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Creation 30(4):31, September 2008

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Tinned sardines—clue to the origin of life?

by Gordon Howard

Tinned sardines—clue to the origin of life ?

Tinned sardines—I just love ’em! Sardines in tomato sauce (ketchup) on fresh, warm toast—the thought makes my mouth water.Smiling face

Even opening the tin is exciting. What if, one day, one of the sardines begins to flop around, anxious to get back in the sea? But these sardines are dead. Maybe, instead, there could be just a little bit of green fuzz that has come to life on my sardines. Wouldn’t that be a blast! Well, no. I think I would be rushing to the shop for my money back, and sending a letter of complaint to the manufacturer: ‘Your sterilization techniques aren’t working. My sardines are contaminated with life.’

We could be hopeful about something coming to life in my sardine tin, because those who say life began by itself tell us ‘less educated’ persons that life could have begun in a ‘primordial soup’ with only about 10% ‘pre-biotic matter’. Now my tin of sardines has almost 100% ‘pre-biotic matter’ (well, ‘post-biotic matter’, since they’re dead), but I never see any signs of life.

Surely, if life can begin by itself, it should happen in a sardine tin. Not only is there all that’s needed by way of the building blocks for proteins, DNA, and all that stuff, but also these are already organized into cells, and all the paraphernalia of living things, all packaged and ready to go. Seems to me a better deal than the wild conditions in a swirling ocean, or even in Charles Darwin’s ‘warm little pond’, with nothing but chemicals floating around.1

Why doesn’t it happen? Evolutionists keep telling us that things keep going on the same for millions of years—that natural processes are all that causes anything. If that is true, life should be popping up afresh all around us. But it doesn’t.

So you’d think they would realize by now: life only comes from life. This experiment (does life arise in sardine tins?) has been conducted millions of times a day for a hundred years or more—with absolutely no evidence of life. It’s time to give up! Evolutionists talk about a ‘primordial soup’ that got it going, but surely tomato soup would be better, even though it uses dead tomatoes—at least they were alive. Now, I’ve never seen a ‘primordial’, and I’ve never come across a recipe for primordial soup, but I’m sure there’s less chance of a ‘primordial’ jumping out of primordial soup than there is of a tomato growing out of tomato soup.

And it doesn’t seem to matter how long we leave the sardines (or the soup) in the tins. A million years or so would only allow the good stuff in the tin to deteriorate, so its chances of producing life would only get worse.2 The same surely would have happened millions of years ago.

Seems to me that the only source of life at the beginning of the universe was someone who has life within himself—a supernatural superhero. The God of Heaven. That’s a logical conclusion.

So, next time someone tries to tell you that life began by itself from chemicals, without God, talk about the tin of sardines. Also suggest that he have a look at the real explanation for the beginning of life, in the beginning of the Bible. Maybe even read it yourself. And while you’re reading, enjoy some delicious sardines on toast.

References and notes

  1. The heating of the sardines during processing denatures proteins. This upsets their structure, but the amino acids are still present. Membranes are also disrupted, but the ingredients are still there, and much of the structure. The sardines have far more of the ingredients necessary for life than any conceivable warm pond. For some of the problems with life arising by itself, see: Demick, D., Life from life … or not? Creation 23(1):36–41, 2000; <creation.com/abio>. Return to text.
  2. Amino acids come in two forms; mirror images of each other, like right and left hands, so this is called handedness. Life is based on left-handed amino acids. With time, amino acids lose their purity of handedness; they racemise. This then makes the origin of life an even bigger problem, because life requires purity. See Sarfati, J., Origin of life: the chirality problem, Journal of Creation 12(3):263–266, 1998; <creation.com/chirality>. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

Rick L.
It's all about probability if you subscribe to the soup theory. Your one tin of sardines is probably not going to spring to life. I think that the evolutionists say that it would have to be in the right conditions at the right time and that repeated chances over millenia could produce life.

But you got me thinking of an even better argument. If the conditions "then" (whenever then was, millions of years ago) were prime for creation of life, wouldn't today be even better?

Why haven't we seen one random new life form just spring up from soup. We have lots of good soup (basic materials) around these days. No new bacteria, no new plants, no amoeba, nothing. Hmmm. You would think that we would have random life popping up everywhere. Every puddle should be teeming with life trying to assemble itself randomly through natural processes. Like if you stand on your head, count to two, and wait for a lightning strike into a puddle on an 87 degree day with just the right amount of "stuff" in the puddle. Why aren't conditions today even better than then for such a chance occurrence?

Besides, even evolutionists agree that life started very quickly after the earth cooled, so it didn't take long for life to "randomly" begin.

Don Batten
Yes, there are many rich broths replete with a wealth of the organic components of life on Earth today, but everyone knows that life won't pop up from any such 'soup'. That is the point of the tin of sardines story.
Of coures Earth was never a molten blob that cooled (Genesis 1 and 2 Peter 3: covered in water initially).
Nick D.
I had the opportunity of using this very argument a few days ago to reinforce the message that God is the designer and sustainer of life. It was a knock out! Thanks to your research, and your sense of humour I might add, the message of the Gospel hit home again. I read your articles most days and find them a good source of inspiration when I share my testimony. Love your work. Nick
George V.
I also love sardines, especially Canadian Sardines from New Brunswick. I would only expect these to be dust in a million years, not sprout to life. Evolutionists have a faith in Nature that it somehow has power within itself to begin and propagate life. Purely wishful thinking on their part and vivid imaginations. Futile imaginations I might add. As the Bible says in Romans Ch. 1 verses 18-22, especially verses 22 "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools". This describes what has happened to Evolutionists in their thinking.

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