Medescape

Skepticism, Medicine and Science News

Evolution in a nutshell

This is an old video, but I nevertheless thought I would post it here and try to explain why it is just total bs.

So, basically this guy Chuck Missler just doesn’t know the first thing about evolution or logic, and here’s why:

  1. First of all, he implies that evolution is used to explain the origins of the early life on earth, but this is in fact not true. Evolution explains the evolution of existing organisms on a basis of random genetic mutation and selective pressures. The development of life from organic molecules is called abiogenesis, so if anything, it is this branch of science Chuck Missler attacks, and not evolution. I would file this as a false premise.
  2. So, if it is abiogenesis he argues against, does his argument otherwise hold up? No, it does not. Let’s just assume that a jar of peanut butter is stored 6 months from the factory seals the container until you open it. That’s not really a whole lot of time for abiogenesis to take place, and it is certainly not enough time for anything we would call life to form. One of the major theories on how organic molecules formed living organisms is the RNA-model. It hypothesizes that organic molecules spontaneously formed short RNA-molecules capable of reproducing themselves. I doubt this is something Chuck Missler would classify as life, and even if he did, how does he imagine he would detect these spontaneously formed RNA-molecules in his peanut butter? Fair enough, given a centrifuge, some agarose gel and a bunch of other lab equipment, he would be able to prove that his peanut butter contains RNA, but I really don’t think he would be able to separate “normal” RNA from “spontaneously formed” RNA. Also, in the video it seems he thinks new life in the form of something as big as an ant would crawl out of the jar when you open it. Multicellular organisms didn’t appear before approximately 610 million years ago, and the earliest insects some 200 million years after that. So it took about 4.1 billion years for insects to appear as the earth is considered to be 4.5 billion years old. That is a wee bit longer than the 6 month shelf-life of Chuck Missler’s jar of peanut butter. 

So, I guess if you did store a jar of peanut butter 4 billion years, and you were lucky (or unlucky) enough to have just the right conditions for life to form and evolve, you just might find something ant-like in there, but even that is highly unlikely.

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September 27, 2008 - Posted by | Evolution, Creationism and ID, General Skepticism | , ,

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