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The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Abiogenesis FAQs

Articles on the Origin of Life

Abiogenesis is the field of science dedicated to studying how life might have arisen for the first time on the primordial young Earth. Despite the enormous progress that has been made since the Miller-Urey experiment, abiogenesis is under constant attack from creationists, who continually claim that the origin of life by natural processes is so unlikely as to be, for all practical purposes, impossible. Following are some articles that challenge this claim and demonstrate the fundamental misconception at the core of the creationists' arguments.

Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and Probability of Abiogenesis Calculations
How likely is it that even a single bacterium could form by chance in the primordial sea? Not very likely, that's for sure, and creationists have been only too happy to provide ludicrously huge numbers purporting to be the odds against such a thing. However, even if these calculations are correct, they are irrelevant, as modern theories of abiogenesis require nothing of the kind to happen. This article briefly illustrates what abiogenesis really is and shows why the creationists' probability calculations do not matter.

Borel's Law and the Origin of Many Creationist Probability Assertions
Creationists have asserted that a statistical principle called "Borel's Law" mathematically demonstrates that abiogenesis is impossible. This article explains what Borel's Law is and shows that Borel himself clearly understood that his law was not relevant to the probability of the origin of life.

Spontaneous Generation and the Origin of Life
Creationists often claim that Louis Pasteur disproved spontaneous generation and hence any naturalistic origin of life. This article shows what Pasteur really demonstrated and gives a history of the subject from early ideas of spontaneous generation to modern ideas about the origin of life.

The Origin of Life
A discussion of the main models on the spontaneous origin of life that aims to show how cellular complexity could have gradually emerged from simple systems - in contrast to the sudden appearance of complexity that creationists claim to have been necessary at the beginning of life. Central issues like the composition of the early atmosphere of the Earth and the origin of the homochirality of amino acids and sugars are reviewed as well.

Review of the Miller-Urey experiment chapter of Icons of Evolution
Jonathan Wells of the Discovery Institute has made false claims about abiogenesis research in his book Icons of Evolution.

An Index to Creationist Claims: Abiogenesis
Brief replies to various origin-of-life claims by antievolutionists.

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