Also Available in:

Darwin’s abiogenesis

Lies for public consumption


In my university education1 I noticed a big difference between the theory of evolution as presented to the masses, compared to how it is taught in academia. In university courses the shortcomings of evolution may be mentioned, but it is presented to the public as if we know almost everything there is to know about it—particularly regarding the origin of life from non-life, also known as ‘abiogenesis’ or ‘chemical evolution’. It is presented as if all things have fallen into place like in a well-crafted puzzle.

CC BY-SA 4.0Origin_of_life_stages
Alleged stages in the origin of life from chemicals.

A BBC article strengthened this observation. The author wrote about Charles Darwin as follows:

“In a hasty letter to a friend, he put forward an idea about how the first life might have formed. Some 150 years later, that letter looks remarkably prescient—maybe even prophetic.”2

What scientific discoveries in the past 150 years warranted the author to write such words? After calling Darwin’s letter “prescient” and even “prophetic” you would expect the article to mention outstanding scientific research that virtually eliminates any doubt about life arising from inanimate matter, without the intervention of an intelligent designer.

Rehashing tired old ideas


However, it just rehashes some of last century’s abiogenesis theories, including Alexander Oparin’s ‘primordial soup’ (1920s), and Stanley Miller’s experiment (1950s) claiming to show the formation of some amino acids for this primordial soup.3 There’s no mention about the mounting evidence that such a ‘primordial soup’ may not have ever existed, even according to secular scientists!4 The BBC article also mentions that “the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight can drive the formation of key biological chemicals”. But, my university course said that this same radiation readily destroys the newly-formed biological chemicals.

We won’t delve too deeply into the numerous problems with these theories, but we do encourage you to use our extensive online library at creation.com and search for ‘origin of life’, ‘abiogenesis’, ‘spontaneous generation’ , ‘chemical evolution’, or other related terms. See especially our ‘go-to’ article Origin of life. Nonetheless, be assured that the supposedly settled ‘origin of life by naturalistic causes’ is still plagued by insurmountable difficulties.5 One of them is that undirected chemistry cannot lead to life.

As the world-class chemist Dr James Tour points out, sometimes scientists manage to move chemical reactions two or three steps towards creating life, then they simply assume that such reactions in the past must have led to life.6 Yet they ignore the fact that, in nature, unlike in a laboratory, reactions are not stopped by a chemist as soon as the right ingredient is created! It is only through careful planning in the carefully-controlled laboratory environment that such experiments yield useful compounds. Nature offers just the opposite: no planning and no controls!

Ignoring the information hurdle

And chemical hurdles are not the biggest challenge facing the naturalistic creation of life from non-life. The main obstacle is surely the origin of the coded information we see in all living things. Listening to evolutionary propagandists, you’d think that the many scientific discoveries of past decades have all but removed any doubt that life could start by chance from non-life. However, the very opposite is true, especially when you think of our increased knowledge of the complexity and intricacy of the genome. From the ‘simplest’ bacteria, to the most complex multi-cellular organisms, the presence of coded information stored in genetic material (such as DNA) makes it nigh impossible to come up with an explanation for the origin of life that excludes the presence of an intelligent creator.

Enlil2 (CC BY 3.0)Codex_Hammurapi_Prologue
Inscriptions on a clay tablet are coded information, implying mind and intelligence (Clay table: Prologue of the code of Hammurabi, Louvre, AO10237).

For some reason, any mention of the astonishing problem of coded information in living things did not make its way into the above-mentioned BBC article. Yet this problem is not new. Back in 1999, world-famous physicist, author and evolutionist Paul Davies (not a Christian) conceded that, “There is no known law of physics able to create information from nothing.” Furthermore, he wrote, “How did stupid atoms spontaneously write their own software? Nobody knows.”7

Failing to see the irony

Imagine that archaeologists, digging into an earth mound, found a clay tablet with written inscriptions on it? They would never think of denying that it was a mind which produced that code, even if they didn’t understand it. If someone said, “Oh, this is nothing more than chance. We all know that when clay is soft, it’s easy to imprint shapes into it. Maybe a potter dropped a piece of clay, then he stepped on it with his boot and this is the imprint of his boot” they would be laughed out of court within academia (see also, The mysterious alien tablet).

The great irony is that clever scientists, ‘digging’ into the cell, have discovered encyclopedic amounts of information encoded in the DNA molecule, but they fail to draw the only sensible conclusion (as Stephen Meyer says):

“There isn’t a single example anywhere in the history of the universe in which information came from anything other than an intelligent source.”8

The masses will continue to be duped by ‘theory-tales’ of abiogenesis and evolution. Even so, we can safely conclude that both chemistry and information science refute all hypotheses of abiogenesis by purely naturalistic causes. So how Darwin’s letter could be “remarkably prescient—maybe even prophetic” is anyone’s guess. I deduce that the BBC article is designed to serve no other purpose than to promote the secular ‘faith’.

Reading magazines like Creation is a great way of immunising yourself against the harmful ‘pop-science’ falsehoods that assail people today. It also provides a nutritious and varied diet for the whole family. Read and share!

Published: 9 February 2023

References and notes 

  1. This was in software engineering with cell and molecular biology. Return to text.
  2. Marshal, M., Charles Darwin’s hunch about early life was probably right, bbc.com/future/article/20201110-charles-darwin-early-life-theory, 11 Nov 2020; accessed 31 Jan 2023. Return to text.
  3. Alexander Oparin (1894–1980) was a Russian biochemist, Stanley Miller (1930–2007) an American chemist. Return to text.
  4. Zurich, E., Uncovering mysteries of Earth’s primeval atmosphere 4.5 billion years ago and the emergence of life, scitechdaily.com/uncovering-mysteries-of-earths-primeval-atmosphere-4-5-billion-years-ago-and-the-emergence-of-life, 29 Nov 2020; accessed 31 Jan 2023. Return to text.
  5. See also Sarfati, J., The Origin of Life (chapter 3) in: Carter, R. (Ed.) et al., Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels, Creation Book Publishers, Power Springs, GA, 2014, pp. 79–111. Return to text.
  6. Tour, J., Dr James Tour speaking about evolution, youtu.be/TDPQEXa7S3I, 5 Feb 2018; accessed 31 Jan 2023. Return to text.
  7. Davies, P., Life force, New Scientist 163(2204):27–30, 18 September 1999. Return to text.
  8. Meyer, S., Signature in the Cell: Stephen Meyer faces his critics, pt. 1, 14 Feb 2014, youtu.be/eW6egHV6jAw; accessed 31 Jan 2023. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Evolution's Achilles' Heels
by Nine Ph.D. scientists
US $17.00
Soft cover
The Stairway to Life
by Change Laura Tan and Rob Stadler
US $12.00
Soft cover
Does Evolution Explain Everything About Life?
by Philip Bell & 10 Ph.D. scientists
US $7.00
Soft cover