"Life Is Not Here By Chance"
One of the fundamental tenets of the theory of evolution is the belief
that the alleged upward development from non-life to primitive life, and
from primitive life to more advanced life, is the result of pure, random
chance. Biologist Mahlon B. Hoagland, president and scientific director
of The Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology and a confirmed evolutionist,
put it most succinctly. Co-discoverer, along with Paul Zamecnik, of transfer
RNA in 1956, Dr. Hoagland stated that
chance plays the tune in evolution. How DNA will be altered by mutation
is a matter of chance. What characteristics of a pair of parents will appear
in offspring by sex-mixing of DNA is a matter of chance. The meeting of
mating pairs is a chance occurrence. And what environment will be making
the selection of changed organisms is in the hands of chance. Thus are
the roots of all of life buried deep in chance (Hoagland, 78-79).…One of
the problems in comprehending evolution derives from one’s seeing changes
that seem purposeful, when, in fact, the mechanism involves only
chance events. (Ibid. 87 [italics original]).
He further wrote that
every step in evolution is a chance — and therefore unpredictable
— event. All living creatures, humans included, are products of an enormously
large series of chance events. It may be said that in the particular form
in which we humans find ourselves today, we are incredibly improbable!
Another way of saying this is that if evolution started all over again
on the same earth and under the same conditions, the chance of producing
humans again would be infinitesimally small (Ibid. 90).
Echoing Prof. Hoagland’s thought is Dr. Stephen J. Gould, professor of
biology, geology, and the history of science at Harvard and the world’s
leading advocate of the theory of evolution. Regarding the Burgess Shale
fossils, which show that the earliest life forms appeared suddenly, Dr.
Wind back the tape of life to the early days of the Burgess Shale.
Let it play again from an identical starting point, and the chance becomes
vanishingly small that anything like human intelligence would grace the
replay (Gore 126).
Despite these claims, scientists are beginning to recognize the extreme
unlikelihood of chance being the driving force behind the origin and development
of life. For example, Prof. William Thorpe of Cambridge University’s zoology
I think [it] is fair to say that all the facile speculations and discussions
published during the last ten to fifteen years explaining the mode of origin
of life have been shown to be far too simple-minded and to bear very little
weight. The problem in fact seems as far from solution as it ever was.
The origin of even the simplest cells poses a problem hardly less difficult.
The most elementary type of cell constitutes a "mechanism" unimaginably
more complex than any machine yet thought up, let alone constructed by
man (Hitching 68).
Francis Hitching, a member of the Royal Archaeological Institute and the
Prehistoric Society of England, speculating on what happened in the Cambrian
Period, when the first life appeared suddenly in the fossil record, noted
that the current theory of an accidental, random union of protein molecules
in a warm pond to form the first life
leaves unanswered the crucial question of what sudden event caused
the single-celled creatures to develop into highly complex multicellular
ones; and what evolutionary or biological mechanism there was to permit
this to happen. In a sense, it just pushed the problem back earlier in
time. The origin of multicellularity remains "the enigma of palaeontological
enigmas" (Ibid. 19).
Other scientists are coming to the same conclusion. For example, Dr. Michael
J. Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh University, discovered that even the simplest
chemical compounds from which all life sprang — the building blocks of
life — are "irreducibly complex," and that such mind-boggling complexity
effectively rules out chance as the cause of life as we know it. He writes
in his book Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution:
Despite comparing [gene] sequences and mathematical modeling, molecular
evolution has never addressed the question of how complex structures came
to be. In effect, the theory of Darwinian molecular evolution has not published,
and so it should perish (Behe 186).
Prof. Behe is not alone, as the Boston Globe reported in 1993:
Some evolutionary biologists conclude that the development of complex,
conscious life was all but inevitable — and, perhaps, the result of a grand
design (Flint 1)....Advances not only in cosmology but in other fields
have contributed to the interest [in Intelligent Design], scientists say.
Some evolutionary biologists, for example, have been grappling with the
question of how the molecules that led to intelligent, self-aware living
things first formed — and a consensus is growing that it wasn’t entirely
random. "Discoveries in biology in the last 30 years present a whole new
world view, a whole new stage on which to think about origin and creation,"
said Ursula Goodenough, a geneticist at Washington University in St. Louis
After decades of convincing people that chance was the all-powerful mover
behind evolution, advocates of Darwin’s theory are now trying to backpedal,
saying that chance was never the prime mover all along. Yet how can we
believe them, when they’ve been wrong for so long? The conclusion appears
inevitable — "chance" doesn’t have a chance of being the cause of life
Behe, Michael J. Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to
Evolution (New York: The Free Press, 1996).
Flint, Anthony. "More scientists look to divine," Boston Globe,
12 July 1993.
Gore, Rick. "The Cambrian Period: Explosion of Life," National Geographic
184, no. 4 (1993).
Hitching, Francis. The Neck of the Giraffe: Where Darwin Went Wrong
(New Haven/New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1982).
Hoagland, Mahlon B. The Roots of Life (Boston: Houghton Mifflin,
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