Explained by chemist Addy Pross of Ben-Gurion University, author of What is Life?: How Chemistry Becomes Biology (Oxford, 2012):
Despite the widespread view that Darwinian Evolution has been able to explain the emergence of biological complexity that is not the case….But Darwinian theory does not deal with the question how [life] was able to come into being. The troublesome question still in search of an answer is: how did a system capable of evolving come about in the first place. Darwinian theory is a biological theory and therefore deals with biological systems, whereas the Origin of Life problem is a chemical problem. (page 8)
Significantly, Darwin himself explicitly avoided the origin of life question, recognizing that within the existing state of knowledge the question was premature, that its resolution at that time was out of reach. So the question of how the first microscopic complexity came into being remains problematic and highly contentious. ( page 8)
So paradoxically despite the profound advances in molecular biology in the past half century, we still do not understand what life is, how it relates to the inanimate world, and how it emerged. True, over the past half century considerable effort has been directed into attempts to solve these fundamental issues, but the gates to the Promised Land seem as distant as ever. Like a mirage in the desert, just as the palm trees signaling the oasis seemingly materialize shimmering on the horizon, they fade away yet again…. (Page ix)
So what is the basis of this deeply troubling and persistent dilemma? To clarify in simplest terms where the problem lies consider the following hypothetical tale: you are walking through a field and you suddenly come across a refrigerator – a fully functioning refrigerator in a field with some bottles of beer inside, all nicely chilled. But how could a refrigerator be working in the middle of a field, apparently unconnected to any external energy source, yet maintaining a cold interior. And just what is it doing there, and how did it get there? You take a closer look and see a solar panel on its top, which is connected to a battery, which in turn operates the compressor which all fridges have in order to function. So the mystery of how the refrigerator works is resolved. ….Thus despite Nature’s drive to equalize the temperature inside and outside the cabinet, in this physical entity we call a “refrigerator”, there exists functional design that enables us to keep our food and drinks at a suitably low temperature.
But the mystery of how it got there in the middle of the field remains. Who put it there? And why? Now if I told you that no one put the refrigerator there – that it came about spontaneously through natural forces, you would react with total disbelief. How absurd! Impossible! Nature just doesn’t operate like that! Nature doesn’t spontaneously make highly organized….purposeful entities – fridges, cars, computers, etc. Such objects are the product of human design – purposeful and deliberate. Nature…pushes systems…toward disorder and chaos, not toward order and function.
The simple truth is that the most basic living system, a bacterial cell, is a highly organized…functional system…which mimics the operation of the refrigerator, but is orders of magnitude more complex! The refrigerator involves the cooperative interactions of, at most, several dozen components, whereas a bacterial cell involves the interactions of thousands of different molecules and molecular aggregates, some of enormous complexity in themselves, all within a network of thousands of synchronized chemical reactions ….But what is the function of the bacterial cell with its organized complexity?…every living cell is effectively a highly
organized factory, which like any man-made factory, is connected to an energy source and power generator that facilitates its operation. If the energy source is cut off the factory ceases to operate. This miniature factory takes in raw material, and through the utilization of power from the factory’s power generator, converts those material into the functional components, which will then be assembled to produce the factory’s output…which is more cells!
And here precisely lies the [origin of] life problem. Just as the likelihood of a functional fridge…spontaneously coming together naturally seems inconceivable, even if its parts were all readily available, the likelihood for the spontaneous formation of a highly organized…nano-factory [i.e. bacterial cell] also seems inconceivable. It is not just common sense that tells us that highly organized entities don’t just spontaneously come about. Certain basic laws of physics preach the same sermon – systems tend towards chaos and disorder, not toward order and function. No wonder several of the great physicists of the 20th century…found the issue highly troublesome. Biology [i.e. a naturalistic origin of life] and physics seem contradictory, quite incompatible. No wonder the proponents of Intelligent Design manage to peddle their wares with such success!” (x-xii)
Naturalism, to the extent that it ignores information, is magical thinking. We ID folk can’t help looking good by comparison.
Suzan Mazur to Larry Krauss: Darwinism now marginalized (In his response Krauss does not mention information, the vast amounts of which chiefly distinguish life from non-life.)
And how information-free naturalism makes a mess of origin of life
Follow UD News at Twitter!