The Origin of Life Bernard V Palmer MA MB MChir MRCP FRCS
Evolution Means different things, • Micro-evolution • Macro-evolution Charles Darwin 1809 - 1889
Neo-Darwinism • The theory that life evolves by chance genetic mutations which give survival advantage. But 1) Virtually all mutations are deleterious 2) Life has NOT developed over 4.7 billion years. All phyla suddenly appeared during the Cambrian period (the Cambrian Explosion) which started ? 570 million years ago and lasted ? 50 million years
Cambrian Explosion A Trilobite
1967 Conference at Wistar Institute, Philadelphia A rather acrimonious confrontation between some mathematicians and leading Darwinists. The mathematicians showed that NeoDarwinism was statistically highly improbable. Dr D.S.Ulam argued that it was highly improbable that the eye could have evolved by the accumulation of small mutations, because :- • The number of mutations needed would be so large • There was inadequate time for them to appear • Most needed at once for any advantage
Prof H.S.Lipson – Professor of Physics • Famous Physicist who chaired the 1967 Philadelphia conference. Later the ‘Physics Bulletin’ stated. “Very reluctantly, he now took the view that evolution could not be a chance process and that the only alternative is to postulate a creator.”
DNA Is extraordinarily efficient Contains a highly refined language Can Replicate itself
Prof Richard Dawkins • Insists that life appeared by CHANCE • But CHANCE is a mathematical statistic. • The CHANCE that life developed without being planned is infinitesimal.
The Problem of New Chromosomes No mechanism is known for forming new chromosomes with meaningful code
Primordial Soup Theory • In 1920s two Marxist biologists Alexandre Operin (USSR) and J.B.S.Haldane (GB) independently proposed this theory. • In 1950s Stanley Miller (Chicago) experimented in reduced atmosphere and found traces of glycine and alanine. None form if oxygen present • BUT analysis of ancient rocks confirms oxygen was present before life began.
Sir Fred Hoyle He wrote in Nature (1981) on the probability of life forming from inanimate matter, This chance “is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it . . . It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup or any other. If the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence” NB Earth has only existed for 1015 seconds!
The Atheists Faith “In the beginning there was nothing and then it exploded. Nothingness exploded in such a way that the world and human beings formed by random chance.”
Two World Views • “In the beginning God created . . .” Genesis 1 v. 1 OR • “In the beginning, life assembled itself” Prof Sidney Fox, secular evolutionist
Psychology and Philosophy If life assembled itself ‘by chance’, think of the consequences • No meaning to life • No truth or logic • No morality • No answer to guilt
Meaninglessness Albert Camus wrote, “What is intolerable is to see one’s life drained of meaning. To be told there is no reason for existing. A man cannot live without a reason for living.” If there is no God then our existence is meaningless.
No Morality If we are just chance happenings and there is no creator to whom we are responsible then there can be no right and wrong.
No Morality “Is there no God? Then everything is permissible.” Dostoevsky “If God is dead, if man is the highest, good and evil are decided by popular vote.” William Golding in ‘Lord of the Flies’
Friedrich Nietzsche 1844-1900 • Recognised that society would “kill off God” • This would leave a moral vacuum • Science cannot give moral knowledge • Therefore an ‘overman’ will be needed
Friedrich Nietzsche 1844-1900 Derided people who had killed God but kept Christian values. “When one gives up the Christian faith one pulls the right to Christian morality from under ones feet.” in “ Twilight of the Idols”
Instinct • “I’ve got values, but I don’t know how or why.” The Who • Instinctively we all know that there is a right and wrong. God says he put it there!
Guilt • This is a problem for us all C.S.Lewis, when first considering the claims of Jesus, wrote, “For the first time I examined myself with a seriously practical purpose. And there I found what appalled me, a zoo of lusts, a bedlam of ambitions, a nursery of fears, a harem of fondled hatreds. My name was Legion.”
Forgiveness Marghanita Laski, a humanist, was debating on television with a Christian. “What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness. I have no-one to forgive me.”
Why? Sir William Bragg (1862–1945), Nobel prize-winning physicist said, “From religion comes man’s purpose, from science his power to achieve it. Some people ask if religion and science are opposed to each other. They are, in the same way that the thumb and fingers are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by which anything can be grasped”.
The Evidence about Jesus What convinced his disciples? Did he really die and rise again? Is he the Messiah of the Jewish Scriptures? Can he change people today?
Reconciling Genesis 1 with modern science Similar Story The earth had a beginning with progressive development Structure of Genesis 1 Use of Words
Limitations of Science • Science is about technology, it cannot solve the real problem that faces us all – “WHY”. • Prof Stephen Hawking acknowledged this, “Although science may solve the problem of how the universe began, it cannot answer the question, ‘Why does the universe bother to exist?’ ”
Probability Science relies on probability. Why do people want the improbable to be true?
Why Isn’t Everyone a Christian? • We want to remain independent of God. Yet it is this independence that so angers God. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” Romans 1:18