Protein Isn’t Just A Piece of Meat

Proteins are long molecules made from twenty different amino acids which link together like beads on a necklace. These ‘beads’ are not just random arrangements but are specifically positioned to carry out a unique biological function.

It is estimated that a human cell uses over 200,000 different proteins.1 A wonderful description of proteins is given by molecular biologist Michael Denton, “[If a cell were magnified a thousand million times]…in every direction we looked, we would see all sorts of robot-like machines. We would notice that these simplest of the functional components of the cell, the protein molecules, were astonishingly, complex pieces of molecular machinery, each one consisting of about three thousand individual atoms arranged in highly organized 3-D spatial configurations … the task of designing even one such molecular machine-that is a single functioning protein molecule- would be completely beyond our capacity at present…”2

One example of a very common protein is the hemoglobin molecule. Hemoglobin is a protein in our red blood cells which transports oxygen throughout our bodies. The molecule is perfectly designed to transport the optimal amount of oxygen in exactly the right way. If just one of the 287 amino acids which make up the hemoglobin molecule are out of place, an often fatal disease called sickle-cell anemia results. Because of this misplacement of just 1 out of 287 specific amino acids, the defective hemoglobin molecules bind together when the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream becomes low. This in turn stretches the red blood cells into a sickle shape which cannot easily flow through small blood vessels.

If this is the consequence of the misplacement of just one amino acid out of 287, how could all of the very specific proteins needed by the first form of life have formed by random chance? The simplest known form of life has over 100 different (and specific) proteins. These 100 proteins are all formed from only L-type amino acids and arranged in a very specific order by the controlling organism’s DNA molecule. Yet in the words of John Horgan, “The DNA cannot do its work, including forming more DNA, without the help of [proteins]. In short, protein cannot form without DNA, but neither can DNA form without proteins.”3

Further complicating the process is the fact that all laboratory experiments simulating the conditions necessary for the formation of life produce a random mixture of 50:50 R and L stereotypes. The odds of just one typical 287 unit protein forming (such as the hemoglobin molecule) with all L stereotypes, would be equal to flipping a coin and getting “heads” 287 times in a row. This will happen statistically only once in every 10124 tries. Most scientists agree that any specific event with odds greater than 1050 will never happen. But it gets even more impossible, because proteins are not just random molecules, but need the amino acids to be in a specific order to function correctly. The odds of getting the specific 100 proteins required for the simplest form of life, with all L stereotypes, and all in the specific order needed, is greater than 1/1010,000. Yet a single human cell uses not a mere 100 but 200,000 such specific proteins!!!

These outlandish odds demonstrate the scientific impossibility of the formation of life by chance reactions. Yet these problems are almost never presented in textbooks. Our children deserve better than indoctrination which ignores these overwhelming problems.

1. James Perloff, Tornado in a Junkyard, Refuge, 1999, p. 66.

2. Michael Denton, Evolution:A theory in Crisis, Adler & Adler, p. 328.

3. John Horgan, “In the Beginning”, Scientific American, 2/91, p. 119.