Before I discuss further in this series, I first feel obliged to thank one of our commentators, Bryce, for his input. Having received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, he is a qualified scientist, who, I realise, would know much more about the working of the cell than I would, as discussed in the last blog. Therefore, where credit is due, he is to be commended for spending time discussing these issues with a commoner such as myself, here on this website.
I was not accusing Bryce of being a subscriber of the ancient astronaut theory, especially of the sort expounded by Erich von Daniken. Instead I was discussing that the idea of all life having an extraterrestial origin, such as the case of the Murchison Meteorite having amino acid molecules, as being taken seriously by some evolutionists. That does not mean that Bryce must also believe that that was how life must have originated. But the idea of Panspermia, as this branch of science is called, does hold a lifeline for the theory of Evolution, and then at its very beginning. As Bryce himself admitted, he and his colleagues are still in the dark on the very beginnings of the theory, namely, the evolution of the cell itself.
Bryce was also surprised that I did not bring up the "Tornado creating a Boeing 747 while passing through a metal scrapyard" argument. Personally, I think such a way of reasoning used for discrediting Evolution to be rather childish, therefore unworthy of any discussion here. Yet it was Fred Hoyle himself who had invented the "Boeing 747" theory. And even though Hoyle denied that the cell could have ever evolved by chance due to mathematical impossibility, yet he remained an atheist who embraced Darwinian Evolution once it got underway.
Let us re-cap on what Fred Hoyle believed. He was a Darwinian, but rejected any possibility of the single amoeba-type cell evolving on its own by chance. He then calculated that the chance of just the enzymes evolving by chance is one out of one, followed by 40,000 zeros! First, let us give a practical demonstration of what this means:
There are 60 seconds in a minute, in one hour - 3,600 seconds. In 24 hours - 86,400. In one year, i.e. 365.25 days - approximately 31,557,600 seconds. Bryce talks about the beginning of evolution taking place some 2,000,000,000, or two billion years ago. By multiplying two billion with 31,557,600 - which is the approximate number of seconds in a year - we get 63,115,200,000,000,000. Now this is way, way short of the 40,000 digit number calculated by Hoyle. We can go further with the microsecond, the nanosecond and even the picosecond, but this won't be necessary, as such results would still fall short of the 40,000-digit figure.
(Here the American billion is used.)
Therefore it would not have been possible for the vastly complex structure of a whole cell to have evolved by itself. There isn't simply enough time throughout the entire age of the Universe for the cell to have evolved without outside influences. That is why the idea of amino acid molecules in the Murchison Meteorite, and even a fossil imprint of a fully evolved bacteria, such as found in the ALH84001 Meteorite discovered in Antarctica, 1984, has been a kind of "saviour" to the theory of Evolution. Scientists such as Dr. Richard Hoover embraces the idea that what was discovered was a fossilised imprint of an alien bacteria.
The possibility of such organisms traveling through space, then reproducing and starting the process of evolution when the environment is right - in our case the Earth's primeval oceans - is known as Panspermia. After examining the facts connected with this theory, I get the impression that it is not unlike a spore, too small to be seen with the naked eye, settling on a piece of sliced bread left in a warm, moist environment. After a short time, from this spore, a large area of green mould has spread across the slice. In the evolutionary sense, it is grasping on straws in a desperate attempt to save the theory from its impending doom. If the theory cannot be saved, then the possibility of Intelligent Design would be the only alternative, unless the theory of Panspermia can be proven as fact. Although Fred Hoyle was a strong believer and supporter of such a theory of living cells traveling through space, many other scientists, including those in the field of Paleobiology, rejected such a theory as pseudoscience, and put it aside as a lunatic fringe together with von Daniken's Ancient Astronaut theories.
If Intelligent Design is not acknowledged, and at the same time, the theory of Panspermia is also rejected, this leaves one in a bit of a dire situation when it comes to solving the issues of Evolution, particularly the functions within the cell, as given in my last blog. To quote a couple of examples from Michael J. Behe:
A single flaw in the cell's labyrinthine protein-transport pathway is fatal. Unless the entire system is entirely in place, our ancestors would have [died]...Attempts at a gradual evolution of the protein transport system are a recipe for extinction...
At some point this complex machine had to come into existence, and it would not have done so in step-by-step fashion...as Darwinian evolution would have it.
Source: Michael J. Behe, Black Box, P. 114-115.
The cumulative [evidence] shows with piercing clarity that life is based on machines - machines made of molecules...[which are] enormously complex...The complexity of life's foundation has paralyzed science's attempt to account for it....Faced with such complexity with even simple phenomena, Darwin's theory falls silent.
Source: Michael J. Behe, Black Box, p. 4-5, 97.
Bryce, in his last comment, then challenged me to bring proof of Creation by Intelligent Design. I was surprised to read such a statement at this stage, as surely, by giving a description of the genome system within a cell's nucleus, and the mRNA, the Ribosome and the extreme complexity of the resulting polypeptide, one of in a protein chain, I would have thought that this was good evidence of intelligent design. In fact, the very idea of needing a "saviour" in the form of Panspermia, or cosmic cells splashing into our primeval oceans while riding on meteorites billions of years ago - even this testifies that for the cell to exist in the first place, it must have came fully evolved, or else no life would exist in the present day!
Such a concept gives rise to another, I would think, a very serious problem, that of Infinite Regress. That is, to ask: If Darwinian Evolution took place due to the arrival of traveling cosmic cells into our oceans, then how did they evolve? What were the cells which sparked life into them, and so on ad infinitum? Hoyle, who saw this as a problem, attempted to solve it by suggesting various chemicals, such as hydrogen, helium and other materials in the newborn stars of the young Universe giving rise to amino acids, the building blocks for protein. In other words, the basis of all life began with the formation of the stars themselves. This is a fascinating interpretation on the origins of a fully functional, highly complex living organism. It has really goes to show how far in one's determination one can go to push away the screaming obvious - intelligent design! As Paul the Apostle wrote, that their minds have become darkened until futile - see Romans 1:18-23, especially verse 20.
But Fred Hoyle was an atheist and a supporter of Darwinism, and to utterly reject any concept of Divine Creation, he gave full support to the theory of Panspermia. To note, Hoyle was an astrophysicist and brilliant mathematician who was also a professor at Cambridge University. So he was no fool, and unlike von Daniken, he did not attempt to use a degree of dishonesty to propound his theories, as mentioned in my last blog.
But to turn to the Bible for proof of Intelligent design, this would require faith. This is because of what we are really doing is turning to a written record of past events and allowing ourselves to be told how these events transpired without visual proof on how these events took place.
The narrative of the six-day Creation of Genesis chapter one provides a good example. Here we are told on a Hebrew day-by-day process of Creation by intelligent design. The "evening and morning" of day one, two, three and so on up to day six depicts the new day beginning at sunset, as in the Hebrew clock to this day. Then on the seventh day, so the narrative goes, that God rested from the work of Creation, and hallowed the 7th day, which became the reason for the 4th Commandment given in Exodus 20:8-11, that the 7th day of the week must be kept holy by the children of Israel, to whom it was delivered.
Bryce was right when he commented that the weekend was likely to be around before any of the Bible was written. It was divinely introduced at the very birth of history. But on the scientific side, the 7th day of rest testifies that the forces that were at work during the Creation Week are not in operation now. As another commentator has pointed out, the material world at present is subject to decay, starting from a high order of things and slowly declining towards disorder, a fact known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In other words, nothing lasts for ever. One good example is this very computer I'm using to write this blog. There will be a day that I'll be needing to replace it. As for myself, soon to enter the 7th decade of life, (my sixties) I would not be surprised at the slow decline of body defence mechanisms which are vital for sustaining good health.
But the idea of a Limited Evolution is not denied by us Creationists. The number of animals in the Ark of Noah does shed some light on this issue. Take a look at the Canine family. Here some species are listed along with their chromosome numbers. (As a yardstick, humans have 46 Chromosomes in the nucleus of each cell.)
African Wild Dog....78 Chromosomes
With the exception of the Hyena, every species of the Canine has 78 chromosomes. Closely related to the Dog is the Fox, of the related Vulpos family. However, there is a greater variation of chromosome count as listed here:
Tibetian Sand Fox....36
Although there is a variation of Chromosome count here, there is a belief among Creationists that all of these species could have evolved from just one pair - a male and female. On the other hand, the Vulpos family of the Fox could have had its own ancestor. Whatever may be, it is not impossible that evolution within its own kind has taken place and is taking place at present. It is also noteworthy that the domestic cat, the lion and the tiger all have 38 Chromosomes, which lends to a rather fascinating idea that the Feline family began as a single pair, but here the separate species within this family could not be more diverse. On the other hand, in the Primate family the Gorilla, the Chimpanzee and the Orangutan all have 48 Chromosomes, just two more than us.
Further listing say, of the Equine family would include the Horse, Quagga, Zebra, Zebroid (a cross between a Horse and Zebra), Onager, Kiang, Ass and the Kianger (a cross between a Kiang and Onager).
Bryce believes that the the Ark of Noah is so nonsense that he rates ancient astronauts and cosmic cells as being more plausible than the Biblical account. Yet I have listed up to 26 species from as little as four different families or kinds. The idea that 26 species (and not all were named, particularly in the Primate and Feline groups) came from just four pairs not only makes Noah and the Flood more plausible than Panspermia, but it also looks at the high chance that the Bible is friendly toward a limited form of Evolution within the confines of each separate kind.
This is the kind of limited Evolution Bryce and his colleagues use as evidence to support the impossible theory of Darwinism.