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Author Topic:   The Relationship Between the Beginnings of Life and the Evolution of Life
ogon
Member (Idle past 4514 days)
Posts: 70
Joined: 05-13-2007


Message 1 of 20 (401864)
05-22-2007 3:14 PM


Are evolutionists only concerned with how life on Earth has EVOLVED?

OR do evolutionists also suggest how life on Earth began?

If once there was no biological life on Earth, and then there was biological life on Earth, this suggests to me that there has to be a beginning to life on Earth.

I have been raised with the notion that nothing happens without something making it happen, cause and effect I believe it's called. In my limited knowledge I see evolution as the effect but I'm not quite sure about the cause.

Have I just asked the same question 3 times???

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Topic title changed from "to evolutionists" to "The Relationship Between the Beginnings of Life and the Evolution of Life"


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by AdminCoragyps, posted 05-22-2007 3:28 PM ogon has responded
 Message 5 by Chiroptera, posted 05-22-2007 4:28 PM ogon has not yet responded
 Message 6 by crashfrog, posted 05-22-2007 4:29 PM ogon has responded
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 Message 13 by anglagard, posted 05-23-2007 1:07 AM ogon has responded

  
AdminCoragyps
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 20 (401871)
05-22-2007 3:28 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by ogon
05-22-2007 3:14 PM


"Evolutionist" may be the sticky part here - that word is most often used by the "creationist" camp to suggest that people who accept the evidence for evolution (or for an earth older than 6000 years, or for life arising through natural means, ....) are following some sort of religion by doing so.

Are you asking, "Are biologists only concerned....?

Clarify for me, and give a more descriptive title, and I'll promote.

Edited by AdminCoragyps, : No reason given.


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ogon
Member (Idle past 4514 days)
Posts: 70
Joined: 05-13-2007


Message 3 of 20 (401878)
05-22-2007 3:54 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminCoragyps
05-22-2007 3:28 PM


Is it not the other way around?

Evolutionist, to me does not suggest people who are following some sort of religion.
Rather, creationist, I thought were people who suggest the Earth is 6000 years old and are following a religion!

OR, am I reading your reply totally wrong?
ogon


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AdminCoragyps
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 20 (401882)
05-22-2007 4:15 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

Eh.....I should have waited for a new title, but hey, I'm newish at this moderator business.

Coragyps the non-admin feels that the study of abiogenesis is very much a part of the evolution/creation debate, though it certainly wasn't part of Darwin's work.

And there was "cause" for the first life to arise: chemical reactions happen. The atmosphere and hydrosphere of the early Earth was apparently conducive to chemical reactions that led to self-replicating chemicals and to oily-walled things that remind one of cells - and it took off from there.

Edited by AdminCoragyps, : No reason given.


  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6856
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.9


Message 5 of 20 (401884)
05-22-2007 4:28 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by ogon
05-22-2007 3:14 PM


I have been raised with the notion that nothing happens without something making it happen, cause and effect

I dunno, ogon; dividing up phenomena into "cause" and "effect" seems to me to be...medievel. I think a better description of what the sciences try to do is to study phenomena and the processes that give rise to those phenomena.

And that is what those researchers who are studying the questions of abiogenesis are doing; we have the existence of life, and a legitimate question is how life originally arose. Presumably, life is the result of natural chemical processes occurring on the ancient earth. What scientists studying abiogenesis are doing is trying to figure out the actual chemical environment that existed, and the steps along the pathway during the evolution of the first cells that we can call "life".

Now, the theory of evolution is independent of research into abiogenesis, but they certainly do have similarities. Evolution is more the description of the how new species arise and the processes that led to the structure that we see in the phylogenic tree, while abiogenesis is, of course, the study of how life first arose on earth. But both are obviously concerned with historical matters in the biological sciences, and clearly biology would be (and is!) incomplete without a good theory for both.

-

Incidentally, Darwin himself used the word evolutionist to describe those who accept common descent (and, more specifically, perhaps those who accepted his theory of mechanism), so I don't know if the use of this word can really be chalked up to some creationist plot.


Actually, if their god makes better pancakes, I'm totally switching sides. -- Charley the Australopithecine

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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 20 (401885)
05-22-2007 4:29 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by ogon
05-22-2007 3:14 PM


Are evolutionists only concerned with how life on Earth has EVOLVED?

OR do evolutionists also suggest how life on Earth began?

Certainly evolutionists are interested in how life on Earth began - it's hard to imagine anyone who wouldn't be interested in such a tantalizing subject - but the theory of evolution isn't about the original origin of life.

Since the origin of life was surely chemical, studies in abiogenesis are the bailiwick of of biochemists. Here's a big long article about the subject:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_life

Chemistry is a little over my head, currently, but maybe you'll find that helpful. And surely some of our resident chemists could address whatever questions you have?


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ogon
Member (Idle past 4514 days)
Posts: 70
Joined: 05-13-2007


Message 7 of 20 (401891)
05-22-2007 5:41 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by crashfrog
05-22-2007 4:29 PM


So basically, a chemical reaction created the Earth, a biologically dead planet, and somehow biological life evolved. And the reason why up till now has remained uncertain but many scientific theories have been put forward.
ogon

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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5426
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 8 of 20 (401895)
05-22-2007 6:02 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by ogon
05-22-2007 5:41 PM


So basically, a chemical reaction created the Earth, a biologically dead planet, and somehow biological life evolved.

No, millions upon millions of chemical reactions, nearly all of them false starts as far as the outcome we have now, happened over some hundreds of millions of years. Somthing resembling life like we know it came out of a small subset of these, and proved good enough at replicating itself that it became the dominant set of chemical reactions.

I'm an example of such a set, and you are an extremely similar example. A mesquite tree is only very, very similar in terms of its bagfull of reactions.


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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6856
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.9


Message 9 of 20 (401899)
05-22-2007 6:16 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by ogon
05-22-2007 5:41 PM


So basically, a chemical reaction created the Earth, a biologically dead planet, and somehow biological life evolved.

I guess, in the same sense that methane and water in a closed flask with an electric spark going off will "somehow" create amino acids and a few other complex hydrocarbons.

It really isn't a question of "somehow" or "why". It is a matter of normal chemical elements that we know existed on the earth, under conditions found on the earth, reacted according to the known laws of chemistry and physics (and known properties of self-organization) to produce, as Coragyps phrased it, a catalytic chemical system that was able to replicate.

The question is to understand what the possible environments that existed on the early earth, and the exact conditions were, that will, due to the rather mundate laws of physics and chemistry, produce a system of chemicals that catalyze its own production.


Actually, if their god makes better pancakes, I'm totally switching sides. -- Charley the Australopithecine

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Replies to this message:
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AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 4805
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 10 of 20 (401900)
05-22-2007 6:19 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by ogon
05-22-2007 5:41 PM


The coalescence of a star from a dense cloud of gas under the strong tug of gravity is not generally considered a “chemical reaction”; neither the accretion of a planetary body like Earth. But, the spark of life was most probably a chemical reaction indeed.

Each hypotheses of abiogenesis has its strengths and its weaknesses. One wouldn’t be surprised if some combination of these along with something as yet not stated did the deed. We will never know with certainty how life arose on this planet. The best we can ever do is explore the most logical and probable scenarios.


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Doddy
Member (Idle past 4294 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 11 of 20 (401956)
05-22-2007 11:22 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Chiroptera
05-22-2007 6:16 PM


Chiroptera writes:

methane and water in a closed flask with an electric spark going off will "somehow" create amino acids

No, unless you add a nitrogenous compound to form the amino group (Miller used ammonia), they won't.

Edited by Doddy, : correction


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Minnemooseus
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From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
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Message 12 of 20 (401958)
05-23-2007 12:38 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by ogon
05-22-2007 3:14 PM


The Grand Unified Theory of the Evolution of Everything
My personal thoughts are that the concept of evolution (biological and other) is all encompassing. I summarize the definition, in my "signature", as "Evolution - Changes in the environment, caused by the interactions of the components of the environment". Now the largest unit of "environment" is the entire universe as we know it. That "environment" in turn can be broken down into smaller and smaller "sub-environments".

The origins of life and the thereafter evolution of life can be looked upon as being one environment. BUT that environment can be broken down into the sub-environments of "life origins" and "life evolution". Now the knowledge of life's origin may indeed be a murky subject, but to make the assumption that life did indeed have an origin is a pretty safe assumption. Maybe even, that origin involved a Godly input.

Now that the origin is assumed, it can then be studied what then happened and how it happened. That is the fact and the theory of (biological) evolution.

The above "environment" jargon is of my own creation. Others may well not approve of such.

Political history analogy:

We can study and understand much about 20th century history without knowing much if anything about 19th century history. And, in turn, without knowing much about 18th century and even earlier history. But it all is connected together, and what happened in the earlier centuries certainly did influence what happened later.

Or something like that.

Moose

ps: Click on my avatar for a larger version. The current version is illegible in the tiny form.


Professor, geology, Whatsamatta U
Evolution - Changes in the environment, caused by the interactions of the components of the environment.

"Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer." - Bruce Graham

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." - John Kenneth Galbraith

"Nixon was a professional politician, and I despised everything he stood for — but if he were running for president this year against the evil Bush-Cheney gang, I would happily vote for him." - Hunter S. Thompson

"I know a little about a lot of things, and a lot about a few things, but I'm highly ignorant about everything." - Moose


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anglagard
Member
Posts: 2206
From: Socorro, New Mexico USA
Joined: 03-18-2006


Message 13 of 20 (401959)
05-23-2007 1:07 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by ogon
05-22-2007 3:14 PM


Panspermia?
ogon writes:

If once there was no biological life on Earth, and then there was biological life on Earth, this suggests to me that there has to be a beginning to life on Earth.

Not necessarily, considering the complex organic molecules that can form in space itself, and the possibility of extraterrestrial introduction of already living forms to an appropriate environment, life did not absolutely have to start on earth itself. The theory of life originating extraterrestrially is otherwise known as Panspermia

Not that I believe that is how it happened, but IMO as a wild guess, it has more speculative evidence going for it than that for Bigfoot.

ABE - this is not a disagreement or even a correction as panspermia would constitute "a beginning to life on Earth" just a mere conversation point.

Edited by anglagard, : Clarity and title

Edited by anglagard, : No reason given.


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ogon
Member (Idle past 4514 days)
Posts: 70
Joined: 05-13-2007


Message 14 of 20 (401996)
05-23-2007 11:20 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by anglagard
05-23-2007 1:07 AM


Re: Panspermia?
I agree, most of what I ask and say may seem 'medievel'. And I don't take this as a criticism but rather the truth in that at school, some 30-40 years ago for me, we probably touched on the creation of the earth only in a Religious Education lesson, and probably only touched on biology in a sex education lesson! There has to be a lot said for education in these matters. Now age 50 I am educating myself in such matters as evolution and creation. In our present climate it may be a wise move for any government to push for the increased teaching of the sciences.
The above replies have helped a lot so many thanks again.
ogon

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Percy
Member
Posts: 19264
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 15 of 20 (402000)
05-23-2007 11:53 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by ogon
05-23-2007 11:20 AM


Re: Panspermia?
As you have probably noticed, and as is true of any subject, everybody's answer is different. Even when they're saying the exact same thing, which they sometimes are and sometimes aren't, it can be difficult to tell. And sometimes people that don't really know the answer attempt to answer anyway.

Asking questions about something you don't know is a good idea, but when the something you don't know is actually an entire branch of science so that the questions necessarily become voluminous, then an introductory text might be a better idea. The book will speak with one voice, will have been reviewed and edited several times prior to publishing with an eye toward content, clarity and style, and will present a unified vision across the large number of related topic areas. I haven't read an introductory text on evolution in a long time, so I can't recommend a book, but maybe someone else can.

--Percy


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