The Primitive Atmosphere

ATMOSPHERE WITHOUT OXYGEN—Could a non-oxygen atmosphere ever have existed on Planet Earth? It surely seems like an impossibility, yet evolutionary theorists have decided that the primitive environment had to have a "reducing atmosphere," that is, one without any oxygen. Now, the theorists do not really want such a situation, but they know that it would be totally impossible for the chemical compounds needed for life to be produced outside in the open air. If oxygen was present, amino acids, etc., could not have been formed. So, in desperation, they have decided that at some earlier time in earth's history, there was no oxygen—anywhere in the world! And then later it somehow arrived on the planet!

"At that time, the 'free' production of organic matter by ultraviolet light was effectively turned off and a premium was placed on alternative energy utilization mechanisms. This was a major evolutionary crisis. I find it remarkable that any organism survived it."—*Carl Sagan, The Origins, p. 253.

But there is a special reason why they would prefer to avoid a reducing atmosphere: There is no evidence anywhere in nature that our planet ever had a non-oxygen atmosphere! And there is no theory that can explain how it could earlier have had a reducing (non-oxygen) atmosphere,—which later transformed itself into an oxidizing one! As *Urey himself admitted, a non-oxygen atmosphere is just an assumption—a flight of imagination— in an effort to accommodate the theory (*Harold Urey, "On the Early Chemical History of the Earth and the Origin of Life, " in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 38, 1952, p. 352).

*Stanley Miller was one of the pioneers in laboratory synthesis of non-living amino acids in bottles with a non-

oxygen (reducing) atmosphere. (He was afterward hailed by the press as having "created life. ") Miller later said the theory that the earth once had no oxygen is just "speculation" (*Stanley L. Miller, "Production of Some Organic Compounds under Possible Primitive Conditions, " in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 7, 1955, p. 2351).

A "reducing atmosphere" could have had methane, hydrogen, ammonia, and nitrogen. An oxidizing atmosphere, such as now exists, would have carbon dioxide, water, nitrogen, and oxygen.

(1) A reducing (non-oxygen) atmosphere never existed earlier on our planet; yet, without it, biological chemicals could not form. (2) If a reducing atmosphere had existed, so biological chemicals could form (and if they could somehow be injected with life), they would immediately die from lack of oxygen!

Here are some of the reasons against a reducing atmosphere:

(1) Oxidized iron. Early rocks contain partly or totally oxidized iron (ferric oxide). That proves that the atmosphere had oxygen back then.

(2) Water means oxygen. A reducing atmosphere could not have oxygen. But there is oxygen—lots of it— in water and in the atmosphere. According to *Brinkman, this fact alone disproves the origins of life by evolution (*R.T. Brinkman, "Dissociation of Water Vapor and Evolution of Oxygen in the Terrestrial Atmosphere, " Journal of Geophysical Research, 74, 1969, p. 5366). Are the evolutionists daring to tell us that, anciently, our planet had no water? No water above, on, or under the planet?

(3) No Life without it. How long would animals live without oxygen to breathe? How long would plants live without carbon dioxide? Without it, they could not make chlorophyll. When plants take in carbon dioxide, they give out oxygen. But a reducing atmosphere has neither oxygen nor carbon dioxide! Therefore no plants could either live or be available for food. In addition, plants need oxygen for cellular respiration.

(4) Deadly peroxides. A reduction atmosphere would form, through the photolysis of water, into peroxides, which are deadly to living creatures (* Abelson, "Some Aspects of Paleobiochemistry, "in Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 69, 1957, p. 275).

(5) No ozone layer. If there were no oxygen in the atmosphere, there would be no ozone either. Without the ozone layer, ultraviolet light would destroy whatever life was formed.

(6) Ultraviolet light. Ironically, it could do more damage in an atmosphere without oxygen. Just as oxygen in the air would destroy the chemicals of life, ultraviolet light beaming in through a sky unshielded by ozone would be deadly!

Recent studies of the ozone layer have revealed that, without it, most living organisms now on our planet would die within an hour, and many within a second or two!

(7) Not with or without. Evolutionists are locked into a situation here that they cannot escape from. Spontaneous generation could not occur with oxygen, and it could not occur without it!

FORMULA FOR THE PRIMITIVE ATMOSPHERE—Our present atmosphere (the air which we breathe) is composed of carbon dioxide (C02), nitrogen (N2), oxygen (02), and water (H20).

The generally postulated primitive atmosphere would have had to have been composed of almost totally different chemicals: methane (CH4), carbon monoxide (CO), ammonia (NH3), nitrogen (N2), hydrogen (H2), and water (H20).

INSTANT ATMOSPHERIC CHANGE—As you might imagine, all this bad news brought evolutionary origins to something of a crisis, especially the problem about the atmosphere.

So the intransigent evolutionists came up with the wild theory that at the very instant when life was cre ated on earth,—at that instant it just so happened that the entire world changed its atmosphere! It dramatically shifted suddenly from reducing to oxidizing!

But this possibility collapsed when a *University of Chicago study found that the plants could not suddenly have made all that oxygen,—and the oxygen had nowhere else to come from! If all the plants NOW on earth were suddenly formed on Day One on our planet, it would still take them 5000 years to produce as much oxygen as we now have!

However, the plants were not there at that time, and whatever plants might have been there would all have died soon after, since they themselves need oxygen for their own cellular respiration.

In order to avoid the problem of mass action degradation of amino acids formed in seawater, someone else suggested that the amino acids were made in dry clays and rocks. But in that environment either the oxygen or ultraviolet light would immediately destroy those amino acids.

UNUSUAL CHEMICALS—Men began to beat their brains against the wall, trying to figure out a way for those amino acids to form by themselves in the primitive environment.

* Sidney Fox suggested that the amino acids were made on the edges of volcanoes, *Melvin Calvin decided that dicyanimide (a compound not naturally occurring in nature) did the job, and *Shramm declared that phosphorus pentoxide in a jar of ether did it! Another research worker came up with an even more deadly solution: hydrogen cyanide—as the environment in which all the amino acids made themselves.

But again tragedy struck: It was discovered that the volcanic heat would ruin the amino acids as soon as they were formed. Phosphorus pentoxide is a novel compound that could not possibly be found in earth's primitive atmosphere. The hydrogen cyanide would require an atmo sphere of ammonia, which geological evidence shows never existed in our atmosphere. Dicyanimide would not work, because the original mixture in which the first amino acids were made had to have a more alkaline pH.

On and on it goes, one conjecture after another; always searching for the magic mixture and fairyland environment needed to make life out of nothing.

"Every time I write a paper on the origin of life, I determine I will never write another one, because there is too much speculation running after too few facts."— *Francis Crick, Life Itself (1981), p. 153. [*Crick received a Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA.]

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Responses

  • tom
    Why was primitive atmosphere reducing?
    1 year ago
  • ORNELLA MARCHESI
    Why did not oxygen form in primitive atmosphere?
    4 months ago

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