Browse Search Feedback Other Links Home Home The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2005
Previous Claim: CB030.1   |   List of Claims   |   Next Claim: CB035.1

Claim CB035:

In Miller's experiment demonstrating the formation of complex organics from simple compounds, the atmospheric composition used was a reducing atmosphere, with no free oxygen. The early earth probably had a more oxidizing atmosphere.


Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. 1985. Life--How Did It Get Here? Brooklyn, NY, pp. 40-41.


  1. Since his first experiment, Miller and others have experimented with other atmospheric compositions, too (Chang et al. 1983; Miller 1987; Schlesinger and Miller 1983; Stribling and Miller 1987). Complex organic molecules form under a wide range of prebiotic conditions.

  2. It is possible that life arose well away from the atmosphere -- for example, around deep-sea hydrothermal vents. This could make the atmospheric content largely irrelevant.

  3. The early atmosphere, even if it was oxidizing, was nowhere near as oxidizing as it is today. It was likely high in hydrogen, which facilitates the formation of organic molecules (Tian et al. 2005).


Gishlick, Alan D. n.d. Icons of evolution? Miller-Urey experiment.

Tamzek, Nic. 2002. Icon of obfuscation.


  1. Chang, S., D. DesMarais, R. Mack, S. L. Miller, and G. E. Strathearn. 1983. Prebiotic organic syntheses and the origin of life. In: Schopf, J. W., ed., Earth's Earliest Biosphere: Its Origin and Evolution. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, pp. 53-92.
  2. Miller, S. L. 1987. Which organic compounds could have occurred on the prebiotic earth? Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology 52: 17-27.
  3. Schlesinger, G. and S. L. Miller. 1983. Prebiotic synthesis in atmospheres containing CH4, CO, and CO2. I. Amino acids. Journal of Molecular Evolution 19: 376-382.
  4. Stribling, R. and S. L. Miller. 1987. Energy yields for hydrogen cyanide and formaldehyde syntheses: the HCN and amino acid concentrations in the primitive ocean. Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere 17: 261-273.
  5. Tian, F., O. B. Toon, A. A. Pavlov and H. De Sterck. 2005. A hydrogen-rich early Earth atmosphere. Science 308: 1014-1017. See also: Chyba, C. F. 2005. Rethinking Earth's early atmosphere. Science 308: 962-963.

Previous Claim: CB030.1   |   List of Claims   |   Next Claim: CB035.1

created 2001-2-17, modified 2005-6-18