1980/81 saw the undertaking of connecting cosmic life, viruses and bacteria causing diseases with the evolution of life. If life began over 4 billion years ago with a comet bringing the first cosmic microorganisms, how did it evolve and diversify to produce today’s magnificent range of life forms.
Neo-Darwinists argue that the full spectrum of life is the result of primitive living systems being sequentially copied billions of times. So by the accumulation of copying errors, sorted out by the process of natural selection, the survival of the fittest could account for both the rich variety of life and the steady upward progression of complexity and sophistication from bacterium to man.
Their investigations revealed a different answer. Major evolutionary developments in biology require the generation of new high-grade information and such information cannot arise from closed box evolutionary arguments.
The two spent much time and energy trying to persuade those who believed in the status quo of evolution to open their eyes. This was an uphill struggle and many comparisons were made in their writings on the subject. One, now well known comparison from Fred said that ‘the origin of life from organic molecules on Earth is of a small order of improbability as is a tornado blowing through a junk yard assembling a fully working Boeing 707.’
In a lecture delivered at the Royal Institution on 12 January 1982 Fred said
“… Some people are putting out statements that by appealing to a mysterious process called non-equilibrium thermodynamics the problem of finding the required explicit orderings of amino acids can somehow be solved. This is like saying to a person trying to throw a sequence of 5 million sixes that they would do better if they were to roll the dice a bit faster, whereas of course it would scarcely help at all even if the dice were thrown at the speed of light…”
Fred has been said to be a religious man. This is not the case for he felt that if there were a cosmic creator it would be scarcely conceivable that any of the world’s religions would have fully grasped either His intent or His plan. He always kept an open mind, regarding creation, in some form, as being a valid intellectual position to hold in relation to the origin of life. Fred was also cynical of the ambivalent scientific attitude that prevailed in relation to this whole question: whilst it was considered untenable for “creation” to be used in connection with life, it was perfectly acceptable to contemplate that an entire Universe, with all its inherent laws, suddenly came into existence some 13.75 billions years ago, created to all intents and purposes.