Free Course: Chemical Evolution

[A Free Course Resource] According to the theory of evolution, all the life that we see in this world is a result of blind chance. By blind chance they mean events which were completely unplanned and uncontrolled. This is a very good scientific proposal because we can investigate and study it exactly. Ultimately everything takes place at the level of atoms and molecules, so in this article we will describe the effect of blind chance on atoms and molecules.

Mathematicians have developed what is known as the Theory of Probability, to study unplanned blind processes. Chemists have collected an unbelievable amount of information about the way life building chemicals react when left to themselves without outside control. Putting these two together we can come to exact and firm conclusions about what will happen when chemical reaction take place randomly in any given situation.

The most important two chemical families for life are the proteins and the DNA. Proteins supply substance, structure, and function to the living organism, while DNA provides the vast amount of genetic information that is necessary to sustain the life. In themselves neither the proteins nor the DNAs have life in them, nor does their presence guarantee life. Rather, in living organism the DNA and proteins need thousands of other chemical substances to function properly and fully.

Assuming that proteins and DNAs were available to start with, let us see what blind chance would do to them. Biochemists tell us that if they are allowed to react with each other, they will start degenerating so that after a sufficient span of time neither useful proteins nor useful DNAs will be left. Most of the complex molecules will break down into simpler ones, having no use as building blocks of life. Also, a good proportion of these degenerated molecules will be harmful to life. They would poison any living organism into which they get in.

Life is not merely a collection of a lot of molecules and DNAs, just as a Jumbo Jet is not merely a collection of metals and plastics. Nor will a collection of suitable metals and plastics shaken for millions of years will produce a jet plane. On the contrary even if all the finished parts of a jet are put together randomly in a huge container and shaken for million of years, they will not produce an assembled jet. In fact these millions of years, they will not produce an assembled jet. In fact these millions of years of blind shaking will achieve only one predictable result everything will degenerate into dust : It is the same with life building chemicals. Millions of years of blind processes will reduce them to the smallest possible chemical units, comparable to the dust particles mentioned above:

In the above example we had started with the assumption that the basic building-blocks like proteins and DNAs were already available to start with. In the actual case, however,nothing except pure elements like oxygen, carbon, nitrogen is available. Starting from these, it is impossible to go to the level of proteins and DNAs. Stanley Miller, Sidney fox and some other scientists have tried to do experiments at this level. Taking some of the most simple chemical compounds, they tried to study the effect of electric spark on them. Their famous experiment shows very clearly that the chemical compounds formed during random processes do not get ordered as is necessary for life. Most of the chemicals were harmful for life, and if the random processes were allowed to continue they were only destroying the simple chemical compounds  formed in this experiment. This means that over long periods of time, blind processes destroy even the smallest amount of order which might exist in the universe.

Ultimately all of life depends upon the information that resides on the DNA molecules. The total amount of information residing on the DNAs of a single human cell is equivalent to the information contained in 300 volumes of an encyclopedia : It is this information which directs all the life sustaining activities in the body. There is no life apart from this information. This is the greatest problem facing the chemical evolution of life. There is no known random process which will generate information. On the contrary, all our studies of random processes and information- generation have shown that blind chance always plan. further, just as the ability of a jet to fly does not reside in metals and plastics, the information carried by DNAs is not resident in the basic chemical properties. Just as an engineer creates the ability of flight by the right ordering of about 4.5 million different parts, it is the complex ordering of chemicals which carries the information on DNAs. the question is, who created this externally imposed order ?

1 comment for “Free Course: Chemical Evolution

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.