Believe it or not

By Dr Jonathan Sarfati

Salty problem for chemical evolution

salt collection
Worker collects ‘flower of salt’ also known as the caviar of salt in saltworks near Croatian Adriatic town of Nin (Photo Hrvoje Polan/AFP/GettyImages)

Many evolutionists believe that life evolved from non-living chemicals in the ocean. But salt is proving to be a big problem (as long noted by creationists — see,

Part of the "evidence" is the alleged similar composition of our blood to seawater. But this has long been exposed as fallacious—there is little correlation between the amounts of different chemicals (see creation 19(2):24–25, 1997;

But another problem is with "salt" in the wider chemical sense. Most think of salt as sodium chloride, and this is enough of a problem for billions-of-years dogma (see creation 21(1):16–17, 1998; But to chemists, 'salt' refers to a wide range of chemicals where a metal is combined with a non-metal. And the problem is with abundant calcium ions.

A recent report points out:

    "For example, calcium ions readily bind with phosphate, thus making this molecule unavailable for important biological functions, such as energy transfer (in the case of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP) and genetic coding (as part of the backbone of DNA and RNA)."

Chemical evolutionist David Deamer of UC Santa Cruz, author of First Life (2011), is also concerned with their effect on fatty acids, essential for cell membranes. Fellow chemical evolutionist, Jack Szostak of Harvard University, points out that ions like calcium "would definitely precipitate fatty acids, preventing membrane formation." We see this happening when we use soap in hard water: the soap "scum" is this precipitate.

But the dilemma is that these ions are actually vital for life's function. For example, "calcium ions play a vital role in cellular signalling." So the very ions that are essential for life to function would prevent its formation in the first place.

A salt-free primordial soup?, 19 January 2012.
Oozing Life Up Against All Odds,, 20 January 2012.

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