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Why the Miller-Urey experiment was so important to many high school science teachers


Neil Thomas, author of Taking Leave of Darwin (2021), offers some thoughts on the ultra-famous Miller-Urey experiment, which is supposed to have shown that life can get started sort of accidentally:

As I have suggested already in this series, there undoubtedly was much at stake in the Miller-Urey experiment — considerably more than was realized at the time by those who listened uncritically to Carl Sagan and others with an interest in deceptively boosting the supposed importance of the experiment. Its implicit promise for many observers as well as eager readers of the American and world press would have been that it would extend Darwin’s timeline back to the pre-organic formation of the first living cell, and so establish the fundamental point of departure for the mechanism of natural selection to go to work on. It would also of course have delivered a stunning victory for the materialist position. In the event, though, it succeeded only in dealing a disabling body-blow to materialist notions by giving game set and match to the theistic position. This point has not, to my knowledge, been publicly acknowledged.

Hot Springs, Hydrothermal Vents, Etc.

Most devastatingly for Darwinists, the complete failure of this and more recent experiments to find the origins of primitive life forms in hot springs, hydrothermal vents in the ocean floor, et al., have removed the indispensable foundation for the operation of natural selection. By that I mean that any postulated selective mechanism must obviously have something to select. No raw material means no evolution, no nothing. Without an “abiogenetic moment” Darwin’s entire theory of evolution via natural selection falls flat.

Neil Thomas, “Existential Implications of the Miller-Urey Experiment” at Evolution News and Science Today (April 14, 2022)

Here’s the rest of the series.

You may also wish to read: So life on Earth is even older than we thought? At ScienceDaily: The researchers say that, while some of the structures could conceivably have been created through chance chemical reactions, the ‘tree-like’ stem with parallel branches was most likely biological in origin, as no structure created via chemistry alone has been found like it.

You cannot have an origin without an origin. You cannot have life without life. To say abiogenisis has nothing to do with evolution is to be intellectually lazy. BobRyan
@Seversky@7 Darwin did not”decline” as you put it. He heatedly refused, drawing a false comparison betweeN gravity (measurable and universal) with a theory he expected to be proven one day. He speculated privately on a warm pool with ‘Electricity’ in it. He knew very well that the origin of first life was crucial; he could hardly not be, even his strongest supporters and advocates pointed it out. It’s naive to say that it was just not the question he addressed when the very title of his best known work was “ORIGIN of Species” Belfast
his theory offered an explanation of how life diversified after it had appeared
Life diversified in darwin's imagination. The life forms we observe today are very stubborn to trespass to a new kind of animal. That experiment with bacteria that lasts for decades and bacteria refuse darwin's idea . It's a big disadvantage not to be capable to indoctrinate a bacteria to believe in evolution as establishment do with people. :) Sandy
Darwin specifically avoided public speculations about the origins of life and his theory offered an explanation of how life diversified after it had appeared. That is not to say that the origin of life is not a question of fundamental importance or that it is not connected to evolution, just that it was not the question Darwin's theory addressed. So, to criticize Darwin for failing to do what he never set out to do in the first place, is a strawman. Seversky
Let me recommend a video where Dr. James Tour interviews plant geneticist Dr. John Sanford. Sanford will do a better job than I ever could: https://youtu.be/i-y_dmi_oF4 Blastus
Charles Darwin was not stupid. He declined any attempts to force him to commit to any theory of origin of life. Now you complain when intelligent design declines such attempts. But I will be happy to correspond with you privately and share why I believe the God of the bible is the only satisfactory explanation. Blastus
JHolo writes: “Darwinists” say nothing about origin of life. Some disagree with this statement. "The search for a theory on the origin of life is a major issue in contemporary evolutionary biology, presenting both a philosophical (Griesemer 2008) and educational challenge (Lazcano and Peretó 2010)." "Actually, as early as 1862, [Ernst] Haeckel [a prominent apostle of Darwin] included a footnote in his monograph on radiolarians to severely stress “the chief defect of the Darwinian theory is that it throws no light on the origin of the primitive organism—probably a simple cell—from which all the others have descended. When Darwin assumes a special creative act for this first species, he is not consistent, and, I think, not quite sincere …”" "Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913) and the physician Henry Charlton Bastian (1837–1915) (Strick 2000, 2009), still thought that a full-fledged evolutionary theory required the observation of present-day spontaneous generations as proof of a natural origin of life." https://evolution-outreach.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1007/s12052-012-0442-x We could go on, but even an ignorant, uneducated peasant would look at Darwinism and say: "it must start somewhere". Blastus
BR: Since Darwinists accept lack of evidence as evidence, this change nothing.
“Darwinists” say nothing about origin of life. I find it a little hypocritical when ID proponents repeatedly, and heatedly, insist that the nature of the designer and the process it used to create life are off limit in ID discussions, yet repeatedly cite the lack of understanding of the origin of life as evidence against evolution. JHolo
Since Darwinists accept lack of evidence as evidence, this change nothing. BobRyan
Here's what we "learned" in school: Spontaneous generation of one individual? Ha ha ha. Stupid! Spontaneous generation of all individuals? Obvious certainty. BELIEVE OR FLUNK! polistra

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