Creationist Wisdom #313: Origin of Life

One of our clandestine operatives tipped us off to today’s letter-to-the-editor, which appears in the San Diego Union-Tribune of San Diego, California. The letter is titled Looking for origin of life. Here are a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. As we usually do, we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Okay, here we go:

Searching for the origin of life (while believing it was not designed) will cause a great deal of frustration for Dr. Jeffrey Bada (a Scripps graduate student of Stanley Miller).

Why is he picking on Jeffrey Bada? He was a student of Stanley Miller, but that was a long time ago. Bada is now Distinguished Professor of Marine Chemistry at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which is part of the University of California, San Diego. Miller, as you already know, is famous for the Miller–Urey experiment which produced organic compounds from inorganic precursors. It’s the sort of work creationists hate, so perhaps the Miller connection is sufficient to provoke today’s letter-writer.

Oh, wait — the Wikipedia article on the Miller–Urey experiment says that Bada now has custody of Miller’s equipment. There’s the connection. Also we found a recent article mentioning Bada, which may have triggered today’s letter. In Curiosity’s discoveries hint at life’s cradle on Mars, Bada is quoted:

If we could find evidence primitive life got a start on Mars, that could fill in a lot of gaps in our understanding of conditions on early Earth, says Jeffrey Bada of the University of California in San Diego. “What we find on Mars won’t be a magic bullet to say, ‘Ah! That’s how we formed on Earth!’ But it would give us at least another example of what kind of chemistry we could try and mimic in the laboratory,” Bada says.

That’s all the background we could find. Let’s read on in today’s letter:

He inherited all the materials of the 1953 experiment of Miller and Harold Urey and cannot help but persist in a chemical solution for life’s origin, but has never found it.

Okay. What of it? The letter continues:

Miller’s imagined primitive atmosphere has been shown not to exist and had free O2 (“Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design,” page 226).

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He’s using Discoveroid Stephen Meyer’s book as a reference! That pretty much tells us what we need to know about this letter. However, it’s true that Miller’s experiment didn’t duplicate what we now think was the composition of Earth’s atmosphere back when life began. So what? The experiment has been done again, with different atmospheric composition, and even more organic molecules were generated. Organic molecules are also found in space, and that’s unlike Earth’s early atmosphere too. The key point (which creationists always ignore) is that organic molecules have been shown to form naturally. Here’s more:

All design observations were created by an intelligent source: the Morse code, the computer code and, by inference, the genetic code. The latter is light years more advanced and contains more specified, functional, irreducibly complex information than the others…. [Elipisis in the original.]

Code — it’s a code! And it’s got specified, irreducibly complex information! Wowie! That sounds like it really means something, but no one has ever told us what that is. The good news is that we’re coming to the end of the letter:

Scientists holding evolutionary positions often cannot exchange their ideas for something antithetic to their thinking, regardless of its truth; it would be diminishing to their status, egos and funding.

Yes, they’ll be Expelled! Does the letter-writer have a thought in his head that doesn’t come from the Discoveroids? If so, we haven’t seen it. Okay, here’s the last of it:

Where did the information come from in even the first living organism?

Where — O where! — did the information come from? Probably from the intelligent designer’s phone book.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #313: Origin of Life

  1. Ceteris Paribus

    Maybe the letter writer saw the phone number 1-800-goddidit scrawled on the wall in one of his toilet camera photos?

  2. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    However it ties in with metabolism, we now know that when alkaline hydrothermal vents hits the production of phosphorylated nucleotides, a replicating population will crystallize in ~ 30 000 years. When it happens within spontaneously emerging liposomes, biological evolution will take off. (Since both components replicate spontaneously, and compete for lipids, i.e. starting selection with inheritance.)

    So, “where did the information come from in even the first crystal?”

    Information is relative a system. In this instance it came from the chemical and physical properties of the crystallizing substance, and the environment that was thermodynamic inducive for crystallization.

    Why would replicator crystallization from a random nucleotide string “gas” differ from other instances of analogous crystallization? Here the creationists loose their audience.

  3. Torbjörn – good to see you here as well as at WEIT. Your contributions are always informative. Unrelated – I haven’t been able to figure out OM – the only thing that pops up is Organizational/Operational Management…..

  4. Whoa. Just read through those letters to the editor as well as the comments. Some serious disciples of WND there. Gotta go find some brain bleach to get this “taste” out of my mind.

  5. Jeff is my doctoral adviser’s husband. He annually performs the Miller-Urey experiment for students and others on campus. Great guy.

  6. Druzus says: “Jeff is my doctoral adviser’s husband.”

    Well, tell him the Curmudgeon sends his compliments.

  7. “Well, tell him the Curmudgeon sends his compliments.”

    And me. Willing to bet large sums the others do as well.

  8. Torbjorn,
    However it ties in with metabolism, we now know that when alkaline hydrothermal vents hits the production of phosphorylated nucleotides, a replicating population will crystallize in ~ 30 000 years.

    Do you have a reference for that?