Rational Evolutionary Hypothesis?

-By Thomas E. Brewton

Evolutionists make truly wild assumptions to fill the gaps in their hypotheses. Check out Richard Dawkins’s thesis that DNA originated spontaneously in inorganic mud crystals.

Richard Dawkins is one of today’s most widely known defenders of Darwinian evolution. Professor Dawkins goes beyond defending evolution, using extravagant language to attack the personal qualifications of anyone who questions Darwinian evolution. Of such people, he opined, It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet someone who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).

Needless to say, as a believer in evolution, professor Dawkins regards himself as not ignorant and not stupid. Yet, some of his speculations, to a non-believer in evolution, appear to be a few cards short of a full deck.

In Darwin’s evolutionary hypothesis, and in the many variants since 1859, the fundamental thrust, indeed the starting point for Darwin himself, was to disprove what he called the “damnable doctrine” of God as the Creator of the cosmos and of life on earth. All events, for the evolutionists, are attributable to material causes, without the intervention of a Creator existing before and outside the universe.

Because the minds of evolutionists cannot conceive of God as existence preceding essence, for them He cannot exist. Their only reality is the tangible, sensible world of processes with material causes that the human brain is capable of fathoming and presumptively controlling.

For evolution to stand on its own two feet, Darwinians must be able to explain how life was created by purely material factors. This they singularly fail to do. And without a materialistic beginning of life, there can be no purely materialistic, Darwinian evolution of life forms.

Darwinians therefore gloss over the origin of life and focus instead on the hypothetical mechanism of natural selection, through billions of tiny, random modifications over eons, which might plausibly have differentiated a single, original elemental life form into all known life forms of today. To date there have been only unsuccessful attempts in chemistry labs to create life from inorganic chemicals. Every theory attempting to explain the origin of life has collided with contradictory facts in chemistry and geology.

In The Blind Watchmaker, in the chapter titled Origins and Miracles, professor Dawkins deals with the origin of life and of the presumed inception of the evolutionary process itself.

Most text books, he writes, favor the ‘primeval soup’ concept in which lots of chemicals got mixed up at the beginning of planet earth, and life just happened. It seems probable that the atmosphere of Earth before the coming of life was like that of other planets which are still lifeless. There was no oxygen….Chemists know that oxygen-free climates like this tend to foster the spontaneous synthesis of organic chemicals.

However, this standard version, taught to students of biology today, appears to be erroneous in its postulation of an oxygen-free atmosphere before the creation of life. As noted in Jesus vs. Darwin: Points 1 and 2:

For example, the “primordial soup” hypothesis for the origin of life entirely by chance, proposed by the atheistic Soviet biochemist A. I. Oparin in 1924, requires that there be no free oxygen in the atmosphere, otherwise the postulated sequential combinations of chemicals would screech to a halt as oxygen, in effect, would “rust” the process. Geologists, unfortunately for the evolutionists, since then have found clear evidence in ancient rocks that there were significant amounts of oxygen in the atmosphere at the postulated time of the “primordial soup”.

Professor Dawkins’s preferred hypothesis, however, is not the ‘primeval soup’ one, but the ‘inorganic mineral’ theory of Glasgow chemist Graham Cairns-Smith.

Cairns-Smith’s view, Dawkins writes, of the DNA/protein machinery is that it probably came into existence relatively recently, perhaps as recently as three billion years ago….Although the chemistry of modern Earth-bound life is all carbon-chemistry, this may not be true all over the universe, and it may not always have been true on this Earth. Cairns-Smith believes that the original life on this planet was based on self-replicating inorganic crystals such as silicates. If this is true, organic replicators, and eventually DNA, must later have taken over or usurped the role.

Continuing, professor Dawkins writes, Cairns-Smith’s guess is that the original replicators were crystals of inorganic materials, such as those found in clays and muds….Since it is replication we are interested in, the first thing we must know is, can crystals replicate their structure?…Sometimes crystals spontaneously start to form in solution. At other times they have to be ‘seeded’, either by particles of dust or by small crystals dropped in from elsewhere….Flat crystals give rise to a population of flat crystals. Chunky crystals give rise to a population of chunky crystals. If there is a tendency for one type of crystal to grow and split more quickly than the other, we shall have a simple kind of natural selection. But the process still lacks a vital ingredient in order to give rise to evolutionary change. That ingredient is hereditary variation, or something equivalent to it. Instead of just two types of crystals, there must be a whole range of minor variants that form lineages of like shape, and that sometimes ‘mutate’ to produce new shapes.

Crystals grow like rows of flowers…..But – and here is the vital point – there are flaws….And once a flaw has appeared, it tends to be copied as subsequent layers of crystal encrust themselves on top of it…..

What DNA has over normal crystals is a means by which its information can be read. Leaving aside the problem of read-out, you could easily devise an arbitrary code whereby flaws in the atomic structure of the crystal denote binary numbers….

The role of clay and other mineral crystals in the theory is to act as the original ‘low-tech’ replicators, the ones that were eventually replaced by high-tech DNA….

There is still the missing ingredient of ‘power’: the nature of the replicators must somehow have influenced their own likelihood of being replicated….Whether the original low-tech replicators were mineral crystals or organic forerunners of DNA itself, we may guess that the ‘power’ they exercised was direct and elementary, like stickiness….

We aren’t suggesting that clays ‘want’ to go on existing….suppose that a variant of clay improves its own chances of being deposited, by damming up streams….A succession of such shallow pools proliferates along the length of any stream that happens to be ‘infected’ by seeding crystals of this kind of clay…..The clay dries and cracks in the sun, and the top layers are blown off as dust. Each dust particle inherits the characteristic defect structure of the parent clay that did the damming, the structure that gave it its damming properties. By analogy with the genetic information raining down on the canal from my willow tree, we could say that the dust carries ‘instructions’ for how to dam streams and eventually make more dust…..The crystalline structure of each particle of dust is copied from the clay in the parent stream. It passes on that crystalline structure to the daughter stream, where it grows and multiplies and finally sends ‘seeds’ out again….

Now if the alteration makes the crystal either less or more efficient in the damming/drying/erosion cycle, this will affect how many copies it has in subsequent ‘generations’….There are many opportunities for successive ‘generations’ to become progressively ‘better’ at getting passed to subsequent generations. In other words, there are many opportunities for rudimentary cumulative selection to get going.

Now to move on to the next stage of the argument, some lineages of crystals might happen to catalyse the synthesis of new substances that assist in their passage down the ‘generations’…..Cairns-Smith believes that organic molecules were prominent among non-replicating ‘tools’ of his inorganic replicators.

Notice in the foregoing, and in most writings by evolutionists, the frequent use of words like “may,” “probably,” “could have been,” “we could imagine,” “we may guess,” “must somehow,” and “must have been.”

Notice also that professor Dawkins begins with a tangential glance at the ‘primeval soup’ thesis as the mechanism by which life just happened on earth, but then he slides into the origin of DNA as the information technology by which genetic information is created, accumulated, and passed along to later generations. He never specifically comes to grips with the origin of life itself, the all-important first step in evolutionary hypothesizing.

Again, in the quotations above he casually assumes that, after clay crystals ‘evolve,’ organic chemicals (the building blocks of living tissue, which evolutionists acknowledge did not exist when earth was formed) are handily, by chance, available to be catalyzed by his ‘evolved’ crystals. This is circular reasoning on the order of stating, “The weather is cold, because it is cold.” It explains nothing. If the appropriate organic chemicals essential for living tissues came into being, via an unexplained process, at the appropriate time to catalyze Dawkins’s mud crystals, why do we need mud crystals?

Finally, notice that professor Dawkins and his fellow evolutionists offer no proof at all for any of their speculations, for the simple reason that there is no way to prove them. One might as plausibly speculate that the sun was originally blue when the earth was formed; no one can disprove it. Because they are “scientists,” we are required to take their word for it.

In any case, there you have it: the “scientific” hypothesis that one of the world’s most prominent Darwinian evolutionists uses to counter the ignorance, stupidity, and insanity of people who don’t accept Darwinian atheism and materialism.

Because the established scientific organizations and journals control the dictionary of science, they can get away with decreeing what is science and what is not. It’s apparently scientific to construct a whole theoretical edifice on the foundation of sheer speculation, provided that the speculation affirms Darwinian evolution.

Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776 http://www.thomasbrewton.com/

Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Thomas E. Brewton

Copyright Publius Forum 2001