While outside the ToE, it seems that there is no limit to the discussion on this issue in the group so I thought I'd start this thread. I found this article in the Science News about possible cell membrane formation and found it interesting. "In their lab, the scientists prepared wafers of a frozen mix containing water, methanol, ammonia, carbon monoxide, and other molecules known to be present in interstellar gas clouds. They then subjected the wafers to the frigid temperatures and high vacuum present in deep space. Next, they zapped the ices with ultraviolet light for several weeks, mimicking the high-energy radiation that these molecules would receive in space.
The researchers brought the residue of this icy mixture to room temperature and added liquid water, which would have been present on ancient Earth. They found that the resulting molecules had arranged themselves in spherical vesicles similar in size, shape, and structure to cell membranes." Source: http://www.sciencenews.org/20010203/fob1.asp
This offers at least a possible explanation as to how the outside of cell got started. Hope this interests some of you.
OK, so we have these "spherical vesicles" that are formed. Do they have a door or window that the amino acids that are forming on the primitive Earth can get through so to set up camp on the inside? Hopefully these "vesicles" formed or landed near the alleged primordial soup, that way the alleged first self-replicating molecules wouldn't have to travel too far to reach them.
Then we have the issue of once inside these "vesicles" the information to make the vesicles had to be transferred to the self-replicating molecules or did vesicle after vesicle rain down upon the Earth and continues to do so now unnoticed?
No, with abiogenesis scientists are grasping at straws. But it doesn't hurt to look, you never know what other piece of knowledge can be gained by trying.
I think that production of a proto-cell membrane would most likely have been from the replicators inside the proto-cell. That way they don't have to be looking for new vesicles in which to implant themselves and they can repair damage.
Still, the research demonstrates that cell membrane-like structures are not that difficult to produce.
I have heard about something similar to this, with membrane-like pockets forming under certain conditions--but I agree that it almost boggles the mind how something that was ultimately a collection of inert chemicals could become an organized, living thing, even one as simple as a bacterium. Genes, protien-ormation, and gene replication are really very complex processes. Yes, I do believe that life on Earth rose out of an evolutionary process--but I thnk that the huge step from collection of chemicals to living thing does indeed leave room for us to ponder a Creator. It's the same in cosmology: we belive there was a Big Bang--but where did the original singularity come from? That is something science isn't able to tell us.
Regardless, this is perhaps the smallest piece of a VERY big puzzle.
How does the dna form? How are the left hand amino acids separated from the right hand amino acids? This is an unresolved issue. In all tests, approximately equal amounts of left hand and right hand amino acids are always produced together. There is no known way to separate them. The odds of getting all the left hands separated from the right hands from a purely statistical viewpoint is unreasonable, so until there becomes a simple, natural way to separate the acids, the natural creation of that first dna cell looks bleak.
Secondly, how can the necessity of all that work to partially produce the smallest of the necessities for life support a claim that no intellegence was needed to create life at all?
Jmunk: "How does the dna form? How are the left hand amino acids separated from the right hand amino acids?...etc..."
I think it's more important to ask, "What does it mean if we don't have answers?" We don't know everything and never will, but the business of science is of asking questions such as yours, and then going off and finding the answers. For some of these questions we may never know the answer. Perhaps "How did life begin?" is one of those questions. We cannot know if the answer lies within our abilities to discover, but scientists are trying, and perhaps they'll succeed, perhaps not.
The nature of your questions, though not the questions themselves, have a long history. Four hundred years ago you could ask what keeps the planets in orbit about the sun, and argue that since we didn't know that it was therefore evidence of God. Three hundred years ago you could ask where lightening comes from, and since we didn't know you could argue it was evidence of God. Two hundred years ago you could ask about the origin of species, and since we didn't know you could argue it was evidence of God. One hundred years ago you could point to the anomalies in the orbit of Mercury and argue that since we didn't know why that it was evidence of God. And now you ask how the amino acids in life ended up with only single-handedness when both are equally likely, and argue that since we don't know that it is evidence of God (or an IDer in your case).
If questions about what we don't know are to have any significance, you must first successfully make the case that they are different in nature from these old questions from the history of science.
[This message has been edited by Percipient, 12-01-2001]
Perci, I agree. However its not just not understanding a process thats the problem. These people are negative for a much more sinister reason ; because their religion makes them so. To accept that life originated as part of a natural process would put the final nail in the coffin for most religions. They HAVE to oppose it, logic & reason have no place here.