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Author Topic:   Question about Miller experiment
Member (Idle past 4074 days)
Posts: 77
Joined: 11-28-2008

Message 1 of 6 (88906)
02-26-2004 6:34 PM

Hey there,

I've been reading up on what both sides have to say about the Miller abiogenesis expirement. I have already found answers to every single problem they bring up except one. Creationists critisize the 'trap' used in the Miller expirement; they say without the trap the expirement would fail, and that this sort of trap would not be found in nature.

Anyone have information on this? Have all the abiogenesis expirements since the Miller expirement used the same sort of trap? Or maybe there is a way for this kind of thing to be found in nature.

Can someone clarify this for me?

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Posts: 8963
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003

Message 2 of 6 (88907)
02-26-2004 6:37 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Black
02-26-2004 6:34 PM

Kinda old (like me :) )
This experiment is half a century old. Does it matter all that much any more?

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Posts: 5551
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002

Message 3 of 6 (88930)
02-26-2004 8:06 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Black
02-26-2004 6:34 PM

A pretty close analog to a cold trap in the real world is hot water exiting a "black smoker" into water at 2°C on the ocean floor. Not exactly the Urey-Miller experiment, but an alternate plausible reactor for prebiotic synthesis.

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Message 4 of 6 (89014)
02-27-2004 8:35 AM

so far?
From what I remember, the creationists claim that the Earth was not anything like what the experiment assumed it was, and that when the experiment is tried with up to date data about what it was like, it fails. But I have not looked into these claims myself. What have you found so far?

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Member (Idle past 4762 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002

Message 5 of 6 (89027)
02-27-2004 9:59 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Tamara
02-27-2004 8:35 AM

Re: so far?
Yeah, those are pretty much what the creationists seize on to cast doubt on the Miller-Urey experiment. What they neglect to mention is that the "trap" was simply a way of concentrating the reactants that resulted from the atmosphere experiment so they could be analysed. The amino acids, etc, were formed in the experiment's putative reducing atmosphere before being concentrated in the trap - thus proving that organic building blocks could be formed (i.e., the results proved the hypothesis correct). Creationists are being highly misleading by leaving out this little tidbit.

As to the atmospheric composition itself - yeah, most experimenters these days don't think that the early atmosphere was all that reducing. So the creationists are right on that. However, they're once again being disingenuous by neglecting to mention that other experiments over the last 50 years have even MORE impressive results using more "realistic" atmospheric compositions. Remember, Miller-Urey wasn't trying to create life - just biologically significant organic molecules from essentially inorganic chemistry. In that, they succeeded. Since then, we've found roughly the same flavors of amino acids etc in meteorites and the spectra of comets. Seems that this stuff is actually pretty easy to synthesize under a huge variety of conditions...

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Message 6 of 6 (204552)
05-03-2005 3:32 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Quetzal
02-27-2004 9:59 AM

Re: so far?
That's pretty interesting.

So far, there have been a myriad of oxygen-free processes. One of these is glycolysis. However, it has been shown to be more effective when coupled with oxygen.


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