(selections from Timothy R. Stout, The Testimony of the Origin of RNA, published in Creation Matters, a publication of Creation Research Society, Volume 17, Number 2, March/April 2012, to appear at http://www.creationresearch.org/creation_matters/pdf/2012/CM17%2002%20for%20web.pdf)
The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory recently posted online a collection of articles about the origin of life(Deamer and Szostak, 2012). The laboratory is one of the world's foremost private research laboratories, with 8 Nobel Prize winners associated with it over the years.
There is one article in the collection which was particularly intriguing, "Planetary Organic Chemistry and the Origins of Biomolecules" by Steven Benner et al (Benner, et al., 2010). This quote is from the abstract.
One might think that Dr. Benner and his colleagues had obtained their list of problems from the creation literature... To his credit, he is simply being honest about the issues and their significance. Notice, he refers to a number of problems:According to various models for the origin of life on Earth, biological molecules that jump-started Darwinian evolution arose via this planetary chemistry. The grandest of these models assumes that ribonucleic acid (RNA) arose prebiotically, together with components for compartments that held it and a primitive metabolism that nourished it. Unfortunately, it has been challenging to identify possible prebiotic chemistry that might have created RNA. Organic molecules, given energy, have a well-known propensity to form multiple products, sometimes referred to collectively as “tar” or “tholin.” These mixtures appear to be unsuited to support Darwinian processes, and certainly have never been observed to spontaneously yield a homochiral genetic polymer. To date, proposed solutions to this challenge either involve too much direct human intervention to satisfy many in the community, or generate molecules that are unreactive “dead ends” under standard conditions of temperature and pressure.
- It has been challenging to identify prebiotic chemistry that might have created RNA. They still haven't identified it.
- Organic molecules have a "well known" tendency to form tar instead of biologically usefol molecules.
- A homochiral genetic polymer has certainly never been observed. This is a significant admission and observation. The world's most brilliant scientists have never been able to produce a single RNA molecule starting with their choice of raw materials, their choice of environmental conditions.
- The proposed solutions require trained scientists, using expensive laboratory equipment, implementing intricate sequences of steps, using purchased chemicals of laboratory grade purity.
|"Blue compounds are dead-end compounds that accumulate in the reaction. A chemist must intervene to prevent this mixture from evolving further to give still more complexity."|
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