I can only conclude that the creationists at the Institute for Creation Research – specifically Brian Thomas – can not even grasp the idea that there could possibly be an origins theory that did not require at least something being created ex nihilo, as it were.
According to the latest DpSU, the First Cell’s Survival Odds Not in Evolution’s Favor. I bet you can see where this is going…
How did life begin?
For those who reject the testimony of Genesis, the search is restricted to clues in nature. One such clue is the minimum essentials required for growth and reproduction. If that number is small enough, then life might conceivably have formed by chance.
‘Number’? Are we talking about the number of things that are required for life to exist, or the probability of them occurring?
The 2008 documentary movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed presented 250 proteins as an estimated minimum required for cell function. The odds of that many forming by chance was equated to a man winning at a slot machine 250 consecutive times.
Ah – Expelled. I’d say that that’s not the kind of thing you really want to go quoting as gospel truth (metaphorically speaking, of course. In reality the film is probably slightly more accurate).
But the real odds are much more staggering. Molecular biologist Doug Axe said, “We’re talking about something that’s staggeringly improbable: roughly one in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion.” Based on new research, Axe may have to quadruple those already impossible odds.
It’s always funny when the YECs use ID material, but stab them in the back else-ware. Axe is notable for being mentioned in the Wedge Document as leading one of the ‘phase I’ projects and as an important place that needs funding.
Anyway, what’s the story? A study has looked at the parts of the genome of the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus that ‘resist’ mutations – i.e. most mutations that happen on those sections are quickly selected out of the population. The sections include protein-coding ones, regulatory sections and a small number of others that nobody knows the purpose of. They, along with the ICR, are trumpeting this as addressing “a fundamental question in biology: What is essential for life?” (from the press release). Brian Thomas is, of course, arguing that this makes the chances of life arising without genesis remote.
The biggest problem with all this is that implies that scientists think that the first life consisted of striped-down Caulobacters, which is frankly ludicrous. Nobody thinks that – it’s just not possible, as the creationists reiterate time and time again.
Talk.Origins has an article on this subject called Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and Probability of Abiogenesis Calculations – here really is no point in going over the points made there, and they apply also for occasions like this where the probability is only implied, rather than calculated. Brian Thomas concludes:
If the origin and survival of the first cell were miserably unsolvable by any machinations of natural law before, they are even less solvable now. And what nature alone cannot explain must logically be explained by the supernatural, just like Genesis has said all along.
So – just an old PRATT. I hope he can do better next time…