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My Matchstick Tower


Les Sherlock
20th June 2018

As is my wont, I browsed the scientific magazines last weekend, and for the first time bought two. This was because both had cover stories on abiogenesis - how the first living cell emerged from inanimate matter. "It was barely more than a few genetic molecules packaged up in some kind of a sac," claims New Scientist, 16th June 2018, page 31. They give seven possible types of location on Earth where this could have taken place; but in the pros and cons section of the article, in every case the cons are either: "too salty for membranes;" "too wet for large biomolecules;" "unclear how metabolism could have got started;" or "implies a metabolism unlike anything on Earth today." In other words no scientific observation has shown anywhere on Earth that makes the miracle likely, or even possible!

On the other hand, Scientific American, June 2018, page 63, carries diagrams showing how nucleotides supposedly formed into RNA strands that were then surrounded by a lipid membrane and then became increasingly complex. Well, I can give a diagram showing how I erected a vertical, matchstick tower on my table with the use of no adhesives or supporting structures (see right); but you know it is impossible, so I couldn't have done! I would have to show you the tower itself before you would believe it. Likewise, you would have to show me (or report the genuine observation of) a living cell that is simple enough to have formed from inanimate matter by unintelligent means yet complex enough to be able to live and breed, before I will believe it!

The New Scientist and Scientific American magazines both conveniently ignore key questions:

  • Bearing in mind the smallest known organism * capable of independent life has over one million nucleotides, how many were required for this first life form? We aren’t told.
  • What is the mechanism that caused those nucleotides to assemble themselves together in one place in an orderly manner so they could code for the requirements of life? There isn't one! Even if there were ten billion viable combinations, there is more chance of you winning the UK national lottery in six consecutive draws with the same single set of numbers than for all the nucleotides of a 'simple' organism, less than one ten-thousandth the size of the Pelagibacter, * to arrive randomly at the correct sequence to code for life.
  • What is the mechanism that caused the lipid membrane to form around these nucleotides at just the right moment when there were enough nucleotides together? There isn't one!
  • What is the mechanism that caused more nucleotides to enter the membrane and join onto the chain to produce a more complex code for higher life forms? Or that caused the primitive cell to divide into two with more nucleotides than the parent contained? There isn’t one!
  • RNA is unstable and can only continue to exist through the structures in the cell. How could this primitive RNA have survived without these structures present? It couldn’t!
  • What is the evolutionary step-by-step sequence in which a system based solely on RNA developed into the one based on RNA/DNA that we see in all living things today? Each step had to be both functional and an improvement on the previous one in order for it to be selected for by natural selection. There isn't one! However, even though he thinks it happened, Richard Dawkins has said any change to the way DNA functions would be instantly fatal (Greatest Show on Earth, page 409) so it is a huge leap of faith to believe it could have done!
  • Since proteins can only exist because the coding for them is in DNA, and DNA cannot function without proteins, how could step-by step evolution have produced this system that will only work when both are present and fully functional?

*   A microbe called Pelagibacter. At www.genome we are told it has 1,308,759 nucleotides, with 1,354 protein genes and 35 RNA genes.

* i.e. 100 nucleotides. As there are four different types of nucleotide, there are obviously four possibilities for a single one. With two there are 16 different possibilities (4 x 4). So for the chances of 100 finding any particular combination you have to multiply 1 by 4, 100 times.
(1 x 4)100 = 1 chance in  6,069,400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,  000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (or 1.60694E+60 - see explanation below). With ten billion viable possibilities, this becomes 1 chance in 1.60694E+50.

The odds against winning the lottery once are 1 in 45,057,474; so winning with the same entry, six consecutive times, is 1 in (45,057,474 multiplied by 45,057,474 six times, which is) 8.3676E+45.

(More detail on this is included at http://inthebeginning.org.uk/challenge.html)


Numbers followed by E+… means add noughts to the end until the number of figures after the decimal point is the same as the number after the plus sign, then remove the decimal point. So the greater the number after ‘E’, the larger the amount.

All observation of molecular biology proves abiogenesis by unintelligent means to have been impossible; but atheists are forced to believe in it because they don't want to believe in God. The argument, "There must be a God, because what we see could not exist without Him," is as valid today as it has always been, and is confirmed by the latest scientific observations.