Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Knoxville News Sentinel of Knoxville, Tennessee. It’s titled Life’s origin on Earth required a Creator. The newspaper has a comments feature, but you can’t see them (if there are any) without a subscription.
Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is James. He seems to be a real estate broker, but that doesn’t qualify for full-name treatment. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
At the beginning, whether the current laws of physics, including quantum mechanics, applied is uncertain. After the beginning, if not at the beginning, there are several unimaginably precise physical constants that allowed or dictated the development of the universe. Does this prove anything? No, but we take note.
Observe how carefully James builds his case. The universe is what it is, things are what they are, and they behave in accordance with what they are. Those are important clues! Then he tells us:
Likewise, our Earth is extremely unusual. Does that prove anything? No, but we take note.
Unusual? Compared to what? The Sun? The Moon? Okay, that’s another piece of evidence. Let’s read on:
Regarding the origin of life, everything in nature proceeds to the most stable configuration (chemical equilibrium). The most stable configuration for amino acids (the constituents of proteins) in a natural setting is individual amino acids, not proteins. Nature cannot build a biologically meaningful protein. The statement of chemistry is absolute. Life is not a natural phenomenon.
Huh? We didn’t know that. Wikipedia’s article on Protein biosynthesis doesn’t seem to mention it, and a recent article at PhysOrg suggests the opposite: New evidence emerges on the origins of life. But maybe James knows something no one else knows. Then he says:
Probability would be the next absolute barrier. And, for a living organism, all constituents have to be in place at once. Anything less will not survive the inexorable laws of chemical equilibrium or natural selection.
Ah yes — That’s the creationists’ ever-popular strawman — the Theory of Spontaneous Assembly of Very Complex Molecules from Start to Finish from Utterly Isolated Atoms — commonly known as TSAVCMSFUIA. We refer to this fallacy as “collapsing the continuum,” discussed here: The Inevitability of Evolution (Part I). James continues:
Evolution? Charles Darwin was painfully aware that the fossil record did not support the general theory of evolution. It still doesn’t.
Don’t you love it when a creationist cites Darwin as an authority for the proposition that evolution is unsupported by the evidence? We’re also impressed that James was careful to specifically mention the general theory of evolution, to distinguish it from the special theory. Here’s more:
The theory of evolution depends on the efficacy of random mutation (among the four nucleotides) of the genome. “The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism” by Michael Behe shows that random mutation of the genome is not an effective mechanism to fuel evolution.
Behe? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And now we come to the end, where James presents his carefully-developed conclusion:
As I note the relevant data on the origin of life, evolution, the Earth, the universe and the Christian apologetic, to me the conclusion is clear. Life is not a natural phenomenon, and the Creator has been revealed.
James has presented his argument, based on what he says is the relevant data. He’s convinced. Are you, dear reader?
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