Problem with energy and light.

As discussed very briefly in the paragraph regarding this experiments construction, energy also presents an enormous problem for Urey and Miller. Miller and Urey used a tungsten spark device to generate a 60,000 volt charge. This step is crucial in the experiment as this is truly the “jump start” moment of the hypothesis. This is a problem however if the suggestion is that lightning was the source of this energy. While it is true that lightning has been recorded at the voltages that Urey and Miller used, there are other problems associated with lightning that are not addressed. Heat. The heat generated in the air around a lightning strike soars up to 30,000 degrees Kelvin. That is 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That is three times hotter than the surface of our Sun. This temperature lies far outside the temperature zone that is tolerable by organic materials.

Another explanation for the source of energy is just that, our Sun. However, this still poses major problems for several different reasons. All energy sources can disrupt the protein formation process, including those forms necessary for abiogenesis such as lightning and Ultraviolet light (UV)15. UV light however is especially dangerous and highly toxic to life. It is so toxic in fact, that it is currently used in hospitals, and other environments where sterility is of high importance, to kill off microorganisms that could spread infection. The reason that it is so toxic to life is because the quantum levels of long wave radiation are present in great magnitudes over the short wave radiation. If you attempted to use UV light to create amino acids in a lab today, the result would be, 4 to 5 levels of magnitude greater destruction of those acids, than of their creation. Amino acids naturally break down in sunlight. Miller was required to filter out the wavelengths that would be destructive to amino acid creation, while simultaneously allowing other, beneficial wavelengths to pass through.



Questions for you.

Knowing that proteins and amino acids cannot survive temperatures greater than 122F (50C) and lower than 86F (30C), how do you propose that they survived the heat of a lightning strike which generates temperatures of up to 50,000F?

If naturally occurring sunlight has a greater concentration of long wave radiation than short wave radiation, where did the UV light come from that had the opposite configuration of more short wave radiation and less long wave radiation?

What was the filter in nature, that allowed the proper type of UV light to be administered, while blocking the wavelengths prohibitive to amino acid creation?

If UV light was the source of energy, how was it able to disperse evenly enough in the “waters of the primordial soup” so as to allow a perfect distribution of long and short wave radiation?


Problem With The Complexity Of Life.

This response paper up until now has dealt mainly with the formation of amino acids and proteins. Amino acids have been the focus because they were the attempted output of this experiment. Proteins have been addressed because they are the next step after the creation of amino acids. However, amino acids and proteins are not the only chemical precursors to life. There are a myriad of other chemical components necessary for biological life including but not limited to sugars, lipids, carbohydrates, metals, and phosphates. If anything, since the time of scientists like Darwin and Miller, our knowledge of the increasing complexity of microscopic processes has increased. With this increase in cellular observation has come less and less explanation, from naturalists and Darwinists, for how these incredible cellular and chemical machines could have evolved over time without all of their pieces in working order.

Problems With Information .

                The final problem that is encountered as a result of the claims of this experiment is information. It is true, that amino acids are a vital key in the chain of life. However, amino acids are rendered useless without information encoded onto Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) or Ribonucleic Acid (RNA). The problem is that the DNA and the RNA provide instructions for the sequences to turn amino acids into proteins. Information that cannot be accessed is useless.

15. – Williams, E.L., The evolution of complex organic compounds from simpler chemical compounds: is it thermodynamically and kinetically possible? CRSQ 4:30-35, 1967.

Problems with construction.

In order to make even non-functional proteins and amino acids, the conditions must be highly controlled and regulated. This is necessary because the same conditions that are needed to produce amino acids, also rapidly destroy proteins. Very few proteins can remain biologically active at temperatures above 50C or below 30C. Ph must also be strictly controlled as to much acid or base would adversely affect the ionic bonds used by salt bridges formed by proteins as well as the hydrogen bond between polar groups.

The assembly of amino acids also presents a problem for this experiment by way of polymerization. Amino acids are able to bond in many locations by many different kinds of chemical bonds. However, to form the polypeptide chain required for life, the bonds must be restricted to only peptide bonds and only in the correct, specific locations. In our cells, a complex checks and balances using enzymes is employed to prevent inappropriate bonds from forming. Without this enzyme check on polypeptide formation, the bonds produced would destroy the proteins.

The best summary of this problem comes from Science News: “No one has ever satisfactorily explained how the widely distributed ingredients linked up into proteins. Presumed conditions of primordial Earth would have driven the amino acids toward lonely isolation. That’s one of the strongest reasons that Wachtershauser, Morowitz, and other hydrothermal vent theorists want to move the kitchen (that cooked life) to the ocean floor. If the process starts down deep at discrete vents, they say, it can build amino acids – and link them up- right there.”13

Another problem with this hypothesis is the very real presence of water. In order for two adjacent amino acid molecules to link up, we need to completely remove all water molecules between them. The synthesis equation for two simple amino acid units looks like this:

HOOC – CHR1 – NH2 + HOOC – CHR2 – NH2 <= > HOOC CH R1 – NH – OC – CHR2 – NH2 + H2O

                This is what is known as an equilibrium reaction. Equilibrium reactions do not occur spontaneously and a yield of protein depends on the removal of al H2O. This is a problem, because in the scenario envisioned by evolutionists, the ocean and its geothermal vents play an integral role in the creation of life. Now since this is an equilibrium equation, we may use equilibrium calculations to solve it. If, for example, we used a protein containing just 100 amino acids (comparatively small), the equation would look like this:

K = (protein) / (a.a)100 = 10-36

                        If we used all nitrogen in the atmosphere to produce the maximum amount of protein using this equation, the resulting concentration of protein would be around 10-106 In other words, the yield of polypeptides from amino acids is insignificant.

The structure of the protein molecule presents problems for this experiment as well. The protein molecule is composed of 20 amino acids joined together in a chain. The chain is what is known as the primary structure of a protein. Once it twists into a helix, the helix is known as the secondary structure of a protein. The helix will then fold over on itself. This is what is known as the tertiary structure of a protein. Interesting to note is that there are over 100 million different ways to fold into the tertiary structure, yet only one of them is biologically active.

The tertiary structure of a protein is highly dependent upon its primary structure. If just one of the amino acids is in the wrong place, the structure will make an incorrect fold and can lose some or all of its functionality and purpose. When people get diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia, it is actually the changing of the tertiary structure of the hemoglobin molecule.

Questions for you

Miller controlled the Ph in his experiment by tightly controlling it. What was this control in nature?

What was the mechanism that controlled the protein as it changed from the secondary into the tertiarty structure?

How does it achieve the 1 in 100 million odds of correct formation? Where is the proof of this information source?

What is the mechanism in nature that tightly controlled the formation of the polypeptide chain required for life?

Even if correct amino acids were formed and proteins created, wouldn’t they have been subsequently destroyed without the presence of a complex enzyme control system to insure that inappropriate peptide bonds do not occur?


Problems with cross reaction.

Miller realized that cross reactions between ingredients would possibly doom his experiment. He was required to therefore remove any contaminants or impurities that could destroy either the amino acid formation process, or that of the protein formation process. Because he did this, Miller obtained pure compounds that are not normally found in life.

Ethanol and Isopropyl alcohol function as disinfectants by forming their own hydrogen bonds with a protein. As a result of this bond, the proteins’ hydrophobic interactions are disrupted.14 The alcohol in the cleaner passes through the cell walls and coagulates the proteins inside bacteria. So, all alcohols would also need to be isolated in order to prevent cross reaction. Metals must also be separated away from the reaction as ionic heavy metals such as silver, lead, and mercury disrupt the proteins disulfide bonds causing the protein to denature.

Miller and Urey were also required to use a sugar free environment because sugars react strongly with amino acids and can affect amino acid synthesis. The major problem with that however is that sugars are required for life

Questions for you

How were the early ingredients speculated, able to remain separate from the ingredients that would damage their own reactions?

What was the isolating force that eliminated contaminates in order to allow amino acid production and protein production to occur?

How was alcohol eliminated in the “primordial soup” so as to prevent the breakdown of the proteins (had they even had the chance of forming)?

How were ionic heavy metal molecules isolated, so as prevent the denaturing of the disulfide bonds in proteins?

13. – Simpson, S., Life’s first scalding steps, Science News 155(2):24-26, 1999, p. 26

14. – Lahav, ref. 21, p. 50.


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