Joined: Jan. 2006
Zardoz: "... if we go all the way back to the very first life on urth we are confronted with no less of a magical event if you postulate that matter self organized into a cell that was programmed to replicate."
djmullen: One of the sure signs of a creationist is their insistence that the first living thing was a cell. Usually they hold up a modern cell, which is the product of about four billion years of evolution, and say something like, "What are the odds of something this complex happening by chance?"
The problem is that nobody but creationists believe that the first living thing was a modern cell. Most theories today involve either a simple polymer (such as RNA, proteins or something similar) that manages to reproduce itself or a very tiny "cell" containing several chemicals that catalyze each other and thus reproduce.
Once you have a population of genetic self reproducers, evolution begins automatically when the first copying error is made and it's Katie bar the door as far as complexity and diversity is concerned from then on.