Feature Article - February 1998
by Do-While Jones

How Life Began

The February 1998 issue of Earth magazine is a special issue devoted to "origins." The cover proudly proclaims, "The oldest questions, our newest answers--How life really began." When you turn to page 34, you find the article titled "Life's Crucible", with the teasing subheading, "Have a pair of German chemists finally proven that life began in boiling cauldrons at the bottom of the sea?" We won't keep you in suspense. According to Earth magazine, the answer is, "No."

The article begins by saying,

In 1953, a twenty-three-year-old University of Chicago graduate student named Stanley Miller discovered the origin of life. Or so it seemed. 1

Then it goes on to explain why Miller was wrong. In previous issues we have shown that Miller's experiment is used in the explanation of the origin of life in the 1996 biology textbook 2 used at our local college, and on an anti-creation web page. 3 But all Miller did was produce some amino acids in an atmosphere that probably never existed.

And even if Miller's atmosphere could have existed, how do you get simple molecules such as amino acids to go through the necessary chemical changes that will convert them into more complicated compounds, or polymers, such as proteins. Miller himself throws up his hands at that part of the puzzle. "It's a problem," he sighs with exasperation. "How do you make polymers? That's not so easy." 4

If Stanley Miller doesn't even believe his own experiments showed how life began, why do some books still teach it?

The article then addresses, and rejects, the boiling cauldron theory by the two German chemists mentioned in the article's subtitle. Having rejected Miller's old standby theory, and the newest German theory, the article says,

Still, origin of life theories abound. Perhaps life was seeded from outer space. Perhaps life simmered beneath ice-capped primitive oceans. Or perhaps life began in the cauldrons of volcanoes or undersea hydrothermal vents. One thing is for certain. No one has solved the mystery. 5

It sort of makes you feel cheated, doesn't it? The magazine cover promised to tell, "How life really began." But the article says that the "newest answer" to our "oldest question" is that scientists haven't "solved the mystery." But even after dashing our hopes that life could have originated naturally on Earth, the article examines other ideas, such as the possibility that life came from outer space on a Martian meteorite, or space dust.

But could [dust containing] enough organics have reached Earth [from space] to make a difference? If that's possible, then perhaps, literally, life sprang from dust.

Nonsense, says Miller, now a semi-retired sixty-seven-year-old professor of chemistry at the University of California in San Diego. "The concentrations are so low I can't see what the point is." His opinion is supported by [geochemist Jeffrey] Bada, who directs NASA's Specialized Center of Research and Training in Exobiology in addition to his work at Scripps. "Even if cosmic debris struck the prebiotic Earth at ten thousand times the present levels," he says, "the resultant prebiotic soup would still have been much too weak to engender life." 7

Several other theories are discussed and dismissed. The article concludes by saying, "more than anything else they [the "origin researchers" interviewed for their article] want a solution to their seemingly intractable problem: how did life arise?"

Evolutionists believe that some time in the distant past, dead chemicals produced a living organism. Do they believe this on the basis of successful scientific experiments? They certainly do not. They believe it by faith. Their explanation for the origin of life is simply a religious belief that has no more validity than creationism, Greek mythology, or any other religious explanation of how life came to be.

The difference is that evolutionists falsely claim that their creation myth is a "scientific fact", even when it is widely known in scientific circles that there is no experimental proof for those beliefs. Experiments have shown that life does not originate under carefully controlled, ideal conditions. The logical conclusion is that it could not originate under less-than-ideal conditions that may occur naturally.

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1 Peter Radetsky, Earth, February 1998, "Life's Crucible" page 34 (Ev)
2 Teresa Audesirk, Biology 4th edition, pages 365-366 (Ev)
3 http://users.aol.com/chinlin3/miller.htm (Ev+)
4 Peter Radetsky, Earth, February 1998, "Life's Crucible" page 36 (Ev)
5 ibid. page 36
6 ibid. page 37
7 ibid. page 41