The Creation Explanation
|The Changing World: Physical Laws & the Origin of Life|
The Second Law and the Probability of Abiogenesis
Charles B. Thaxton et al. in their important 1984 book, The Mystery of Life's Origin, develop in detail the application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics to the problem of abiogenesis(the spontaneous origin of life), in particular the spontaneous origin of protein molecules and DNA molecules.3 They show that the origin of a protein molecule requires the input of free energy in three ways. First, there is the free energy needed to form the chemical bonds(called peptide bonds) that connect the amino acid molecules to form the protein chain. Second, the linking of amino acids results in increased information over that of the free amino acids before they are linked in the protein chain, and this endows the chain with increased free energy content. Third, the selection and ordering of the twenty different amino acids in the correct order in the chain requires input of information and therefore the expenditure of free energy. The total free energy required to originate a protein molecule from a disordered collection of amino acid molecules can be used to calculate the probability of the formation of the protein molecule by chance. The greater the free energy expended to produce the protein chain with its information content due to the ordering of the different amino acid units along the chain, the smaller is the probability that the molecule could result from spontaneous processes. This probability is, in fact, so extremely small as to make the event effectively equal to zero regardless of how old the universe may be. The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that, because protein chains have high free energy content, spontaneous processes in nature have the following effects:
3. Thaxton, Charles B., Walter L. Bradley and Roger L. Olsen, The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories (Philosophical Library, New York, 1984), pp. 113-166.