First Life

“The concept that all the parts of the first living thing preexisted and its
information was simply a matter of spontaneous generation…is mathematical absurdity, not probability. All present approaches to the problem of the origin of life are either irrelevant or lead to a blind alley.”
John Keosian

Chemical evolution as envisioned by Big Bang theorists has yet to earn the unanimous endorsement of the science community. A reasonable scientific explanation as to how earth happens to house a privileged “habitable zone” has yet to survive the drawing board of speculative ideas. Now comes biological evolution’s unprecedented leap of faith—first life creating itself from non-living matter.

Charles Darwin

The year Charles Darwin published Origin of Species (1859)
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), proved spontaneous generation
of life from non-living matter to be unproven fiction.

Chemical and biological evolution share at least two undistinguished credentials. Both represent unproven theories devised by human minds and both reject input from any intelligent source superior to the conjectured postulates of Homo sapiens.

So if nature can make something happen accidentally in deep time, by trial and error, and theorized by human minds, then why can’t sophisticated humans replicate the process within a controlled, laboratory environment and create life in a lab from non-living, chemical compounds?

If life from unintelligent non-life could result theoretically from an accidental whim of nature, then why couldn’t human intelligence be recruited to design and create a living cell by duplicating the secret of first life’s launching pad?

The challenge beckoned audacious minds.


Without the magnifying power of electronic microscopes, 19th century scientists dismissed living cells as “structureless globules of protoplasm.”

Those presumed, simple “globules of protoplasm” opened eyes to unimagined complexity. What leaped into view through the lens of the electron microscope was a throbbing piece of molecular machinery, complete with a nucleus packed with genetic information—a variety of proteins, all wrapped snugly in a membrane, surrounded by a cell wall.

The Mycoplasma, a single-cell microorganism, the “simplest known self-

reproducing life form,” carries 482, life-directing genes.2 The chance of spontaneous generation producing the complete formula of molecules, amino acids, and proteins essential for a cell only one-tenth the size of Mycoplasm hominis H. 39, is less than one in 10 340,000,000. 3

So the stage was set for a scientific challenge pitting nature’s random chance versus the design skills of mortal intelligence. Could something similar to Mycoplasma be reproduced in a lab under the auspices of sophisticated, scientific minds?

Stanley Miller and Harold Urey took up the challenge and stepped to the plate in 1952, intent on discovering the secrets of a living cell—only months before the DNA double helix string of information, housed in living cells, grabbed international headlines. This innovative duo shaped their experiment following a theoretical trail blazed by Russia’s Alexander I. Oparin’s and Britain’s J.H.S. Haldane’s attempt to rescue spontaneous generation ideology from history’s dustbin of trashed ideas.

Adding intelligence to the formula, struck at the heart of an experiment devised to authenticate impossible accident. So even if successful, intervention of human thought sabotaged the credibility of a process intended to authenticate the non-intelligent origin of first life on earth.

Amino acids, the building blocks linking cell proteins, have been synthesized in laboratory environments. But the creation of a full complement of proteins essential to life, from laboratory-built amino acids, proved as futile as attempting to break the sonic barrier riding a broomstick.

There is more: Amino acids can’t form in the presence of oxygen.

This is an excerpt from a chapter of the 2016 Edition
of “Three Days Before the Sun”, now available
from leading online retailers.


Copyright © 2012 Warren L. Johns.  All Rights Reserved.  Contact: