Hasn't Life Been Created in the Laboratory? | The Institute for Creation Research

Hasn't Life Been Created in the Laboratory?

"O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all:
the earth is full of thy riches."
(Psalm 104:24)

It's in all the textbooks. Every high school biology student is exposed to it. It's taught as if it were fact and "that all scientists agree." It's thought to be "proof" of evolution and yet—is it really true?

According to strict naturalistic evolution, life sprung from non-living chemicals on at least one occasion in Earth's past. It doesn't happen today because the atmospheric conditions are all wrong for life to form, but conditions must have been different in the past in just the right way for complex organic (i.e., carbon-based) molecules to come together.

Today's atmosphere contains abundant free oxygen (02), and this oxygen is absolutely essential for life's functions. Our lungs deliver oxygen to the blood where it traverses the body, reaching all of our 75 trillion cells. Furthermore, as O3, it comprises the ozone layer which protects all of life from destructive cosmic radiation.

But while oxygen is essential for life's continuance, oxygen destroys non-living organic molecules (the building blocks of life) at a much faster rate than they could possibly form. Thus, it is assumed in origin-of-life scenarios, that Earth's early atmosphere was a "reducing" atmosphere with no free oxygen ("oxidizing").

In 1953, University of Chicago graduate student, Stanley Miller, working with Nobel Prize Laureate Harold Urey, simulated what they proposed was the make-up of the early atmosphere in a brilliantly conceived laboratory experiment. This "reducing" atmosphere contained hydrogen (H), methane (H+C), ammonia (H+N), and water vapor (H+O), but no free oxygen. By sending an electric spark (simulating lightning) through the mixture they succeeded in producing some simple amino acids, the building blocks of life and other organic compounds, and claimed a great triumph for evolution. This concept continues to be propagated today in "every" textbook and is used in support of the evolutionary, naturalistic way of thinking.

But now with more knowledge it has become abundantly clear that Earth's atmosphere has always had free oxygen. Water vapor readily breaks down into hydrogen and oxygen. Furthermore, we find oxidized minerals in rocks of every supposed age. Cells, whose ancestors are thought to have pre-dated the evolution of photosynthesis, likewise contain evidence that they lived in the presence of oxygen.

There are other problems with the experiment as well. The amino acid mixture produced contained only a few of the many necessary for even "simple" life, but many not used by any life. All amino acids were of both left and right-handed varieties, while life uses only left handed. Since the spark which formed the amino acids would much more readily have destroyed them, they had to be purposely removed from the system in a trap, thus concentrated in a manner most unnatural. Furthermore, such molecules could not have been stable without an ozone shield surrounding Earth.

Let's review. The experiment had the wrong starting conditions. It employed the wrong methods. It yielded the wrong products. Other than that, it was a wonderful experiment!

Cite this article: John D. Morris, Ph.D. 2001. Hasn't Life Been Created in the Laboratory?. Acts & Facts. 30 (8).

The Latest
NEWS
Remembering Patti Morse
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from...

CREATION PODCAST
What Happened with Washington's Violent Volcano? | The Creation...
How did a 1980 volcanic eruption change our understanding of geology? What impact did this event have on the age assignments of sediments? Join us for...

NEWS
Fossil Insect Predation Shows No Evidence of Evolution
Some recent science news stories have come out describing fossils of insects feeding on plants supposedly many “millions of years ago.” What...

NEWS
Adaptive Genetic and Epigenetic Changes in Plants
Being sedentary organisms, plants are essentially stuck where they are planted and need to dynamically adapt to the conditions around them to not only...

NEWS
Dr. Tim Clarey Awarded Adjunct Professor of the Year
Congratulations to ICR Research Scientist and geologist Dr. Tim Clarey! He received the Adjunct Professor of the Year award from King’s University,...

NEWS
Mars Rover Records Dramatic Solar Eclipse
NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover has filmed the Martian satellite (or moon) Phobos eclipsing the sun, and this short but impressive video may be viewed...

CREATION PODCAST
Darwin or Design? CET Pt. 2 | The Creation Podcast: Episode 22
How does design provide a better explanation for biological functions and adaptations than natural selection? And how can engineering principles help...

NEWS
Resurrecting “Ancient” Enzymes?
The most abundant protein on Earth is probably an enzyme (biological catalyst) called RuBisCO (or Rubisco) designed by the Creator to function in photosynthesis.1...

NEWS
Inside May-June 2022 Acts & Facts
How can Christians stand up to scientific elitism? What does the plant fossil record in Iceland tell us about the global Flood? Does a new bacterium...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Grand Canyon
by Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation...