Intelligent Design News

Waiter! This primordial soup is cold!! Take it away!!

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Shazam!/NASA, JPL

In “The mystery of how Earth’s primordial soup came to life” (, , February 21, 2012 ), Clara Moskowitz reports ,

Evolution of life, and how its building blocks joined for added protection, studied

with the helpful note,

The individual molecules within early Earth’s primordial soup that form the basis of life likely developed in response to natural selection.

We are told,

“When molecules interact, they start taking on properties they don’t have as individuals, but do gain when they’re in a complex,” Robert Root-Bernstein, a physiologist at Michigan State University, said Sunday here at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “This provides a means of natural selection.”

Molecules that could combine to gain attributes would survive longer and proliferate, while those that were more easily destroyed would fade away.

There are two problems with this:

Natural selection assumes that a life form already exists, and that random mutations in its genetic inheritance will cause some offspring to be more fit to survive in a given environment than others. Darwinism (natural selection acting on random mutations) was proposed as a mechanism by which existing life forms gain further complexity while reproducing themselves. For good reasons, Darwin did not propose it as a mechanism for the origin of life.

Principally, if it were true that molecules do what is described by these researchers, random molecules should be evolving toward protocells today. But there is no evidence that they are or that they can. (People were just plain more sharp-witted in Darwin’s day, and they would immediately pounce on a problem like that.)

In the absence of specialized cellular machinery that prevents simplification, the natural tendency of such long strings of molecules is towrd greater simplification. As Stephen Meyer writes, in Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science,

In a classic experiment, Spiegelman in 1967 showed what happens to a molecular replicating system in a test tube, without any cellular organization around it. … these initial templates did not stay the same; they were not accurately copied. They got shorter and shorter until they reached the minimal size compatible with the sequence retaining self-copying properties. And as they got shorter, the copying process went faster.  – The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2011), p. 313–18.

We wish the origin of life folks would come up with something genuinely new, instead of trying these same old wheezes over and over again. But then, this was fronted at an AAAS meet where most participants who promote climate change did not know that the birth rate has been dropping worldwide for decades.

Something anyone might have noticed.

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7 Replies to “Waiter! This primordial soup is cold!! Take it away!!

  1. 1

    Ah, yes. The old attempt to somehow get that magical ever-powerful, ever-creative force of ‘natural selection’ to apply to the origin of life.

    “The individual molecules within early Earth’s primordial soup that form the basis of life likely developed in response to natural selection.”

    What a hoot!

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    “Natural selection does not act on anything, nor does it select (for or against), force, maximize, create, modify, shape, operate, drive, favor, maintain, push, or adjust. Natural selection does nothing…. Having natural selection select is nifty because it excuses the necessity of talking about the actual causation of natural selection. Such talk was excusable for Charles Darwin, but inexcusable for evolutionists now. Creationists have discovered our empty “natural selection” language, and the “actions” of natural selection make huge, vulnerable targets.”
    The Origin of Theoretical Population Genetics, 2001 (pp. 199-200) William Provine – Professor of Evolutionary Biology – Cornell University

    I got a new copy of ReMine’s The Biotic Message and re-read his chapters on Natural Seleciton and I get to see it all in action. (UD Blogger – Mung)
    Inventive natural selection is the distinctive evolutionary mechanism – essential to Darwinian theory. Evolutionists presume it creates new adaptations by somehow traversing the hills and valleys of the fitness terrain. But they do not attempt to defend it as testable science. Rather, for the defense they shift back to the naive version – survival of the fittest. Then they might offer some tautology to help expunge all doubt.
    When challenged, they shift between various formulations They use naive natural selection to convince the public that evolution is simple, testable, and virtually inevitable.
    When opponents point out that such continually uphill evolution is refuted by the data, evolutionists effortlessly shift away from naive natural selection. Then they charge that the opponent has a poor understanding of evolutionary theory.
    In short, evolutionists merely shifted away from criticism, then focused their arguments (and your attention) in a direction that seemed to overcome the criticism. This phenomenon occurs at several levels.
    Biological adaptation by natural selection is not inevitable, nor is the theory scientific. It had merely lent support to the philosophy of naturalism.

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    It’s all down to filial piety. Mother Nature. Neoshinto.

  4. 4
    Blue_Savannah says:

    Gee, if they have this all figured out, why can’t they re-create life from non-living matter in a lab??? Calling Pasteur!!

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    Need a bolt of lightening, Blue. But that could be arranged in a lab, couldn’t it? Eminently, reproducible.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    This link has a nice overview of the self-replicating experiment in 1967 by Spiegelman;

    Origins of Life – Freeman Dyson – page 74;f=false

  7. 7

    bornagain77 @6:

    Thanks for the link. In the context of OOL, however, I’m not sure this is a good example of self-replication They are talking about a minimum strand length required, but notice they snuck in that little “enzyme” that seemed to be doing a lot of work.

    I’ve said it before and will say it again: I still haven’t seen or heard of anyone identifying a self-replicating molecule (which is what the primordial soup discussion is talking about). If anyone is aware of such an entity, please let me know. Otherwise, I’ll have to stick with my suspicion that the self-replicating molecule is an imaginary construct.

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