Chuck Missler's jar of peanut butter

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Chuck Missler claims to have disproved evolution and/or abiogenesis with a jar of peanut butter. It relies on straw man arguments and misrepresentation of the science supporting these topics.


The argument

  • Heat or Lightning + Matter = Life (even if only occasionally)
  • But, the food industry relies on this never happening (life doesn't spontaneously form in food products)
  • Upon examining a jar of peanut butter, we see it contains matter.
  • We can expose the jar of peanut butter to light and heat.
  • We never see new life emerge inside the jar unless it's been contaminated from the outside.

In the interview, Chuck Missler states: [1]

"If the theory of evolution is viable, then I should, occasionally, by subjecting this [jar of peanut butter] to energy, end up having new life. Now we go down to the store and if I open this jar of peanut butter, maybe, not often but on some occasion, I should find new life inside. And so, when we open the jar of peanut butter, you look in there, there is no new life. And aren't you glad, ok? Now, you may smile at this but hopefully you will never forget it, because you and I, collectively, conduct over a billion experiments every year and we have done that for virtually a hundred years and we never encounter new life. In fact the entire food industry of the world depends on the fact that evolution doesn't happen."


  • Missler is speaking of abiogenesis, not evolution, so he's not even "disproving" the right thing.
  • To say that abiogenesis is "heat/light + matter = life" is like saying that "heat + gas + metal = functional car". Even though cars are perfectly viable and common, sending someone out to build one using those "instructions" will guarantee failure. This argument is a failure of over-simplifcation. Simple incomplete/inconsistent comparison as well (a.k.a a logical fallacy)
  • Abiogenesis isn't a 1-step process. It's (as far as we currently know) a progression from amino acids to basic proteins to protein bubbles, and so on. Any single jar of peanut butter does not exist for long enough for these processes to progress very far. If anything, what he'd find is new amino acids in the peanut butter, which wouldn't be distinguishable from the amino acids already present.
  • Picking peanut butter as the "non-life" base is invalid towards his argument, because biological material, including DNA, complex organic molecules and live bacteria, is already present in the jar. The existing life would tend to out complete any new life form that emerges since it has a few billion years evolutionary head start.
  • People are not routinely looking for new life in peanut butter, so it is irrelevant if they do not find any. Assuming it would be obvious to the naked eye is false.
  • The scale of the modern food industry as an "experiment" is tiny compared to the scale of the entire Earth considered over billions of years.
  • Preservatives are usually added to peanut butter during manufacture, [2] which may impede abiogenesis.


  1. [1]
  2. [2]

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