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Abiogenesis and the Scientific Method

16 Aug

After the death of Stanley Miller in 2007, the vials, holding the remains of his famous Miller-Urey experiment on the origin of life in 1953, were willed to his student and colleague, Dr. Jeffrey Bada of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. Dr. Bada and Adam Johnson, a graduate student at Indiana University, reexamined Miller’s vials and found trace amounts of additional amino acids. The optimism resulting from the reanalysis, however, was far from realistic.

Scientific Method[1]

Miller-Urey Experiment (1953)

Bada-Johnson Experiment (2008)

  1. Observe the data under consideration
Observed the complexity of living species. Observed the complexity of living species.
  1. Propose a hypothesis
Concluded all life has a common ancestor, arising from a primordial soup. [natural cause] Concluded all life has a common ancestor, arising from a primordial soup. [natural cause]
  1. Conduct an experiment to test the hypothesis.
Miller-Urey experiment produces 2 different amino acids in red goo which is comprised of 85 % tar, 13% carboxylic acid (both toxic to life) and 2% amino acids. Using Miller’s vials holding the original results of his 1953 experiment, Bada reanalyzed the mixture and found 23 amino acids, 10 of which are used in life forms (20 are needed).
  1. Analyze the result and determine if the hypothesis is correct or incorrect
Analysis proves the hypothesis is incorrect. Life could not arise by itself. The reanalysis still shows life could not have arisen naturally. The hypothesis is incorrect.
  1. If necessary, return to step #2 and begin again.
Image from Google Images

Image from Google Images

Why couldn’t life have arisen naturally, since 10 amino acids in at least trace amounts were found in the goo resulting from the experiment? There are several reasons why the optimism expressed over the results is premature, and, by the way, “the researchers have since discontinued the testing.”[2] Why would they do that, if the experiment was so promising? In any case, only trace amounts of additional amino acids were found in the goo, and over half of them were not the right kind of amines used to produce a single protein. Secondly, oxygen would destroy non-living organic molecules like those produced in the Miller-Urey laboratory. Oxygen is absolutely essential to living matter, but it destroys the “building blocks” of life faster than they can be produced. Therefore, it had been postulated that the ancient earth had an atmosphere that had no oxygen. Yet, even the most ancient rocks on the earth have oxygen in them, proving beyond doubt that our atmosphere always had a rich supply of free oxygen. Nevertheless, even if we allow this to be so, this would mean that the earth had no ozone layer filtering out damaging ultraviolet rays from the sun, which would destroy the ammonia gases necessary for amino acids to develop naturally out of a primordial soup. In other words, the naturalists are in a ‘catch-22” position. Without oxygen, the ammonia gas necessary to produce the amino acids would be destroyed by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, but if there is an abundance of oxygen, the new amino acids would be destroyed faster than they could be produced! Thus, the Miller-Urey experiment is exposed for what it truly is: a failed but intelligent work done logically under controlled conditions. How does this point to anything arising out of random chance?


[1] Compare this with “Scientific Method Steps

[2] See “The Miller-Urey Experiment” under “Recent Related Studies” conducted by Professor Jeffery Bada, found HERE.

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Posted by on August 16, 2013 in naturalism, theory of evolution

 

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