Bryson, Bill - Protein creation
Type of Spiritual Experience
In this sequence of quotes Bill builds up an argment to show that evolution is not 'chance' or accidental, that a considerable amount of planning was in place and that a defined plan or sequence was in existence.
The example used here is that of protein................
Proteins are one of the key building blocks to life. They are the foundation for DNA and DNA as we now know is also key to life. The creation of proteins required a considerable number of environmental chemical and evolutionary events to happen simultaneously. The first of these is the presence of lightning....
The second is the exact sequencing of the amino acids created by the first step
A description of the experience
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
In 1953, Stanley Miller, a graduate student at the university of Chicago, took 2 flasks – one containing a little water to represent a primaeval ocean, the other holding a mixture of methane, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide to represent the Earth's early atmosphere – connected them with rubber tubes and introduced some electrical sparks as a stand in for lightning. After a few days, the water in the flasks had turned green and yellow in a hearty broth of amino acids, fatty acids, sugars and other organic compounds.....................
Proteins are what you get when you string amino acids together and we need a lot of them. No one really knows, but there may be as many as a million types of protein in the human body, and each one is a little miracle. By all the laws of probability proteins shouldn't exist. To make a protein you need to assemble amino acids (the building blocks of life) in a particular order in much the same way that you would assemble letters in a particular order to spell a word. The problem is that the words in the amino acid alphabet are often exceedingly long. To make collagen, you need to arrange 1,055 amino acids in precisely the right sequence................
[Bill then goes on to calculate what the odds are on collagen, for example, occurring by chance. He illustrates it by asking us to visualise 1,055 spinning slot machines with 20 symbols on each wheel (one for each common amino acid)]
How long would you have to pull the handle before all 1,055 symbols came up in the right order? Effectively for ever. Even if you reduced the number of spinning wheels to 200 which is the more typical number of amino acids for protein, the odds against all 200 coming up in a prescribed sequence are 1 in 10 to the power of 260
For random events to produce even a single protein would seem a stunning improbability.