Tuesday, January 27, 2009

O7, Chemistry is not Selection

Popularizers of evolution try to sometimes ignore, sometimes mix and match, the rules of chemistry and biology. They use examples which will lead you to think that random chance does not take very long to become ordered into functional molecules and then organisms. For example, they start with a set of random letters and develop it into a sentence. They say the letters of sentences can"stop" at the correct position as other letters randomly try to fit into something intelligible. But the only way they can stop is if they "know" which sentence the experimenter wants. Such are the ways of computer simulations and games of evolution.

These persons are trying to use the principles of Population Genetics, which helps determine changes in groups of living beings through "survival of the fittest." In natural selection, animals which are more fit can survive the environment better and reproduce more, thereby passing on their "better" genes for a better species (like the random letters would pass on better sentences to become more functional). But you will never read about "survival of the fittest" in chemistry text books.

In calculating Population Genetics, the genes are already in place, and the mathematics is about the possible combinations of varieties of those genes. There may be changes over time when the gene mutates, and that is considered in mutation rates that have been experimentally discovered.

Chemistry applies different laws and we use different mathematical equations to understand and utilize them. For origins of life, the laws of chemistry apply to the atoms and molecules which would have had to react together to form life. As an example, we can think of any place where there would be a collection of atoms and molecules with potential to form life. A chemist who is an expert on DNA and RNA, Robert Shapiro, wrote an article for Scientific American in 2/12/07 called, "A Simpler Origin for Life." He described the components in the RNA/DNA world that some are saying is the way life began. The units called nucleotides are made up of about 9-10 carbon atoms, a few Nitrogen, Oxygen and Phosphorus atoms, all precisely connected in a specific 3-dimensional form. Shapiro tells us that even just this small collection of atoms can interact in thousands of different ways to form different types of nucleotides. Besides that, the same atoms could form other types of compounds which are stable enough to hang around and interact with each other. The number of types of molecules, not to mention total numbers, are in the hundreds of thousands to millions. But only FIVE TYPES (shown in picture above) are in our RNA and DNA. In natural chemistry, the "right" atoms and molecules don't hang around as they do in the sentences of writers and computer programmers. Shapiro, an expert, makes no indication that DNA in organisms is chemically favored over the other abundant possibilities.

Most Intelligent Design advocates believe the Earth is old, something like 4.5 billion years, but they do not believe that life started by naturalistic, materialistic causes. Chemistry alone cannot explain the biological origins of living beings.

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