Statesboro, GA, USA
Since we have been discussing naturalistic evolution, I wanted to bring up another consideration. (I hope I'm not out of order here Ron. I know this isn't a bilogy forum. But this is loosely related to cosmology right? )
Random mutation and natural selection is Darwin's proposed mechanism for changes, big and small. Small changes (microevolution) are not in doubt. Finch beaks change within a species, as well as the color of moth wings. But the bigger changes, such as the development of larger systems, have not been proven to have happened via the Darwinian way, they have been inferred to have happened that way. So there are problems with this theory, as suggested by certain biochemists. But let's say we accept that, returning to those problems later ...
Natural selection requires reproduction to work. It can only fuction where genetic mutations can be passed on. But there is a huge gap which lies between inorganic chemistry and genetic replication, that cannot be explained by natural selection. This is the gap I want to discuss. How did inorganic chemicals find their way to replication and reproduction? In answering, remember that Darwin is out of his jurisdiction on this one.
All cells are made up of proteins. Proteins are made up of amino acids. These amino acids (20 different types) fit together in highly specified chains. If a chain is in the right sequence, it folds up on itself and forms a protein. The protein provides a very specified shape, and functions literally as a machine part. Either functional or structural, proteins make up almost the entire cell. They are also indispensibly involved (along with DNA & RNA) in making other proteins. So in order for reproducing cells to exist, it seems proteins must have existed before. But how?
Dean H. Kenyon once wrote a book called "Biochemical Predestination" which theorized that proteins might have once been formed by the innate chemical properties of attraction found in amino acids. But science has concluded that there are no such properties. Amino acids do not (in fact) come together like magnets. They are formed according to genetic assembly instructions, found in DNA. Kenyon has since debunked his theory, and has become an advocate of intelligent design.
This seems to me to be quite an impasse for the theory of naturalistic evolution. Some may say the journey is small from non-organic chemistry to replication, but many think it is anything but small. I was just wondering if any of you might have any ideas about this. I am no scientist, just an interested lay person. So anything added would be a learning experience for me.
Some have suggested that precursors existed, like lone RNA and then DNA which were able to make proteins. But the complex process and the accompanying proteins required for these molecules to make proteins, make this claim seem highly improbable if not impossible.
Here is an interesting quote...
"it requires an absolutely dazzling array of proteins to split the DNA and make RNA which is then used to make proteins via inordinately complex processes.
So, you need a really well-designed set of proteins etc etc in order to use and maintain the DNA. If these don't exist, the DNA is useless. If the DNA is useless, you can't code for proteins. It's like the chicken and the egg, really.
The more you look at the complexity of biochemical systems in living cells, the harder it gets to understand how any of it could have survived without the rest of the system already being in place."
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (07-10-2003 02:15 PM).]