The following comes from Dr. Schroeder’s book, The Hidden Face of God; How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth. As with any book on this topic (and as you can see from the Amazon reviews) some people love it, some hate it. Either way, it is a facinating read.
The human body acts as a finely tuned machine, a magnificent metropolis in
which…each of the 75 trillion cells, composed of [10 with 27 zeros] atoms, moves
in symbiotic precision…
[These atoms] are organized by a single act when a protozoan-like sperm cells adds its message of genetic material into a receptive egg cell....
Until the mid-1970’s the accepted wisdom was that the origin of this
organization that we refer to as life was the result of chance random reactions
among atoms, gradually combining, one chance occurrence building upon another
over eons of time until self-replication and then mutation produced the first
biological cell. Three billion years were thought to have passed between
the formation of liquid water on the formerly molten earth and the appearance of
the first forms of life….
Two to three billion years were available for randomness to do its work. ‘Given so much time the…impossible becomes the possible, the possible becomes probable, and the probable virtually certain’…So wrote George Wald, professor of biology at Harvard University and Nobel laureate….
In the mid-1970’s came the seminal discovery of Elso Barghoorn. He, like Wald, was at Harvard…Using a scanning electron microscope…Barghoorn searched the surfaces of…stone taken from the oldest of rocks able to bear fossils. To the amazement of the scientific community, fossils of fully developed bacteria were found in rocks 3.6 billion years old. Further evidence…indicated the origins of cellular life at close to 3.8 billion years before the present, the same period in which liquid water first formed on Earth.
Overnight, the fantasy of billions of years of random reactions in warm little
ponds brimming with fecund chemicals leading to life, evaporated. Elso
Barrghoorn had discovered a most perplexing fact: life, the most complexly
organized system of atoms known in the universe, popped into being in the blink
of a geological eye (49-51).