Stanley Miller's experimental setup.
Research into the origin of life to which evolutionists attach the greatest esteem is the Miller experiment, carried out by the American researcher Stanley Miller in 1953. (The experiment is also known as the Urey-Miller Experiment, due to the contribution made by Miller's Chicago University supervisor Harold Urey.)
Miller's aim was to establish an experimental environment to show that amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, could have formed by chance in the lifeless world of billions of years ago.
In his experiment, Miller used a combination of gasses that he assumed had existed in the Earth's primordial atmosphere (but which were later determined not to have existed in it), such as ammonia, methane, hydrogen and water vapor. Since under normal conditions, these gasses would not enter into reactions with one another, he added energy from the outside. The energy-which he thought might have stemmed from lightning in the primitive atmosphere-he provided by means of an artificial electrical charge.
Miller heated this mixture of gasses at 100°C for a week, while also providing an electrical current. At the end of the week, Miller measured the chemicals in the mixture at the bottom of the jar and observed that he had synthesized three of the 20 amino acids constituting the building blocks of proteins.
The result of the experiment caused great joy among evolutionists and was announced as a great success. Indeed, some publications went so far as to produce headlines reading "Miller Creates Life." Yet all that he had actually synthesized was a few inanimate molecules.
With the courage they took from this experiment, evolutionists immediately produced new scenarios. There was immediate speculation about the stages that must have taken place after the amino acids' formation. According to the scenario, these came together in the appropriate order as the result of chance, and gave rise to proteins. Some of these proteins, the work of still more random coincidences, installed themselves inside structures resembling cell membranes-which also came into being in some way, and thus gave rise to the cell. Cells gradually lined up alongside one another and gave rise to living organisms.
The Miller experiment-the basis for this scenario, not one single stage of which is backed up by any evidence at all-was nothing more than a deception, whose invalidity in all regards was subsequently proven.
The artificial atmosphere created by Miller in his experiment bore no resemblance to that of the primordial Earth. For that reason, the experiment was regarded as invalid by the scientific world.
The experiment performed by Miller to prove that amino acids could give rise to living organisms under the conditions of the primordial Earth is invalid in several regards:
1. Miller used a mechanism known as the cold trap to isolate amino acids at the moment they formed. Otherwise, the very conditions in which the amino acids formed would have immediately destroyed them.
However, there was no such conscious arrangement in the primordial world atmosphere. Even if any amino acid had formed in the absence of any mechanism, that molecule would have been broken down under the conditions at the time. As the chemist Richard Bliss has stated, "Without this cold trap, the chemical products would be destroyed by the [experiment's] energy source (electrical sparking)."43
2. The primordial atmosphere that Miller attempted to replicate in his experiment was not realistic. In 1982, scientists agreed that instead of methane and ammonia in the primitive atmosphere, there must have been nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Indeed, after a long silence, Miller himself admitted that the primitive atmosphere model he'd used was not realistic.44
The American scientists J.P. Ferris and C.T. Chen repeated Miller's experiment, using a mixture of carbon dioxide, hydrogen, nitrogen and water vapor, but failed to obtain even a single amino acid molecule.45
3. Another important point invalidates the Miller experiment: At the time when the amino acids were suggested to have formed, there was so much oxygen in the atmosphere that it would have destroyed any amino acids present. This important fact that Miller ignored was determined by means of uranium and oxidized iron deposits in rocks estimated to be around 3 billion years old.46
Other findings later emerged to show that the level of oxygen in that period was far higher than that claimed by evolutionists. And research showed that the level of ultraviolet rays reaching the Earth's surface was 10,000 times higher than evolutionists' estimates. That intense level would inevitably have given rise to oxygen by breaking down atmospheric water vapor and carbon dioxide.
This completely discredited the Miller experiment, which was carried out without considering oxygen. Had oxygen been used in the experiment, then the methane would have transformed into carbon dioxide and water, and the ammonia into nitrogen and water. On the other hand, in an atmosphere with no oxygen-since no ozone layer had yet formed-the amino acids would have been directly exposed to ultraviolet rays and been immediately broken down. At the end of the day, the presence or absence of oxygen in the primordial atmosphere would still make for an environment deadly for amino acids.
4. At the end of the Miller experiment, a large quantity of organic acids also formed whose characteristics were damaging to the structures and functions of living things. In the event that amino acids are not isolated but are left together in the same environment as these chemical substances, they will inevitably react with them and form new compounds.
In addition, at the end of the experiment, a high level of right-handed amino acids also emerged.107(See Right-Handed Amino Acids.) The presence of these amino acids totally undermined the premise of evolution by means of its own logic. Right-handed amino acids are not used in living structures. Finally, the environment in which amino acids emerged in the experiment was not suited to life; but on the contrary, was a mixture that would have broken down and oxidized useful molecules.
All this points to the concrete fact that Miller's experiment -a conscious, controlled laboratory study aimed at synthesizing amino acids-does not prove that life could have emerged by chance under primordial world conditions. The types and levels of the gasses he used were determined at the ideal levels for amino acids to be able to form. The level of energy supplied was carefully regulated, neither too much nor too little, to ensure that the desired reactions would take place.
The experimental apparatus isolated so as not to harbor any element that might be harmful, or prevent the emergence of amino acids. No element, mineral or compound present in the primeval world that might have altered the course of the reactions was included in the experimental apparatus. Oxygen that would hinder the formation of amino acids is just one of these elements. Therefore, in the absence of the cold trap mechanism, even under those ideal laboratory conditions, amino acids could not have survived without being broken down.
With the Miller experiment, evolutionists actually invalidated evolution by their own efforts. Because the experiment demonstrated that amino acids could be obtained only in specially arranged laboratory conditions and with conscious intervention. In other words, the force giving rise to life is creation, not random coincidences.
The reason why evolutionists refuse to accept this stems from their preconceptions. Harold Urey, who organized the experiment together with his student Stanley Miller, made this admission:
All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel it is too complex to have evolved anywhere. We all believe as an article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It is just that its complexity is so great, it is hard for us to imagine that it did.48
This experiment is the sole proof that supposedly verifies the molecular evolution suggested as the first stage of the evolutionary process. Although half a century has gone by since, and great technological advances have been made, no new progress has been made on the subject. The Miller experiment is still taught in schoolbooks as an explanation of the first emergence of life. Evolutionists, aware that such endeavors will refute their claims rather than supporting them, carefully avoid embarking on any other such experiments.
43. Richard B. Bliss, Gary E. Parker, Duane T. Gish, Origin of Life, California, 1979, pp. 14-15.
44. Stanley Miller, Molecular Evolution of Life: Current Status of the Prebiotic Synthesis of Small Molecules, 1986, p. 7.
45. J. P Ferris, C. T. Chen, "Photochemistry of Methane, Nitrogen, and Water Mixture As a Model for the Atmosphere of the Primitive Earth," Journal of American Chemical Society, Vol. 97:11, 1975, p. 2964
46. "New Evidence on Evolution of Early Atmosphere and Life," Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 63, November 1982, pp. 1328-1330.
47. Richard B. Bliss & Gary E. Parker, Duane T. Gish, Origin of Life, p. 16.
48. W. R. Bird, The Origin of Species Revisited, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Co., 1991, p. 325.