No, I wouldn't think it easy at all.
Wouldn't you think that if life happened accidently, that with the technology available to us today that we would be able to reverse engineer what we observe and fairly easily create life from non living chemicals? And why can't they get these sequences right so that they could evolve and do something useful", or evolve into complex animal life? Just look at the chain of symbiotic and interdependent life forms that exists on Earth, can you imagine the odds against even one of those forms of life happening based on the difficulty these scientists are having creating something that IS ALMOST LIFE, much less all of the teeming varieties of life that not only co-exist, but symbiotically benefit their fellow species within the Animal Kingdom.
Biologists on the Verge of Creating New Form of LifeA team of biologists and chemists is closing in on bringing non-living matter to life.http://www.yahoo.com/s/950314
It's not as Frankensteinian as it sounds. Instead, a lab led by Jack Szostak, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School, is building simple cell models that can almost be called life.
Szostak's protocells are built from fatty molecules that can trap bits of nucleic acids that contain the source code for replication. Combined with a process that harnesses external energy from the sun or chemical reactions, they could form a self-replicating, evolving system that satisfies the conditions of life, but isn't anything like life on earth now, but might represent life as it began or could exist elsewhere in the universe.
While his latest work remains unpublished, Szostak described preliminary new success in getting protocells with genetic information inside them to replicate at the XV International Conference on the Origin of Life in Florence, Italy, last week. The replication isn't wholly autonomous, so it's not quite artificial life yet, but it is as close as anyone has ever come to turning chemicals into biological organisms.
No, I wouldn't think it easy at all.
"They asked if I had found Jesus and I didn't even know He was missing."
And yes Archie, I'm being "not nice" with you. As long as you pretend to have a clue on this topic when you clearly don't, I'll continue to point it out to you. Stop acting as if you know things you don't and I'll stop talking down to you.
Just thought I'd answer the complaints that are sure to be raised.
And what is so humorous to me is that you are clueless enough to believe that man is intellectually capable of accomplishing that which never happened naturally in Nature in the first place. I'll bet you were actually impressed with this self delusional statement, and I quote: a lab led by Jack Szostak, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School, is building simple cell models that can "almost be called life". WOW, how exciting, it can almost be called life.
Last edited by admin; 09-09-2008 at 05:45 PM. Reason: offensive
10 years ago Creationists stated that there was no way we could create anything resembling life. Now they're complaining that we're doing it too slowly...
"Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night."
"Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived"
As far as creating life from non-living chemicals, why, we all of us do that, every day of our lives, as we renew the cells of which we are composed. Even a bacterium is capable of taking non-living chemicals and from them constructing - another bacterium. So if you think the idea is somehow implausible you really haven't thought things through.
Most of the difficulties arise in a) accurately manipulating materials on that sort of scale, and b) figuring out what to put together in the first place. Nature had the advantage in the first respect: fairly obviously it's easier for a machine to make something of roughly the same scale as itself compared to something fiddly and small, and you can aptly think of bacteria as machines for making more bacteria.
In terms of figuring out what to put together in the first place, again nature has the advantage over humans. We're limited by lab-space, grant money, patience, etc etc. We can only physically try so many combinations, so we need to model the problem, figure out what we should make in order to enhance the odds of success in creating a simple, self-replicating organism. Nature, on the other hand, had as much time as it needed and an entire universe to work with - not to make complex creatures like people or even bacteria from non-life, but to give rise to the first self-replicators, from which the inexorable forces of evolution could fashion everything else.
How do you know they couldn't? Have you waited the 2 billion years it took it to happen the first time? No? Then you're jumping the gun somewhat.And why can't they get these sequences right so that they could evolve and do something useful", or evolve into complex animal life?
Let me just pause you there before you finish the strawman you're constructing. I've tried to explain this before but it doesn't seem to have sunk in. The interdependency of life did not all have to spring into existence simultaneously. It evolved.Just look at the chain of symbiotic and interdependent life forms that exists on Earth, can you imagine the odds against even one of those forms of life happening
Take a simple hypothetical example. We start with one species of life on earth, species A. It depends upon nothing other than raw chemicals and sunlight for its reproduction. In the process of performing its biological activity it creates a particular intermediate chemical, Z, which it then processes further.
Next, a mutation arises within species A which results in increased production of Z - which is good, but now there's actually more than it can use, and the excess is secreted into the environment. This opens the door to a second mutation within the population, one which decreases the production of Z. Instead, these mutants consume the excess Z produced by the first mutants. And as it happens, this turns out to be more of a good thing for the first mutants because the excess Z in their environment was getting in the way.
Without anything particularly unlikely occurring, we've ended up with two interdependent species. Thus it is with life on Earth: organisms evolve that exploit opportunities created by other organisms - but because everything's evolving all the time, their existence opens up new opportunities to exploit, and so on, and so on, ad infinitum.
Anyway, this is really fascinating news. I wonder how relevant the methods used are to the various theories of abiogenesis...
So, given that Archie will not discuss this in any way which might resemble meaningful discussion, I suggest we ignore him and simply discuss the topic he raised.
Producing some sort of self replicating bubble will almost certainly happen, maybe in our life times. It will be a "simple" chemical reaction, at least compare to full scale life, but I think it could happen. But life as we know it is tricky. At some point billions of years ago some "cell" absorbed some other "cell", and the absorbed cell eventually became mitochondria, the "powerhouse" of modern day cells. Life would have progressed without that event, but it would likely have been a much less energetic form of life. To make anything that your average layperson would look at and say "yeah, that's alive" would require somehow replicating that happy accident. Perhaps you could code all of the mitochondira's DNA into your artificial cell's DNA, but I wouldn't assume that off the bat. Of course we could find some other energy source, or simply accept a lower energy cell, but either case will take a great deal of thought and experimentation to realize.
Last edited by Kronus; 09-09-2008 at 07:55 PM.
Actually, two viruses and one bacterium have been artificially created. The viruses were copies of known viruses. The bacterium has never existed before. They all reproduce.
From The Treaty of Tripoli, Art. 11, negociated under Washington, passed unanimously by the senate, and signed by Adams -- "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;"
The only one building a strawman here is you Peeling. And I know we have had this discussion before. My problem is that you can't seem to grasp the reality of my problems with your fairy tales.Originally Posted by Peeling
You said: The interdependency of life did not all have to spring into existence simultaneously. It evolved. Yet, how long could one interdependent organism survive while waiting for its supporting organism to evolve enough to actually affect it in a symbiotic way?
At the level of simple celled life we are discussing here, and the time it took to evolve into more complex life forms, we are talking about literally billions of years according to your pseudo science. AND REMEMBER PEELING, NOTHING YOU ARE SAYING WITH SUCH COCKY ASSURANCE HAS BEEN EVEN REMOTELY PROVEN TO ANY CERTAINTY. SO STOP ACTING LIKE THE TEACHER TO MY PUPIL BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOTHING ON ME REGARDING THIS SHODDY THEORY OF YOURS. Back on topic though.
Your method of evolution is self contradictory in that at its core, your cellular evolution is carnivorous and even cannibalistic because the excess chemicals would be consumed by a new variety of chemical which allegedly led to a new and unique, yet symbiotic life form. And we know that microscopic organisms only form of defense is to consume, infect, attack and kill its competition in order to insure its survival. It is why we have developed an immune system specifically designed to attack and kill foreign organisms that invade our bodies.
But you want to now say that these foreign antibodies, germs and chemicals somehow worked in tandem with other foreign bodies that according to natural laws we live by today, would have attacked each other and would never have worked together symbiotically in order to force life forward. Unless the nature of what we know about cellular life has somehow changed.
And add to that, that we are talking about a time over 4 billion years ago when we had an atmosphere of sulfuric acid, and the surface of the Earth was an ocean of lava. neither of which is conducive to promoting life on Earth.
And if you forward this premise to one any species of complex life that relies on a lower species below it on the chain of life, and to the species directly above it on the chain of life, how did it survive from generation to generation and decide which direction to evolve in without the pressure placed on it by it's competing and supporting species, and the predatory species above it? Your theory is chaotic, inconsistent and offers no rational way for the consistent and symbiotic chain of life as we see it to be in reality today at all.
Given the tenor of this thread and the approach taken to this, as a religious person, I'll go on record saying I don't find the idea of scientists "creating life" the least bit threatening. I say, if they can do it, more power to 'em. There is a view in religion that celebrates positive human achievement as very compatible and consistent with religion, and that happens to be the view I subscribe to. In fact it could very well help humanity if such an achievement takes place. So in this regard I find myself disagreeing here with AA in my approach on this sort of thing.
I do find it interesting however, as an observation, that "life" seems to be the holy grail of much of science. From the example in this thread in terms of potentially generating it to scooping up soil samples on Mars to find it, it seems to be something a lot of scientists want to get a handle on in various ways. But in all these cases, it never seems to get past that proverbial "almost" in these sort of news stories.
“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” - Reagan
"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading."
- C. S. Lewis
"I suffer more harassment as a former homosexual than I ever did as an out and proud homosexual." - Greg Quinlan, PFOX
In the very post to which you're responding, I describe in detail how symbiosis can evolve without any organism ever having to 'wait' in the way you describe.You said: The interdependency of life did not all have to spring into existence simultaneously. It evolved. Yet, how long could one interdependent organism survive while waiting for its supporting organism to evolve enough to actually affect it in a symbiotic way?
Your problem, I would venture, is that you're stuck in a mental rut and you like it that way You'll only allow yourself to think about evolution in ways that don't make sense. So yes, what you're choosing to imagine - an organism evolving a dependency upon something that doesn't yet exist and then waiting for its symbiotic partner to follow suit - is patently absurd. And that's the way you like evolution to seem: absurd. So you assume you've got it right, and that I must just be too stupid to see the absurdity.
But you haven't got it right. You've got it exactly backwards. Evolution is opportunistic, not pre-emptive. Organisms evolve to exploit opportunities, and as they do so, their activities - their very existence - creates new opportunities, new niches that did not exist before, which other organisms can now evolve to exploit.
I apologise if my attitude offends; I'm just trying to stay upbeat and avoid the usual slanging matches these threads tend to devolve into.AND REMEMBER PEELING, NOTHING YOU ARE SAYING WITH SUCH COCKY ASSURANCE HAS BEEN EVEN REMOTELY PROVEN TO ANY CERTAINTY. SO STOP ACTING LIKE THE TEACHER TO MY PUPIL BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOTHING ON ME REGARDING THIS SHODDY THEORY OF YOURS.
As for what I'm saying being unproven - quite the contrary. We've seen it happen. A few decades ago there was no such thing as Nylon. Subsequent to its invention, a species of bacteria evolved that can digest nylon waste products. A new interdependency is thus formed where none existed before: this species of bacteria now depends upon us for its continued survival. Thus your contention that symbiosis cannot evolve is empirically disproven.
No; maybe I wasn't clear enough. In my thought experiment both the organisms overproducing Z and those that have evolved to consume the excess are descended from the same species, A. It's not about brand new life arising to consume Z, but rather a single species diversifying and specialising.Your method of evolution is self contradictory in that at its core, your cellular evolution is carnivorous and even cannibalistic because the excess chemicals would be consumed by a new variety of chemical which allegedly led to a new and unique, yet symbiotic life form.
That's the core principle of common descent. First life - the very first replicator - operates in an otherwise lifeless world. But as it reproduces, its offspring find themselves in a world that includes other organisms like themselves. That's not the same as the environment in which their progenitor appeared: there are new chemical byproducts, and competition for resources. So now it's possible for variants to appear that exploit these new chemicals and compete more effectively for those resources in different ways. Life starts to specialise. More exploitable niches appear. On and on and on.
I think it's you that's now contradicting himself You were just talking about how interdependent life is, and now you're saying that 'according to natural laws we live by today' there can be no such thing as cooperation, symbiosis, or even co-existence.But you want to now say that these foreign antibodies, germs and chemicals somehow worked in tandem with other foreign bodies that according to natural laws we live by today, would have attacked each other and would never have worked together symbiotically in order to force life forward. Unless the nature of what we know about cellular life has somehow changed.
Again, you're not thinking this through; you're just latching onto the first idea that makes evolution sound stupid, without considering whether it makes any sense. Think: would first life have had an immune system? Of course not: to what would it need to be immune? What defensive or offensive capabilities would it have had? None! It's a simple replicator.
Going back to my thought experiment, why would the two mutants evolve an intolerance of each other? They're beneficial to each other! Any that evolved an intolerance would do less well and be out-bred by those who remained cooperative.
And take you, for instance. You are not inimical to all other species. Your body contains ten times as many bacteria as human cells: you are a mini-ecology in your own right. Your immune system doesn't just protect you, it protects the whole of that ecology. What it does reject are bacteria that unbalance that ecology and jeopardize its survival. So the idea that all life must inevitably attack other life rather than coexist is manifestly wrong.
Well, not quite; evidence is that the crust would have been solid for almost 500,000,000 years before life arose, and the atmosphere at the time was composed largely of CO2, nitrogen, water vapour and ammonia.And add to that, that we are talking about a time over 4 billion years ago when we had an atmosphere of sulfuric acid, and the surface of the Earth was an ocean of lava. neither of which is conducive to promoting life on Earth.
The answer is, once again, staring you in the face: organisms aren't subject to predatory pressure until predators evolve that exploit them. In the meantime, they evolve in response to the pressure placed upon them by the existing environment. Sexual selection also allows a species to impose directional pressure on its evolution. As it happens, the cichlids of Lake Tanganyika demonstrate very nicely what happens when a species finds itself without predators: it diversifies like mad. Absent the pruning force of predation, variation runs riot.And if you forward this premise to one any species of complex life that relies on a lower species below it on the chain of life, and to the species directly above it on the chain of life, how did it survive from generation to generation and decide which direction to evolve in without the pressure placed on it by it's competing and supporting species, and the predatory species above it?
Think about it: if 'squigs' exist, then it's perfectly possible for something that eats squigs to evolve, right? No problem for evolution there. So now squigs are subject to predatory pressure, with the squig-eaters subject to a reciprocal pressure to keep up. And now that squig-eaters exist, something that eats the squig-eaters can evolve, right? Thus putting squig-eaters in the mid-range position you claim is impossible via evolution. It's really not hard, if only you'd muscle past that mental gag reflex and allow yourself to think about it properly
Certainly the theory you just described is chaotic and inconsistent, and offers no rational explanation for life. But, as usual, it's your theory rather than mineYour theory is chaotic, inconsistent and offers no rational way for the consistent and symbiotic chain of life as we see it to be in reality today at all.
Last edited by Peeling; 09-10-2008 at 06:13 AM.
Not theoretical conditions, but real, verifiable condition. In every debate we ever have regarding this issue, my main problem will always be the massive number of assumptions and preconceived notions which must be accepted by science when making their predictions regarding things that happened billions of years ago both here, and in the distant reaches of time and space.