Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chemical Evolution

Conye doesn't seem to mention much about chemical evolution (the theory of how chemicals gathered into living things) in his book, yet this is a major creationist argument: there is too low of a probability for chemical evolution to occur. How do evolution proponents refute the claim of creationist, or, if you're a creationist, then what are the main arguments against evolution proponents? Use examples and outside sources to support your claims.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Jerry Coyne wrote his book Why Evolution is True intended for a general audience. He does have extensive knowledge of molecular biology besides the many ecological and macroscopic themes that he touched upon.
    When I was researching Jerry Coyne on his University of Chicago Ecology and Evolution page, I stumbled upon an interesting article he had written in response to a book by Michael Behe: The Edge of Evolution. In it, ID proponent Michael Behe admits that many of the factors in evolution are most likely true, but most of the chemical and microscopic developments must had had divine intervention. Once again touching on "irreducible complexity", Behe's argument against evolution is an overwhelming flood about the complexities and the impossibilities of evolution. One example he mentioned was the Cilia--made of of over 200 complex proteins working in complex unison, there was no way that gradual change could have produced something so complex. However, many of the arguments presented are only attacking evolution, there is literally nothing to support how ID can be tested, proven, or even shown. Despite this, evolutionary theory still has other defenses, just because scientists don't know the exact process of how some things happened, it does not disprove the theory of evolution.
    Just like in the court case for ID, Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District, Behe's "irreducible complexity" argument is merely an attack on the chemical adaptations that are not fully understood about evolution, and gives no support for the theory of intelligent design.

    Sources:, New Republic.pdf

    btw today is April 11th 12:38 AM

  3. Noting above, most likely uses Pacific time. So the post above WAS posted on april 11th. just fyi.

  4. Like Tianyu said, ID proponents don't disprove evolution, they simply point out parts of it that aren't yet fully explained.
    However, Aleksandr Operin's "Primeval Soup" theory has made some headway. The Miller & Urey experiment replicated conditions on early Earth (using water, electric sparks, the atmosphere) with the atoms and compounds they believed would have been found there. They left their soup to bubble for a week, and upon their return found that "as much as 10-15% of the carbon was now in the form of organic compounds. Two percent of the carbon had formed some of the amino acids which are used to make proteins" (chem.duke). The experiment showed that organic compounds could have been synthesized out of early Earth's environment.
    There are so many aspects to chemical evolution that nothing is ever fully answered. No one is positive as to the origin of the universe - was it the Big Bang? or something else? If we could show how and which molecules made it to Earth, perhaps it would be easier to prove that complex structures like DNA evolved.
    There is another theory:
    "Astronomers recently discovered the existence of complex organic molecules called aromatic hydrocarbons in space. Small organic molecules were found to have evolved into complex aromatic molecules over a period of several thousand years" (thinkquest). Perhaps in the movement of molecules in space (for example, stars exploding after using up all of their H and He), some of these complex molecules landed on Earth.
    These are all ways that evolutionists can support themselves, with the main idea being that complex organic molecules can be synthesized without intervention, divine or otherwise.
    Creationists have an easy time supporting themselves because, since atoms and molecules are so small, little is known about them relative to animals, etc.
    Many Creationists say that too many different components of life are irreducibly complex. They refute the Miller-Urey experiment by saying that "the molecules formed are destroyed by the very conditions (such as heat, UV light and electricity) that make them" (icr). They give versions of "pseudo-DNA" that could have formed by chance and contrast it with real DNA, for which they say that "there is no conceivable mechanism for arranging this by chance". Flagella, Cilia, DNA, RNA, amino acids, nucleotides, nucleic acids etc. are all very specific and complex in their structure and function and therefore are difficult to create by chance collisions and are difficult to build up to randomly. Creationists have a good point here, but if evolution is true, then one day we will discover explanations. If not, we will have discovered limitations, which would still need to be explained.

    I personally think that everyone should keep an open mind. Evolution and God don't have to be mutually exclusive. Maybe there WAS divine intervention in the creation of DNA, or maybe pret-a-porter complex molecules flew in from space (and maybe it was God's doing). In any case, if complex molecules were evolved/created, there is no way that Earth is The Only Place In The Universe conducive to life - there are other planets with the right atmospheric conditions in which life could have evolved. But Creationists oppose that and most people in general are skeptics. A greater understanding of chemical evolution, I think, would lead to more widespread theorizing and less skepticism about extraterrestrial life. (But that's just me).