Discussing the Hypotheses of Abiogenesis
None of the theories of abiogenesis have been proven with scientiﬁc evidence. Actually, they are all unproven theories or hypotheses. The DNA and RNA present in living cells, which are considered replicators, as well as the proteins that could conceivably self-replicate, all consist of very large numbers of units or molecules. So if we were to consider the probability that they would accidentally form, or assemble, simultaneously, just once, in the correct replicable way, we would reach a number that cannot be achieved scientiﬁcally within the time limits that we are familiar with on the earth.
Even if we assumed that abiogenesis began with the simplest protein that ensures the self-replication process (and let’s accept the assumption that it’s extremely simple and consists of just a 32-amino-acid sequence), since there are 20 different types of amino acids that can form this sequence, then the number of possibilities we would have is (4.294967296 x 10 ‘“), or approximately 4 x 10(power 41), which is the number 4 followed by 41 zeros. This is a very large number, and it represents an extremely low probability of occurrence.
In fact, this made Dr. Richard Dawkins stumble into unrealistic assumptions in his book The Blind Watchmaker, in a desperate attempt to decrease the number of zeros on one side and increase them on the other. In this way, most atheists drop tens of zeros here, and add tens of zeros there, in a very unscientiﬁc and careless way, making imaginary assumptions in the hope of eventually reaching a number they deem acceptable and achievable within the time limits available on the earth, about a billion years at most.
Now let’s assume that the ﬁrst miracle occurred: amino acids formed on the earth under the extraordinary circumstances suitable for their emergence or arrival, and they were in an environment on the earth that was suitable for one attempt at the emergence of a self-repIicating protein each second for a billion years. The number of available attempts would be (31,449,600,000,000,000) or approximately 3 X 10(power 16). If we subtracted this number from the number of required attempts, we would still need 3.9999999999999999999999997 x 10(power 41) attempts, approximately (3.9 X 10(p41)), in order for it to be possible. As we can see, one attempt per second for a billion years had almost no effect on the number. Therefore, if we calculate the time required for the probability to be met at one attempt per second, the time period is approximately (4 x 10p41) seconds, or approximately 10p34 years, which is the number I with 34 zeros after it. This is an enormous number, far exceeding the age of the earth, and even the age of the universe. The age of use earth is estimated at 4.5 billion years, which is a single digit with nine digits after it, and the age of the universe is estimated at 13.7 billion years, which has just ten digit after it.
If we calculate it another way, by calculating how many attempts per second for a billion years it would take to obtain a self-replicating protein within the limits of probability, the number of attempts per second would be the result of dividing the number of required attempts by the available time, which is a billion years. The result would be: (12,718,762,718,762,718,762,718,762.718763), or approximately 10p25, meaning we would need 1 with 25 zeros, or almost 10 million, million, million, million attempts each second for a billion years in order for it to be possible. This number is extremely far-fetched.
Not only that, but the but the probability of sufficient amino acids existing on earth is also very low. There are two types of amino acids: left-handed and right-handed. The proteins that exists within the structure of life are only comprised of left-handed amino acids. This means that the probability of ending up with the required protein is one half to the power of the number of amino acids in that protein. So if the number of amino acids in the required protein is 50, for example, then the probability of all of them being left-handed is one half to the power of 50. This is a very low probability. By combining the extremely low probability of each of the required consecutive steps for the formation of a protein, the possibility almost disappears, becoming nearly impossible.
However, there are atheist who calculate it backwards, deriving the required numbers from the premises so as to make it possible in the end. For example, the first problem is the availability of building material: amino acids. So they resort to proposing hypothesis, such as the hypotheses that amino acids has formed due to the conditions on the earth and the abundance of lightning as earth was forming, in order to solve this problem. Another far-fetched hypothesis is that the earth was bombarded with meteors loaded with amino acids 4 billion years ago. When they discovered that the amino acids could only be left handed, some of them propose yet another far-fetched hypothesis, saying that this meteors what exposed to the light of the neutron star on their way to the earth, and so on. Therefore, the whole claim is built upon far-fetched hypothesis in order the proof that the formation of a self replicating protein on the earth billions of years ago was completely normal. Despite the fact that all of these hypotheses are far-fetched, and that the probability of Just one of them is so low that it barely exists, let alone all of them occurring in succession, some of them feel they can say that they are reasonable and acceptable.
Atheist find it very reasonable to believe that an enormous number of meteors loaded with massive amounts of Amino Acids specifically chose the planet earth, which is like a grain of sand in the desert compared to universe, even if the probability of this event is so low that it barely exist!
Atheist also find it very reasonable for these meteors to have been exposed to the light of a neutron star on their way to the earth so as to form left-handed Amino Acids. They find all of this hypothesis, which have an almost nonexistent probability, to be very reasonable. However, they find it far-fetched that a lawmaker is behind the law that created the self replicating protein or DNA! They also find it far-fetched that a speaker is behind the linguistic genetic plan!
I think that what has been presented is sufficient to conclude this issue. Would a rational person, who knows of the nearly nonexistent probability of an event occurring, even when factoring in the entire age of the universe, still say that it is normal for the event to occur during the one to one-and-a-half billion year period prior to the existence of life on the earth, and at the same time refused to discuss any possibility that this event might be miraculous, and then grasp at straws to prove his hypothesis? Then, when he ﬁnds scientiﬁc evidence that some meteors might have struck the earth at some point in time, he uses this possibility and goes so far as to say that these meteors came from the depths of the galaxy like vats loaded with amino acids. But just saying amino acids doesn’t achieve their goal, so they add that these amino acid ﬁlled vats passed by a neutron star on their way to the earth, and the light polarized them, eventually causing them to transform from a mixture of right and left-handed into only left-handed amino acids. The imaginary hypotheses continue in order to escape this suffocating dilemma of probabilities.
The Other Hypothesis
There are other hypotheses regarding the formation of RNA and DNA, such as the one introduced by some chemists and biochemists, which suggests that it didn’t begin with proteins or nucleic acids, but rather with non-living chemical substances like polymers or clay particles that were formed in a certain replicable way.
. . . we might say that their survival machines must have been seized at a later stage by DNA. If so, the original replicators were utterly destroyed, for no trace of them remains in modern survival machines. Along these lines, A. G. Cairns-Smith has made the intriguing suggestion that our ancestors, the ﬁrst replicators, may have been not organic molecules at all, but inorganic crystals—minerals, little bits of dry clay (Dawkins 1989, 21-22).
These are far-fetched hypotheses, and they continue to be just that— hypotheses that aren’t based on accurate scientiﬁc data. Depending on what occurs in certain chemical reactions in which crystals seem to replicate is nothing more than dependence on a phenomenon irrelevant to the topic of research. The truth is that replication and the passing down of information don’t occur in chemical reactions at all.
Within experimental and theoretical sciences, these are merely hypotheses that have yet to be proven by anything scientiﬁcally reliable. There is no difference between them and the “Great Spirit in the sky” that arranged the pebbles on the beach, as Dawkins’ primitive tribe believes. Therefore, I see no reason to discuss or refute these hypotheses, since they are nothing more than assumptions that don’t reach a scientiﬁc level worthy of discussion or response.
All things considered, if the discussion shifts to the sub-biological level, meaning the level of chemical reactions, then it would be best for the discussion with atheists to shift to the established principles of chemical reactions, the physics of atomic and subatomic particles, and the four forces (the weak nuclear, strong nuclear, gravitational, and electromagnetic). Since we are moving on to atomic and subatomic forces, our discussion should be about proving the existence of a god at this sub-biological level, be it molecular, atomic, or subatomic.
According to the hypothesis that there is a polymer or something similar to it that began to replicate itself regularly and to evolve until it brought us to where we are today, life would have begun from that polymer, rather than from a protein, or genetic plan. If that is the case, it would be better for the discussion to be about the origin of matter. We will discuss this when we reach the topic of the big bang, and we will prove the existence of a god at this level of research and knowledge. This will be enough to prove the existence of a god regardless of the presence and evolution of physical life, and whether or not it has come into existence through the intervention of a god, and whether it evolved randomly or non-randomly or purposefully or non-purposefully.
There is a theory, or hypothesis, which suggests that life came pre-fabricated within certain meteorites or rocks a few hundred million years after the formation of the planet Earth. In this respect, there are experiments being conducted to determine whether it is possible for living organisms or primary replicators to survive extreme cold, extreme heat, and severe collisions. It has also been proven that some multicellular organisms can live in a state of hibernation without water at extremely low temperatures.
Another theory, or hypothesis, is that the ﬁrst replicators emerged on the edge of swamps and oceans that were exposed to wet-dry cycles and severe tides as a result of the moon being closer to the earth than it is now. This, in conjunction with the sun, might have caused amino acids to concentrate in small pools, and this would have facilitated the formation of the primordial soup that is suitable for the emergence of the ﬁrst replicators.
Yet another theory, or hypothesis, concerns extreme conditions, and assumes that abiogenesis occurred in either hot springs or in an extremely acidic environment. This hypothesis was introduced due to the discovery of several life forms in the depths of the oceans that are able to survive high temperatures. Some of them can also survive high levels of acidity. Therefore, the ﬁrst replicators may have emerged under similar conditions, especially since these conditions were prevalent in the ﬁrst several hundred million years of the earth’s existence.
Actually, an unbiased person can clearly see that the proposed theory regarding abiogenesis is not a solid scientiﬁc presentation based on facts and reality. Rather, it is research based on the foundation and the hypothesis that nothing exists but nature, and everything must be explained exclusively within the limits of nature, even if it is a series of one imaginary hypothesis after another. Achieving one of them alone is absolutely impossible, let alone achieving all of them in succession.
In fact, rationality determines that if all of these very low probabilities were achieved in succession, it would indicate the occurrence of a miracle, which would indicate that there is someone who has managed things in this way to achieve this result: the existence of life on the earth.
Dawkins: emergence of the cell to be a miracle, but a miracle relative to time.
Since thus far there is no scientiﬁc theory that explains abiogenesis with an acceptable, scientiﬁc explanation supported by conclusive evidence, Dawkins, in his book The Blind Watchmaker, goes to the extent of discussing the possibility of a quasi-miracle occurring, like when lightning strikes a person at the very moment they expected, or when lightning strikes the same person seven times as documented in the Guinness Book of World Records. Dawkins says that what is considered miraculous in a short period of time isn’t considered miraculous over a long period of time—in other words, when sufficient time is available. This means he assumes the emergence of the cell to be a miracle, but a miracle relative to time.
To refute this, it is sufficient to say that the probability of a self-replicating organism arising is almost non-existent within the time limits we are familiar with. In fact, even if he wanted to calculate the probability at the level of the entire universe, the number of planets potentially suitable for this occurrence wouldn’t support it since he would have to include the probability of meteors being loaded with amino acids, the probability that they would strike the earth, the probability that they would be left-hand amino acids, and the probability that a nucleic acid or self-replicating protein would emerge, making it absolutely deserving of the description of miraculous, supernatural and extraordinary.
Therefore, even the strongest proponents of the idea that the ﬁrst emergence of modem life was a completely natural occurrence say that it happened only once, and it never recurred. This is an implicit confession that abiogenesis is a miracle, or at the very least, a diﬁcult and far-fetched claim
Organisms can never be totally unrelated to one another, since it is all but certain that life as we know it originated only once on earth (Dawkins 1996, 258).
ln conclusion: there is no logical, scientiﬁc explanation for the emergence of life that is supported with evidence, or even accepted by scientists.
As far as the primordial soup theory, postulating a miracle or unseen intervention to explain the availability of a primordial soup suitable for the emergence of life may not be less likely than postulating the natural availability of the soup and the subsequent formation of the protein.
We can say that postulating a divine miracle—after we prove thanjie existence of a god—would make the issue of abiogenesis even more logical than postulating crystalline or clay replicators.
However, saying that they formed and replicated without external intervention to the point of producing life would mean that they would have to replicate many times after that ﬁrst replication, and they would have to continue to produce new life, or at least a new type of primary replicator every so often, up until today, as long as the raw materials were available. This hasn’t happened before, nor is it currently happening. Therefore, it is incorrect.
Moreover, the same applies for the primordial soup theory. Even if we recreate the primordial soup in the laboratory, it isn’t expected to produce a self-replicating protein, or a ribonucleic acid, without our intervening beyond making the primordial soup. Therefore, we must assume that an outside intervention compiled chemical compounds, crystals, clay particles, or amino acids into a compound capable of self-replicating, multiplying, and producing the ﬁrst life. If this was the case, then why wouldn’t this intervention that produced life be a divine, unseen intervention, especially after we prove the existence of a god in due course?!
Abiogenesis doesn’t have a scientiﬁc explanation. It forms a gap that science and scientists have been unable to ﬁll despite all of the laboratory capabilities available today, which, for the purpose of experimentation, provide the right conditions to simulate any time period in which biologists and biochemists would expect life to emerge, just as it would have formed four billion years ago, or even less than that.
Regarding what was mentioned above, my objective is not to reject the hypothesis of abiogenesis, or the formation of a self-replicating protein by some means if the material, conditions, and time are available. In fact, l believe in what the Imams pbut have said, and what cosmologists and biologists predict: that the universe is ﬁlled with organisms, and we are not alone.
What I wanted to make clear is that abiogenesis is a dilemma that science has not solved, for it hasn’t found a way around the problem of the availability of material and conditions suitable for the emergence of life, or let us say, as we believe, the implementation of the ﬁrst genetic plan, or the seed of the genetic plan, out of inorganic chemical substances that evolved until it reached its purpose: the human being, and the human genetic plan.
In conclusion, there is no hypothesis of scientiﬁc value to explain the emergence of life on the earth in a logical and acceptable way without postulating the occurrence of things that are scientiﬁcally impossible. Therefore, there is a logical and acceptable opportunity, at least up to this point, to assume the intervention of a god along with the unseen aspect in order to explain abiogenesis alongside those unlikely, or quasi-impossible-to-occur hypotheses.
However, let us examine the hypothesis that the opposing party-the atheist party—clings to, which is that inorganic primordial chemical replicators, made of crystals or clay, produced protein, or that the earth was a bowl of left-handed amino acid soup, and that the number of attempts were sufficient (just like that, without having a scientific, logical, achievable explanation for the availability of this substance).
Then, after all of this we acquired our protein composed of only left- handed amino acids. If this had happened, would it negate the truth that Dawkins and other like-minded atheists are trying to overlook: that the genetic plan is compound, complex, law-abiding, linguistic, and it achieves a purpose—as we shall demonstrate—therefore indicating a lawmaker and a speaker? If they reject that He, or a deputy of His, is the lawmaker of the genetic plan, with Him being the unseen reason behind its emergence on the earth, and if they insist that only natural causes are the reason for its emergence, then how will they negate or overlook the fact that it proceeds toward a purpose, obeys laws, and uses a language, all of which cause it to function, and indicate the purposeful one who created and spoke through its law?!
Is it possible for us to say that the plans for a building or a bridge, when successfully implemented, obey laws, are written in an engineering language, and that the one who wrote it is conscious, yet not say the same when we see the genetic plan implemented and functional?
Does our language indicate that we are conscious of meanings and intend meanings, yet the genetic language does not indicate that its creator or speaker realizes and intends to achieve a particular meaning or purpose with it?!
I believe any rational person would say that if our language indicates that we are intelligent beings and that we intend to achieve meanings, then the genetic language indicates that there is a speaker and purposeful being behind it, especially since it has achieved clear purposes that have now become known to us, such as intelligence—the best survival machine.
 If you wall: up and down a pebbly beach, you will notice that the pebbles are not arranged at random. The smaller pebbles typically tend to be found in segregated zones running along the length of the beach, the larger ones in different zones or stripes. The pebbles have been sorted, arranged, selected. A tribe living near the shore might wonder at this evidence of sorting or arrangement in the world, and might develop a myth to account for it, perhaps attributing it to a Great Spirit in the sky with a tidy mind and a sense of order” (Dawkins 1986, 43). -This will be discussed later in the book.
 ln addition, all of this still will not produce a eukaryotic cell that is suitable for evolution and speciation. The best that can be obtained is the production of a self-replicating protein. Let’s say the best possible scenario is that this protein can become a living bacterial cell through evolution. Bacterial cells differ from the cells of plant and animal organisms, which are eukaryotic. Commonly known organisms are scientiﬁcally divided into bacteria which are prokaryotes, and eukaryotes, which contain organelles. The transformation of an organism from a bacteria to a eukaryote qualiﬁed for evolution and speciation is a complex issue, and the probability of its occurrence is rather low. If we were to calculate it, we might enter the same probability maze as before. Margulis’ theory says that eukaryotic cells, such as the cells in our bodies, result from the merging of different types of bacteria. For example, there are mitochondria within the nuclei of our cells that have DNA that is different than the cell’s primary DNA. This means that some type of union occurred in the past, which is why there is more than one type of cellular DNA. The mitochondria are self-replicating, and this means that there is more than one replication mechanism in eukaryotes. However, mitochondria usually come only from the mother, because the ovum is large enough to accommodate mitochondria, unlike the sperm, which is small. Therefore, we can track the female ancestor through mitochondrial DNA, just as we can track the male ancestor through the Y chromosome since it exists only in male sperm. The chloroplast, an eukaryotic cellular organelle that exists in plants, contains DNA that is different than the plant’s primary DNA.