I've been reading a few of the debates on this forum, and am impressed by both the level of knowledge displayed, and also the rational arguments and ability to debate in order to prove / refute correctly.
Firstly forgive me if this topic has been raised before - I have searched the site but not found the exact answer I am looking for. Perhaps a senior member can simply provide me a link.
The question I have is as follows:
Evolution is a fact, easily demonstrable; and evolution is based upon the existance of DNA, a large and reasonably complicated macromolecule. DNA exists in a multutude of forms, as does its sister molecule, RNA.
The "spark" of life in the primordial soup apparently occured at the point DNA (or RNA, which is generally considered to precede DNA I think) first formed. from then on evolution takes over etc etc.
Is there a minimum size for DNA or RNA to function as a self-replicating molecule? If the molecule only had 5 "rungs" in the standard ladder analogy could it function as a mini version of DNA?
If the answer is "YES, DNA will self-replicate from a relatively simple version of itself, and random mutation and evolution will increase complexity until we get to today's massively complex life-forms", then thank you and good night, but I was under the (perhaps misinformed) impression that DNA needs to be at least a certain size to function, and this size - the theist's argument goes, is way too massive to have occured naturally, even taking into account the billions of years of primordial ooze containing nothing but a few proteins randomly hitting against each other.
The increasing complexity proof of evolution (various stages of the eye, jaw bones, hip bone from dinosaurs to birds etc) cannot be used in this scenario, as the jump from nothing must be done in one huge leap to fully formed DNA.
So please, any chemical Biologists out there, let me know of any experiments etc. that have been done to synthesize the way DNA could have been created, because this has been the thorn in my side when debating the better informed theists out there...