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EVOLUTIONISTS’ "PRIMORDIAL SOUP" THEORY BEING REPLACED

By Stephen Caesar

For nearly a century, evolutionists have been claiming, with dogmatic certainty, that the first life on earth appeared in a "primordial soup" consisting of water loaded with chemicals necessary for the start of life. This "warm little pond" was believed to have been struck by an electrical discharge (most likely from lightning) which caused the chemicals to form complex protein molecules, which eventually brought forth life. From this first life, evolutionists postulate, all other life evolved.

In 1953, the promoters of this "primordial soup" theory thought they had found proof when Stanley L. Miller, a graduate student at the University of Chicago, constructed an apparatus that supposedly re-created those early conditions. He circulated steam through a mixture of ammonia, methane, and hydrogen, and then sent a high-energy electrical spark through the mixture, in imitation of the hypothesized lightning bolt. He continued to do this for the span of one week, after which time his mixture became red and murky. It was found to contain complex amino acids — the essential building blocks of life. (1)Numerous similar tests were carried out by other scientists after Miller’s experiment. Prof. A. Lee McAlester of Yale writes of them:

These studies have led scientists to visualize a time early in Earth history when the surface was covered with oceans or lakes that were rich in non-biologically produced molecules fundamental to life. The waters of these oceans or lakes have been often described as a ‘dilute organic soup,’ a concept first developed in the 1920’s and 1930’s by the English biologist J. B. S. Haldane and the Russian biochemist A. I. Oparin, pioneer workers on the origin of life. In the great burst of interest following Miller’s experiment, the ideas of Haldane and Oparin have been greatly expanded, and a number of speculative hypotheses now attempt to explain the development of the first self-duplicating organisms from the nonliving building blocks of the early organic soup. (2)This theory has been sold to students, academics, and the general public as if it were infallible truth. However, there have been major problems with it. The first is that the presence of a scientist like Miller (who is now at the University of California, San Diego) is necessary to set up the system and add the external energy needed for the appearance of life. In other words, an outside Intelligent Designer, with a specific purpose in mind (i.e., the creation of life on a lifeless planet), is required for the theory to work. Miller’s experiment, then, did not disprove the need for a Creator; rather, it demonstrated that a Creator was precisely what was needed to "get things going."Second, this scenario, as postulated by Haldane and Oparin and supposedly "proved" by Miller, cannot be proven by the fossil record. Prof. McAlester notes that we will never find evidence of this imagined "soup." The first simple organisms that hypothetically formed in this soup had to draw sustenance from the soup itself. "In other words," he notes, "they must have ‘eaten’ the organic soup from which they arose," thus causing the soup itself to disappear. (3) He then admits:

Unfortunately, there is little likelihood that direct evidence of the nature of the earliest life on Earth will ever be found. Deformation and erosion of the crust have almost certainly destroyed any early rocks that might have contained traces of the original soup or of the primitive organisms that developed from it. (4) [italics original]

A third problem is the statistical improbability of Miller’s scenario every having arisen by pure chance. The New York Times, in an article reporting on the possible debunking of the "soup" theory, commented that

it has proved very hard to take Dr. Miller’s classic experiments much further. The problem is that a pinch of chemicals in watery solution do not bump into one another often enough to create the more complicated molecules of life. (5)Fourth, recent discoveries have induced many scientists to discard, or at least greatly question, Miller’s theory of the "warm little pond" in favor of a deep-sea, volcanic origin of the first life. The same New York Times article quoted above reported:

The idea that life on earth began in the furnace-like temperatures of a volcanic environment has received support from an experiment designed to reconstruct the chemical events that may have led to the first living cells.

The experiment, reported in today’s [July 31, 1998] issue of the journal Science, shows that peptides, short protein chains, can form naturally under conditions that might plausibly have existed on the early earth.... (6)The leading scientist behind this new theory is Dr. Günther Wächtershäuser, a German organic chemist. He and his colleague, Dr. Claudia Huber of the Munich Technical University, have postulated that the first protein chains necessary for life formed not on the surface of the earth, in Miller’s "warm little pond," but at the bottom of the ocean, in the super-hot environment of undersea volcanoes. In a series of experiments, Wächtershäuser and Huber showed that carbon-based chemicals could be formed from iron ore, nickel, and the gases that are emitted from underwater volcanoes. (7)Leading scientists in America have voiced their support for the two Germans’ theory and correspondent experiments. Dr. Carl R. Woese, a microbiologist at the University of Illinois, referred to their findings as "another step in the grand march," while Dr. Norman Pace of the University of California at Berkeley, an expert on the origins of life, said, "I think the milieu of a geothermal environment is far superior to the sparking bottles of Stanley Miller." (8)Regardless of whether Dr. Wächtershäuser is proven correct or not, one significant fact remains: Miller’s "primordial soup" theory, for so long presented as practically undeniable fact, is falling apart. This is typical of the entire evolutionary scheme — it is essentially a shadowy, unprovable theory that is portrayed in textbooks and media articles as incontrovertible truth, despite the enormous doubts harbored by scientists as to its veracity. The theory of evolution, rather than being monolithic, infallible truth, is really a jumble of conflicting and ever-changing sub-theories, as the Miller-Wächtershäuser controversy demonstrates. For decades, Miller’s theory was presented as fact; now, it’s being unraveled. For how many decades will Wächtershäuser’s theory be portrayed as infallible truth before it, too, is rejected?References:

1. A. Lee McAlester, The History of Life (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1968), 7-8.

2. Ibid., 8.

3. Ibid., 9.

4. Ibid., 10.

5. Peter T. Kilborn, "Data Back Idea That Life Grew Out of Inferno," New York Times, 31 July 1998, A14.

6. Ibid., A1.

7. Ibid., A14.

8. Ibid., A1, A14.

 

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