Is it Likely that Evolution Gave Us Working Proteins and Eyes?

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I remember having a conversation where my friend and I were discussing the origin of life. Where did we come from?

And he had no problem at all looking at the amazing complexity of the human eye (for example) and confidently asserting that this arrived as a result of random naturalistic processes. Evolution. After all, he suggested, all that is required to kick off Evolution is the sudden appearance of a single self replicating molecule on the surface of the planet. If you’ve got that – and you’re lucky – then eventually life happens. Right?

Now – I’ve known this guy for a long time. And I know that my friend is a smart guy. I think he’s smarter than me in many ways. And I also think something else. He has more FAITH than I have! Eyes have photoreceptors, lenses, an iris that lets the right amount of light thru…a cleaning system that kills off harmful bacteria. Eyes are fine tuned instruments. It takes alot of faith to believe they occurred as a result of random changes and natural selection.

My friend and I are both men of faith. He has faith in the natural processes that slowly but eventually formulate working eyeballs.

I on the other hand am a man of faith in a designer of eyeballs – God. I recognise the biological processes that underpin the physical beings that roam about on planet Earth. But I don’t look to these biological processes as an explanation for life itself. That would be like seeking to explain the existence of motor cars by appealing to the engine or the suspension. No – I look beyond our planet, our Universe and its constituent parts. I look to an agency outside as the designer of life. In other words I look to the designer of the car to explain why we have cars in the first place.

So I’m on a different page from my friend totally. That’s okay – we’re still friends.

But lets take my friend’s assertion and consider it for a moment. He said – all you need is a single self replicating (or reproducing) molecule to kick off the evolution of life…from simple molecules over vast periods of time…the staggering engineering evident in the human eye (for example) will arise thru evolutionary processes. How likely is this?

To examine his assertion – i’m going to describe a scenario to you.

 

 

 

Imagine you are sitting in a Costa or Starbucks Coffee shop – and you notice out the window someone kneeling by a bike rack across the street. You sense something’s not quite right. Well – you are right to be suspicious because this person is trying to nick one of the bikes on the rack! But to do so – he has to pick the lock that chains said bike to rack.

Picture in your head a bike lock with 3 dials that can each take the value between 0 and 10. How long do you think it would take for the thief to hit on the right combination, unchain the bike and escape? Well – he could be lucky and hit the right combination quickly. Or it could take him absolutely ages.

Now – imagine you decide to pick up your mobile phone and call the police and tell them that someone is stealing the bike. The thief doesn’t realise it – but the amount of time he has got to hit the right combination of dials has now been drastically reduced! Now how likely is it that he’s going to unchain the bike and cycle away? Yes – its possible (especially if he has a set of bolt cutters in his pocket!) – but its not very likely he will randomly hit the right combination. Is it?

 

 

 

I’m talking about bike locks – because they are a great analogy for Proteins. Proteins are one of the building blocks of biological life. Machines that make life work.

Haemoglobin is a Protein and its the mechanism that allows oxygen to be transported thru your blood stream to the organs of your body. Haemoglobin is made up of specific Amino Acids. And Amino Acids are composed of specific chemicals. Think of Haemoglobin as the biological equivalent of a bike lock. There are many combinations of these chemicals that won’t transport oxygen. But one combination that does the job perfectly. That’s Haemoglobin.

But Haemoglobin doesn’t have 3 dials. It has closer to 320 dials!

You know what I’m going to ask next, don’t you?

How long would it take to randomly select the right combination of dials for Haemoglobin to occur? Well – given the number of dials, there are just a staggering number of possible combinations. Probably more combinations than there are atoms in the Milky Way Galaxy! That’s a big number. And remember – there are a vast number of chemical combinations that don’t transfer oxygen thru your blood…and only a tiny number of combinations that will. Sounds a bit like our thief on an impossible mission to pick the bike lock, doesn’t it?

Remember our thief had the police on his tail – his time was running out? Well – the evolution of Haemoglobin had limited time too. If Science is correct when it calculates the age of the Universe to be 14 billion years then the plain fact is – there aren’t enough seconds from the Big Bang till now to go thru every possible combination of chemicals to find Haemoglobin (assuming it takes us a second to choose each one)

We’ve probably not had enough time since time began for Haemoglobin to occur thru random chance and natural selection. Yet that’s what evolutionary theory confidently asserts has happened. That’s what my friend believes.

Now consider this. Your body contains anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 different proteins working away, doing their jobs right now. But we’ve not had enough time for even one of them to occur by random mutation and natural selection.

 

 

My friend has faith that – as long as a self replicating molecule existed…in other words as long as you have a way to switch lock combinations…then life will happen. Have I gone some way to show how staggeringly unlikely that is? Just because I can change the position of a dial does not mean I’ll manage to hit the correct code in time on 10,000 bike locks!

Belief in evolution is putting one’s faith in something that seems completely unreasonable to me.

Belief in a designer on the other hand is perfectly reasonable. Why? Because it explains why we’ve got 100,000 different Proteins whirring and clicking away in our bodies. The molecules didn’t have to try to unpick the lock by going thru every combination. Instead, the designer knew the exact code for every Protein in our bodies and he dialed it in correctly with just one step.

I know for many people the thought of God is a tough one to accept. But based on this discussion alone – it seems the most likely explanation for the existence of my Proteins. Right? If its the most likely explanation for my Proteins, then its also the most likely explanation for the rest of the mind bending complexity at work in our bodies…like our eyes, for example.

Life couldn’t evolve from a self replicating molecule. Maybe the Bible has kinda been saying that all along…

“Ears that hear and eyes that see – the Lord has made them both.”

Proverbs 20:12 (NIV)

 

 

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stuartgrayuk

I live in the UK, I'm married to Janet and I'm passionate about proposing a case for the historic Christian faith. You can find me on Twitter at @stuhgray.

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