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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2005
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Claim CB035.1:

Free oxygen is fatal to abiogenesis scenarios such as those that Stanley Miller experimented with. Evidence indicates that the early earth had significant oxygen.


Ankerberg, John, Steve Austin, Duane Gish and Kurt Wise. 1990. The creation debate: oxygen -- the deathblow to life?


  1. There is a variety of evidence that the early atmosphere did not have significant oxygen (Turner 1981).

    The dominant scientific view is that the early atmosphere had 0.1 percent oxygen or less (Copley 2001).

  2. Free oxygen in the atmosphere today is mainly the result of photosynthesis. Before photosynthetic plants and bacteria appeared, we would expect little oxygen in the atmosphere for lack of a source. The oldest fossils (over a billion years older than the transition to an oxygen atmosphere) were bacteria; we do not find fossils of fish, clams, or other organisms that need oxygen in the oldest sediments.


Tamzek, Nic. 2002. Icon of obfuscation.


  1. Copley, Jon. 2001. The story of O. Nature 410: 862-864.
  2. Farquhar, J., H. Bao and M. Thiemens. 2000. Atmospheric influence of earth's earliest sulfur cycle. Science 289: 756-758.
  3. Turner, G. 1981. The development of the atmosphere. In: The Evolving Earth, ed. L. R. M. Cocks. London: British Museum, 121-136.

Further Reading:

Wiechert, Uwe H. 2002. Earth's early atmosphere. Science 298: 2341-2342.
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created 2003-4-1, modified 2004-11-22