The odds against life evolving naturally

Stabroek News
June 13, 2001

Dear Editor,

I refer to a letter by Mr Lutchman Gossai captioned "Some of the new churches offer a panacea" (05-06-2001) wherein he noted "......Scientists can produce evidence to show that life at its most basic is simply a symptom of evolving chemical systems."

This assertion, if not properly understood, could be misleading.

Consider, for instance, the effort of chemists to produce life in a laboratory and thus explain how it began. They sent sparks through a mixture of special gases (organic soup method). The result was that some amino acids (molecules - building blocks of living things) were formed which are essential for life. But those amino acids, on the other hand, were not living, and thus, it is not explained how life actually began from non-living matter. Moreover, it does not provide evidence audience for the evolution theory.

There are more than 200 natural amino acids. Yet, only a special 20 are in the proteins of living things. If some amino acids could result from lightning or experiment, who selected just that right 20 found in living matter? Even so, how were they guided into the exact sequence necessary?

Research analyst Dr. J F Coppedge calculated that the probability of just one protein molecule resulting from a change arrangement of amino acids is 1 in 10 to the 287th power (287 zeros after the 1). But, any event that has one chance in just 10 to the 50th power is dismissed by mathematicians as never happening. An idea of the odds or probability involved is seen in the fact that the number 10 to the 287th power is larger than the estimated total number of all the atoms in the universe!

In view of the foregoing, who, then, could be responsible for the animation of life out of non-living matter? An ancient historian long time ago noted: "How many your works are Oh Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made"!! (Psalms 104:24)

Yours faithfully,

Z. Jabbar