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From the Editor

Stanley Miller's Experiment Does Not Prove Origin of Life via Evolution


By:  David Deschesne

Editor/Publisher, Fort Fairfield Journal


When Charles Darwin penned his now highly controversial theory of Evolution in the mid-1800’s he had no idea of the intricacy and complexity of life that modern-day biochemists have begun to unravel. If he had been aware of even a tenth of what modern biochemistry has revealed about life, Darwin likely would not have stretched his theory all the way to the origin of life; certainly his subsequent supporters would not have been able to gain such a strong foothold in the halls of academia.

While it is inarguable that evolution does occur within species, there is not enough evidence to conclusively prove evolution – a series of small steps of random mutations constantly weeding out bad designs and allowing more adequate designs to perpetuate life— as the ultimate source of life to begin with. However, the fact that the theory of evolution has huge problems when looked at using modern biochemistry has no affect on many modern day evolutionists and atheists who base their entire world view on faith in a theory that has never been proven and when actual science is applied, becomes highly incredulous.

After Darwin, one of the grand prophets of evolution of the past century is Stanley Miller. In his famous origin of life experiment, Miller mixed chemicals that were believed to be abundant in the earth’s early atmosphere—methane, ammonia, water vapor and hydrogen—in a flask, boiled them, added an electric spark and in a week produced an oily tar that amazingly had several kinds of amino acids in it. Amino acids are the building blocks of life, but are not alive by themselves. They are not DNA strands, cell bodies, or cellular mechanics. They do not catalyze or burn energy on their own and do not self-organize into complex machines that are required for cells to even work. The fact that Miller was able to create amino acids from scratch seemed amazing—enough for some atheists to use it as their rock of faith. However, given a closer look, the faith of evolution gets very shaky and when analyzed in the light of science and biochemistry, completely falls apart.

Biochemist Michael Behe wrote a book in the mid-1990s (reprinted and updated in 2006), entitled Darwin’s Black Box (ISBN 978-0-684-82754-4). The book is written from a biochemistry perspective, not religion, and raises some intriguing questions and challenges to Darwin’s treasured theory.

In Miller’s experiment, all that occurred was amino acids, the building blocks of life—but not life—were formed. The problem is, joining many amino acids together to form a protein with a useful biological activity is a much more difficult problem than forming amino acids in the first place. Behe writes, “The major problem in hooking amino acids together is that, chemically, it involves the removal of a molecule of water for each amino acid joined to the growing protein chain. Conversely, the presence of water strongly inhibits amino acids from forming proteins.” Since evolutionists claim all life originated in a prebiotic soup in the early earth’s oceans, they have a big problem explaining how amino acids so easily constructed by Miller’s experiment then went the next step and self-organized into proteins when water is so destructive to the process.”

DNA is the blueprint for all living cells. It is a highly complex and specific string comprised of a carbohydrate connected to one of four primary amino acids—adenine (A), guanine (G), cytidine (C), and uracil (U)/thymine (T) (it’s uracil if the carbohydrate is ribose or thymine if the carbohydrate is deoxyribose). In just one of those acids, adenine, a complex building block called AMP is formed. Using a highly regulated 13 step process, AMP uses twelve enzymes, five molecules of ATP to provide the energy for the process, one molecule of GTP, one molecule of carbon dioxide, two molecules of glutamine, a molecule of glycine, and two formyl groups from THF at separate steps. All thirteen steps occur to produce just one kind of molecule. Behe points out that “Origin of life workers have never demonstrated that the intermediates in the synthesis of AMP either would have or even could have existed in a prebiotic soup, let alone sophisticated enzymes for interconverting the intermediates.”

Evolutionists, clinging to their sinking origin of life theory, then developed a “protenoids” theory where proteins somehow magically formed outside of water and somehow evolved into proteins in order for life to originate. However, as Behe explains, “Other researchers have proposed some other ways whereby amino acids might join to give proteins. All suffer more or less from the problems that plague protenoids, and none has attracted much support from the scientific community.”

Behe compares the Miller experiment and the subsequent extrapolation to life originating to that of a baker claiming that a chocolate cake can mix and bake itself by purely natural processes; “Suppose a famous chef said that random natural processes could produce a chocolate cake. In his effort to prove it, we would not begrudge him taking whole plants—including wheat, cacao, and sugar cane—and placing them near a hot spring, in the hope that the heated water would extract the right materials and cook them. But we would become a little wary if the chef bought refined flour, cocoa, and sugar at the store, saying that he didn’t have time to wait for the hot water to extract the components from the plants. We would shake our heads if he then switched his experiment from a hot spring to an electric oven, to ‘speed things up.’ And we would walk away if he then measured the amounts of the components carefully, mixed them in a bowl, placed them in a pan, and baked them in his oven. The results would have nothing to do with his original idea that natural processes could produce a cake.”

Yet that is what many atheists and evolutionists do to prove life originated by random chance with no intelligence, or God to order it. They concoct experiments, carefully measure and organize their components then say they have proof that life originated all by itself from random processes—all the while completely ignoring the fact that their own intelligence and guidance was involved in the organization of the chemicals in the first place.

It is interesting to note that with all their brain power and all their modern science, evolutionists and atheists have continually failed to produce a single living thing after all their mixing, sparking and boiling. Now, if their theory were true—and life continually evolves from non-living components, we should be surrounded by “half-baked” organisms that are still on their way to becoming alive. Nobody has ever produced a single example of such an organism, however, so their belief in self-organization remains a religious faith that they believe has to be true because the alternative—a superior, intelligent designer—simply will not fit into their preconceived version of what they want the world and the universe to be.

Editor's note:  The biochemistry rebuttal to evolution as the origin of life is extensive and can not be covered completely in a brief editorial.  Those interested in learning more are encouraged to read Michael Behe's book, Darwin's Black Box for a more thorough treatment of the subject.  The book is available at all major book retail outlets.


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