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More on the science of life

February 7, 2013
The Journal

To the editor:

One of the comments made in regard to the Jan 10 letter "How did life begin?"was: "Using the existence of a god as the default for everything not currently explainable is a sad way for humans to feel comfortable with needing to have an answer and not wanting to work very hard to find one."

Having subscribed to Scientific American for the last few years, and recently to Science News, (both magazines are fanatically pro-evolution, as are a few biochemistry and synthetic biology books I have); it looks to me that scientists around the globe have worked very hard to find an explanation on how life began from dead chemicals and have gotten nowhere. ("Hope" struggling valiantly against experimental data.)

One definition of life is: "Living things avoid decay into equilibrium." In other words, the factory is in constant need of updates and repairs, which in turn, requires fuel brought in from the outside for energy to do this, plus detailed instructions from the library (DNA molecule) on how to repair, update and duplicate every machine, communications network and transport vehicle in the factory. How did the library get there?

In the Jan 10 letter, I gave a silly example of someone imaging how a tractor could build itself in the wilderness by evolution. We know tractors are built in factories. But even the smallest living thing, a one cell bacteria, is made in a factory more complex than a tractor factory, it's a factory that makes another factory just like itself - in less than 30 minutes.

In it are thousands of machines. Some make parts for other machines, some assemble machines and regulate the processes to do all those and many other activities. Machines throughout the cell are performing a thousand operations at any one time. Some are extremely complicated, for instance ATP synthase which produces the chemical energy packets that are shipped to other machines in the cell, has 40,000 parts (atoms), all of which have to be in the right place, for proper operation.

This bustling city with it's central library of construction and maintenance information, this little one cell bacteria is supposed to arise by itself, from dead chemicals? Some high school textbooks like Holt Biology (2004) are telling the kids it does. Throughout the book are little review sections called "Critical Thinking." I would think this means striving to be in conformance with "reality." Dead chemicals self-combining to form "life" is not reality. So why are some educators pushing it?

PS: For more info, I recommend two pro-"macroevolution" books, "The Machinery of Life" by Goodsell, and "Regenisis" by G. Church. And two pro-"intelligent design" books, "Darwin's Black Box" by M. Behe and "Genetic Entropy" by J.C. Sanford.

Phil Drietz

Delhi

 
 

 

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