Science Miller-Urey

Published on September 5th, 2016 | by Madhudvisa dasa | Full size image

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Urey/Miller Experiment. Life from chemicals?

Urey and Miller followed the scientific method. Chemical compounds used by biological organisms were created using conditions simulating primordial earth, strongly suggesting that this method could eventually produce all the necessary compounds to allow the life force to settle in this realm.

In 1953 Urey and Miller, performed their famous expirement. Many say they proved life can come from chemicals. Their work ties in very nicely with the Big Bang Theory arising from Albert Einstein’s work and Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Starting with some elements presumed to be present in the primordial atmosphere (carbon dioxide, water, ammonia, hydrogen, methane, etc.), Miller and Urey were able to produce some amino acid precursors. From the Urey/Miller experiment it has been hypothesized that random combinations of chemicals present in the atmosphere of the primordial earth, helped along by lightning, produced the chemicals which are the building-blocks of the amino acids. Of course we still have a very, very long way to go before producing life! The experiment did not produce amino acids, only some chemicals which may lead to the development of amino acids… And amino acids are not life either…

We can observe the chemicals were not produced by chance combination. The whole experiment was carefully supervised by the scientists. The chemicals were measured and added at the correct time and the electric spark was administered at the right moment. Therefore, it does not prove precursors of amino acids can be created by random combination of chemicals. It only indicates they may be able to be created in a controlled laboratory experiment carefully supervised by intelligent beings.

The chemicals didn’t mix themselves. The scientists mixed them. Proving scientists can manufacture the precursors to amino acids from chemicals they have in their laboratory does not prove that life can come from matter simply by random chance…

One scientist has offered this explanation: “In the stages of the early earth, ammonia, hydrogen and water vapor were more abundant, so they were likely to already be in close proximity (i.e. “combined”) during a lightning storm. There’s your Urey/Miller experiment with no scientist, no gods, and no spiritual touch. Satisfied?”

Evolutionists and many scientists have a “religious” belief that life comes from chemicals, however, when asked to prove it they find it impossible. It’s simply a belief based on blind faith which denies the evidence we see all around us. We see everywhere life coming from life. There is no case in recorded history where life has come from chemicals. Even though some evolutionists say the Urey/Miller experiment proves life can come from chemicals, the experiment only indicated some of the precursors to the amino acids may be produced in a controlled laboratory experiment under the direction of intelligent scientists. When asked to prove life comes from chemicals evolutionists can say some very strange things:

“PROOF: My parents are made of matter. I came from them. I am alive. Therefore, life can come from matter. Proof complete.”

His parents are conscious, his parents are alive. They can produce him only because they are conscious, they are alive, but if his parents are dead, although their bodies, the matter, is still there, there is no chance of producing life from the dead parents. The life is gone, only the matter remains, so matter cannot produce life, only life can produce life.

His parent’s bodies are matter. The same components (earth, water, fire, air and either) are found everywhere in both living and non-living things. The difference is the spirit-soul, the consciousness. His parents can only conceive him if they are alive. If they’re dead they can’t produce anything. If they’re dead, from the material point of view, from the chemical point of view, nothing has changed — everything is still there — but the consciousness is gone, the life is gone. You can’t bring back that life, that consciousness, by science. It’s that consciousness which science has somehow missed.

Another evolutionist asserted: “Living beings are nothing more than pieces of matter organized in particular ways. When we look at living things, all we see is organized matter. Science confirms this. If you think that there is more to life than matter, then I challenge you and Krishna to prove it.”

If it’s that simple why can’t the scientists organize some pieces of matter in a particular way and produce something living? Then they could speak. That would be proof that life can come from matter. But without any proof and without any hope of proof in the future they are speaking so much nonsense!

My spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, once challenged the scientists: “You have so many big, big, theories. Surely you can, with your science, produce one egg, put it in an incubator and let it hatch out a chicken. You have some white plastic to make the shell, some yellow chemical…” But no scientist was able to produce the egg.

It’s clear to every thoughtful person that a conscious living being is different from dull matter. If the evolutionists want to prove otherwise it’s up to them to produce the evidence. We don’t have to prove that life comes from life. We see that happening every day all around us. Everywhere we see every living creature is produced from another living creature. Nature works in a symmetrical manner. We know the changing of the seasons will go on every year in the same way, we know the sun will rise in the morning. Nature does not suddenly change her way of doing things. So if life originally came from chemicals why does it no longer come from chemicals? We don’t have a single case ever recorded in history of any sort of life coming from a combination of chemicals. Life always comes from life. That is natures way and that has always been natures way.

As I have my mother and father and have come from them, the whole universe has come from the Supreme Father, Krishna, God and the supreme mother, nature. The Supreme Father places the living entities within the womb of the supreme mother, nature, and in time they take birth in the 8,400,000 different species and forms of life found throughout the universe.

This is quite a reasonable proposition and it is consistent with our observation of how the universe works. The scientist’s proposal, on the other hand, that life comes from chemicals, is something we can’t observe happening anywhere within nature. Nature does not completely change her way of doing things. If life came from chemicals in the beginning, life would still be coming from chemicals now.

So, back to the Urey/Miller experiment. The chemicals did not mix themselves, someone had to mix them. The chemicals have to be combined by some living person. Matter cannot move without the touch of spirit. The big question is where did all these chemicals come from in the first place? Even if the scientists can explain how the chemicals can create life, who provided the chemicals in the first place?

Their standard answer is the Big Bang. “Albert Einstein’s theory that all matter can be turned into energy and all energy can be turned into matter has formed the basis of all Western ideas on the origin of the universe. The Big Bang Theory, developed in light of Einstein’s theory, maintains that a huge explosion about 5 billion years ago created all the matter in the universe…” Even if we are to accept this, where did the big bang come from? It’s a transformation of energy into mass so where did the energy come from in the first place? Science has no answer to these questions.

Thoughtful people will see matter doesn’t move by itself. It has to be touched by spirit. In the Urey/Miller experiment the spirit was in the form of the scientists and in the creation of the universe the spirit is God or His servants.

maya tatam idam sarvam jagad avyakta-murtina
mat-sthani sarva-bhutani na caham tesv avasthitah

“By Me [Krishna], in My unmanifest form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.” (Bhagavad-gita 9.4)

Another scientist argues: “Why couldn’t the Big Bang be ‘the source and the original source’, just like you claim Krishna is?”

However, Krishna is the cause of all causes:

isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah
anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam

“Krishna, who is known as Govinda, is the supreme controller. He has an eternal, blissful, spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin, for He is the prime cause of all causes” (Brahma Samhita 5.1)

Of course Krishna may have used a big bang to create the universe… That is not completely out of the question…

Life does not come from chemicals. We know life comes from life and we are seeing it practically happening right in front of our eyes every day. Where did you come from? From some chemicals? From an explosion? From a “primordial soup” in your parents swimming pool? NO. You were born from the womb of your mother after she was impregnated with the seed by your father… It’s a very simple thing. You didn’t come from a chance chemical combination or a murky swimming-pool… You came from your parents. Life comes from life. Life doesn’t come from matter!

There are some other articles you may also find interesting.

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14 Responses to Urey/Miller Experiment. Life from chemicals?

  1. Madhav says:

    Hare Krishna,

    I would first like to say that I truly appreciate what madhudvisa-dasa and all of the other devotes are doing on this website. It is of great help to me when I am confused. I have a few questions relating to this article. It is a known fact that the age of this universe is around 13.4 billion years, and it is also a known fact that the age of the earth is 4.54 billion years. I’m just curious, are any of these ages mentioned in the Vedas? The universe is only supposed to last for one day of Brahma right, but that is only 8.2 billion years? I think one of the reasons that many people consider life to have occurred randomly is that it only came about 400 million years after the earth was formed. Is there a reason for this given in the Vedas? I am just wondering why Krshna decided to create life on earth, or bring life to it (via asteroid collisions) 400 million years after the earth was already created. Do the Vedas explain where life first came about in this universe? I believe that it makes logical sense for Krishna to have seeded life once into this universe and then that life made its way to earth somehow. If this is in contradiction with what is written in the scriptures please correct me. I also had a question about evolution and how these 8,400,000 species came to be. How many species did Krishna initially create? Did he create different species in different parts of the universe, or is earth the only place where life exists on this universe? I think evolution makes sense because initially on earth there were only bacteria (science only has evidence for this) and these bacteria by Krishna’s will gradually changed into other species based on the karma of the souls that needed bodies. Microevolution is a proven and observed scientific fact and so is speciation in plants, but not in animals. Macroevolution is thought to be a consequence of prolonged microevolution. I am wondering if evolution is a correct picture of the universe or if the Vedas present a different picture. Another thing that is confusing to me is how the number of species in the universe is constant at 8,400,000, because it is possible to create new species of plants using artificial selection (for example plants with 100 chromosomes have been created, which constitutes a different species by the scientific definition of the word). Another thing I am wondering is according to the Vedas when did humans first appear on the earth. According to the current fossil record, modern humans first originated in Africa around 200,000 years ago and then spread across the world. Our closest ancestor I believe is homo erectus? I don’t think this theory is consistent with the yugas however. What I mean is that if this were true, there wouldn’t be humans during satya yuga. Again thank you for bearing with me through all my questions, this is a very nice and sincere service that you are doing. I feel like it is necessary to ask these questions and to enquire to make sure my faith is strong rooted.

    Thank you again,

    Your servant,

    Madhav

    • Hare Krishna Prabhu

      I do not have the time to answer all your questions but all the answers are in Prabhupada’s books so please read them. You have obviously read a lot of science books and none of Prabhupada’s books so please Prabhu use your good brain for studying Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is and Srimad-Bhagavatam and you will find all the answers to all of your questions and more there.

      You seem to have faith in the modern scientists and not in Krishna, so your faith is misplaced. You quote the speculations of modern science as fact. That is a mistake. They have no idea how old the earth is or how old the universe is. We know these things because we have heard them from Krishna and Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he knows everything about everything. So Krishna is the best source of knowledge and the only source of perfect knowledge. Please read Srila Prabhupada. It would take me hours to answer all your points and I do not have hours to spare.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  2. roland says:

    can anyone help me on this, what is the bible and can everything in it be true? im reading science to self realization and the bible and somethings in there contradict with each other i cant help but think that the bible is misleading in ways to benefit Christians to some extent?

    • Christo Bence says:

      Hi Roland. This is a rather daunting task. I agree, many men have used the bible for their own evil objectives, but the bible is nothing more than a book, written over a period of about 2500 years that explains how we messed up (sinned) and are destined for death and damnation, how the Son of God (Jesus) was born and was crucified (dead) for our sin and how he was resurrected after 3 days. It also contains guidelines of how to live in appreciation of God and how he saved us from something we could do nothing about.

      As for your question on whether it is true, I have after many years of research, study, questioning and doubting come to the conclusion that there is a very good chance that everything written in the bible is true. It has shown itself to be historically and ethically sound.

      Regarding the contradictions and misleading of the bible, can you be more specific? Why would you come to the conclusion that the bible is wrong? Why not believe science to be mistaken in some areas?

  3. Gene says:

    Perhaps then you also have the indisputable knowledge of what made the supreme father and mother. How can you be so sure of things that are only speculation.

    • Hare Krishna Gene

      Nothing made God. God is eternal, without beginning and without end. We can not relate to this because in our experience everything is born and everything dies. Every living entity comes from a mother and a father. But there is another world, the spiritual world, and there things are different. In that place the living entities are all eternally youthful. There is no death, there is no old age, there is no disease.

      These things are not speculation. This is knowledge. Speculation means we have come to these conclusions through some intellectual process however the knowledge of Krishna consciousness is not like that. There are two types of knowledge, ascending knowledge and descending knowledge. The ascending process is speculation. That is the modern so-called scientific process. They observe something and do not understand it and by the power of their own speculation they come up with some explanation for what is happening. These “scientific” theories born out of speculation are always faulty. And this has been proven over the years in science. If you find a science text book from 100 years ago and read it you can have a good laugh. Because the ideas they had then in so many ways are completely wrong compared to the ideas that the scientists have today. Similarly if the people find one of todays science books in 100 years time they will also have a good laugh because by then they will have realized that so much of todays “science” is completely wrong.

      This is the problem with speculation. We speculate based on the information we can gather through our senses. But all of our senses are imperfect. So the information we have to start with is imperfect therefore the process is doomed to failure.

      So how to find real knowledge? You have to hear it from someone who knows. This is actually the process which is used in every school and college all over the world. The students come to these places to hear from people with knowledge. They accept some professor as an authority on a certain subject and hear from him, learn from him. Although they are teaching mundane faulty knowledge this is still the only process they have to learn. Hearing from an authority.

      So if you want perfect knowledge you need to find someone who has that perfect knowledge and hear it from him. That is the only way you can get the perfect knowledge. So this process, hearing from a perfect authority is the way we get our knowledge in Krishna consciousness. So if the authority we are hearing from is perfect and pure and if we simply repeat the knowledge we have heard then we are distributing perfect knowledge. No speculation at all.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

  4. Joe says:

    I think people should be allowed to believe as they wish, but one thing did come to mind as I read this post. You say “Life does not come from chemicals, it has never been proven.” Yet you say life comes from a god, and yet you have no proof of that either. Neither science nor religion can answer all of the unknowns, but science at least tries to, instead of simply saying it is god’s power and leaving it at that.

    • Hare Krishna Joe

      We are not actually saying in this article that “life comes from a God.” We are saying that “Life comes from life” and we have proof of that. Where did you come from Joe? You came from your parents. And your parents are alive. So you came from life. You did not come from some random mixture of chemicals or from a big bang…

      So we have proof all around us of life coming from life. You will find it without exception that every living thing is coming from another living thing. And that is what I am stating in this article, the proof is everywhere.

      But you can not find any proof anywhere of life coming from chemicals. Because life does not come from chemicals. Life comes from life…

      • John says:

        The arguement wasn’t that your mother and father were a assortment of chemicals that produced you, but rather that the ORIGIN OF LIFE began with chemicals! You seem to not comprehend anything at all.

        • Namesake says:

          >I think people should be allowed to believe as they wish

          Not that the author is shoving something down our throats , do as you wish to same goes for everyone else here

          >You say “Life does not come from chemicals, it has never been proven.” Yet you say life comes from a god, and yet you have no proof of that either. Neither science nor religion can answer all of the unknowns,

          Of course at this moment no direct ‘evidence’ is available to us(something that would be accepted worldwide) that’s the very reason why this discussion is even going on but again the correct method of achieving the desired result is Krishna consciousness.

          >but science at least tries to, instead of simply saying it is god’s power and leaving it at that.

          Krishna consciousness is the process of elevating oneself to the highest platform that the soul can achieve i.e the level of Brahman( full of principle 68 qualities and devoid of any material guna tattva or material modes of nature)
          So actually you have to follow a prescribed method of Krishna Consciousness to understand things rather than some blind belief (as you implied above)
          Also the ‘scientific attempt’ is flawed simply because the knowledge we gather , the observations we make and even the inferences we draw are all subject to errors due to the 4 defects that are always present in conditioned soul.

          So it’s about choosing the “correct” method rather than blind faith.

          • Hare Krishna

            Well. You are preaching. But you are trying to preach to John who at this time obviously does not believe in God and really has no interest in Krishna consciousness. But John’s logic is flawed. He says “Yet you say life comes from a god, and yet you have no proof of that either.” However the point of this article is not that life comes from God. The point is Life Comes From Life. And we have proof of that. Ask John, “Where did you come from?” and he will answer that he came from his mother and his mother got pregnant with him as a result of his father having sex with his mother. So John is alive and even he will admit that he has come from his mother and father who are also alive. Therefore we have conclusively and scientifically proven that Life Comes From Life.

            Let John prove that life comes from chemicals. He can not. It has never happened. Life always comes from life, life has always come from life, life will always come from life. Life will never come from chemicals.

            So this is the point. The fact that the original life is Krishna is a secondary point. The main point is Life Comes From Life. We have proven this conclusively. Life never comes from chemicals. Life always comes from life.

            Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

            Madhudvisa dasa

    • Nirali Gohel says:

      Hi Joe,

      You are right in saying that science at least tries to prove where the life began from. But think about it, you still believe things that you have never seen or experienced. things that are only on paper. let’s say, cancer cells. you have never seen them, yet you believe that they are the reasons for the disease. you believe merely on the fact that some scientist or doctors have seen it.

      it’s a similar case with religion. It’s like science, to experience something, you have to dedicate your time and yourself to it. in religion, there are people who have experienced that supernatural power and believe that He has made us [ maynot not straight away as humans, but the organic molecules from which we originated were made by someone, there’s some mechanism working behind the entire phenomena] …..

  5. Kapil says:

    After reading this article twice, i felt that there were only certain fragments that deserve attention. Not because the rest is accurate, but it is remarkably incomprehensible! Nonetheless, the first four paragraphs deserve some scrutiny for their grotesque inaccuracies.

    1. The Big Bang Theory did not originate out of Albert Einstein’s work, but instead from the work of Edward Hubble who observed a red shift in the spectrum of distant galaxies, much like one that is observed from retreating objects. Albert Einstein’s work on Special Relativity, and his later hypothesis, which found supportive evidence in the last few years of the 20th century, pointed towards an ever increasing volume of the universe… a universe on a one way road to absolute zero as entropy increases indefinitely!

    2. The Big Bang Theory, the Theory of Evolution and the Stanley Miller – Harold Urey experiment have absolutely nothing in common with each other. The three (well the first two are theories, the last is a mere experiment), explain three completely different phenomenon and neither of the three are connected or even related.

    3. Finally, the experiment DID yield amino acids. not just the three observed at the time of the experiment but more than two dozen essential amino acids required for cell construction as was observed later with better spectroscopic equipment. The chemicals were added at the start of the experiment, which ran continuously for one week, in proportions that they were expected to be present in the primordial atmosphere. Furthermore, the chemical combination occurred within the experiment’s apparatus, and no additional chemicals were added once the experiment was set in motion.

    • Yes, any ideas relating to the spiritual world, or any ideas relating to the controller behind the material world seem completely incomprehensible by atheists who have taken to science to try and come up with an alternative explanation for the creation of the universe other than obvious one that any reasonable man would accept.

      The obvious explanation for the creation of the world is that some higher intelligence created it. There are so many intricate systems, so much wonderful design and so much beauty in the universe. And we know from our experience here in the material world if there are intricate systems and wonderful design and beauty then we naturally glorify the designers and the artists who have created these systems and the beauty.

      This is the natural conclusion and has been the conclusion of practically every civilisation since the beginning of time. Now in the years following Charles Darwin formulating his “Natural Selection” ideas the atheist class have very enthusiastically taken this and are trying to establish an alternative explanation of the creation that does not require a higher intelligence behind it. Why? Because we want to think that we are the highest intelligence. We do not want to think there is some authority above us, some God who is more powerful than us.

      As far as your points are concerned the Big Bang Theory draws on a lot of the principles Einstein spoke of. Einstein himself would probably not agree with it. Einstein believed in God and was a student of the Bhagavad Gita.

      Of course these scientists can only speculate about things, and yes, the universe is expanding at the moment. But no, it will not continue expanding forever as you assert. We have all the details of what is going on. The universe started from a tiny seed-like form and it is expanding for 1/2 the duration of its existence. At the mid-point it will stop expanding and start contracting and ultimately return to that tiny seed-like form. So we have all these scientists talking about the red shift and the expanding universe and one day they will look into their telescopes and see a blue shift and realize the universe is not expanding any more. But they can not predict that this will happen nor will they be able to understand why it is happening.

      The scientist can see very little. It is like you are an ant inside a gigantic complicated machine and can only see a very tiny part of the entire machine. How can you understand the purpose and functioning of the entire machine?

      We are tiny living entities on a tiny planet in a tiny galaxy, in a tiny universe and beyond our view there are so many things going on, so many other universes. We can never experience these things with our senses or imagine how they are working within our minds. So we can never understand anything significant about the creation and the universe through the “scientific process.” Because we can only see and experience such a tiny part of the system we are trying to understand.

      The way to get real knowledge is to find someone who actually knows it and to hear it from him. This is the process. If we want to understand the universe then we have to hear about how it works from the creator of the universe, and that would be God, Krishna, of course.

      As far as the idea that the Big Bang Theory and Theory of Evolution and the Miller – Urey experiment are not connected, in a sense that is true, but in the broader view they are all trying to explain and understand the creation of the universe and then creation of life and then the development and “evolution” of that life. So in this way the three things are very much related.

      The Big Bang Theory tries to explain the creation of the universe, the Miller – Urey experiment tries to give some “logical” explanation justifying the idea that life could have occured simply by a chance combination of some chemicals and lightning, with no need for any God or higher intelligence behind it, then Charles Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution tries to explain how the primitive life the the Miller – Urey experiment proposes could be created without the help of God could then develop into ultimately us, homo sapiens, simply by chance, with no need of any direction or plan behind it.

      So you can see that these three ideas, Big Bang Theory, Evolution, and Life from Chemicals are actually very much related to each other and all these “theories” have been formulated with the same object in mind, and that is to give some sort of “scientific,” “logical” explanation of how the universe could be created and how life could come into existence and evolve up to the point of human beings without any need to consider God or any intelligent forces being involved with it.

      All these theories try to make the childish idea that “everything came from nothing all by chance with no purpose behind it and no God above it” sound like a logical scientific theory. But it is simply “window dressing.” Although these theories dress up this idea very nicely, the fundamental principle underneath these theories is very childish. It is like the child who sees the motor car driving down the road and does not realize there is a person inside it, controlling it, directing it, he is thinking that the car is working all by itself, with no direction. So he can explain it like that and make wonderful “scientific” theories that there is no driver and that the car simply came together as a result of a chance big explosion and there is nothing directing the car, it is simply moving because of natural selection and survival of the fittest car… So a child can have such ideas. And I guess it is an interesting mental exercise, but it remains a childish and incorrect understanding of what is actually going on.

      As far as the Miller – Urey experiment yielding amino acids, yes, it may have, but that did not happen by chance. There was intelligent direction behind it. Those scientists were mixing the chemicals and heating up the mixture and putting electrical charges through the mixture. So this experiment does not prove it could happen by chance at all. It proves it could happen if there is some supreme scientist there behind the scenes to direct the experiment…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!


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About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna."I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can.That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental!That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!


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