Miller-Urey Experiment Redux

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Jonathon Wells from the Discovery Institute and supporter of Intelligent design has suggested in his criticisms that science and particularly science textbooks are essentially dishonest in their presentation of the famous Miller-Urey experiment that investigated if organic molecules could arise spontaneously in earth’s early abiotic conditions as understood at the time. Our understanding of the early conditions of the atmosphere are different than they were when Miller and Urey worked out their experiment. Most biology texts do not spend a lot of text trying to cover the various hypotheses about the origin of life. The limited coverage is more of a synopsis and description of science in action and I’ve never seen this material presented as anything but a work in progress. However, it is a truly a sore point for the anti-evolution crowd.

Here is a recent update specific to the Miller-Urey experiment from PvM at Panda’s Thumb.

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  1. If you think about it though the experiment is closer than anything possible. Miller and Urey were not projecting that the storms that helped create the atmosphere we have today magically created organisms. The experiment proved that the atmosphere had in time created amino acids. It took millions of years to create the organisms that evolved into what we are today. The atmosphere that was being created in turn created the ozone that kept the sun burst from frying the earth itself. With the ozone the oxygen was trapped and was continuously being produced. Overtime the oxygen and amino acids began to create organisms that could survive because the atmosphere had changed drastically, yet over an enormous amount of time.

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