Poison Comets Brought Life to Earth
You don’t drink formaldehyde; you stick dead things in it. Why on earth would some evolutionists claim that “Poison could have set the stage for the origins of life?” That’s exactly a headline on Science Daily and PhysOrg, with Live Science chiming in that the poisonous chemical has been “linked” to the origin of life on earth.
The story begins with speculation that formaldehyde may have made up some of the “fabric” of the early bodies of the solar system – asteroids and comets. The only observational evidence in the story is that formaldehyde is found in interstellar space by its spectrum, and that researchers at the Carnegie Institution were able to create one organic solid similar to one in a certain kind of meteorite starting with it. This mineral was also similar to material found in Comet Wild-2, samples of which were analyzed by the Stardust spacecraft.
From there, the researchers leapt to the idea that the carbon in the formaldehyde that made up these minerals got to earth. George Cody at Carnegie was excited about this wild idea. “We may owe our existence on this planet to interstellar formaldehyde,” he said. “And what’s ironic about it is that formaldehyde is poisonous to life on Earth.” So even though it’s a long conceptual leap from formaldehyde to comets to carbon on earth to life, Cody felt he had done his fellow carbon units a favor: “Establishing the likely origin of the principal source of organic carbon in primitive solar system bodies is extremely satisfying.”
Update 04/06/2011: Ker Than wrote an independent article about this for National Geographic News, entitled, “Space Poison Helped Start Life on Earth? Formaldehyde on asteroids may have delivered planet’s carbon.” His article showcased a dead frog preserved in formalin (dissolved formaldehyde), and explained that formaldehyde is poisonous because it interferes with many metabolic reactions. Like the other reporters, though, he offered no critique of Cody’s theory.
Meanwhile, at University of Oxford, Don Fraser has been divining clays as possible maternity wards for incipient life. PhysOrg reprinted a press release from the university with a cast of characters including Darwin, Huxley, Pasteur, Oparin, Miller, ISIS and NIMROD to see if clays could have solved the problem of getting one-handed molecules together. Scenes shift from warm little ponds to labs with spark-discharge tubes, primeval soup kitchens to hospitals with thalidomide babies, all with the climax of taking “our understanding of the origin of life a step further.”
ISIS is a neutron source near Oxford, and NIMROD is an instrument for analyzing clays. The Oxford team believes they are “We are thus building an increasingly detailed picture of the steps that lead to the origin of life.”
Paul Davies lacks the confidence of these teams. Denyse O'Leary at Uncommon Descent found a video on YouTube of the famous astrobiologist and author acknowledging that evolutionists have no idea how life began.
It is tragic to watch smart people deceive themselves and to become fools while professing to be wise. ISIS, NIMROD – the techniques of divination change, but somehow the stories stay the same. Ironically, the room in which Davies was speaking was decorated with Christmas trees – symbol of another story in which life was brought to earth not by poison, but by a Person.