Does anyone remember Billy Preston? He was referred to by some as the “fifth Beatle.” This was due to the fact that he recorded several songs with the famous band including “Get Back.” Billy Preston is the only musician that is listed with the Beatles as a co-writer of any of their legendary compositions.
One of Preston’s more famous hits in the 1970’s was a song entitled “Nothing from Nothing Leaves Nothing.” Far from being a scientific treatise, the title of the song does make a statement that is important for everyone interested in the origin of life to examine. Modern science has embraced Darwin’s Theory of Evolution as the only explanation for life existing in the universe today. When pressed to explain how life as we know it could come into existence, science has had a long history of "just so" stories, some more fanciful than others.
The first recipe for life
Believe it or not, the first recipe for life came from the observations of Dr. Jan Baptista von Helmont (1579-1644). While this physician did make several notable contributions to science as the founder of pneumatic chemistry, he also became convinced that mice came from dirty underwear. Dr. Jan Baptista von Helmont’s recipe for mice included a dirty shirt and a few grains of wheat and in 21 days mice will appear. Dr. Helmont was only building on concept of Spontaneous generation or the theory that living things can be generated from non-living things. This had been accepted as the scientific norm for centuries, a concept that had been promoted since the time of Aristotle in the 4th century BC.
In von Helmont’s time, questioning spontaneous generation was tantamount to questioning science itself. No one would dare challenge the prevailing scientific thought of the day. We are seeing the same thing when it comes to challenging Darwinian Theory in our present time. Only a handful of courageous scientists would stand up against the prevailing scientific consensus. The history of science is littered with the remains of courageous men and women who dared to challenge the accepted norm only to suffer the retribution of their peers. It often took decades for the scientific establishment to acknowledge their work. For many of them, vindication often came long after these scientists died in professional isolation and ruin.
From mice to maggots
As science became increasingly more influential, men of science tried to replicate the mice and underwear experiment with raw meat and maggots. Building on the previous work of Dr. Helmont, scientists made the following observation. When raw meat was left out, maggots would be found on the meat a week later. Scientists took this as further evidence of spontaneous generation. That is, until an Italian physician and scientist named Francesco Redi proved them wrong in 1668. Redi falsified this long-standing theory of science by placing a sample of raw meat in a jar leaving the top open. He placed a second sample of raw meat in a jar and covered the top with cheesecloth, as a sort of control. The meat left out in the open produced maggots that were later understood to be the offspring of flies and not the raw meat. Of course, the jar that was covered with the cheesecloth was maggot free! But still the scientific community was not ready to jettison their faith in spontaneous generation, not for another two centuries.
Believe it or not, a firm belief in spontaneous generation would persist and science continued to support this bogus theory until the 19th century. Only then was this scientific fallacy finally laid to rest. In 1859 Louis Pasture falsified the ‘pond scum’ evidence with a simple S-shaped flask experiment. He was able to produce clear meat broth, boil it to purify it and then split the sample. One half he exposed to air and thereby bacterial contaminants and the other half remained contamination free and therefore sterile. The broth that was exposed to air got contaminated and grew microorganisms; the sterile, air-free broth did not.
In fact, Pasture's first apparatus DID exclude air, and it was argued that a vital principle was thus also excluded. So, he created the crook-necked flask to allow air in, but trap tiny micro organisms he postulated to be in the air, in the crook, while still allowing air in. In essence, he thus not only finally disproved spontaneous generation that way, but also developed the germ theory of disease and decay as well.
Can Miller and Urey save the day?
When all else fails, try to recreate the origin of life in the laboratory. Enter Miller and Urey and their famous 1953 experiments. They unsuccessfully attempted to create the building blocks of life, amino acids, by manipulating chemicals in the laboratory. The headlines that followed were truly astounding, e.g. Scientist Creates Life In Test-tube! Evolution Proven in Laboratory! Creationism Takes a Fatal Blow! Even with such hype and sensationalism, the reality was far different. Miller and Urey did not create life in the laboratory. What they did create by manipulating chemicals and their environment could only be characterized as an experiment in support of “Intelligent Design” and nothing more. What it really illustrated was god-like researchers manipulating the creation in order to produce the precursors to the building blocks of life or something akin to amino acids in the laboratory. This sounds a lot more like special creation than Darwinian evolution, but when promoting Darwin’s theory, the actual facts don’t seem to matter all that much.
We clearly see that centuries of bad science can, and should, be challenged. Eventually good science will replace the bad science, but it can be a long and protracted battle to get science to acknowledge information that is contrary to the accepted norm. Even though evolution says that life spontaneously arose from a cosmic soup billions of years ago, the scientific facts say it never happened. Today they don’t call it spontaneous generation, they call it abiogenesis, but rest assured, molecules never spontaneously come to life.
The old Billy Preston song was correct; nothing - nothing = nothing. The laws of physics preclude the origin of life by spontaneous generation or, its new and more scientific sounding name, abiogenesis. Still the evolutionary community continues to embrace concepts that defy the well established scientific laws of the universe. They do this in order to prop up a godless, naturalistic “just so” story of origins. A theory born of an entirely naturalistic and materialistic worldview that denies the Creator and any evidence that criticizes or contradicts the evolutionary status quo.
There is a wonderful textbook that examines all the evidence for evolution both pro and con. This stunningly illustrated science textbook offers the reader an in-depth look at the facts from the perspective of many of the leading paleontologists, geologists, biologists, geneticists and leaders in community of evolutionary scientists. This timely resource can be ordered with a companion Teacher’s manual from the Creation Studies Institute.
Submitted by Steve Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D. (c)