Tuesday, August 30, 2005
What it takes to get balls rolling
From The American Thinker (via American Digest):
In contrast, the concept of the spontaneous origin of the first cell is on very shaky ground. You must start by making a quasi-primordial soup, rich in amino acids and other building blocks of life, as Stanley Miller and Harold Urey did in the 1950’s. Then you must somehow stir it and shake it until the components spontaneously assemble to form long chains of DNA, RNA, proteins, and numerous other macromolecules—with all of the multi-thousand amino acid sequences exactly right and mutually compatible. Then you must continue stirring until the macromolecules sort themselves out into the proper groups and somehow surround themselves with membranes, with just the right sort of ion transport properties, to form organelles such as a nucleus, lysosomes, ribosomes, mitochondria, and all the other cellular components. Then you must keep stirring until all these organelles pack themselves into a cell membrane, with just the right composition of fluid in it. You have only a few billion years to shake up all these dice and have them all come up right at the same place and time.. Ready, set, go, and good luck—but I don’t think you’re going to succeed. However, if you think this scenario is scientifically plausible, then sit down and start calculating probabilities.
Something else to keep in mind, the earth has just cooled sufficiently for water and the earliest of rocks to hold fossils. We happen to have rocks from that earliest of periods and the fossils they contain are of fully formed single cell organisms.
posted by Mark Butterworth |