Stanley Miller Urey Experiment

Chemicals somehow got together and made living things, this is often called spontaneous generation. There have been some enormous problems faced in trying to get a group of chemicals to come to life. A few years ago, Stanley Miller did a famous experiment. He took some simple materials – some methane, some ammonia, some water vapor, introduced an electric spark to simulate lightning flashing back and forth in the atmosphere of the ancient earth. In just a week you got amino acids, the building blocks of protein. That was hailed as almost making life in a test tube. That was one I used when I used to teach evolution but I took a look at the rest of the evidence and there are three problems with that brilliant experiment.

1. He had the wrong starting materials. 2. He used the wrong conditions. 3. He got the wrong results. Other than that, it was a brilliant experiment.

The Miller experiment assumed an atmosphere of methane and ammonia, gases that could not have been present in large amounts because the ammonia would be decomposed by ultraviolet light and methane should be found stuck to ancient sedimentary clays but it is not. Miller also left out oxygen because he knew that oxygen would destroy the very molecules he was trying to produce, but as deep as we dig, we find oxidized rocks suggesting an oxygen-rich atmosphere. The earth did not have a reducing atmosphere – an atmosphere of methane ammonia and hydrogen – that was suggested in Stanley Miller experiment. The earth never had such an atmosphere. The geology is now clear and there is good evidence that the earth has always had oxygen in its atmosphere now. That would absolutely preclude any evolutionary origin of life.

Miller also used the wrong conditions. He used an electric spark to combine the gas molecules. The problem is that the same spark that puts amino acids together also tears them apart and it’s much better at destroying them than making them. The problem was the chemicals put together the amino acids in the flask, but the amino acids would also be torn apart by the very spark that put them together. Miller knew that as a biochemist and so he circulated the gases, trapped out the molecules he wanted using a well-known biochemist trick, but that would be cheating because you were supposed to say this is how life arose before there was any intelligent design to preserve these molecules from that destructive force. 

He got the wrong results. The main product of the Miller experiment was tar, a nuisance in organic reactions. Trace amounts of several amino acids that make up the proteins in living things were also produced. The problem is that Miller’s experiment produced both left-handed and right-handed amino acids. Only left-handed amino acids make up the proteins of life and just one right-handed molecule prevents their production. What Miller actually produced was a poisonous brew that would destroy any hope for the chemical evolution of life. You might say “If what I’ve just said is true, what about all the evolutionists that believe in this?” There was a time I was at a debate at San Diego State University. I was just in the audience but two friends of mine Dr Henry Morris and Dr Duane Gish were doing the debate for the creationists. At the end, someone in the audience noted “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re privileged this evening. We have in our audience Dr Stanley Miller.” Gish had explained why Miller’s experiment would not produce life from non-life and so the person asked Dr Miller “Would you like to respond to what Dr Gish said about your experiments for chemical evolution?” and Dr Miller said “No.” He hasn’t believed in that for decades. He knows all of those same problems. 

Any theory on the origin of life on the earth or any other planet is a fairy tale. Evolution teaches that energy such as lightning or heat plus matter can occasionally create new life. Yet our entire food industry rests on the fact that this can never happen. If we examine a jar of peanut butter, it contains matter and is exposed to light and heat but we never find new life inside, unless an outside life contaminates it. If the theory of evolution was viable, then I should occasionally, by subjecting this to energy, end up having new life. We go down to the store and if I open this jar of peanut butter, maybe not often but on some occasion, I should find new life inside. When we open the jar of peanut butter, we look in there, there’s no new life and aren’t you glad? You and I conduct collectively over a billion experiments every year and we’ve done that for virtually a hundred years and we never encounter new life. In fact, the entire food industry of the world depends on the fact that evolution doesn’t happen.

The case for chemical evolution only weakens when we consider that long chains of specific amino acids all in exactly the right position are required to form the proteins of life. Even worse, amino acids do not naturally link up to form proteins but rather tend to break down. Proteins can be two or three thousand amino acids long, very long complex chemicals, and they’re very much like a computer program. Every amino acid has to be in exactly the right position. If one of them is wrong, then the whole protein is useless, just like a computer program. 

The improbabilities buried in Darwinism start right at the very beginning. Even before life began, how did the first protein molecule come about? There’s been quite a bit of work done on this: to investigate the probability of it. Work both by information theory technologists and also by molecular biologists actually tinkering with proteins to see whether or not they can be taken to pieces and reassembled. The work of both groups has found that the probability of a protein of this sort of size that you find in the human body coming about by chance is so great as to be virtually impossible. It’s something which is possible if you have eternity at your disposal but Darwinists just don’t have eternity at their disposal.

Information theory scientist Hubert Yockey calculated and MIT biologist Robert Sauer confirmed that the probability that a protein containing just 100 amino acids would form spontaneously is less than one chance in 10 to the 65th power, an event so improbable that it could be compared to winning the state lottery by finding the winning ticket in the street and then continuing to find the winning ticket in the street every week for a thousand years. The origin of the very first life out of ordinary complex chemicals is so large that no evolutionist has ever been able to overcome it. It is one of the biggest barriers to the theory of evolution that I know. 

Even if proteins miraculously formed, we still are not close to producing life. The simplest living cells require thousands of specialized proteins in order to function. A number of scientists have tried to calculate the probability of life arising by chance. Sir Fred Hoyle, a British mathematician using a supercomputer in the assistance of graduate students estimated only the origin of the proteins of an amoeba, two thousand of them, arising by chance. He estimated that the probability that the proteins of an amoeba could arise by chance is one chance in 10 to the 40,000 power. A probability of one chance in 10 to the 40 000 power is absurdly small. To illustrate this, consider the probability of snatching a particular atom out of the entire universe is one chance in 10 to the 80th power. After making this calculation, British mathematician Sir Frederick Hoyle stated: the likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40 000 zeros after it. It is enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup neither on this planet nor any other. And if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.