Citation Bluffs About Earth's Early Atmosphere Dominate Misguided Response to Signature in the Cell
Stephen Meyer's book Signature in the Cell is primarily devoted to assessing attempts by materialists to explain the origin of information in life. Over the course of about four pages, he includes a short discussion of a peripherally related topic, the earth's early atmosphere and the likelihood of chemical monomers forming on the early earth. He notes that "[i]n the years following Miller's experiment, however, new geochemical evidence showed that the assumptions Miller had made about the early atmosphere were incorrect" and that a "neutral" atmosphere which is "not friendly to the production of amino acids" is more likely." (pp. 224-225) Some critics have claimed that recent research shows that that the Earth's early atmosphere was in fact reducing, and that Meyer's claims do not hold up. Are the critics right?
One critic who has made such arguments is Gary Hurd, an anti-ID blogger with a Ph.D. in anthropology, who in a recent Amazon review argues that Stephen Meyer's book Signature in the Cell is "outdated" because Meyer contends that the earth's early atmosphere was not reducing, and, therefore, would not have readily produced the amino acids needed for life. Hurd also charges that Meyer's book is the result of "self-plagiarism."
A closer examination shows that Hurd's review is an exercise in citation-bluffing.