I need conclusive proof of Abiogenesis

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Jadebrain_Prime, Sep 13, 2011.

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  1. Jadebrain_Prime Atheist now Registered Senior Member

    Hello everyone,

    I and others have been in a debate with a christian for the past week or so over various things, one of which is whether or not the theory of Abiogenesis has been proven, and by extension, whether or not evolution as explained by science is possible. But I have next to no prior knowledge about the theory of Abiogenesis, other than what it states, and I don't even really know where I would have to start looking. I've heard the words "Miller-Urey" and "ospin genes" thrown around a bit, and the christian is saying that none of the experiments regarding Abiogenesis have been conclusive. Can anyone provide me with any information regarding this topic?

    Thanks in advance.
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  3. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    There is more than one theory of abiogenesis, none of which have conclusive evidence, but in principle we know that life is made of chemistry, and the is evidence that the chemistry was available on Earth at the time. All science needs to do is provide a plausible naturalistic explanation for abiogenesis, that's more reasonable than the Christian version which says it's magic.

    Yes, evolution is not only possible but a fact. Neo-Darwinism explains it quite well, it's the most successful theory in biology and possibly all of science.
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  5. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

    The conclusive proof that abiogenesis occured is that there is life. Of course the other option is that it is supernatural. But, there is no evidence that the supernatural exists.

    So there is your proof.:shrug:

    If someone believes in the supernatural then you are arguing for the fun of the argument.

    The truth is that there will never be 'proof' of abiogenesis. If life or fossil life is found on another planet - someone can say God did it.

    If we man creates life out of inorganic molecules then someone can say it was not naturally occuring it took a 'creator'.

    This is essentially a no win - no win situation.

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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member


    A few notes:

    1) Abiogenesis is not the same as evolution.

    2) You can't prove abiogenesis, since you could always claim "sure, life started from a single simple RNA molecule - but God made it."

    3) There have been several experiments that have proven that abiogenesis CAN occur:

    -Miller-Urey demonstrated that lightning in a reducing atmosphere can produce dozens of complex organic molecules.

    -Similar experiments have demonstrated that adenine (a nucleotide base necessary for both DNA and RNA) can be produced from lightning as well.

    -Simple experiments have demonstrated that some 'pure' RNA molecules (without any cell structure around them) can reproduce themselves indefinitely, given the right concentrations of chemicals in the water around them.

    So while you can't 'prove' God didn't do it, you can prove that there are several mechanisms by which it could happen naturally.
  8. Jadebrain_Prime Atheist now Registered Senior Member

    Well, the debate started with evolution, and the Christian argued that since Abiogenesis hasn't been proven to be possible by natural means (whether or not this argument is true, I am not qualified to say), life could not have existed in any form in the first place without a creator, and so evolution could not have happened as explained by science because there would be no life to evolve from in the first place.

    The fact that I'm a 19-year-old Computer Science major with no advanced education on the various theories regarding life is why I'm asking for conclusive proof.

    And as for what Origin says, I'll have to say that you are unfortunately correct about the stubbornness of the theistic "God did it" argument.

    Also of note is that the argument may or may not eventually move to Sciforums. Having taken place on the comments section of a Youtube video, moving here will be a vast improvement. I say it "may or may not" come here because I made the suggestion recently, and have received no reply yet.
  9. leopold Valued Senior Member

    it is impossible for life to have arisen from the broth of that experiment due to its racemic nature.
    no, miller did not prove abiogenesis possible.

    the formation of adenine is not formation of life.
    this also does not prove abiogenesis.

    i haven't heard anything about this.
  10. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    You do not need to "prove" abiogenesis, since creationism isn't the default position. A naturalistic explanation, even if unproven, provides a plausible scenario regarding whether it's possible. I think due to these theories, it's safe to say it's possible, even probable.
  11. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    This is incorrect. Evolution is not tied to abiogenesis. Evolution does not deal with the origin of life. Evolution deals with the question of how life (however it got here) has evolved into so many different forms/species.
  12. arauca Banned Banned

    Do you have reference to that work ?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2011
  13. AlphaNumeric Fully ionized Registered Senior Member

    Nonsense. Some theists believe that their god seeded life in microscopic basic form and then evolution got it to where it is today. That way the evidence for evolution is fine, it just happens to be the way their god had us develop. After all, if it/she/he/they know all things then its simple to line up existence so that we end up developing.

    Of course that's, in my opinion, back peddling and unjustified. We know that it is at least physically possible for non-organic material to form organic material, there is nothing in science which says it is impossible. There's nothing in science which hints at the supernatural (almost tautologically). Every individual process involved in abiogenesis we have seen, all the various chemical reactions between atoms and molecules are possible. We've never seen an all powerful deity snap their proverbial fingers and strike down the homosexuals in Nebraska.
  14. Rav Valued Senior Member

    The only thing I have to add is that there is nothing about biochemistry that is inconsistent with chemistry. In other words, one can't legitimately hold the position that Abiogenesis is impossible without implying that life itself is impossible.

    Most arguments against Abiogenesis (like many of those against evolution) generally seem to boil down to arguments from incredulity. But nature doesn't give a shit if you can't properly comprehend the mind-bogglingly stupendous number of opportunities there are for the right chemical building blocks to come together in the right way over billions of years and across hundreds of billions of galaxies. And honestly, that's probably being conservative. Nature just doesn't care about what you think, or what you can't manage to get your head around.

    There's no 'proof' of abiogenesis, but honestly, if you really try to stretch your brain a little, you'll realize that it's all but impossible for it not to happen, somewhere, sometime. It's just fucking chemistry.
  15. leopold Valued Senior Member

    interesting point rav.
    on the other hand i personally don't believe its impossible but the thousands of experiments that were designed to prove abiogenesis has all failed.
    we also used to have the scientific law, verified by thousands of scientists, that stated :
    "life comes from life, and that of it's own kind."
    what happened to this law?
    this law was FORCED from grace.
    it did not fall by ANY verification of evolution.
    it's even more incredible that scientists haven't found ANY of those "mind bogglingly stupendous number of opportunities".
    neither does science, or shouldn't anyway.
    that's what makes this concept so alluring.
    it seems so rational and sane, but despite mans best efforts it STILL manages to defy solution.
  16. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    there's a big difference between life and the chemical systems life utilizes

    the above is no different than urea synthesis
  17. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    post dated rain cheques + empiricism = bad science
  18. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    No there isn't. They are the same thing.
  19. leopold Valued Senior Member

    the funny thing about all of this is even if abiogenesis is proved to be impossible it does NOT imply "a god". most, if not all, creationist will do exactly that though.

    i'm more concerned with preserving the sanctity of science than i am anything.
  20. Rav Valued Senior Member

    Ummm, I'm not doing science.
  21. Rav Valued Senior Member

    It would only be incredible if one of those scientists had lived for billions of years and had visited every planet in the universe where abiogenesis could have occurred at exactly the right time, with the right equipment and the patience to observe for long enough.
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    That's silly. Racemic precursors do not necessarily result in racemic products. Ask any chemist.

    I didn't claim it did. It did prove that you can create a wide variety of complex organic molecules with nothing more than a reducing atmosphere and lightning discharge.

    Correct. It is, however, a prerequisite for the formation of DNA and RNA.

    Also correct. It just proves that the necessary ingredients for abiogenesis can occur naturally.

    Public release date: 9-Jan-2009

    Scripps Research Institute
    Scripps scientists develop first examples of RNA that replicates itself indefinitely
    Findings could inform biochemical questions about how life began

    Now, a pair of Scripps Research Institute scientists has taken a significant step toward answering that question. The scientists have synthesized for the first time RNA enzymes that can replicate themselves without the help of any proteins or other cellular components, and the process proceeds indefinitely.

  23. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Of course. Life requires those chemical systems, so determining how those chemical systems began operating and began to self-organize is essential to understanding how life began.

    The above IS urea synthesis, plus adenine synthesis, plus lipid synthesis etc etc. In other words, it's how nature generated the precursors necessary for life to begin.
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