In a primordial soup, random chemicals are floating about. Suddenly, lightning strikes the primordial soup and somehow links the chemicals in a chain that resembles DNA. Around the DNA a single cell forms, complex and with evidence of clear design, yet strangely made through an accident of fate. And against all odds, that one cell reproduces to make other cells, which proliferate in an effort to make themselves into modern humans.
I know the story above seems like total fiction, and that’s because it is. I decided to start this blog with the creationist’s view of the origin of life. From their point of view, it does seem like evolution is mindlessly wild and extremely unlikely. This is because their point of view is wrong. Creationists have (for the most part) not familiarized themselves with evolution. Let me start with the beginning.
Life started in the oceans. It did begin with chemicals floating freely, which probably formed into protein chains. These chains probably came together to form peptides. These peptides probably formed self-replicating molecules, etc. until they formed primitive cells.
I keep using the word “probably” because this is a long process that’s extremely unlikely to observe, so we’ve never seen it happen naturally. Fred Hoyle first estimated the probability of life’s formation at 1 in 2.04 x 10 to the 390th power, but he was guessing that simple chemicals would somehow jump to the formation of the first cell (see the above story for an example of what he pictured). The chances of life forming are actually much more likely (especially when you expand that “primordial soup” to “earth’s oceans”).
Creationists have likened this to a tornado passing through a junkyard and leaving behind a fully-functioning 747 (using Hoyle’s estimation, which as I said, is based on faulty logic that assumes a sudden jump). However, as Richard Dawkins has pointed out in the Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit, even a creator that was capable of nothing but planting the first cell on Earth would be more improbable than Hoyle estimated, as His existence would be nothing but chance… He would be a machine more complex than any aircraft and yet built without even the help of a passing tornado. Simply saying a creator “was always there” is just begging the question, as a critic could respond that life “was always there” if he or she wanted to make unsubstantiated claims of that nature.
Furthermore, while evolution was at one time “just a theory”, is now has a mountain of fossil evidence as well as lab experimentation to back its existence. It has never been disproved, despite what creationists think. However, like any scientific theory, it can be disproved. This is what makes creationism unscientific… you can’t even possibly replicate it, test it, or falsify it. Its entire premise is that things “look designed” (I’d love to hear an actual definition of design that fits this context) and therefore must have a “designer”. This isn’t science – it’s philosophy. Yet the religious want it taught in our science classes, because they don’t believe in evolution based on hypocritical ideas such as its improbability or the inability of scientists to recreate its origin.
But evolution isn’t improbable. It’s a fact.