Simple answer, please! Scientifically explain the origin of life coming from nothing!

by Silent_Scream 170 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • mP

    im not going to say life is not complex, because it is amazing. however its also amazing how simple math = something like fractals can encode how tree branches grow where and at what angel and more. there are many youtube vids that show how a simple math expression can explain or plot an entire tree or plant. something so amazing is in a structure that comes from a fravtal. of course this is extremely simplified, but maybe just maybe tge answers to many of lifes building blocks are just as simple, we just dont know tgemm yet.

  • cyberjesus

    Silent Scream is silent ol'right

  • LouBelle

    I'm no scientist by any means, I merely read up on certain things I'm interested. I'm currently reading about How life originated on earth. What I'm taking out of it so far is that circumstances have to be right for life forms, (which are usually extremely different to what is needed for animals/mammals). Most of the times the temperatures are extreme and chemical processes begin which allow extremely simple life forms to exist and thrive.

    What I also read about is LUCA = Last universal common ancestor (where all life as we know it developed from - ja I know this doesn't answer your question.) This life form existed in the Paleoarchean area - nearly 4 billion years ago, but those that search for the answers to life are still busy searching.

    I pretty much feel that conditions for life, at one time many billions of years ago, were just right , and whatever chemical reaction/fusion/energy was needed to happen, happend and the most simpliest life form was the outcome *tadaaa*

    **LIFE made SIMPLE**

    Still didn't answer your question or prove anything - I'm just enjoying reading up on these goodies.

  • kepler

    I suppose this thread is flickering out at the"first principle" level, but it sounds like there are still a few involved in discussing some of the details or scenarios derived thus far by scientific inquiry. And I'd like to reflect a little on one of those particulars. For a number of reasons I think it interesting to examine.

    Back about 1980 I had opted out of a dissatisfactory job in industry and took some part time work at the nearby state university atmospheric science department. Auditing or taking the courses in the department was another lateral move in my graduate studies - and I was fortunate enough to join a class on planetary atmospheres, taught by a distinguished meteorologist who was studying Mars weather in real time in those days. We were not concerned directly with biology and life, but it was understood that life had an influence on the evolution of atmospheres: certainly here on Earth, based on sampling of sediments and ice cores, minerals and fossils. Life would also play a role theoretically, if we were to get a good observation of a planet revolving around another star where we could discern atmospheric properties. To make the explanation simple: 21% free oxygen (O2) is just not that natural an expectation when you throw rocks and ice together.

    Somewhere in the midst of the course, a lecture was devoted to the famous Stanley Miller - Harold Urey experiment conducted at the University of Chicago in 1953. Miller, under his instructor's direction, the Nobel chemistry laureate Harold Urey, generated several amino acids in a heated flask with repeated electrical discharges. The idea was to simulate then understood conditions on the primitive earth, presuming an atmospheric mix of hydrogen, ammonia and methane....

    It was a small lecture group of maybe a dozen and a half. So it was not too surprising that I got heard when I raised my hand.

    Here we were getting data back from Mars and Venus which both had atmospheres 95% CO2 and ~5% N2. Titan, at 95 degrees Kelvin had some methane, but mostly nitrogen. CO2 would have all been dry ice... How come we were assuming that the Earth was different way back when? Wouldn't our atmosphere be largely CO2 judging from all we were learning in the last decade (1970s)?

    I wish I could remember exactly what our instructor's answer was, but he certainly grasped the issue. I think he was willing to concede more CO2 atmosphere early on, but he had reservations. At the very least, white cliffs of Dover and other carbonate formations hadn't been there forever...The textbook, "Evolution of the Atmosphere", scanning now or reading ahead back then, seemed to have said very indirectly (e.g., volcanic emissions) that Earth without life would have an atmosphere much like Mars or Venus save that the atmospheric pressure would have likely been in between the extremes.

    In effect, it looked like Miller and Urey had a way to explain glycine and other amino acids, some sugars - if there were big refineries back then similar to their lab experiments, with access to large quantities of methane, ammonia and hydrogen. But as far we knew, the atmosphere was mostly CO2 and N2. If there were ammonia and methane, it was produced in smaller quantities and broke down quickly over geologic time.

    So was the experiment a failure?

    Not exactly. Because it was an experiment that demonstrated a hypothesis: that building blocks of life could be derived from inorganic compounds mixed, heated or electrically charged (lightning) in a non biological environment. That part related to the so-called coming from nothing. And with many variations, including atmospheres and pressures more consistent with what we can discern from geology, the experiment has been repeated thousands of times over the decades. Some experiments were repeats to verify; others to change the environment. There have been experimenst with chemically riched early seas ( conducive), N2 and CO2 atmospheres (not very good incubators), environments to simulate undersea volcanic vents (good as well).

    So the debate didn't end with people noticing the same discrepancy. There is a school of thought derived from Urey and Miller, but its critics are as likely to use similar methods to suggest different types of enclaves for early life: tidal pools, undersea volcanic vents, soil compounds...

    But there were other problems that had to be addressed. What about exposure to UV radiation that would break down the compounds? What about all the processessing that has to go on to get to RNA and DNA? And then if you had another planet such as the ones which are being identified orbiting other stars (some young, some old), what are the odds?

    Of course, this is a glass half empty or half full proposition. Going from the assumption that rodents spontaneous generated in trash piles to these type of deliberations is certainly headway, but not a demonstration of the solution.

    Yet at the same time, looking at this problem from another angle, rather than atmospheric science, but something we might call the formation of planets, we can say that we actually can observe this part of the process: formation of planets.

    That part of Genesis is on-going in the sky.

    If you look in the right part of the sky such as the gaseous nebula close to Orion in the winter sky, one finds very young stars in which the formation of planets can be observed. Young in the sense that they might be only ten million years old, vs. the age of the sun, more like 4.5 billion years old. Other stars within or surrounding the galaxy might date all the way back to 13 billion years ago - but that is a discussion certainly off topic. Many of these very young stars still have the rings of gas and dust surrounding them that were thought to have formed early in the solar system's history. These were surmised before astronomical observatories had the capability to detect them. In 1980 that part of the story was hypothesis too. But they are there, and in some cases now, the planets embedded in them can be seen in the process of formation.

    At that stage, where gas, dust and rocks are falling on a planet, I suspect that discussions about atmospheric gas are largely a moot point. This is a state of perpetual explosion and intense heat. The rubble has got to clear away and things have to cool down. But then when the dust all clears and the internal heat dies down, it will eventually be possible to observe or catalog planets around other stars that might be very young, as old as the earth or older. If a planet were to have absorption lines in the infra red for water vapor, ozone, methane ( since they are easier to observe than say an identifier for free oxygen), we might have some very intriguing questions to entertain after that.

    This website would not be named for JWs if it did not deal some with prophecy. So let us engage to a limited extent. Identification of atmospheric conditions in extra-solar planets has already begun with the easy pickings - the planets very close to their suns. I believe it will continue to the planets with placement in thermal conditions similar to earth's and that we will have identifications of their atmospheres within a decade or so. Whether they show H2O, O3 and CH4? Well, that's where I bow out on prophecy. That's what I want to find out the conventional way.

  • Bobcat

    GeneM said: "strictly speaking every time you eat cornflakes, your turning nonliving matter into living matter."

    Someone might argue with the above: 'Cornflakes only provide fuel for already living matter.'
    Someone else might counterargue that thats just splitting hairs.

    The reason I mention this is to propose that the reason there is no satisfactory answers to the original question is because the original question is fundamentally flawed. And that in two ways.

    1st flaw: Saying that living things come from non-living. (Or, alternatively, that non-living comes before living.)
    2nd flaw: Making a distinction between living and non-living.

    Some explanation is in order:

    Any attempt to explain where life came from necessarily requires delving into the past and delving into how things are made. At our level of existence, there is a distinction between living and non-living things. There is even a distinction between different classes of living things and different classes of non-living things.

    But, according to theoretical physics, everything (eventually) comes from the same source (at the so-called planck level). If my limited grasp of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle holds true, then, the farther you delve into how things are made, the less distinction there is between them. At some point, all things are made from or merge into, the same "stuff." And by "all things" it would include such "things" as light, gravity, the nuclear forces, and so on. (Things that might not normally be viewed as "things.") And so, theoretically, what we call "life" or "the life force" would also come from the same original "stuff." If the theoretical physics hold true, that is. (Here, "stuff" and "thing" are being used for lack of a better term.)

    I believe this is what super-string theory attempts to establish.

    Again, theoretically speaking, the original "stuff" would necessarily have to have the capability to be 'molded' into all things existing, whether living or non-living. Thus, rendering the original question flawed from the standpoint that it doesn't go far enough back to solve the problem that it raises. The question assumes that the one came from the other. It would be like an American saying he was of Irish descent. That might seem true to an extent, until one starts to wonder where the Irish came from. Asking how life came from non-life limits how far back one can look.

    Since much of this is beyond the current observational capability of humans, it would have to remain theorectical (or extrapolated from what can be observed) and would fail to meet the OPs criteria of what constitutes evidence.

    Or, to look at it from another angle:

    It is thought that much of the universe is made up of something called "dark energy." (Energy inferred by its effects, but otherwise currently unobservable.) If this 'dark energy' actually exists, then, any argument about the difference between living and non-living things fails to take into consideration some of the possible important building blocks, since living and/or non-living things may be partly composed of this 'dark energy.'

    To illustrate, imagine if you had a house and beside the house you had all the building materials that went into building that house. But you could only see some of the building materials. It would probably leave you scratching your head trying to figure out how the house got built from the partial list of materials that you could see.

    Now look at it from one final angle:

    If God exists (and I say "if" out of respect for those who don't agree with that), but, if He did, then, at some point in the past there was only Him. There wasn't Him and a pile of building materials. There was only Him. Everything that has since come into existence would have had to have originated from Him. All the qualities that make up living and non-living things (including both angels and humans) would have had to be part of, or extracted from, His own 'essence.' (For lack of a better word.)

    In a sense, this angle somewhat matches the theoretical physics mentioned above. God would basically sit in the same position as the "planck level." God is usually thought of in infinite terms. And matter or energy at the planck level is hypothasized to also be infinite.

    With all three of these angles or scenarios (if you will), the real problem is that the original question does not permit a final answer.

  • Qcmbr

    What I love about this thread is how several people had access to sensible information and none of the answers resorted to magic, mythical paradises or invisible beings who are returning 'soon' to kill or eternally torture most of mankind. I so freakin enjoy not being bound by faith or any god. Thanks for all the info presented.

  • iCeltic

    Excellent info folks, I agree with Qcmbr, great info without the insanity.

  • Pig

    Something existing when nothing created it, that is very hard to belive

    That would also rule out god since he could not exist unless something created him.

    The alternative is that something always existed. And then you have two options..

    Either that force (or whatever you want to call it) advanced over unimaginably large periods of time to bring about more complex things.. or

    Everything existed (an ultimate, infinately advanced, unimprovable force) and that thing made simpler things.

    The first is to belive that simple things can become complex

    The second is to belive that only a perfect and infinately complex thing can exist and then it makes simpler things

    Another question I find hard is, what is "nothing" how could "nothing" exist.?

    You could also ask "what is god" if he is simply everything in existence, then he exists.

    The bible explaination of god is childish and stupid and should not be considered a valid was to look at how the earth got here.

  • designs

    Two molecules were sitting at a Bar and a cute DNA walks in.....

  • mindseye

    Pig wrote: You could also ask "what is god" if he is simply everything in existence, then he exists.

    This is how I see "God", as a sort of underlying dynamic of the universe. Sort of like the Chinese concept of the Tao.

    The bible explaination of god is childish and stupid and should not be considered a valid was to look at how the earth got here.

    Yahweh was a cultural construct of the ancient Israelites. Most ancient cultures had their gods and creation myths, it was a matter of survival. I don't think the Israelites were stupid, their conception of God fit their cultural context of a patriarchal desert war tribe well. It worked towards political and social ends.

    I think these 'God' constructs are a way of pointing to something bigger, sort of like the finger pointing at the moon. The reality of 'God' is beyond words. I don't think we have to cling on to the creation myth in order to keep God. But many can't get over the image of God as a sort of giant male ceramics maker.

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