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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/22/2012 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,189 times Debate No: 23753
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




Evolution cannot explain how the first life originated


I accept the debate, on the grounds that we define life as:

The complex organisms with properties similar to or correlate with those of current life.

I also define evolution in the context of the debate: that is, abiogenesis. As evolution does not encompass life's origins - the definition being the sequence of events involved in the evolutionary development of a species or taxonomic group of organisms[1], and a different definition would be an attempt to squirrel the topic so PRO cannot possibly win the debate. Thus, we must define evolution as encompassing abiogenesis for the product of the debate.

Finally, as my opponent states that it "cannot explain how the first life developed", I simply need to provide a way for evolution (which encompasses abiogenesis) to fully be able to explain how life originated. In other words, it must be valid, rather than more likely than all alternatives. However, I wish to still put forth that abiogenesis is the most likely as well, in order to promote the debate's ethos.

As my opponent initiated the debate, I shall await him to create the criticisms of abiogenesis. To save reading time and misunderstanding, I shall simply post the link to the type of evolution / abiogenesis that I am promoting:

I await my opponent's criticisms.
Debate Round No. 1


Miller's experiment sought to prove that amino acids could form on their own in primordial earth-like conditions, but it contains inconsistencies in a number of areas:

1- By using a mechanism called a "cold trap," Miller isolated the amino acids from the environment as soon as they were formed. Had he not done so, the conditions in the environment in which the amino acids were formed would immediately have destroyed these molecules.

Doubtless, this kind of conscious isolation mechanism did not exist on the primordial earth. Without such a mechanism, even if one amino acid were obtained, it would immediately have been destroyed. The chemist Richard Bliss expresses this contradiction by observing that "Actually, without this trap, the chemical products, would have been destroyed by the energy source."254 And, sure enough, in his previous experiments, Miller had been unable to make even one single amino acid using the same materials without the cold trap mechanism.

2- The primordial atmosphere that Miller attempted to simulate in his experiment was not realistic. In the 1980s, scientists agreed that nitrogen and carbon dioxide should have been used in this artificial environment instead of methane and ammonia.

So why did Miller insist on these gases? The answer is simple: without ammonia, it was impossible to synthesize any amino acid. Kevin Mc Kean talks about this in an article published in Discover magazine:

Miller and Urey imitated the ancient atmosphere on the Earth with a mixture of methane and ammonia. ...However in the latest studies, it has been understood that the Earth was very hot at those times, and that it was composed of melted nickel and iron. Therefore, the chemical atmosphere of that time should have been formed mostly of nitrogen (N2), carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour (H2O). However these are not as appropriate as methane and ammonia for the production of organic molecules.255

The artificial atmosphere created by Miller in his experiment actually bore not the slightest resemblance to the primitive atmosphere on earth.
The American scientists J. P. Ferris and C. T. Chen repeated Miller's experiment with an atmospheric environment that contained carbon dioxide, hydrogen, nitrogen, and water vapor, and were unable to obtain even a single amino acid molecule.256

3- Another important point that invalidates Miller's experiment is that there was enough oxygen to destroy all the amino acids in the atmosphere at the time when they were thought to have been formed. This fact, overlooked by Miller, is revealed by the traces of oxidized iron found in rocks that are estimated to be 3.5 billion years old.257

There are other findings showing that the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere at that time was much higher than originally claimed by evolutionists. Studies also show that the amount of ultraviolet radiation to which the earth was then exposed was 10,000 times more than evolutionists' estimates. This intense radiation would unavoidably have freed oxygen by decomposing the water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

This situation completely negates Miller's experiment, in which oxygen was completely neglected. If oxygen had been used in the experiment, methane would have decomposed into carbon dioxide and water, and ammonia into nitrogen and water. On the other hand, in an environment where there was no oxygen, there would be no ozone layer either; therefore, the amino acids would have immediately been destroyed, since they would have been exposed to the most intense ultraviolet rays without the protection of the ozone layer. In other words, with or without oxygen in the primordial world, the result would have been a deadly environment for the amino acids.

4- At the end of Miller's experiment, many organic acids had also been formed with characteristics detrimental to the structure and function of living things. If the amino acids had not been isolated, and had been left in the same environment with these chemicals, their destruction or transformation into different compounds through chemical reactions would have been unavoidable.

Moreover, Miller's experiment also produced right-handed amino acids.258 The existence of these amino acids refuted the theory even within its own terms, because right-handed amino acids cannot function in the composition of living organisms. To conclude, the circumstances in which amino acids were formed in Miller's experiment were not suitable for life. In truth, this medium took the form of an acidic mixture destroying and oxidizing the useful molecules obtained.

Today, Miller too accepts that his 1953 experiment was very far from explaining the origin of life.
All these facts point to one firm truth: Miller's experiment cannot claim to have proved that living things formed by chance under primordial earth-like conditions. The whole experiment is nothing more than a deliberate and controlled laboratory experiment to synthesize amino acids. The amount and types of the gases used in the experiment were ideally determined to allow amino acids to originate. The amount of energy supplied to the system was neither too much nor too little, but arranged precisely to enable the necessary reactions to occur. The experimental apparatus was isolated, so that it would not allow the leaking of any harmful, destructive, or any other kind of elements to hinder the formation of amino acids. No elements, minerals or compounds that were likely to have been present on the primordial earth, but which would have changed the course of the reactions, were included in the experiment. Oxygen, which would have prevented the formation of amino acids because of oxidation, is only one of these destructive elements. Even under such ideal laboratory conditions, it was impossible for the amino acids produced to survive and avoid destruction without the "cold trap" mechanism.

In fact, by his experiment, Miller destroyed evolution's claim that "life emerged as the result of unconscious coincidences." That is because, if the experiment proves anything, it is that amino acids can only be produced in a controlled laboratory environment where all the conditions are specifically designed by conscious intervention.

Today, Miller's experiment is totally disregarded even by evolutionist scientists. In the February 1998 issue of the famous evolutionist science journal Earth, the following statements appear in an article titled "Life's Crucible":

Geologist now think that the primordial atmosphere consisted mainly of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, gases that are less reactive than those used in the 1953 experiment. And even if Miller's atmosphere could have existed, how do you get simple molecules such as amino acids to go through the necessary chemical changes that will convert them into more complicated compounds, or polymers, such as proteins? Miller himself throws up his hands at that part of the puzzle. "It's a problem," he sighs with exasperation. "How do you make polymers? That's not so easy."259

As seen, today even Miller himself has accepted that his experiment does not lead to an explanation of the origin of life. In the March 1998 issue of National Geographic, in an article titled "The Emergence of Life on Earth," the following comments appear:

Many scientists now suspect that the early atmosphere was different to what Miller first supposed. They think it consisted of carbon dioxide and nitrogen rather than hydrogen, methane, and ammonia.

That's bad news for chemists. When they try sparking carbon dioxide and nitrogen, they get a paltry amount of organic molecules - the equivalent of dissolving a drop of food colouring in a swimming pool of water. Scientists find it hard to imagine life emerging from such a diluted soup.260

In brief, neither Miller's experiment, nor any other similar one that has been attempted, can answer the question of how life emerged on earth.


Argument is wholly plagiarised.

And other sources. For this alone, I request a vote PRO, simply due to my opponent's horrible conduct to not bother posting his own arguments. My opponent should not win "better argument" on this ground, simply because

Further, my opponent's entire argument refutes the idea of the Miller-Urey experiments. I wish to pose a new experiment entirely, so his entire previous criticisms are null and void.

Simply put, my argument is as follows:

Either living or non-living things create living things.
Living things are not eternal.
If living things only cause living things, then the living things cycle creates an infinite regress. (chicken and egg) This is impossible.
Therefore, a non-living thing caused living things.
Therefore, abiogenesis occurred.

Or, in short, either something that is a living thing or not a living thing was the source of living things. Living things cannot cause ad infinitum other living things (biogenesis ad infinitum is impossible). Therefore, abiogenesis occurred.

We know this as all things have an efficient cause, as Aristotle showed us. The Thinker famously has an efficient cause: Rodin's vision. In similar ways, a chicken has an efficient cause: an egg hatching. All things have efficient causes. So, thus, must living things. The cause of living things cannot be living things: that is illogical. It must be a non-living thing. Therefore, abiogenesis.

I await my opponent's response, and hope that he does not steal his argument from another source. Hopefully, he will simply do the honourable thing and concede this debate and restart it so a meaningful debate can be done.
Debate Round No. 2


AskMeAboutIslam forfeited this round.


Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 3


AskMeAboutIslam forfeited this round.


Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 4


AskMeAboutIslam forfeited this round.


Extend all arguments, and vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 6 years ago
renji_abarai, the Big Bang theory describes the beginning and formation of the Universe, and not necessarily life on Earth, though the laws and constants determined by the Big Bang certainly allowed life to begin. As Sapiens said, abiogenesis is the study of how life arose from nonliving material.
Posted by Sapiens 6 years ago
As stated before, the theory of evolution does not equal abiogenesis.
Posted by renji_abarai 6 years ago
This debate is invalid. Evolution has to do with how we are to today and the envirnmental factors involved. Not how life first began. The Big Gang theory is there to explain how life first began
Posted by phantom 6 years ago
Though that still does raise some questions.
Posted by bossyburrito 6 years ago
Evolution is about the diversity in species, not how life began.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by mecap 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: EZ win, Con failed!
Vote Placed by Mrparkers 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: ff