I think all sides are right in their criticisms!

As to the question of DNA first or protein first, the answer most give is “niether.” The most widely accepted theory is that a self-replicating molecule much more simple than DNA formed of the simple amino acids that Stanley Miller proved would arise naturally under early-Earth conditions. Such an “autocatalyst” would then slowly evolve into DNA over many generations.

I hate to point out one tiny problem here—DNA is not formed from amino acids, but nucleotides. So it’s not at all clear how an unknown polypeptide replicator would evolve into a chemically unrelated molecule.

Now that we have clarified the components of DNA, I’ll leave you to work out where you think cytosine (one of the components) came from and then you might want to tell the leading chemical evolutionists (see Instability of building blocks). This would be necessary even for the PNA (peptide nucleic acid) idea proposed by some (and which you might have garbled).

Then you can try to solve how the building blocks were obtained in the exclusively ‘single-handed’ form necessary for life (see The chirality problem), and how they linked together into long chains (see The polymerization problem). Also, instead of handwaving about replicators, you might want to check out the chemical problems involved (see Self-replicating enzymes?).

Finally, I wonder if Collyer, who thinks that it would be “a miracle” for man to create life and that working towards that achievement is a “fruitless quest’”, would think the projected creation of a simple organism by man described in Jonathan Sarfati’s article “reinforces” the creationist theory.
D.
USA

If you mean the cartoon in Did scientists create life … or did the media create hype? then you would have to ask Collyer himself what he thinks (right). However, you seem to have missed the point of the cartoon, so let me try to explain it. Some (very illogical) materialists think that if (very intelligent) scientists, with the acquisition of masses of knowledge about how a cell lives, ever create ‘life in a test tube’, then this will show that no intelligent creator was necessary to create life in the beginning. No, it would not show that; it would show that (extreme) intelligence was necessary to form it in the beginning!

I hope this helps.

(Dr) Jonathan Sarfati, CMI–Australia [now USA]

Reference

  1. Gould, S.J., The Panda’s Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, pp. 20–21, 1980.  See a specific refutation of his claim about the panda’s thumb. Return to text.

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