The Origin of Plants
Life on earth is divided into five (or sometimes six) kingdoms by scientists. We have so far concentrated mainly on the greatest kingdom, that of animals. In the preceding chapters, we considered the origin of life itself, studying proteins, genetic information, cell structure and bacteria, issues that are related with two other kingdoms, Prokaryotae and Protista. But at this point there is another important matter we need to concentrate on—the origin of the plant kingdom (Plantae).
We find the same picture in the origin of plants as we met when examining the origin of animals. Plants possess exceedingly complex structures, and it is not possible for these to come about by chance effects and for them to evolve into one another. The fossil record shows that the different classes of plants emerged all of a sudden in the world, each with its own particular characteristics, and with no period of evolution behind it.
The Origin of the Plant Cell
Plants form the fundamental basis of life on earth. They are an indispensable condition for life, as they provide food and release oxygen to the air.
Like animal cells, plant cells belong to the type known as "eukaryotic." The most distinctive feature of these is that they have a cell nucleus, and the DNA molecule in which their genetic information is encoded lies within this nucleus. On the other hand, some single-celled creatures such as bacteria have no cell nucleus, and the DNA molecule is free inside the cell. This second type of cell is called "prokaryotic." This type of cell structure, with free DNA unconfined within a nucleus, is an ideal design for bacteria, as it makes possible the very important process—from the bacterial point of view—of plasmid transfer (that is, the transfer of DNA from cell to cell).
Because the theory of evolution is obliged to arrange living things in a sequence "from primitive to complex," it assumes that prokaryotic cells are primitive, and that eukaryotic cells evolved from them.
Before moving to the invalidity of this claim, it will be useful to demonstrate that prokaryotic cells are not at all "primitive." A bacterium possesses some 2,000 genes; each gene contains about 100 letters (links). This means that the information in a bacterium's DNA is some 200,000 letters long. According to this calculation, the information in the DNA of one bacterium is equivalent to 20 novels, each of 10,000 words.319 Any change in the information in the DNA code of a bacterium would be so deleterious as to ruin the bacterium's entire working system. As we have seen, a fault in a bacterium's genetic code means that the working system will go wrong—that is, the cell will die.
Alongside this sensitive structure, which defies chance changes, the fact that no "intermediate form" between bacteria and eukaryotic cells has been found makes the evolutionist claim unfounded. For example, the famous Turkish evolutionist Professor Ali Demirsoy confesses the groundlessness of the scenario that bacterial cells evolved into eukaryotic cells, and then into complex organisms made up of these cells:
One of the most difficult stages to be explained in evolution is to scientifically explain how organelles and complex cells developed from these primitive creatures. No transitional form has been found between these two forms. One- and multicelled creatures carry all this complex structure, and no creature or group has yet been found with organelles of a simpler construction in any way, or which are more primitive. In other words, the organelles carried forward have developed just as they are. They have no simple and primitive forms.320
One wonders, what is it that encourages Professor Ali Demirsoy, a loyal adherent of the theory of evolution, to make such an open admission? The answer to this question can be given quite clearly when the great structural differences between bacteria and plant cells are examined.
The structural differences between bacterial and plant cells, of which we have seen a few examples above, lead evolutionist scientists to another dead-end. Although plant and bacterial cells have some aspects in common, most of their structures are quite different from one another. In fact, since there are no membrane-surrounded organelles or a cytoskeleton (the internal network of protein filaments and microtubules) in bacterial cells, the presence of several very complex organelles and cell organization in plant cells totally invalidates the claim that the plant cell evolved from the bacterial cell.
Biologist Ali Demirsoy openly admits this, saying, "Complex cells never developed from primitive cells by a process of evolution." 323
The evolutionist hypothesis that prokaryotic cells (left) turned into eukaryotic cells over time has no scientific basis to it.
The Endosymbiosis Hypothesis and Its Invalidity
The impossibility of plant cells' having evolved from a bacterial cell has not prevented evolutionary biologists from producing speculative hypotheses. But experiments disprove these. 324 The most popular of these is the "endosymbiosis" hypothesis.
This hypothesis was put forward by Lynn Margulis in 1970 in her book The Origin of Eukaryotic Cells. In this book, Margulis claimed that as a result of their communal and parasitic lives, bacterial cells turned into plant and animal cells. According to this theory, plant cells emerged when a photosynthetic bacterium was swallowed by another bacterial cell. The photosynthetic bacterium evolved inside the parent cell into a chloroplast. Lastly, organelles with highly complex structures such as the nucleus, the Golgi apparatus, the endoplasmic reticulum, and ribosomes evolved, in some way or other. Thus, the plant cell was born.
As we have seen, this thesis of the evolutionists is nothing but a work of fantasy. Unsurprisingly, it was criticized by scientists who carried out very important research into the subject on a number of grounds: We can cite D. Lloyd 325, M. Gray and W. Doolittle 326, and R. Raff and H. Mahler as examples of these.
The endosymbiosis hypothesis is based on the fact that the mitochondria of animal cells and the chloroplasts of plant cells contain their own DNA, separate from the DNA in the nucleus of the parent cell. So, on this basis, it is suggested that mitochondria and chloroplasts were once independent, free-living cells. However, when chloroplasts are studied in detail, it can be seen that this claim is inconsistent.
A number of points invalidate the endosymbiosis hypothesis:
1- If chloroplasts, in particular, were once independent cells, then there could only have been one outcome if one were swallowed by a larger cell: namely, it would have been digested by the parent cell and used as food. This must be so, because even if we assume that the parent cell in question took such a cell into itself from the outside by mistake, instead of intentionally ingesting it as food, nevertheless, the digestive enzymes in the parent cell would have destroyed it. Of course, some evolutionists have gotten around this obstacle by saying, "The digestive enzymes had disappeared." But this is a clear contradiction, because if the cell's digestive enzymes had disappeared, then the cell would have died from lack of nutrition.
2- Again, let us assume that all the impossible happened and that the cell which is claimed to have been the ancestor of the chloroplast was swallowed by the parent cell. In this case we are faced with another problem: The blueprints of all the organelles inside the cell are encoded in the DNA. If the parent cell were going to use other cells it swallowed as organelles, then it would be necessary for all of the information about them to be already present and encoded in its DNA. The DNA of the swallowed cells would have to possess information belonging to the parent cell. Not only is such a situation impossible, the two complements of DNA belonging to the parent cell and the swallowed cell would also have to become compatible with each other afterwards, which is also clearly impossible.
3- There is great harmony within the cell which random mutations cannot account for. There are more than just one chloroplast and one mitochondrion in a cell. Their number rises or falls according to the activity level of the cell, just like with other organelles. The existence of DNA in the bodies of these organelles is also of use in reproduction. As the cell divides, all of the numerous chloroplasts divide too, and the cell division happens in a shorter time and more regularly.
4- Chloroplasts are energy generators of absolutely vital importance to the plant cell. If these organelles did not produce energy, many of the cell's functions would not work, which would mean that the cell could not live. These functions, which are so important to the cell, take place with proteins synthesized in the chloroplasts. But the chloroplasts' own DNA is not enough to synthesize these proteins. The greater part of the proteins are synthesized using the parent DNA in the cell nucleus. 327
While the situation envisioned by the endosymbiosis hypothesis is occurring through a process of trial and error, what effects would this have on the DNA of the parent cell? As we have seen, any change in a DNA molecule definitely does not result in a gain for that organism; on the contrary, any such mutation would certainly be harmful. In his book The Roots of Life, Mahlon B. Hoagland explains the situation:
You'll recall we learned that almost always a change in an organism's DNA is detrimental to it; that is, it leads to a reduced capacity to survive. By way of analogy, random additions of sentences to the plays of Shakespeare are not likely to improve them! …The principle that DNA changes are harmful by virtue of reducing survival chances applies whether a change in DNA is caused by a mutation or by some foreign genes we deliberately add to it.328
The claims put forward by evolutionists are not based on scientific experiments, because no such thing as one bacterium swallowing another one has ever been observed. In his review of a later book by Margulis, Symbiosis in Cell Evolution, molecular biologist P. Whitfield describes the situation:
The Origin of Photosynthesis
Another matter regarding the origin of plants which puts the theory of evolution into a terrible quandary is the question of how plant cells began to carry out photosynthesis.
Photosynthesis is one of the fundamental processes of life on earth. By means of the chloroplasts inside them, plant cells produce starch by using water, carbon dioxide and sunlight. Animals are unable to produce their own nutrients and must use the starch from plants for food instead. For this reason, photosynthesis is a basic condition for complex life. An even more interesting side of the matter is the fact that this complex process of photosynthesis has not yet been fully understood. Modern technology has not yet been able to reveal all of its details, let alone reproduce it.
How is it that evolutionists believe such a complex process as photosynthesis is the product of natural and random processes?
According to the evolution scenario, in order to carry out photosynthesis, plant cells swallowed bacterial cells which could photosynthesize and turned them into chloroplasts. So, how did bacteria learn to carry out such a complex process as photosynthesis? And why had they not begun to carry out such a process before then? As with other questions, the scenario has no scientific answer to give. Have a look at how an evolutionist publication answers the question:
Plant cells carry out a process that no modern laboratory can duplicate—photosynthesis. By means of the organelle called the "chloroplast" in the plant cell, plants use water, carbon dioxide and sunlight to create starch. This food product is the first step in the earth's food chain, and the source of food for all its inhabitants. The details of this exceedingly complex process are still not fully understood today.
The book Life on Earth, another evolutionist source, tries to explain the emergence of photosynthesis:
The bacteria fed initially on the various carbon compounds that had taken so many millions of years to accumulate in the primordial seas. But as they flourished, so this food must have become scarcer. Any bacterium that could tap a different source of food would obviously be very successful and eventually some did. Instead of taking ready-made food from their surroundings, they began to manufacture their own within their cell walls, drawing the necessary energy from the sun.331
In short, evolutionist sources say that photosynthesis was in some way coincidentally "discovered" by bacteria, even though man, with all his technology and knowledge, has been unable to do so. These accounts, which are no better than fairy tales, have no scientific worth. Those who study the subject in a bit more depth will accept that photosynthesis is a major dilemma for evolution. Professor Ali Demirsoy makes the following admission, for instance:
Photosynthesis is a rather complicated event, and it seems impossible for it to emerge in an organelle inside a cell (because it is impossible for all the stages to have come about at once, and it is meaningless for them to have emerged separately). 332
The German biologist Hoimar von Ditfurth says that photosynthesis is a process that cannot possibly be learned:
No cell possesses the capacity to 'learn' a process in the true sense of the word. It is impossible for any cell to come by the ability to carry out such functions as respiration or photosynthesis, neither when it first comes into being, nor later in life. 333
Since photosynthesis cannot develop as the result of chance, and cannot subsequently be learned by a cell, it appears that the first plant cells that lived on the earth were specially created to carry out photosynthesis. In other words, plants were created by Allah with the ability to photosynthesize.
The Origin of Algae
Free-swimming algae in the ocean.
The theory of evolution hypothesizes that single-celled plant-like creatures, whose origins it is unable to explain, came in time to form algae. The origin of algae goes back to very remote times. So much so, that fossil algae remains from 3.1 to 3.4 million years old have been found. The interesting thing is that there is no structural difference between these extraordinarily ancient living things and specimens living in our own time. An article published in Science News says:
Both blue-green algae and bacteria fossils dating back 3.4 billion years have been found in rocks from S. Africa. Even more intriguing, the pleurocapsalean algae turned out to be almost identical to modern pleurocapsalean algae at the family and possibly even at the generic level.334
The German biologist Hoimar von Ditfurth makes this comment on the complex structure of so-called "primitive" algae:
The oldest fossils so far discovered are objects fossilized in minerals which belong to blue green algae, more than 3 billion years old. No matter how primitive they are, they still represent rather complicated and expertly organized forms of life.335
Evolutionary biologists consider that the algae in question gave rise over time to other marine plants and moved to the land some 450 million years ago. However, just like the scenario of animals moving from water onto the land, the idea that plants moved from water to the land is another fantasy. Both scenarios are invalid and inconsistent. Evolutionist sources usually try to gloss over the subject with such fantastical and unscientific comments as "algae in some way moved onto the land and adapted to it." But there are a large number of obstacles that make this transition quite impossible. Let us have a short look at the most important of them.
1- The danger of drying out: For a plant which lives in water to be able to live on land, its surface has first of all to be protected from water loss. Otherwise the plant will dry out. Land plants are provided with special systems to prevent this from happening. There are very important details in these systems. For example, this protection must happen in such a way that important gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide are able to leave and enter the plant freely. At the same time, it is important that evaporation be prevented. If a plant does not possess such a system, it cannot wait millions of years to develop one. In such a situation, the plant will soon dry up and die.
2- Feeding: Marine plants take the water and minerals they need directly from the water they are in. For this reason, any algae which tried to live on land would have a food problem. They could not live without resolving it.
3- Reproduction: Algae, with their short life span, cannot possibly reproduce on land, because, as in all their functions, algae also use water to disperse their reproductive cells. In order to be able to reproduce on land, they would need to possess multicellular reproductive cells like those of land plants, which are covered by a protective layer of cells. Lacking these, any algae which found themselves on land would be unable to protect their reproductive cells from danger.
4- Protection from oxygen: Any algae which arrived on land would have taken in oxygen in a decomposed form up until that point. According to the evolutionists' scenario, now they would have to take in oxygen in a form they had never encountered before, in other words, directly from the atmosphere. As we know, under normal conditions the oxygen in the atmosphere has a poisoning effect on organic substances. Living things which live on land possess systems which stop them being harmed by it. But algae are marine plants, which means they do not possess the enzymes to protect them from the harmful effects of oxygen. So, as soon as they arrived on land, it would be impossible for them to avoid these effects. Neither is there any question of their waiting for such a system to develop, because they could not survive on land long enough for that to happen.
There is yet another reason why the claim that algae moved from the ocean to the land inconsistent—namely, the absence of a natural agent to make such a transition necessary. Let us imagine the natural environment of algae 450 million years ago. The waters of the sea offer them an ideal environment. For instance, the water isolates and protects them from extreme heat, and offers them all kinds of minerals they need. And, at the same time, they can absorb the sunlight by means of photosynthesis and make their own carbohydrates (sugar and starch) by carbon dioxide, which dissolves in the water. For this reason, there is nothing the algae lack in the ocean, and therefore no reason for them to move to the land, where there is no "selective advantage" for them, as the evolutionists put it.
All of this shows that the evolutionist hypothesis that algae emerged onto the land and formed land plants is completely unscientific.
The Origin of Angiosperms
When we examine the fossil history and structural features of plants that live on land, another picture emerges which fails to agree with evolutionist predictions. There is no fossil series to confirm even one branch of the "evolutionary tree" of plants that you will see in almost any biological textbook. Most plants possess abundant remains in the fossil record, but none of these fossils is an intermediate form between one species and another. They are all specially and originally created as completely distinct species, and there are no evolutionary links between them. As the evolutionary paleontologist E. C. Olson accepted, "Many new groups of plants and animals suddenly appear, apparently without any close ancestors."336
The botanist Chester A. Arnold, who studies fossil plants at the University of Michigan, makes the following comment:
Arnold accepts that paleobotany (the science of plant fossils) has produced no results in support of evolution: "[W]e have not been able to track the phylogenetic history of a single group of modern plants from its beginning to the present." 338
The fossil discoveries which most clearly deny the claims of plant evolution are those of flowering plants, or "angiosperms," to give them their scientific name. These plants are divided into 43 separate families, each one of which emerges suddenly, leaving no trace of any primitive "transitional form" behind it in the fossil record. This was realised in the nineteenth century, and for this reason Darwin described the origin of angiosperms as "an abominable mystery." All the research carried out since Darwin's time has simply added to the amount of discomfort this mystery causes. In his book The Paleobiology of Angiosperm Origins, the evolutionary paleobotanist N. F. Hughes makes this admission:
In his book The Evolution of Flowering Plants, Daniel Axelrod says this about the origin of flowering plants,
The ancestral group that gave rise to angiosperms has not yet been identified in the fossil record, and no living angiosperm points to such an ancestral alliance. 340
All this leads us to just one conclusion: Like all living things, plants were also created. From the moment they first emerged, all their mechanisms have existed in a finished and complete form. Terms such as 'development over time," "changes dependent on coincidences," and "adaptations which emerged as a result of need," which one finds in the evolutionist literature, have no truth in them at all and are scientifically meaningless.
1. This plant from the Jurassic Age, some 180 million years old, emerged with its own unique structure, and with no ancestor preceding it.
2. This 300-million-year-old plant from the late Carboniferous is no different from specimens growing today.
3. This 140-million-year-old fossil from the species Archaefructus is the oldest known fossil angiosperm (flowering plant). It possesses the same body, flower and fruit structure as similar plants alive today.
4. This fossil fern from the Carboniferous was found in the Jerada region of Morocco. The interesting thing is that this fossil, which is 320 million years old, is identical to present-day ferns.
319 Mahlon B. Hoagland, The Roots of Life, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1978, p.18
320 Prof. Dr. Ali Demirsoy, Kalitim ve Evrim (Inheritance and Evolution), Ankara, Meteksan Yayınları, p. 79.
321 Robart A. Wallace, Gerald P. Sanders, Robert J. Ferl, Biology, The Science of Life, Harper Collins College Publishers, p. 283.
322 Darnell, "Implications of RNA-RNA Splicing in Evolution of Eukaryotic Cells," Science, vol. 202, 1978, p. 1257.
323 Prof. Dr. Ali Demirsoy, Kal?t?m ve Evrim (Inheritance and Evolution), Meteksan Publications, Ankara, p.79.
324 "Book Review of Symbiosis in Cell Evolution," Biological Journal of Linnean Society, vol. 18, 1982, pp. 77-79.
325 D. Lloyd, The Mitochondria of Microorganisms, 1974, p. 476.
326 Gray & Doolittle, "Has the Endosymbiant Hypothesis Been Proven?," Microbilological Review, vol. 30, 1982, p. 46.
327 Wallace-Sanders-Ferl, Biology: The Science of Life, 4th edition, Harper Collins College Publishers, p. 94.
328 Mahlon B. Hoagland, The Roots of Life, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1978, p. 145.
329 Whitfield, Book Review of Symbiosis in Cell Evolution, Biological Journal of Linnean Society, 1982, pp. 77-79.
330 Milani, Bradshaw, Biological Science, A Molecular Approach, D. C.Heath and Company, Toronto, p. 158 .
331 David Attenborough, Life on Earth, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1981, p. 20.
332 Prof. Dr. Ali Demirsoy, Kal?t?m ve Evrim (Inheritance and Evolution), Meteksan Publications, Ankara, p. 80.
333 Hoimar Von Ditfurth, Im Amfang War Der Wasserstoff (Secret Night of the Dinosaurs), pp. 60-61.
334 "Ancient Alga Fossil Most Complex Yet," Science News, vol. 108, September 20, 1975, p. 181.
335 Hoimar Von Ditfurth, Im Amfang War Der Wasserstoff (Secret Night of the Dinosaurs), p. 199.
336 E. C. Olson, The Evolution of Life, The New American Library, New York, 1965, p. 94.
337 Chester A. Arnold, An Introduction to Paleobotany, McGraw-Hill Publications in the Botanical Sciences, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1947, p. 7.
338 Chester A. Arnold, An Introduction to Paleobotany, McGraw-Hill Publications in the Botanical Sciences, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1947, p. 334.
339 N. F. Hughes, Paleobiology of Angiosperm Origins: Problems of Mesozoic Seed-Plant Evolution, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1976, pp. 1-2.
340 Daniel Axelrod, The Evolution of Flowering Plants, in The Evolution Life, 1959, pp. 264-274.