Electricity Introduced Into Classic Evolutionary Experiments

on October 25, 2008

Zzzzzap! All it took was a helping of primordial stew and a bolt of lightning—or perhaps the hot gases of an angry volcano—and, voilà, you’ve got life.

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It has now been more than half a century since the famous (or infamous) Miller–Urey experiments, which many still claim are evidence for an atheistic origin of life.

They essentially sent sparks through a mixture of gases, with the result being a handful of amino acids, the basic building blocks of proteins.

In the 1950s, scientists Stanley Miller and Harold Urey were hoping to recreate the supposed conditions of a primeval earth to see if they could engineer organic compounds. They essentially sent sparks through a mixture of gases, with the result being a handful of amino acids, the basic building blocks of proteins. Evolutionists have hailed the experiment as a stunning success ever since, claiming it shows how the necessary ingredients for life could have arisen spontaneously. (BBC News notes that newspapers of the time “were overstating the case when they claimed he had actually recreated life in the lab.”)

Now, there’s a new twist as vials from the experiment have turned up in the hands of one of Miller’s students. When Miller died last year, a former student of his, Jeffrey Bada, inherited his lab materials—including “several little cardboard boxes, taped shut and all dusty, carefully labeled with all of these little vials with dried material from his experiments,” said Bada, now at the University of California–San Diego.

Of specific interest to Bada were vials from experiments Miller conducted to replicate conditions inside a hot volcano. Why? BBC News explains:

These experiments were the ones that intrigued Jeffrey Bada. Because not long after Miller’s original experiments, it became clear the Earth’s early atmosphere was nothing like the “reducing” mixture simulated in his apparatus.
The first experiments remained iconic in their attempt at simulating pre-biotic chemistry, but became irrelevant in detail.

Likewise, the WIRED science blog notes:

Miller is famed for the results of experiments on amino acid formation in a jar filled with methane, hydrogen and ammonia—his version of the primordial soup. However, his estimates of atmospheric composition were eventually considered inaccurate. The experiment became regarded as a general rather than useful example of how the first organic molecules may have assembled.

Those facts are of interest to creationists, who have long pointed out that the Miller–Urey experiment not only didn’t create life or anything near it, but also failed to replicate what evolutionists themselves thought about the early earth. In fact, there were a whole host of problems with the Miller–Urey experiment that remind us how little evolutionists have explained about a supposed “accidental” origin of life (for more, see the linked articles below). (Of course, evolutionists seem to mention those facts more freely now that they’ve found a “better” experiment!)

The hype has now shifted to Miller’s “volcano” experiments, because, according to Bada, the vials made both more of some of the amino acids, and produced a greater diversity of amino acids overall—a total of 22.

“What we suggest is that volcanoes belched out gases just like the ones Stanley had used, and were immediately subjected to intense volcanic lightning,” Bada explained, noting that electrical storms frequently accompany volcanic eruptions. WIRED quotes Indiana University graduate student Adam Johnson, a co-author on Bada’s study, who claimed, “The amino acid precursors formed in a plume and concentrated along tidal shores. They settled in the water, underwent further reactions there, and as they washed along the shore, became concentrated and underwent further polymerization events.”

If one has the faith in directionless chance that evolutionists do, why even bother with a step-by-step model of how life originated?

It sounds like the same old song and dance to us: evolutionists, based on a carefully controlled laboratory scenario, build a just-so story of how things just maybe, just might have come together and—like magic!—fallen right into line as chains of RNA. Never mind that creating amino acids would only be the first step of many progressively more unlikely ones in organizing life. Never mind that they cannot explain how a meaningful code for building proteins could arise in the first place, let alone how chemicals could organize into cells more complicated than our latest technology. Never mind that they have yet to show, experimentally or otherwise, how a genome can mutate new information. Never mind that . . . (the list goes on).

If one has the faith in directionless chance that evolutionists do, why even bother with a step-by-step model of how life originated? They may as well believe that in a primordial pool one day, every single molecule—by pure chance—organized in exactly the right place to create a fully formed human!

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