Spark of Life

A recent journal article, coming out of Monash University claimed to have found the spark of life. So runs the headline from Science Daily. The journal article, published in the well respected Journal of Molecular Biology and even the press release are frankly fairly technical so I decided to break it down and point out some of the more ridiculous and even laughable claims made by this article.

The first mildly ridiculous claim made in the journal article ties into the punctuated equilibrium dogma in the evolutionary realm. While punctuated equilibrium, known as saltation, had largely been relegated to the sidelines with the death of its primary promotor Stephen J. Gould in 2002, it appears to be making a return to prominence. Known as saltation in the biological community, these researchers invoked saltation a lot as part of their study.  I’ve previously addressed punctuated equilibrium in another article, but I’ll examine it briefly here.

Punctuated equilibrium or saltation was essentially invented to explain the incredible number of gaps in the fossil record. Gould recognized the gaps and, in an effort to salvage evolution and millions of years, invented saltation as a mechanism to eliminate the gaps in the geologic record, or at least make them irrelevant.  However, all this succeeded in doing was removing evolution further from the realm of scientific inquiry.  Gould and his followers proposed that the reason we find no transitional forms in the fossil record was that evolution was moving too fast to be observed. Since science is something we can observe, test and repeat, using saltations as an explanation for evolution shreds any remaining vestige of credibility the theory had on the observable front.  Saltations are unobservable by definition. They exist on paper and in scientists brains to explain a lack of observable evidence. This is not science, this is a fairy tale constructed for adults by men with lot’s of education and very little common sense.

In keeping with the theme of this journal article which seemed to be lack of common sense and untestable scientific claims, researchers in this article fixed upon a very strange mechanism for these saltations to take place. These are parts of mutated proteins called Structural Capacitance Elements.  These elements “are associated with many different types of human diseases, in particular, a range of cancers.” These SCE’s as they are called are not positive in any way. They have been implicated in dozens of human diseases alone, including cancer.

The article puts a premium in these SCE units, making the following claims: “(SCEs) are localised regions of disorder within proteins, which retain the potential to coalesce into ‘micro-structures’ following the introduction of a mutation. They act as nucleating seeds, or ‘feedstock’ for evolution to proceed, providing the basis of an accelerated mechanism of Darwinian evolution by natural selection, supplementing the slow and incremental process of classic Darwinian evolution.” What they are saying is the SCEs are areas of disorder inside a protein.  A mutation disorders them further, causing them to form order, completely violating the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.  Once this order has miraculously formed from disorder, these “micro-structures” then serve to increase the speed of evolution somehow, working alongside the typical slow gradual mechanism in some way.

If that last paragraph left your head spinning, you are not alone.  It is fraught with speculation, nonsense, and deceptive wording.  The wording strongly implies that what the authors are stating is factual when it is pure nonsense.  It violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, violates the Law of Biogenesis and goes against every observable process science has ever discovered.  The mental gymnastics involved here are simply spectacular. Mutations cause disorder, yet they are somehow the cause of order? That’s ludicrous.

Notice that these SCEs are touted as the sparks to create life, yet require proteins to be already in existence to purportedly function. Where did the proteins come from? How did they form? The SCEs offer no explanation for life’s origin.

Further, consider what these researchers are saying here. Recall that these SCEs cause disease, including cancer. So in other words, evolution is fueled by damaging, pathogenic mutations. Think that through.  Cancer has never improved anyone’s life or increased their ability to survive. Yet a cancer-causing mutation is being suggested as a mechanism for evolution. Yes, you read that correctly.  This is bizarre and reeks of utter desperation.

Interestingly, the supplemental material for the journal article contained a lengthy list of SCE’s and associated them with their results. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of these listed. The vast majority, over eighty percent, were negative.  The remaining twenty percent or so are currently classified as neutral.  Not a single one was classified as positive. Yet these SCEs are somehow the foundation for evolutionary ideas.  It hasn’t been observed, it is simply assumed based on the prior belief.

This study combines the absolute worst elements of what makes evolution poor science. It combines unobservable by default saltations with the height of speculation. It serves to illustrate just how badly the evolutionary community is split and how deeply desperate they are.  Creationists have no need of such desperate reaches since we don’t need to explain the origin of life or the origin of the original basic kinds. Those problems were solved by God in the beginning.

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