Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Glycine: The Elixir of Life

John Johnson has a nice piece in the LA Times about the new confirmation of the amino acid glycine in the Wild 2 comet. Johnson gives some nice technical details:

The Stardust spacecraft, managed jointly by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La CaƱada Flintridge and Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, was launched in 1999 on a 2.9-billion-mile journey that made two loops around the sun before meeting up five years later with Wild 2, which orbits between Mars and Jupiter.

Flying as close as 147 miles to the hamburger-shaped comet, Stardust passed through its tail of dust and gas.

At its closest approach, the craft deployed a tennis-racket-shaped collector packed with a substance called aerogel, which harvested comet particles. The spacecraft then returned to Earth's orbit and jettisoned a capsule containing the sample. The capsule made what NASA called a "bulls-eye" landing in Utah on the morning of Jan. 15, 2006.

But come on guys, Johnson and his sources seem unable to stop uttering absurdities about the humble amino acid glycine.

The problem is that evolutionary thought wildly exaggerates. For instance, the finding of an amino acid--the simplest one at that--on a comet is hardly a surprise. True, it is, as Johnson writes, "the first time an amino acid has turned up in comet material." But so what? They have, after all, been found in a variety of meteorites and moon dust. "It is neat that they have collected amino acids in situ," one researcher said privately, "but otherwise this is hardly news."

Again to his credit Johnson mentions that this is not the first finding of extra terrestrial amino acids. But the preponderance of the story hypes the findings as important. Why the hype? It seems that evolutionists want to cast science as in full support of their theory.

More importantly, the report repeatedly makes the silly implication that having some amino acids available means you are on the verge of life. It is almost soup. For evolutionists, glycine is practically the Elixir of Life. Here are quotes from Johnson or his sources illustrating this wild exaggeration:

Ingredient for life detected in comet dust

bolstering the idea that the building blocks of biology are 'ubiquitous' in space

the ingredients for life in the universe may be distributed far more widely than previously thought

scientists have found traces of a key building block of biology

a vital compound necessary for life

we now know that comets could have delivered amino acids to the early Earth, contributing to the ingredients that life originated from

This is yet another piece of evidence that the ingredients for life are ubiquitous. These building blocks of life are everywhere.

the result is exciting because it represents a second, very large source of life-giving material

To say that glycine is a "life-giving material" is like saying that bits of metal are automobile-giving material. But again to his credit, Johnson ends on a note of realism:

Just having the right materials is no guarantee that life will begin, of course, any more than leaving a hammer, nails and planks lying around will cause a barn to rise.

Maybe there is hope.