Written by Michael G. Windheuser, Ph.D.
Consider for a moment the lowly protein. We take proteins for granted because they are produced and act automatically in our cells. Much is known about how proteins are made and how they function. But the harder question is: Where did proteins come from? Proteins are made from instructions in DNA but proteins are needed to make DNA. So we might ask: Which came first—the DNA or the protein? The answer is that neither came first. In order to have either DNA or protein, both are required.
The evolutionary explanation for how proteins formed is that lightning reacted with chemicals in the atmosphere of the "early earth" to create amino acids. This formed a thin soup of chemicals in warm tide pools. Amino acids joined together to make proteins which then became part of fat globules that then became living cells. Easy, isn't it? It seems so to those of the evolutionary faith and to those with little scientific background.
The environment of the "early" earth would have been harsh. High levels of radiation would break proteins down as quickly as they formed, and the heat from volcanoes would also destroy proteins. But there is another, more fundamental, problem with the evolutionary scheme for protein formation, a problem that would prevent proteins from ever being formed to begin with. Chemical reversibility.
Proteins can be both made and broken apart depending on the chemical conditions. One of those conditions is the presence or absence of water (H2O). When amino acids join together, a molecule of water (H2O) is released and a chemical bond is formed. This water has to be removed before the next amino acid is added, otherwise the next bond will not form or the previous bond may be broken. This means that the last place one would predict a protein could form is in the early ocean because the chemical reactions forming the protein would be immediately reversed by all the water! Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith in his book, The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution, makes exactly this point.¹ The formation of functioning proteins by chance natural processes in the "early ocean" would be a totally futile chemical exercise. As soon as one chemical bond would be made, it would be broken.
What does this mean for the faith of the evolutionist? Probably not much. Evolutionary believers have immense faith in the unseen hand of chance and millions of years of time for unlikely events to happen over and over. Maybe proteins came first, then DNA; or perhaps it was DNA and then protein. It doesn't really matter for the evolutionist since time and chance can make both. But if you must already have both to have either one, then they could not have evolved in sequence, one after the other. Nor could DNA and protein have evolved in different locations since they each require the other to function in a cell. No, to have both DNA and protein in the same place at the same time to form a living cell would take…God.
1 Wilder-Smith, A. E. The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution. Master Books, San Diego, CA. 1981.