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The Origin of Life

Facts Concerning the Origin of Life

The title of this section is misleading as there is no evidence that life ever had an origin the first place. In fact all of the scientific evidence indicates that life has always existed. People assume that life must have started somewhere and they spend a lot of time trying to figure out just how it happened. For many years people assumed that life came from non-living things. This concept is known as spontaneous generation. To prove that spontaneous generation was possible people performed many different types of experiments. Some would put a piece of meat out in the hot sun. Soon there were maggots on the meat. It was then assumed that the maggots had "generated spontaneously" from the meat itself. Some would leave a pile of wheat out on the ground. Within a short period of time mice would be in the wheat. It was thought that the mice had "spontaneously generated" from the wheat. But there were also those who did not believe that life came from non-living matter. They believed that life came only from living things. The controversy over the "origin" of life raged on for many, many years.

In the 1800's a crisis occurred in the French wine industry. Wine makers noticed that their wine was spoiling. It was thought that some type of living organism had "generated spontaneously" in the wine and was causing it spoil. This event eventually became an economic disaster for the French economy. In despair the French government spared no effort to find both the cause and a cure. They called in Louis Pasteur who was possibly the greatest French scientist of his day. Using his now-famous swan-necked flasks Pasteur proved, at least to most peoples satisfaction, that the wine was being spoiled by unseen living organisms present in the air. We now know those unseen organisms were fungal spores, bacteria and viruses. But not everybody was convinced. The concept of spontaneous generation lived on for many more years. It was only after many, many years of experiments and observations that people accepted the fact that life never comes from non-life. This conclusion was incorporated into a scientific law known as the Law of Bio-Genesis. The Law of Bio-Genesis states that: life comes only from life. This scientific law has been accepted by modern science for over 100 years.

But if life comes only from life then where did the original life-form come from? Scientists began to question how life could have arisen from non-living material. It is currently accepted by modern science that life somehow originated in a warm pond back in the distant past. Scientists theorize (not really a theory as we shall see later) that in this pond, under just the right conditions, living organisms did indeed spontaneously generate from non-living matter.

In the Urey-Miller experiments scientists tried to simulate the conditions that could lead to the spontaneous generation of life. Flasks filled with different chemical broths were subjected to electrical sparks. Over time some of these flasks began to accumulate amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. Many scientists hailed the experiments as proof that life could arise spontaneously from non-living matter. The Urey-Miller experiments are currently mentioned in almost every science textbook as proof of spontaneous generation.

But not everyone was convinced. Some scientists questioned the methods of Urey and Miller. They pointed out the many flaws in those experiments. For example, amino acids come in both right-handed and left-handed forms. Life is based almost exclusively on left-handed amino acids. But the experiments produced both right and left amino acids in equal measure. And, the scientists performing the experiments continually removed the toxic chemicals that were forming along with those amino acids. Without the continuous removal of those toxic chemicals the amino acids themselves would have been destroyed.

Some scientists find the spontaneous generation of life on Earth to be so incredibly impossible that they assume life must have come from outer space. One such scientist was Francis Crick - the Nobel Prize winning co-discoverer of DNA. Dr. Crick thought that a living organism is far too complicated to have ever arisen by itself in some warm little pond. He postulated that space aliens seeded the early earth with single-celled living organisms. These single-celled life forms then evolved into you and me. Other scientists have proposed that early life arrived here on the surfaces of meteorites. The idea that the first life-forms came from somewhere in outer space, whether by aliens or meteorites, is known as Transpermia.

Observations on the Origins of Life

The Law of Bio-Genesis states that: life comes only from life. In multitudes of experiments conducted over hundreds of years by scientists from all over the world it has been shown that life never comes from non-life. On the contrary, all of the scientific evidence indicates that only living things can produce living things. Every day millions of living things are created from other living things through sexual and asexual reproduction. Never does a living thing come from non-living material. Using proper scientific reasoning we can say with confidence that life never never comes from non-living matter.

Why then do scientists assume that life came from non-life? Why all the talk about this "warm little pond"? It is because without that first "primordial" life-form evolution could never have occurred. No reputable scientist doubts the truth of the First Law of Thermodynamics. This law, which is overwhelmingly supported by evidence, states that matter and energy have always existed - they did not have a beginning. The evidence for the Law of Bio-genesis is just as strong as that for the First Law of Thermodynamics. It should therefore be an accepted fact of science that, just like matter and energy, life has always existed. But for some reason modern science once again accepts the idea of spontaneous generation. That same myth which was dis-proved many years ago.

But what about Transpermia, the idea that life arose on some distant planet and was brought here by aliens? Transpermia only takes the problem of spontaneous generation and sends it somewhere else. It does nothing for the problem of life coming from non-life. The scientific evidence is clear: life comes only from life.

So how did life get to be present on planet Earth? There is much circumstantial evidence that our planet had a beginning at some point in time. There is no scientific evidence as to how that event occurred (see Star and Planet Formation). There is also circumstantial evidence that life was present at some time in the past. Yet all livings things that we observe today are dependent on water. Was water present at the creation of our planet? Was life present at the creation of our planet or did it come about at some point later in time? Scientific evidence shows that life comes only from life. Based on the evidence scientists can conclude that life has always existed - but they have no absolutely no clue as to how it came to be present on planet Earth.


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