I can answer parts on how a cell evolved. . . .It didn't evolve all at once and there are intervening steps that are gone so we will never no how they exactly happened.
My problem though is how is a high school biology teacher going to be able to answer this when blindsided by it. In addition, it will be even more compelling to your average person who comes across it.
How do we deal with the question in such situations.
Another thought though is if there was a creator who created the cell fully formed, would that creator have to have been more complex. Where did that creator then come from?
Abiogenesis is impossiblehttp://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t1279-abiogenesis-is-impossible
The origin of life emerged as a scientific problem with Louis Pasteur’s demonstration of the apparent implausibility of spontaneous generation of life forms. By an uncanny coincidence, the experiment was reported in 1859, the same year Darwin published The Origin of Species, which among other seminal ideas, included the proposition on LUCA.
The origin of life was either due to:
a) unguided, random, aleatorial chemical reactions
b) physical necessity
c) creation through a intelligent agency
Unguided coincidental chemical reactions have not the creative action to make the most detailed and concentrated organizational structure known to humanity.
Chemical reactions and bonds can show bonding preference of one substrate to the other, but that does not explain the specific instructional arrangement of nucleotides.
Evolution is not a driving force prior to DNA replication. Intelligent design remains therefore the best explanation as causal agent of the origin of life.
Cells are irreducibly complex, and store huge amounts of information, which is a hallmark of intelligent design. The origin of life is therefore best explained through the creative action of a intelligent designer.
The possibility that life might have emerged through unguided, aleatorial, random chemical reactions is comparable to the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.. Its as well extremely unlikely that chance/luck can write a book, or produce instructional complex information. Nor will unguided, random events produce cells that are more complex than a 747, and contain more information than a encyclopedia britannica. Hoyle: " Life as we know it is, among other things, dependent on at least 2000 different enzymes. How could the blind forces of the primal sea manage to put together the correct chemical elements to build enzymes?"
The cell requires inumerous molecular machines and instructional information, precise energy supply, and a complex metabolic network to support life. It is quite clear that there is a minimal number of genes required to permit cells to become alive, an extremely tiny possibility that this self replicating factory would emerge - for the support of complex life.
A frequent argument is given in response that one shouldn't be surprised to life existing, because the origin of life happened, chance is 1 - not at all surprising.
However, this argument is like a situation where a man is standing before a firing squad of 1000 men with rifles who take aim and fire - - but they all miss him. According the the above logic, this man should not be at all surprised to still be alive because, if they hadn't missed him, he wouldn't be alive.
The nonsense of this line of reasoning is obvious. Surprise at the unfathomable complexity of the cell, given the hypothesis of chance producing it, is only to be expected - in the extreme.
If we consider as the most complex machine ever built by man, and take as parameter :https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-most-complex-machine-ever-built-by-mankind
then the Large Hadron Collider is the most expensive and complex scientific machine ever built. It took 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries, as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.
As another example, the Airbus A380. Huge airliners are incredibly complex. The A380 has about 4 million parts, with 2.5 million part numbers produced by 1,500 companies from 30 countries around the world, including 800 companies from the United States.
compared to this, the most simple cell is still far far more complex. This lead Michael Denton to write in Evolution: A Theory In Crisis :
“The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together suddenly by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable, event. Such an occurrence would be indistinguishable from a miracle.”
“To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity.”
…veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world (Denton, 1986, p. 250).
Advocates of naturalism often try to sidestep and state either that a) evolution explains the feat, or b) " we don't know yet how life emerged, but one day science will know ", as if natural mechanisms would explain life's origin, no matter what. Thats a classic example of " evolution of the gaps ". We don't know yet, therefore evolution.
Neither Evolution nor physical necessity are a driving force prior dna replication :
Without code there can be no self-replication. Without self-replication you can’t have reproduction. Without reproduction you can’t have evolution or natural selection.
Heredity is guaranteed by faithful DNA replication whereas evolution depends upon errors accompanying DNA replication. ( Furusawa, 1998 ) We hypothesize that the origin of life, that is, the origin of the first cell, cannot be explained by natural selection among self-replicating molecules, as is done by the RNA-world hypothesis. ( Vaneechoutte M )
The origin of the first cell, cannot be explained by natural selection (Ann N Y Acad, 2000) DNA replication had therefore to be previously, before life began, fully setup , working, and fully operating, in order for evolution to act upon the resulting mutations. That means, evolution was not a driving force and acting for the emergence and origin of the first living organisms. The only remaining possible mechanisms are chemical reactions acting upon unregulated, aleatorial events ( luck,chance), or
physical necessity. ( where chemical reactions are forced into taking a certain course of action. ) Spontaneous self-assembly occurs when certain compounds associate through noncovalent hydrogen bonds, electrostatic forces, and nonpolar interactions that stabilize orderly arrangements of small and large molecules. ( Protocells Bridging Nonliving and Living Matter, page 43 ) The argument that chemical reactions in a primordial soup would not act upon pure chance, and that chemistry is not a matter of "random chance and coincidence , finds its refutation by the fact that the information stored in DNA is not constrained by chemistry. Yockey shows that the rules of any communication system are not derivable from the laws of physics. He continues : “there is nothing in the physicochemical world that remotely resembles reactions being determined by a sequence and codes between sequences.” In other words, nothing in nonliving physics or chemistry obeys symbolic instructions.
DNA contains a true code. Being a true code means that the code is free and unconstrained; any of the four bases can be placed in any of the positions in the sequence of bases. Their sequence is not determined by the chemical bonding. There are hydrogen bonds between the base pairs and each base is bonded to the sugar phosphate backbone, but there are no bonds along the longitudional axis of DNA. The bases occur in the complementary base pairs A-T and G-C, but along the sequence on one side the bases can occur in any order, like the letters of a language used to compose words and sentences. Since nucleotides can be arranged freely into any informational sequence, physical necessity could not be a driving mechanism.
If design, or physical necessity is discarded, the only remaining possible mechanism for the origin of life is chance/luck.
Would you say that it is plausible that a tornado over a junkyard could produce a 747 ?
Would you say that it is plausible that mindless random chance can write a book ?
Paul Davies puts it more graphically: ‘Making a protein simply by injecting energy is rather like exploding a stick of dynamite under a pile of bricks and expecting it to form a house. You may liberate enough energy to raise the bricks, but without coupling the energy to the bricks in a controlled and ordered way, there is little hope of producing anything other than a chaotic mess.’ It is one thing to produce bricks; it is an entirely different thing to organize the building of a house or factory. If you had to, you could build a house using stones that you found lying around, in all the shapes and sizes in which they came due to natural causes. However, the organization of the building requires something that is not contained in the stones. It requires the intelligence of the architect and the skill of the builder. It is the same with the building blocks of life. Blind chance just will not do the job of putting them together in a specific way. Organic chemist and molecular biologist A.G. Cairns-Smith puts it this way: ‘Blind chance… is very limited… he can produce exceedingly easily the equivalent of letters and small words, but he becomes very quickly incompetent as the amount of organization increases. Very soon indeed long waiting periods and massive material resources become irrelevant.’
The cell is like a factory, that has various computer like hierarchically organized systems of hardware and software, various language based informational systems, a translation system, hudge amounts of precise instructional/specified, complex information stored and extract systems to make all parts needed to produce the factory and replicate itself, the scaffold structure, that permits the build of the indispensable protection wall, form and size of its building, walls with gates that permits cargo in and out, recognition mechanisms that let only the right cargo in, has specific sites and production lines, "employees", busy and instructed to produce all kind of necessary products, parts and subparts with the right form and size through the right materials, others which mount the parts together in the right order, on the right place, in the right sequence, at the right time, which has sophisticated check and error detection mechanisms all along the production process, the hability to compare correctly produced parts to faulty ones and discard the faulty ones, and repeat the process to make the correct ones; highways and cargo carriers that have tags which recognize where to drop the cargo where its needed, cleans up waste and has waste bins and sophisticated recycle mechanisms, storage departments, produces its energy and shuttles it to where its needed, and last not least, does reproduce itself.
The cell is an interdependent functional city. We state, “The cell is the most detailed and concentrated organizational structure known to humanity. It is a lively microcosmic city, with factories for making building supplies, packaging centers for transporting the supplies, trucks that move the materials along highways, communication devices, hospitals for repairing injuries, a massive library of information, power stations providing usable energy, garbage removal, walls for protection and city gates for allowing certain materials to come and go from the cell.” The notion of the theoretical first cell arising by natural causes is a perfect example of irreducibly complexity. Life cannot exist without many numerous interdependent complex systems, each irreducibly complex on their own, working together to bring about a grand pageant for life to exist.
The salient thing is that the individual parts and compartments have no function by their own. They had to emerge ALL AT ONCE, No stepwise manner is possible, all systems are INTERDEPENDENT and IRREDUCIBLE. And it could not be through evolution, since evolution depends on fully working self replicating cells, in order to function.
How can someone rationally argue that the origin of the most sophisticated factory in the universe would be probable to be based on natural occurence, without involving any guiding intelligence ?
To go from a bacterium to people is less of a step than to go from a mixture of amino acids to a bacterium. — Lynn Margulis
Paul Davies, the fifth miracle, page 54:
Chance and the origin of life
Ask the simple question: Given the conditions that prevailed on the Earth four billion years ago, how likely was it that life arose?
The following answer won’t do: “Life was inevitable, because we are here.” Obviously life did originate—our existence proves that much. But did it have to originate? In other words, was the emergence of life from a chemical broth or whatever inevitable, given millions of years? Nobody knows the answer to this question. The origin of life may have been a sheer fluke, a chemical accident of stupendous improbability, an event so unlikely that it would never happen twice in the entire universe. Or it may have been as unremarkable and predetermined as the formation of salt crystals. How can we know which explanation is the right one? Let’s take a look at the chemical-fluke theory. Terrestrial life is based on some very complicated molecules with carefully crafted structures. Even in simple organisms, DNA contains millions of atoms. The precise sequence of atoms is crucial. You can’t have an arbitrary sequence, because DNA is an instruction manual for making the organism.
Change a few atoms and you threaten the structure of the organism. Change too many and you won’t have an organism at all. The situation may be compared to the word sequence of a novel. Change a few words here and there at random, and the text will probably be marred. Scramble all the words and there is a very high probability that it won’t be a novel any more. There will be other novels with similar words in different combinations, but the set of word sequences that make up novels is an infinitesimal fraction of all possible word sequences. The odds are fantastic against shuffling amino acids at random into the right sequence to form a protein molecule by accident. That was a single protein. Life as we know it requires hundreds of thousands of specialist proteins, not to mention the nucleic acids. The odds against producing just the proteins by pure chance are something like 1^40.000 to 1. This is one followed by forty thousand zeros, which would take up an entire chapter of this book if I wanted to write it out in full. Dealing a perfect suit at cards a thousand times in a row is easy by comparison. In 40000 a famous remark, the British astronomer Fred Hoyle likened the odds against the spontaneous assembly of life to those for a whirlwind sweeping through a junkyard and producing a fully functioning Boeing 747.
With such a extraordinary elucidation, it would/should be a easy leap of faith to infer =====>>>> DESIGN !! Why Davies does not do it, but keeps a agnostic standpoint, is a mistery to me.