Encyclopedia Vol. 1
Chapter 11 Appendix
CELLS ARE TOO COMPLICATED FOR EVOLUTION
The wonders of the cell are, frankly, too astounding for anyone with
good sense to properly ignore, although some try to do so. Open-minded
scientists recognize that it would simply be too incredible for plant or
animal cells to have a chance origin.
Experts in the field generally avoid discussion of how the first cell
could have evolved. Yet they are well aware that an apparently
insurmountable problem exists there. On July 27, 1979, Luther D.
Sunderland, New York State paleontologist, conducted a taped interview
of *Dr. David Raup, director of the Paleontology Department of the Field
Museum of Natural History in Chicago. It houses one of the largest
fossil collections in the world. This interview was later transcribed
and authenticated by both parties. During the interview, Sunderland
said, "Neither *Dr. Patterson [chief paleontologist at the
British Museum of Natural History], nor *Dr. Eldredge [head of
the fossil collection at the American Museum of Natural History in New
York City] could give me any explanation of the origination of the first
cell." * Dr. Raup replied, "Neither can L"
How could the cell ever have been produced by chance? It consists of
an utter complexity packed inside a microscopically small box, All of
its parts had to suddenly be there together when it first began
"The most difficult aspect of the origin of life problem lies
not in the origin of the [primitive environment] soup, but in the stages
leading from the soup to the cell."—*Michael Denton,
Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), p. 263. (Australian molecular
The possibility of random production of a cell is
"There is one step [in evolution] that far outweighs the others
in enormity: the step from macro-molecules to cells . . .
"The molecule-to-cell transition is a jump of fantastic
dimension, which lies beyond the range of testable hypothesis. In this
area all is conjecture. The available facts do not provide a basis for
postulating that cells arose on this planet."—*D. E. Green and
*R. F. Goldberger, Molecular Insights into the Living Process (1967),
Evolutionary theory falls to the floor when it faces the living cell.
"The cell is really such an astoundingly clever unit that when
we think of it from the point of view of evolution it seems easier to
imagine a single cell evolving into complex animals and plants than it
does to imagine a group of chemical substances evolving into a cell. It
is very likely that the first step was more difficult . . The study of
early evolution really amounts to educated guesswork." —*John
Tyler Bonner, The Ideas of Biology (1962), p. 18.
It is simply beyond our ken to conceive all that is included in a
cell, much less how it could have made itself by chance:
"To grasp in detail the physiochemical organization of the
simplest cell is far beyond our capacity."—*Loran Eiseley, The
Immense Journey (1957), p. 206 [Quoting German biologist *Von
The cell and the DNA within it cannot do their work without complex
enzymes, yet the enzymes require a fully functioning cell to make them.
"Now we know that the cell itself is far more complex than
we had imagined. It includes thousands of functioning enzymes, each one
of them a complex machine itself. Furthermore, each enzyme comes into
being in response to a gene, a strand of DNA. The information content of
the gene—its complexity—must be as great as that of the enzyme it controls."
—*Frank B. Salisbury, "Doubts About the Modern Synthetic Theory
of Evolution," in American Biology Teacher, September 1971, pp.
Not only does the cell have complicated chemical formulas, genetic,
protein, and enzyme codes,—but it also has complex equipment, such as
channels, pumps, and messenger systems.
"Modern cell membranes include channels and pumps which
specifically control the influx and efflux of nutrients, waste products,
metal ions and so on. These specialized channels involve highly specific
proteins, molecules that could not have been present at the very
beginning of the evolution of life."—*Leslie Orgel,
"Darwinism at the Very Beginning of Life," New Scientist,
April 15, 1982, p. 151.
Even the simplest of living cells are immensely more complicated than
the theoretical "protocell."
"A very large gap separates the most complex model systems from
the simplest contemporary living cells," —*Kenyon and
"Melanoidin and Aldocynanin Microspheres: Implications for Chemical
Evolution and Early Precambrian Micropaleontology," in Molecular
Evolution, 7 (1976), p. 245-246.
"Above the molecular level, the simplest fully living unit is
almost incredibly complex. It has become commonplace to speak of
evolution from amoeba to man, as if the amoeba were the simple beginning
of the process. On the contrary, if, as must almost necessarily be true,
life arose as a simple molecular system, the progression from this state
to that of the amoeba is at least as great as from amoeba to man. All
the essential problems of a living organism are already solved in the
one-celled protozoan, and these are only elaborated in man or the other
multi-cellular animals." —*George Gaylord Simpson, The Meaning
of Evolution (1967), p. 17.
Even the smallest of the bacteria is composed of large numbers of
"The improbability involved in generating even one bacterium is
so large that it reduces all considerations of time and space to
nothingness. Given such odds, the time until the black holes evaporate
and the space to the ends of the universe would makes no difference at
all. If we were to wait, we would truly be waiting for a miracle." —*R.
Shapiro, Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth
(1986), p. 128.
The complexity of the simplest amoeba reveals that evolution is
merely a carefully devised myth:
"Intensified effort revealed that even the supposedly simple
amoeba was a complex, self-operating chemical factory. The notion that
he was a simple blob, the discovery of whose chemical composition would
enable us instantly to set the life process in operation, turned out to
be, at best, a monstrous caricature of the truth.
"With the failure of these many efforts science was left in the
somewhat embarrassing position of having to postulate theories of living
origins which it could not demonstrate. After having chided the
theologian for his reliance on myth and miracle, science found itself in
the unenviable position of having to create a mythology of its own:
namely, the assumption that what, after long effort, could not be proved
to take place today had, in truth, taken place in the primeval
past." — *Loran Eiseley, The Immense Journey (1957), p. 199.
There is simply no way in which any so-called "primitive
environment" could have produced a living cell.
"One does occasionally observe, however, a tendency for the
beginning zoological textbook to take the unwary reader by a hop, skip,
and jump from the little steaming pond or the beneficent chemical
crucible of the sea, into the lower world of life with such sureness and
rapidity that it is easy to assume that there is no mystery about this
matter at all, or, if there is, that it is a very little one.
"This attitude has indeed been sharply criticized by the
distinguished British biologist Woodger, who remarked some years ago:
`Unstable organic compounds and chlorophyll corpuscles do not persist or
come into existence in nature on their own account at the present day,
and consequently it is necessary to postulate that conditions were once
such that this did happen although and in spite of the fact that our
knowledge of nature does not give us any warrant for making such a
supposition . . It is simple dogmatism—asserting that what you want to
believe did in fact happen.' " —*Loran Eiseley, The Immense
Journey (1957), pp. 199-200.
The translation equipment package included in the cell is another
marvelous wonder. It is not enough for DNA, proteins, and enzymes to
be composed of complicated codes,—there must be means by which the
codes can be translated into action. To add to the problem, the code
cannot be translated without using certain products of the translation!
"What makes the origin of life and of the genetic code a
disturbing riddle is this: the genetic code is without any biological
function unless it is translated; that is, unless it leads to the
synthesis of the proteins whose structure is laid down by the code. But
as Mood points out, the machinery by which the cell [at least the
non-primitive cell which is the only one we know] translates the code
"consists of at least fifty macromolecular components which are
themselves coded in DNA". Thus the code cannot be translated except
by using certain products of its translation. This constitutes a really
baffling circle: a vicious circle, it seems, for any attempt to form a
model, or theory, of the genesis of the genetic code. " —*J.
Monod, Chance and Necessity (1971), p. 143.
Yet all of this had to come into existence suddenly—with all of it
there to begin with:
"It is as though everything must happen at once: the entire
system must come into being as one unit, or it is worthless."—*F.
Salisbury, "Doubts About the Modern Synthetic Theory of
Evolution," in American Biology Teacher (1971), Vol. 33, p. 335-336.
The living cell is too complicated to be altered! It has not changed
any of its parts since the day it was first suddenly, completely brought
"So perfect is the original one-cell form of life, and so potent
both for body building, for activating nerves and muscles, and for
procreation, that the cell has never altered its basic size or nature
from the beginning of life even to this day." —*Rutherford
Plait, The River of Life (1956), p. 100. The living cell not only has a
factory, it has an army as well!
"Each of those 100 trillion cells functions like a walled city.
Power plants generate the cell's energy. Factories produce proteins,
vital units of chemical commerce. Complex transportation systems guide
specific chemicals from point to point within the cell and beyond.
Sentries at the barricades control the export and import markets, and
monitor the outside world for signs of danger. Disciplined biological
armies stand ready to grapple with invaders. A centralized genetic
government maintains order." —*Peter Gwynne, *Sharon Begley,
and *Mary Hager, "The Secrets of the Human Cell," in Newsweek,
August 20, 1979, p. 48.
Not only did the cell have to arise all at once with all its parts
originally there and properly functioning,—but the cell had to be able
to immediately and fully replicate its parts and reproduce entirely new
"First, the primary requirement of life is
self-replication." —*T. Dobzansky, "Synthesis of
Nucleosidase and Polynucleotide with Metaphosphate Esters," in The
Origins of Prebiological Systems, (1965), pp. 299-300.
*Kaplan expands on the difficulty of that problem.
"The most difficult problem is certainly the origin of the
apparatus of reproduction. Reproduction in present living cells is based
on 2 groups of functions of macromolecules. Since no macromolecule seems
to exist which can perform both functions at the same time, both are
allotted separately to 2 substances, proteins and nucleic acids, in
contemporary organisms. As a consequence, the synthesis of both polymers
must be coupled mutually, proteins being formed due to information from
nucleic acids (translation), and nucleic acids are replicated by
catalysis due to proteins (replication and transcription) . . The number
of components making up the reproduction apparatus of present life is
large, at least about 80 special proteins and 100 genes coding for them
as well as for tRNA's and rRNA's are necessary." —*M. Kaplan,
"The Problem of Chance in Formation of Protobionts by Random
Aggregation of Macromolecules, " in Chemical Evolution and the
Origin of Life, (1971), Vol. 1, p. 319.
This reproductive ability had to be able to make a perfect duplicate
of the original, with only a slight variation possible in features!
Scientists call this "heredity."
"Biological evolution, on the other hand, is special, as
discussed in the opening pages of this book. Above all, what makes it
special is heredity. This is the great divide: either there is a
long-term hereditary mechanism working or there is not.. It would not
have mattered how ingenious or life-like some early system was; if it
lacked the ability to pass on to offspring the secret of its success
then it might as well never have existed. " —*A. Urns-Smith,
Genetic Takeover and the Mineral Origins of Life (1986), pp. 69-70.
It would not be possible for living cell parts to first come into
being by themselves, later to be followed by a complete cell. Those
parts would not be able to reproduce themselves until the total cell
itself came into existence.
[The concept of pre-cellular reproduction] ". . is flawed in
principle; cellular organization, far from an after thought, must have
been from the beginning part and parcel of the origin of life. The vital
force, that [principle of] vis vitae ["life only from life"]
which will not be exorcised without proper explanation, has its roots in
the astonishing degree of organization that pervades the living world
from the molecular level to the organismic and societal." —*F.M.
Harold, The Vital Force: A Study of Bioenergetics (1986), p. 171.
There is another reason why cell parts could not be formed prior to
the structuring of the complete living cell: nutrition. The cell parts
require the cell to continually nourish them. Outside of the cell, the
cell parts would quickly die of starvation.
"According to the [theoretical] doctrine of chemical evolution
these organisms were heterotrophes [dependent on food outside their
bodies], that is to say they depended on organic foods. There are
problems of assimilation. To be a heterotroph implies an ability to
recognize molecules, or at the very least to distinguish between classes
of them. For the eventual evolution of metabolic pathways, specific
recognition devices would be required. So that is the problem: how to
evolve accurate recognizing structures from a molecular technology that
probably could not tell glycine from alanine, let alone D from L [right
from left-handed amino acids]." —*A. Cairns-Smith, Genetic
Takeover and the Mineral Origins of Life (1986), pp.59-60.
The living cell with its 100,000,000,000 (100 trillion) atoms is too
incredibly inter-related to have the randomness of evolution as its
" 'We do not believe in the theory of special creation because
it is incredible.' In this way Sir Arthur Keith, a distinguished
anatomist of the 1930s [and co-perpetrator of the Piltdown hoax], echoed
the rationalist feeling. But life itself is incredible, starting with
every cell of every organ of every organism that Sir Arthur has
investigated. 'Every organism', wrote nineteenth-century German
philosopher, Schoepenhauer, using words with which modern biologists
will concur, 'is organic through and through in all its parts, and
nowhere are these, not even in their smallest particles, mere aggregates
of inorganic matter.' A cell may contain 100,000 million atoms, and they
are atoms in specific order." —*Michael Pitman, Adam and
Evolution (1984), p. 26-27.
But far more incredible than Creation, is the mathematical
possibility of a living cell forming itself by random action. *Gordon R.
Taylor, a confirmed evolutionist, explains the problem:
"That such an event [the chance formation of the first living
cell] should occur, however, is in the highest degree improbable. The
late H. Quastler, a prominent biochemist, calculated the odds against it
as 10-301, that is, ten followed by 301 zeros to one, i.e.
virtually impossible. Another biologist attempted a similar calculation
for the whole universe, on the assumption that there were 1020
planets on which life might appear. He came up with the even more
discouraging figure of 10-415, rising to 10-600 if
a longer DNA molecule was required. In short, the mechanism falls short
of plausibility by hundreds of orders of magnitude. Perhaps some fallacy
in the concept of natural selection will give us the way out,' as Frank
Salisbury of Utah State University wistfully adds.
"More complicated patterns of interaction are also possible.
Thus you could have two interlocking systems, each of which supplies raw
materials needed by the other; or more than two. But this just increases
the improbability of such a configuration appearing by chance." —*Gordon
Rattray Taylor, Great Evolution Mystery (1983), p. 202.
The tiny living cell is such a weighty problem for evolutionary
theory, that it crushes it.
"The basic problem with all the models [all the evolutionary
explanations of the cell] thus far advanced looms so large that an
enumeration of their other, more minor failures is made
meaningless." —*L. Dillon, The Genetic Mechanism and the
Origin of Life, (1978), pp.62-63.
A single cell is unthinkable for its packed complexity:
"Formerly, it was thought that a cell was composed of a nucleus
and a few other parts in a 'sea' of cytoplasm, with large spaces in the
cell unoccupied. Now it is known that a cell literally 'swarms,' that
is, is packed full of important, functioning units necessary to the life
of the cell and the body containing it. The theory of evolution assumes
life developed from a ‘simple' cell—but science today demonstrates
that there is no such thing as a simple cell." —Howard Peth,
Blind Faith (1990), p. 77.
A cell is more complex than man's greatest mechanical or electronic
"The most complex machine man has devised—say an electronic
brain—is child's play compared with the simplest of living organisms.
The especially trying thing is that complexity here involves such small
dimensions. It is on the molecular level; it consists of a detailed
fitting of molecule to molecule such as no chemist can attempt." —*George
Wald, "The Origin of Life," in Scientific American, August
1954, p. 46.
The more we learn, the less we know, and the more humble we ought to
be in the face of manifest complexity beyond all that we can imagine or
"In the past, evolutionists were confident that the problem of
the origin of life would be solved by the new science of biochemistry.
To their dismay, the converse has occurred. The more that is learned
about the chemical structure and organization of living matter, the more
difficult it becomes even to speculate on how it could have developed
from lower forms by natural processes
"From the scientific point of view, evolution may have been a
plausible hypothesis in Darwin's day, but it has now become untenable,
as a result of fairly recent developments in molecular biology." —Garret
Vanderkooi, "Evolution as a Scientific Theory," in
Christianity Today, May 7, 1971, p. 13.
We are totally unable to understand even the simplest of living
"To grasp in detail the physico-chemical organization of the
simplest cell is far beyond our capacity." —*Von Bertalanffy,
quoted in *Loran Eiseley, The Immense Journey (1957), p. 206.
Within each one are thousands of varied molecules:
"Within a single bacterial cell (Escherichia ooh) are an
estimated 1,000,000 to 3,000,000 protein molecules, including 2,000 to
10,000 different kinds of enzymes—all in a space 1/25,000 of an
inch in diameter and 3/25,000 of an inch long. A single liver cell
contains an estimated 53,000,000 protein molecules, which would probably
include tens of thousands of different kinds of enzymes, all organized
into a smoothly-running cellular 'machine.' " —Howard Peth,
Blind Faith (1990), p. 79-80.
They out-rival our best man-made systems or fully-equipped
"A bacterium is far more complex than any inanimate system known
to man. There is not a laboratory in the world which can compete with
the biochemical activity of the smallest living organism." —*Sir
James Gray, "The Science of Life," chapter in Science Today
(1961), p. 21.
Living protein, even if it could make itself, could never form itself
into the complexity of a complete, living cell.
"If, despite the virtually impossible odds, proteins arose by
chance processes, there is not the remotest reason to believe that they
could ever form a membrane-encased, self-reproducing, metabolizing,
living cell. There is no evidence that there are any stable states
between the assumed naturalistic formation of proteins and the formation
of the first living cells. No scientist has ever advanced a testable
procedure whereby this fantastic jump in complexity could have
occurred—even if the entire universe had been filled with
proteins." —Walter T. Brown, In the Beginning (1989), p. 7.
In considering the cell, I think we are talking about a miracle.
"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."
—*Michael Denton, Evolution: Theory In Crisis (1985), p. 264.
The "prebiotic soup" theory doesn't hold water.
"We have seen that self-replicating systems capable of Darwinian
evolution appear too complex to have arisen suddenly from a prebiotic
soup. This conclusion applies both to nucleic acid systems and to
hypothetical protein-based genetic systems." —*Robert Shapiro,
Origins, (1986) p. 207.
Living organisms are composed of millions of individual cells, or of
single cells, yet no living organism is just a few cells; but why not?.
"There are many single-cell forms of life, but there are no
known forms of animal life with 2,3,4, . . , or even 20 cells. If
organic evolution happened, one would expect to find these forms of life
in great abundance as transitional forms between one-celled and
many-celled organisms." —Walter T. Brown, In the Beginning
(1989), p. 4.
The leap from organic molecule to a complete cell is totally beyond
our conceptions or theories:
"The events that gave rise to that first primordial cell are
totally unknown, matters for guesswork and a standing challenge to
scientific imagination." —*Lewis Thomas, Forward, in *Robert
M. Pool (Ed.), Incredible Machine (1986), p. 7.
Millions of dollars in research has not produced even the slightest
"No experimental system yet devised has provided the slightest
clue as to how biologically meaningful sequences of subunits might have
originated in prebiotic polynucleotides or polypeptides."
—*Dean H. Kenyon, Brief of Appealants, October 1985, p. A-20.
Analogous tips on how to make a living cell out of raw materials:
"The genetic information contained in each cell of the human
body is roughly equivalent to a library of 4000 volumes. The probability
that mutations and natural selection produced this vast amount of
information, assuming that matter and life somehow arose, is essentially
zero. It would be analogous to continuing the following procedure until
4000 volumes have been produced:
"a. Start with a meaningful phrase.
"b. Retype the phrase but make some errors and insert some
"c. Examine the new phrase to see if it is meaningful.
"d. If it is, replace the original phrase with it.
"e. Return to step 'b'."
"To accumulate 4000 volumes of meaningful information, this
procedure would have to produce the equivalent of far more than 104000
animal offspring. (Just to begin to understand how large 104000
is, realize that the visible universe has less than 1080
atoms in it.) —Walter T. Brown, In the Beginning (1989), p. 7.
Here is what the incredible cell does when invaders enter the body.
Could all this be the result of chance? Can highly-intelligent action
ever result from mindless accidents?
"The defense department of the body's immune system headquarters
in bone marrow, which continuously produces cells that are processed
into three specialized divisions. One division becomes promonocytes,
then monocytes—the potential attack force. altered by the thymus
gland, a second division becomes T cells, the signal corps. The third
division becomes B cells, the supply corps. These three divisions make a
highly mobile, coordinated brigade capable of detecting and destroying
"Bacteria invade, perhaps through a tiny scratch, and begin to
multiply. Some become stuck to monocytes, activating [changing] them
into more aggressive macrophages. Circulating randomly, T cells adhere
to macrophages and to the bacteria. This linkage stimulates T cells to
send three messages. One: Activate and summon more macrophages. Two:
Produce more T cells. Three: Signal B cells to proliferate and become
plasma cells that produce and release antibodies—Y-shaped molecules.
Antibodies latch onto intruder molecules, or antigens, on bacteria and
link the yoke of the Y to them. The shaft of the Y attaches to
macrophages. They, in turn, envelop the bacteria, which are consumed by
enzymes and become harmless debris." —*Rick Gore,
"Awesome Worlds Within a Cell, "National Geographic Society,
September 1976, pp. 378-379.
In solemn awe, *Denton summarizes the problem very well:
"Is it really credible that random processes could have
constructed a reality, the smallest element of which—a functional
protein or gene is complex beyond our own creative capacities, a reality
which is the very antithesis of chance, which excels in every sense
anything produced by the intelligence of man? Alongside the level of
ingenuity and complexity exhibited by the molecular machinery of life,
even our most advanced artifacts appear clumsy. We feel humbled, as
neolithic man would in the presence of twentieth-century technology. It
would be an illusion to think that what we are aware of at the present
is any more than a fraction of the full extent of biological design. In
practically every field of fundamental biological research
ever-increasing levels of design and complexity are being revealed at an
ever-accelerating rate." —*Michael Denton, Evolution: Theory
In Crisis (1985), p. 342.
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