Life and Warm Little Pond (and Miller Urey)

Darwin’s “warm little pond” was first mentioned in 1871, years after his “On the Origin of Species” where he said: “probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed”. To this, “…by the Creator” was added in later editions.

It really doesn’t matter what someone speculated long time ago, but it does matter what beliefs drive our future actions as we might end up wasting time chasing ghosts. ‘Life having emerged from a warm little pond long time ago and without the help of a creator’ is the current wide held belief and it affects areas as diverse as biology, space exploration, ethics, and robotics. Panspermia is a less popular and more complicated alternative that, besides not explaining how life first occurred, it also contradicts our current knowledge of life being present only on Earth. A third alternative is supported by those that want to reconcile “…by the Creator” in Darwin’s later edition with Genesis 2:7 “God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life”. These two views are however incompatible as there is no reason to believe God hands over His creation to a Darwinian process immediately after first abiogenesis or at any other time for that matter. And if evolution is just a manifestation of God’s will, then the whole evolution narrative needs to be reevaluated.

Life is defined as the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, metabolism, homeostasis, death and decay. All known living organisms are either prokaryotes or eukaryotes – both having specific cell structure.

The evidence for a materialistic abiogenesis is utterly lacking. If it were true, given Earth’s life supporting environment, we should see abiogenesis every day, but instead we never see it and not for lack of trying. We’re told, the decades old, yet often cited Miller Urey experiment was a success as it formed several organic compounds. But how can an abiogenesis experiment that does not produce any life be successful? Abiogenesis is a binary event, so anything short of success is a failure, not progress.

We do have all the building blocks of life and we know the initial conditions supporting abiogenesis would have to be compatible with life as we know it. If applying a more or less random series of stimuli to known compounds under known conditions were to result in life, we might expect to be capable of reviving dead organisms, we might expect to stop and start life, and we might expect to be able to combine bits and pieces from various organisms to form entirely new ones – all these lower thresholds should be met before abiogenesis from scratch. But none of these has yet been achieved. If life were an intrinsic function of the matter, we would see life easily form just as we see crystals easily and reliably form whenever the right conditions are applied to certain elements. Always the same and always under the same conditions. And if a very unstable form of matter, how come life is so widespread on Earth and always with the same very stable molecular and cellular structure?

Is the materialistic abiogenesis even logical? No, not when defined as information emerging out of chaos. If this were true, why not also expect tiny Taj Mahals “emerging” from the soil like mushrooms? And why not tiny nuclear bombs from the same “warm little pond”? How about the Odyssey written in atoms? Of course no one expects these things, and no one in their right mind runs such experiments. Is life not more complex that the Taj Mahal or a nuclear bomb or the Odyssey? Are these not human creations that, unlike life, have been already mastered?

“Warm little pond” is belief in magic and worse than alchemy which at least implied a higher force responsible for the whole universe. But something out of nothing for no particular reason and without any external input is pure magical thinking.


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