An Example of the Logic of "Chance" The Complex Structure and Systems in the Cell
The Problem of the Origin of Proteins Left-handed Proteins The Indispensability of the Peptide Link Zero Probability Is There a Trial-and-Error Mechanism in Nature?
The Evolutionary Argument about the Origin of Life Miller's Experiment












 The Problem of the Origin of Proteins

So much for the cell, but evolution fails even to account for the building-blocks of a cell. The formation, under natural conditions, of just one single protein out of the thousands of complex protein molecules making up the cell is impossible.

Proteins are giant molecules consisting of smaller units called amino acids that are arranged in a particular sequence in certain quantities and structures. These units constitute the building blocks of a living protein. The simplest protein is composed of 50 amino acids, but there are some that contain thousands.

The crucial point is this. The absence, addition, or replacement of a single amino acid in the structure of a protein causes the protein to become a useless molecular heap. Every amino acid has to be in the right place and in the right order. The theory of evolution, which claims that life emerged as a result of chance, is quite helpless in the face of this order, since it is too wondrous to be explained by coincidence. (Furthermore, the theory cannot even substantiate the claim of the accidental formation of amino acids, as will be discussed later.)

The fact that it is quite impossible for the functional structure of proteins to come about by chance can easily be observed even by simple probability calculations that anybody can understand.

For instance, an average-sized protein molecule composed of 288 amino acids, and contains twelve different types of amino acids can be arranged in 10300 different ways. (This is an astronomically huge number, consisting of 1 followed by 300 zeros.) Of all of these possible sequences, only one forms the desired protein molecule. The rest of them are amino-acid chains that are either totally useless, or else potentially harmful to living things.

In other words, the probability of the formation of only one protein molecule is "1 in 10300. "The probability of this "1" actually occurring is practically nil. (In practice, probabilities smaller than 1 over 1050 are thought of as "zero probability").

The complex 3-D structure of the protein cytochrome-C. The slightest difference in the order of the amino acids, represented by little balls, will render the protein nonfunctional.

Furthermore, a protein molecule of 288 amino acids is a rather modest one compared with some giant protein molecules consisting of thousands of amino acids. When we apply similar probability calculations to these giant protein molecules, we see that even the word "impossible" is insufficient to describe the true situation.

When we proceed one step further in the evolutionary scheme of life, we observe that one single protein means nothing by itself. One of the smallest bacteria ever discovered, Mycoplasma hominis H39, contains 600 types of proteins. In this case, we would have to repeat the probability calculations we have made above for one protein for each of these 600 different types of proteins. The result beggars even the concept of impossibility.

Some people reading these lines who have so far accepted the theory of evolution as a scientific explanation may suspect that these numbers are exaggerated and do not reflect the true facts. That is not the case: these are definite and concrete facts. No evolutionist can object to these numbers.

This situation is in fact acknowledged by many evolutionists. For example, Harold F. Blum, a prominent evolutionist scientist, states that "The spontaneous formation of a polypeptide of the size of the smallest known proteins seems beyond all probability."241

Evolutionists claim that molecular evolution took place over a very long period of time and that this made the impossible possible. Nevertheless, no matter how long the given period may be, it is not possible for amino acids to form proteins by chance. William Stokes, an American geologist, admits this fact in his book Essentials of Earth History, writing that the probability is so small "that it would not occur during billions of years on billions of planets, each covered by a blanket of concentrated watery solution of the necessary amino acids."242

So what does all this mean? Perry Reeves, a professor of chemistry, answers the question:

When one examines the vast number of possible structures that could result from a simple random combination of amino acids in an evaporating primordial pond, it is mind-boggling to believe that life could have originated in this way. It is more plausible that a Great Builder with a master plan would be required for such a task.243

If the coincidental formation of even one of these proteins is impossible, it is billions of times "more impossible" for some one million of those proteins to come together by chance and make up a complete human cell. What is more, by no means does a cell consist of a mere heap of proteins. In addition to the proteins, a cell also includes nucleic acids, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, and many other chemicals such as electrolytes arranged in a specific proportion, equilibrium, and design in terms of both structure and function. Each of these elements functions as a building block or co-molecule in various organelles.

Robert Shapiro, a professor of chemistry at New York University and a DNA expert, calculated the probability of the coincidental formation of the 2000 types of proteins found in a single bacterium (There are 200,000 different types of proteins in a human cell.) The number that was found was 1 over 1040000.244 (This is an incredible number obtained by putting 40,000 zeros after the 1)

A professor of applied mathematics and astronomy from University College Cardiff, Wales, Chandra Wickramasinghe, comments:

The likelihood of the spontaneous formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it... It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.245

Sir Fred Hoyle comments on these implausible numbers:

Indeed, such a theory (that life was assembled by an intelligence) is so obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons are psychological rather than scientific.246

An article published in the January 1999 issue of Science News revealed that no explanation had yet been found for how amino acids could turn into proteins:

Ö.no one has ever satisfactorily explained how the widely distributed ingredients linked up into proteins. Presumed conditions of primordial Earth would have driven the amino acids toward lonely isolation.247

241 H. Blum, Time's Arrow and Evolution, 158 (3d ed. 1968), cited in W. R. Bird, The Origin of Species Revisited, Thomas Nelson Co., Nashville, 1991, p. 304. (emphasis added)
242 W. Stokes, Essentials of Earth History, 186 (4th ed. 1942), cited in W. R. Bird, The Origin of Species Revisited, Thomas Nelson Co., Nashville, 1991, p. 305.
243 J. D. Thomas, Evolution and Faith, ACU Press, Abilene, TX, 1988, pp. 81-82. (emphasis added)
244 Robert Shapiro, Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, Summit Books, New York, 1986, p. 127.
245 Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1984, p. 148. (emphasis added)
246 Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1984, p. 130. (emphasis added)
247 Simpson, Sarah, "Life's First Scalding Steps," Science News, Jan. 9, 1999, 155(2):25.