Evolution: Life from non-life


Your objections are invalid. Nobody said the Miller-Urey experiment exactly replicated early earth chemistry. They simply demonstrated that the mixture of atmospheric gases plus electric discharge could make amino acids. This was an important discovery. Amino acids may be “useless” to you but are somewhat important to biology. The other byproducts that you mentioned (black stuff) may or may not have been present on earth, but there was also lots of other stuff and many other chemical reactions going on. Nobody said it was simple, but this simple experiment proved that amino acids could be made without life.


Yes this is true, but the point is that while there could be (and surely are) all sorts of other improbable events that would also allow intelligent life to catapult forward, it still shows that intelligent life doesn’t just happen once the environment is right. Even if everything else is right, you still need other improbable events in order to direct life towards intelligence. Until relatively recently (less than 100 million years) evolutionary mechanisms were not leading towards intelligence, or at least if they were it was happening at a snail’s pace.
And a snail’s pace isn’t nearly good enough since extinction events are regularly occurring in the galaxy due to routine gravitational shocks. Dinosaurs were the world’s top predator and there wasn’t a pressing need for them to be intelligent.

Today, many a predator must be intelligent because that’s the only way it doesn’t starve to death. A hunting cat isn’t bigger, stronger, or (except in short sprints) even faster than the herd it hunts. It relies on brainpower to make a successful stalk & kill.


Can you supply a link to back that assertion?


Which part in particular?


It’s been demonstrated …


We’ve already discussed the Miller–Urey experiment. In 1961, Joan Oró was able to synthesize DNA nucleotides. In 1964 Krishna Bahadur and his team was able to synthesize protocell-like structures that have properties that we associate with cells - semipermeable membranes, phospholipids, and catalytic reactions.

These aren’t a roadmap to “this is how life came about” but it shows that these things can come about under conditions.


I want to point the confusion you might have here.
Evolution doesn’t concern itself with the rise of life, one of its assumption is (one hard to refute really) that life exists and taken for granted.

The branch of science concerning itself with the rise of life on earth is conveniently called Abiogenesis (A = not, bio = life, and yes the same Biblical word Genesis meaning making or origins)

There are advances in Abiogenesis, the biggest of which to me was the formation of XNA, a totally synthetic counterpart to DNA. But that’s hardly evidence for anything.

It just suffices to say, science doesn’t know.


I had a discussion with my workmate about this once.

It started when he announced: “Science has proved God doesn’t exist.”

I asked how Science had proved that - and the discussion went kinda like this:

D. “We know God doesn’t exist because life started on it’s own.”

L: “How do we know life started on it’s own? No one has ever seen that happen.”

D: “Well Life must have started on it’s own, because there isn’t a God.”

L: But how do you know there isn’t a God?"

D: “Because we know life started on it’s own!”

L: “But how do you know life started on it’s own?”

D: “Because there isn’t a God!”

The discussion lasted about an hour and this is of course greatly simplified - but pretty much the gist of the argument.

Basically, it was two unproven beliefs being used to prove each other. :wink:

Life must have started by an accident, because the alternative is unacceptable to many.


Look at it the other way: We know God exists because life started on it’s own.

A well-educated scientist can examine nature (by which I mean the universe and everything in it) at every scale of size, and every level of complexity, and discover so much beauty and rightness that he or she cannot doubt the existence of an all-powerful, wise, and loving Creator.

The universe is awesome beyond our imagination, and just one of the things that is awesome about it is that it contains matter and energy which are governed by laws of nature that not only allow life to exist, but allow life to start on its own. How great is our God!


"Hydrogen is a light, odorless gas, which, given enough time, turns into people."
Smithsonian Magazine Dec. 1995 E. Harrison

That about sums it up for me.


Just how difficult is the Origin of Life problem?
In this video James Tours describes his work with nanocars and the difficulty of solving the Origin of Life problem.

Time is enemy as products of reactions degrade
Dream team could not develop a cell
Nobody understands
When will science community confess they have no clue
Abiogenesis nightmare


A world-famous chemist tells the truth: there’s no scientist alive today who understands macroevolution

… I will tell you as a scientist and a synthetic chemist: if anybody should be able to understand evolution, it is me, because I make molecules for a living, and I don’t just buy a kit, and mix this and mix this, and get that. I mean, ab initio, I make molecules. I understand how hard it is to make molecules. I understand that if I take Nature’s tool kit, it could be much easier, because all the tools are already there, and I just mix it in the proportions, and I do it under these conditions, but ab initio is very, very hard.


yeah , i don’t like saying chance and probability can cause anything. i mean you still can’t escape explaining the original design of the typewriter and the capability of the monkey’s fingers.

i think chance and probability as bullders is the biggest theoretical/conceptual error man has ever come up with to date.


Perhaps not man’s theoretical/conceptual error, but God’s outstandingly brilliant design.


The title of this thread is wrong; it should be “Abiogenesis: Life from non-life”.

Other than that, the idea that life can arise naturally from inanimate matter is just too absurd to get my attention.


Why is a cell living when the macromolecules that compose it (lipids, proteins, etc) are non-living?


Evolve? Something that does not exist does not and cannot evolve into something that does exist. Something can be created, however…


Life is an emergent property. It is not present individually in any of the components, but is present when all the components are assembled.

An individual person is not a quorum. Get enough individuals together an you have a quorum. How can there be a quorum when each component individual is not a quorum? A quorum is another emergent property.



Of course it can. Do you not believe in the existence of new breeds of dog?



New dogs come from two different dogs breeding. I believe what is being stated is that a dog cannot pop into existence say, from a grain of sand. Unless God were involved that is. Blessings on your day.

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