But just because inorganic matter is found in our bodies is that considered good evidence?
I don't think it is. The processes are very different.
However, a point that can be taken from that is there is no reason to think that abiogeneisis can't occur. That is, there is a smooth connection from non living things, through things which aren't alive but act like it a bit to really liveing things.
Also just because we don't know something is, historically, a reallly , really bad reason for ascribing it to a god. So far it has always turned out to be a wrong idea. If I was at all religious I sure wouldn't want to hang my beliefs on that one.
Abiogenesis, great topic. I agree with Crashfrog's post that anytime a living creature incorporates nonliving matter into its structure abiogenesis occurs. I find it amazing that a plant can take the light from a nearby star and through a series of complex photoelectric/chemical mechanisms produce the raw materials for animal bodies to produce glucose; thus allowing you to post on these boards. Starlight to life. Sounds miraculous.
It has been found that purely naturalistic theories suffice to explain most phenomena. The planets go around the sun due to the same force that makes you fall down; weather is caused by large scale movements of the atmosphere according to the laws of thermodynamics; the basic process of life can be understood through biochemistry; and so forth. Naturalistic science has a pretty good track record, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to suppose that it will eventually be able to explain the very few phenomena that are still somewhat mysterious, like the origin of life.
That said, modern chemistry has given us plenty of ideas as to how the major steps of the abiogenesis event may have occurred: the formation of relatively complex organic compounds; the origin of replicators; and so on. So abiogenesis isn't even all that mysterious. Not like, say, the origin of consciousness, or the origin of the universe itself.
Edited to correct the first sentence.
[This message has been edited by Chiroptera, 03-07-2004]
quote:I find it amazing that a plant can take the light from a nearby star and through a series of complex photoelectric/chemical mechanisms produce the raw materials for animal bodies to produce glucose; thus allowing you to post on these boards.
Plants don't "produce the raw materials for animal bodies to produce glucose". Plants produce the glucose themselves and then animals eat plants (or other animals that have eaten plants) and thereby acquire the presynthesized glucose.
What is the evidence for it? Depends on your definition. Some people use logic such as the following:
1) when the universe began there was no life 2) there is life now Therefore, life must have arisen from nonlife somehow
That logic leaves open a wide range of mechanisms for abiogenesis, including the supernatural. Although the above argument is used sometimes, it should be rejected as it misuses the term abiogenesis (after all, in that sense, even YECs would accept abiogenesis).
So the simple fact that we know there is life now should not be used as evidence that abiogenesis occurred (i.e., in the scientific sense: spontaneously).
There is no empirical evidence that life can arise from non-life, but there is circumstantial evidence that it can. That is, there is evidence that can be used as a basis for extrapolation. For example, as some mentioned, living organisms don't contain any "mysterious" elements - they contain the same elements found in inorganic substances; and all aspects of life can be fully described using only the "laws" of natural sciences; finally, origin of life experiments have had limited success in creating possible pathways from non-life to life (there is no complete pathway known, just various bits and pieces of various paths that are assumed to be linked by yet-unknown processes).
[This message has been edited by DNAunion, 03-07-2004]
If I remember last midterm correctly, DNA only exists in living cells. One thing I want to know is how non-life can change into life without DNA? DNA's pretty complicated, kind of has the 'irreducible complexity' thing to it. Even if this 'non-living organism', if you will, suddenly started making DNA, it'd take a long time for even part of DNA to be completed, and from what I know about irreducible complexity, even if something has DNA it just doesn't think that far into the evolutionary future.
And considering this non-living thing that is making the DNA doesn't have it yet, I don't see how it could just sprout the stuff without some kind of intervention, be it extraterrestrial or supernatural or whatever you want to call it. Not only that, but DNA is made up of proteins and acids. You can't just materialize those substances out of nowhere; they have to come from somewhere. Seriously, a non-living thing (a rock for example) can't just start rolling around gathering materials to create DNA.
Even if the materials were somehow situated on it, from what I remember about the Miller/Urey experiment is that the 'building blocks of life' that didn't come from life just don't spawn anything.
All this said, assuming I remembered my stuff correctly, it seems from this that something had to intervene. I'm not vouching for anything in particular to do it, but from this asserted evidence, and not from gaps in science but facts proven by it, it seems Abiogenesis has yet to be plausible when faced by this evidence.
If this has already been pointed out please tell me, and fill me in with good information if possible. Thanks a bunch
Wanna feel God? Step onto the wrestling mat and you'd be crazy to deny the uplifting spirit.
First off I would modify DNAunions construct as follows:
1) when the universe began there was no life 2) there is life now Absent any evidence of a supernatural creation of life one is lead to the conclusion that life must have arisen from nonlife somehow.
Even if one assumes that a god created the universe in a beginning moment and then left it on its own we are stuck with assuming abiogenesis, as this event occurs 10 billion years after a 13.7 plus billion year old beginning.
Next, when it comes to the "building blocks" there is ample evidence that highly complex organic molecules were prevalent in the universe at large early on and that formation of higher complexity has been demonstrated in experiments simulating early earth conditions. I have listed a number of these in an essay on my website at: http://mywebpage.netscape.com/AbbyLeever/Building-Blocks.htm
with this conclusion:
From these building blocks it should be clear to a rational mind that the building blocks needed for the creation of life were plentiful, not just on Earth but in space in general and from the earliest of times. Probably they have been around since long before even the Earth formed from the cosmic debris left behind by the life and death cycle of previous stars and planets, back to the beginning of time. These "seeds of life" no doubt extend through the far reaches of the universe as well as the depths of time (cue Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young ... "We are star dust ...").
It also should be clear to a rational mind that the natural processes for forming more complex structures from those basic building blocks were prevalent on the earth at least 3.5 billion years ago in a variety of forms and locations. We are left with a scenario that has a random combination of plentiful and multitudinous organic molecules forming amino acids all over the earth, with a second scenario that has random combination of plentiful and multitudinous amino acids into peptides and proteins, and a third scenario that has random combinations of plentiful and multitudinous peptides and proteins into the first "replicators" (the predecessors to RNA and DNA), a simple 3 step process where the probability of a successful combination is almost inevitable: it is no longer a matter of "if" but of "when" it will occur under these conditions ... and once self replication occurs the frequency of replication will necessarily outpace the random action, replicators that are faster and stronger will outpace their competition ... life is inevitable when given the conditions for life.
Finally, DNA can exist outside a living cell although it degrades with time -- no longer has the mechanic doing tune-ups ... but it is not the minimum requirement for abiogenesis to have occurred. Viruses use an abbreviated RNA that hi-jacks the cell mechanism to replicate its nefarious (to us) messages. Then we get to prions like the ones that cause mad cow disease, which are even less 'complete' than viral RNA ...
Good stuff, good stuff. I actually learned something tonight, unlike the nights when the only 'education' I get is homework.
Still, while these are good experiments and brilliant scientific insights, there's a lot of 'might-have' s and 'could possible have' s.
While I agree from the text presented in your essay and in what I've learned recently that the building blocks of life were definetely there and plentiful, there's still no sign of it actually creating life. I think #7 on your essay said that they managed to create proteins with amino acids. While that's definetly quite a discovery, protein just floating there by itself can't make anything living.
The thing is, although we can make the conditions right to make the building blocks of life right before our eyes, has anybody actually created a LIVING cell from the building blocks of life? Untill I hear it's possible to create artificially, I'll have to say I can't see abiogenesis occuring naturally, and I think that's fair.
But still, good essay with lots of links backing it. I'd give it an A.
Wanna feel God? Step onto the wrestling mat and you'd be crazy to deny the uplifting spirit.