Many people still remember the experiment by Stanley Miller in 1953 in which he mixed up some chemicals and a spark and got some very simple 'building blocks' of life. I read recently an interview with Stanley Miller in which he basically admitted that he hadn't gotten any further.
Well, that's what I call an honest man, because the original experiment of the sparking produced only certain amino acids. And they are all a mixture of left and right-handed forms. Life is made up only of left-handed forms so to get the mixture of left and right forms and expect only the left form to associate together to form proteins is just 'not on'.
I understand that there are other reasons why that experiment couldn't go any further.
Yes, if you keep on heating the mixture of amino acids it just produces a type of brownish gunk, non-biological polymers. So he had to stop the experiment after a few days.
In any case, the cell is made of more than just amino acids - also fats, carbohydrates, DNA, RNA and soon. The scientists who work on origin of life problems know very well that experiments designed to produce amino acids don't produce sugars. And those that produce sugars don't produce anything else, and so on. And there is of course a problem of preservation of the molecules. They just undergo random destruction unless they are protected, like in a cell.
What if you had all of the raw materials necessary to construct a cell and you just threw them together into a random jumbled pile, would it just assemble itself by its own properties?
No, the presence of building materials is one thing, the requirement of the plan to put these building materials in the proper places and get them working together is another thing. That's why a cell is so beautiful, so intricate. Because of that, even non- Christian scientists marvel at that. Even to get one single functional protein molecule to form by chance is a mathematical absurdity. Sir Fred Hoyle recognized this. He teased his colleagues, told them to put all the raw ingredients in a swimming pool, and see if they get one single molecule needed. Of course no one will take him up, because they know it won't work.
A biochemist called Sidney Fox heated up some dry amino acids which caused them to link together into small chains, then dropped them in some water and some little round things formed that got people excited because they looked like cells - and some of them even looked like they were dividing. He called them 'protocells'.
This is a misnomer - they are nothing to do with cells at all. They look like cells because they are round, but there are many round things which are not cells.