Information theory indicates that chance (random noise) and or natural law (crystal-like order) cannot produce information, codes, or cybernetic systems (systems with feedback controls). Evolution of the first cell from a simple self-replicating system and chance variation is implausible. Therefore, for life to exist, somehow genetic information had to be created, the genetic code designed, and metabolic systems designed before natural selection could ever operate on them. Intelligence is the only phenomenon proven to produce information, design codes, and design cybernetic systems and do it with intent and purpose. Therefore intelligent design is the best explanation for the origin of life.
Consider the problems you would face and choices you would have to make if you were going to create life from simpler molecules.
First you identify all the structures and processes a cell would need to grow and divide: metabolism, a cytoskeleton, a cell membrane that regulates what goes in and out of the cell, how the cell uses chemical energy, feedback control mechanisms etc.
Then you decide how to implement all that. You decide you will use amino acids to create proteins. Some proteins will work as enzymes to carry out metabolism and other proteins will be used to build cellular structures. This adds many new processes the cell must be capable of including the metabolic pathways needed to produce the amino acids. Then you have to figure out the amino acid sequences of all the proteins the cell will build.
Next you have to devise an information processing system to store and retrieve the sequences of amino acids. So you invent the genetic code to store the information about amino acid sequences in DNA, and you design the machinery to implement it: DNA replication, DNA transcription, DNA error correcting, RNA transcription, ribosomes, tRNA and the enzymes that produce them and all the proteins and enzymes needed to do these things. All of this needs to be regulated to operate efficiently. This adds many more new processes the cell must be capable of.
Then you have to construct the first cell. You have to encode the amino acid sequences into DNA, make lipids, membranes, and proteins and other molecules needed for the first cell. You have to put each component in the right place with respect to the other components.
Could an unguided natural process accomplish that?
- A living system is unfavorable thermodynamically. Life has a very low state of entropy. The fact that the earth is an open system doesn't eliminate the necessity of a mechanism to overcome the improbability of forming a highly ordered system spontaneously. The fact that the earth is an open system doesn't allow tornadoes to turn rubble into buildings.2
- Natural laws cannot produce functional information such as the amino acid sequence of an enzyme. Natural laws are compression algorithms. Functional information is not compressible because it is not highly ordered. Natural laws can produce highly ordered crystals, not computer programs.14
Could a cell be produced through natural selection and random variation from a much simpler self-replicating system?
- There is no plausible hypothesis for a natural origin for life. There is no location where life could plausibly have originated naturally, not in deep sea thermal vents, tide pools, the ocean, volcanic ridges, clay surfaces or extraterrestrial locations. There is no good candidate for the first self-replicating molecule, not RNA, DNA, or protein. Hypotheses such as "RNA and protein", metabolism first, etc. do not work either.1,3,5,6,7,13
- Natural processes that produce biomolecules don't produce proteins and RNA or DNA, they produce tar. The cellular structures that separate and combine biomolecules are needed to produce biopolymers. Only a cell can produce a cell.6
- Self-organizing systems are limited in the complexity they can achieve.4
- Simple self-replicating systems mutate toward simplicity not complexity because competition for resources favors reduced resource requirements.3 A self-replicating molecule would not lead to the development of metabolism, it "would self-optimize its self-replicative function to the exclusion of other potentially metabolic functions and consume all resources."13
- Natural selection cannot improve or modify anything until it exists and has utility in a self-replicating system, i.e. natural selection cannot operate on utility that does not yet exist. Natural selection also cannot accomplish anything without a source of variation.13 Natural selection and random variation are not capable of producing functional proteins de novo or significant changes to existing proteins. The distance between functional proteins in the "fitness landscape" is too great to be bridged by Darwinian mechanisms8,9,10,11,15,16. (This argument applies equally to macroevolution by natural selection and to the origin of genetic information in the first cell.) Therefore the genetic information in cells cannot have been produced by natural selection and random variation. The genetic information in cells must have been produced before it could have any utility and therefore it must have been produced for an intended purpose.13
- Duplication with modification cannot produce new genetic information. Duplication does not increase information. Information theory shows that random variation in DNA cannot produce information. Randomness in information is noise, it reduces information content.13 Listen to a radio tuned between channels. Does the static produce useful information?
- The genetic code is finely tuned, not random, and it could not evolve from something simpler.12,3
Chance and natural law cannot explain how life arose. Only intelligence could have made a living cell.
1) Problems with the Natural Chemical "Origin of Life" (updated)
by Casey Luskin
3) Chance and necessity do not explain the origin of life
J.T. Trevors, D.L. Abel
4) Self-Organisation in Dynamical Systems: A limiting result
5) Can the Origin of the Genetic Code Be Explained by Direct RNA Templating?
Stephen C. Meyer* and Paul A. Nelson
6) Video: Life could not have formed by natural means. Biomolecules naturally react to form tar.
7) Top Five Problems with Current Origin-of-Life Theories
(8) Extreme Functional Sensitivity to Conservative Amino Acid Changes on Enzyme Exteriors
Douglas D. Axe
(9) Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds
Douglas D. Axe
(10) The Case Against a Darwinian Origin of Protein Folds
Douglas D. Axe*
(11) Lee Spetner explains why natural selection can't produce macroevolution.
(12) Life did not Arise Through the Unguided Action of Natural Laws
(13) 7. The Genetic Selection (GS) Principle
David L. Abel
(14) Complexity, Self-organization, and Emergence at the Edge of Chaos in Life-Origin Models
(15) Exon Shuffling, and the Origins of Protein Folds
(16) Exon Shuffling: Evaluating the Evidence