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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2005
Previous Claim: CB035.1   |   List of Claims   |   Next Claim: CB035.3

Claim CB035.2:

Reducing gases likely were not present in the early, prebiotic earth's atmosphere.


Discovery Institute. 2003. A preliminary analysis of the treatment of evolution in biology textbooks currently being considered for adoption by the Texas State Board of Education.
Wells, Jonathan. 2000. Icons of Evolution. Washington DC: Regnery.


  1. The claim is false. Current evidence indicates that the early earth had a mildly reducing atmosphere (Kasting 1993). It was probably rich in hydrogen due to the escape of hydrogen from the atmosphere being much lower than previously thought (Tian et al. 2005). Calculations of the outgassing expected from chondrites (which the earth was largely formed from) also indicate a reducing atmosphere (Thomas 2005).

  2. Even if the earth's overall atmosphere were neutral, there would have been many local areas that were reducing, such as areas near active volcanism (Delano 2001; Kasting 1993).


  1. Delano, J. W. 2001. Redox history of the Earth's interior since ~3900 Ma: Implications for prebiotic molecules. Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere 31: 311-341.
  2. Kasting, J. F. 1993. Earth's early atmosphere. Science 259: 920-926.
  3. Thomas, Dave. 2005. New trouble for Wells's "Icon of Anti-Evolution #1".
  4. 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.

Further Reading:

Ellington, Andrew D. and Matthew Levy. 2003. Gas, discharge, and the Discovery Institute. Reports of the National Center for Science Education 23(3-4): 39-40.
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created 2003-11-17, modified 2005-9-14