The Scandal of Biochemical Evolution

A fight with Louis Pasteur

George T. Javor
The Scandal of Biochemical Evolution

When it comes to the origin of life on earth, there are only two possibilities. Either life was created by the Creator or life developed spontaneously from inanimate matter. Until recently there was a third possibility: that life came to earth fortuitously from another source in the cosmos. However, extensive search for life in the solar system shows that only our globe is covered with living organisms. The rest of our cosmic neighborhood is sterile. As the closest star system beyond the solar system is three and a half light-years (more than 20 trillion miles) away, this third possibility has been abandoned.

As for spontaneous generation of life on earth, the French Academy of Sciences awarded the Alhumbert Prize (2,500 francs) to Louis Pasteur in 1862, for conclusively showing that it could not happen.1

Creationism as Standard

There are no meaningful alternatives to the biblical story of Creation. Two powerful witnesses from antiquity point to a period in human history when the biblical account of our origins would have been standard. The first is the almost universal observation of the seven-day cycle of the week through most of history.

Some modern historians propose that the weekly cycle originated with the Sumerians and Babylonians, with Moses copying the Babylonian calendar when he wrote his books c. 500 B.C.2 Alongside the dubiousness of such a chronology for Moses there are more than 100 major ancient and modern languages, spoken by 1 million people or more, that use the word “Sabbath” or a derivative of it to name the seventh day of the week!3

We do not now possess the technology to construct cells with continuous ongoing chemical processes within them.

The most reasonable explanation of this remarkable phenomenon is a common acceptance, in early human history, of the seven-day cycle. That cycle is firmly founded on the Bible’s Creation story. Loss of linguistic harmony and the dispersal of ethnic and or other groupings at the Tower of Babel must have contributed to loss of identity markers like the Sabbath (see Gen. 11:1-9).

The singular designation of the seventh day as variations of the Hebrew “Sabbath” in so many languages both lends validity to the biblical narrative of humanity’s origin, and implicitly repudiates evolutionary counternarratives.

The seven-day weekly cycle legacy from antiquity may not have received as much attention as deserved from thought leaders of the past 150 years, because it does not fit another narrative of our past proclaimed “scientific.” Reluctance to concede the invalidity of their postulates has led some to suggest that religious considerations be isolated from scientific facts and placed into a separate “magisterium.”

Science as Regnant

“Scientific narrative” has served as code phrase for multiple postulates and guesses scientists propose while in pursuit of an exception to Pasteur’s dictum that spontaneous generation of life cannot happen.

 In the 1870s Charles Darwin suggested that life on earth probably began in a “warm little pond.”4 In the 1920s J. B. Haldane and A. I. Oparin both proposed that primitive living cells came into existence when organic substances, formed in an airless atmosphere, collected in puddles and interacted with each other.5

In 1953, 91 years after Pasteur’s discovery, Stanley Miller, a graduate student in Harold Urey’s laboratory at the University of Chicago, published the results of his experiments, where he exposed a mixture of gases (ammonia, hydrogen, methane, and water vapors) to electric discharges and showed the formation of amino acids.6 Because proteins, the all-important substances of living matter, are composed of amino acids, this was credited by some as a laboratory demonstration of how life may have originated on earth. Thus the discipline of biochemical evolution was born.

Over subsequent decades numerous laboratories in this field have produced numerous biologically relevant substances, using numerous imagined “primordial” conditions. The one common denominator among these numerous efforts was the exclusion of the gas oxygen, because it destroys the desired products.

Practitioners of these biochemical evolutionary efforts gave undeserving inattention to a surprising discovery by astronauts of Apollo 16’s 1972 mission to the moon. They seemed more to ignore than deal with the fact that vast amounts of oxygen are constantly generated high in the atmosphere by the ultraviolet radiation of the sun acting upon water vapors.7 The news release of this discovery suggested that this “photolysis” of water may be the main source of oxygen in the atmosphere, instead of photosynthesis. That this phenomenon has been present all through earth’s history nullifies any concept of an oxygen-free atmosphere at some point in earth history.

In 1975 Stanley Miller wrote: “We are confident that the basic process [of chemical evolution] is correct, so confident that it seems inevitable that a similar process has taken place on many other planets in the solar system. . . . We are sufficiently confident of our ideas about the origin of life that in 1976 a spacecraft will be sent to Mars to land on the surface with the primary purpose of the experiments being a search for living organisms.”8

Indeed, in the summer of 1976, two sophisticated spacecrafts, the Viking landers, settled on Martian soil, 4,600 miles apart from each other, and began their search for living organisms. The results stunned the scientific community. Not only were there no living organisms on Mars, there were no organic substances at all in the soil! The results thoroughly repudiated biochemical evolutionary predictions.9

Synthetic Biology: A New Discipline Introduced

Near the end of the twentieth century a new field of inquiry emerged: synthetic biology. Here laboratories are attempting to create living organisms. Widespread optimism is expressed that with this development we are on the cusp of a new and exciting era of biology.10

However, scientists have bumped into a hitherto largely overlooked aspect of living organisms. The phenomenon of life is based on continuous chemical reactions within each cell, and we do not now possess the technology to construct cells with continuous ongoing chemical processes within them. Such a feat requires the ability to control, simultaneously, myriads of molecules, a function anyone must wield who would operate as life’s Creator.11

The study of ecology, the relationship between different types of organisms in the biosphere, reveals that no single kind of organism can survive by itself on earth. Plants depend on mammals for CO₂ to make sugar and oxygen through photosynthesis. Bacteria living in root nodules of plants convert nitrogen of the air to nitrate salts, so that plants utilize it for growth. It is clear to the scientific community that the various organisms of our biosphere do not compete with each other as much as they share an obligatory network of mutual support. If, through putative evolutionary means, a single organism were to emerge miraculously, it would not survive in the absence of a supportive biosphere!

Since 1862 there has been no new scientific discovery that would invalidate Pasteur’s annihilation of the theory of spontaneous generation. The enterprise of biochemical evolution, from 1953 to the present, constitutes one more futile effort to find an exception to Pasteur’s dictum.

The scandal of biochemical evolution is that despite its long history of scientific failures and a lack of prospect of ever succeeding, the official scientific establishment still teaches it to students of all ages as the gospel, combined with active crusading against teaching creationism in science classes.12 This deprives generations of students of knowing their true origins, while squandering untold billions of dollars on projects that cannot ever bring us life. 

 1 J. R. Porter, “Louis Pasteur: Achievements and Disappointments, 1861,” Bacteriological Reviews 25, no. 4: 389-403.

 2 Robert Coolman, “Keeping Time: Origins of the Days of the Week,”, accessed June 28, 2022.

 3, accessed June 28, 2022.

 4 Charles Darwin, in a letter to Joseph Hooker, 1871.

 5 S. Tirardi, “J.B.S. Haldane and the Origin of Life,” Journal of Genetics 96, no. 5 (2017): 735-739; see also https://physicsoftheuniverse,com/scientists_oparin html/, accessed June 28, 2022.

 6 S. L. Miller, “Production of Amino Acids Under Possible Primitive Earth Conditions,” Science 117 (1953): 528, 529.

 7 Naval Research Laboratory News Release: 30-72-7; Review and Herald, Mar. 14, 1974.

 8 S. L. Miller, The Heritage of Copernicus, ed. Jerzy Neyman (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1974), p. 328.

 9 C. Ponamperuma, A. Shimoyama, M. Yamada, T. Hobo, and R. Pal, “Possible Surface Reactions on Mars: Implications for Viking Biology Results,” Science 197 (1977): 455-457.

10 G. A. Soffen, “Scientific Results of the Viking Missions,” Science 194 (1976): 1274-1276; J. W. Szostak, D. P. Bartel, P. L. Luisi, “Synthesizing Life,” Nature 409 (2001): 387-390.

11 G. T. Javor, “Synthesizing Life in the Laboratory: Why Is It Not Happening?” Geoscience Research Institute Website, July 26, 2021.

12 G. T. Javor, “Letters,” Microbe Magazine, Nov. 5, 2008. Archives of Microbe Magazine are inaccessible to nonmembers of the American Society of Microbiology. The letter is reproduced here: “Evolution in the Classroom. Risking the ire of the National Academy of Sciences, attention needs to be called to the irony of their current crusade against creationism in science classrooms. Sir Francis Bacon, who is credited with formulating and establishing the scientific method, was a creationist. So were Sir Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Louis Pasteur, Carl Linnaeus, Michael Faraday, Blaise Pascal, Lord Kelvin, James Clerk Maxwell, Jean Louis Agassiz, Rudolph Carl Virchow, Johannes Kepler, and numerous other intellectual giants on whose shoulders stand the modern scientific enterprise. Clearly, creationism did not hinder the scientific work of these greats; rather it encouraged them to seek keener insights into the secrets of the physical realm. Permitting students to peek outside the box of evolution is hardly a dilution of science. Rather it is granting them freedom of imagination and thought similar to what students of previous generations were allowed to have.”

George T. Javor

George T. Javor is emeritus professor of biochemistry and microbiology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, California. His latest book is The Best News Possible: You May Live Forever!