Making life in the lab

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Trilairian, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. Trilairian Registered Senior Member

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    Since not everyone agrees on what constitutes life, I must define what I mean by it. In chemical evolution there is a transition from chemical components that no one would accept as being alive to oganic forms that anyone would accept as being alive. This is the case whether you accept the truth of natural evolution or cling to the myth of genesis wherein creatures were molded out of dirt. Early biochemists sought to reproduce early earth conditions to observe how the first prokaryotes formed. The mixed ammonia and methane and water and hit it with electrical shocks in simulation of lightning strikes and found that amino acids formed. Unfortunately they were not in the early years able to produce anything more evolved than that. So, the creationists of the time and even still today clinging to the outdated information would parade about exclaiming that scientists could not even create the simplest single cell. Creationists therefor proposing that as the line to draw between alive and not alive have inspired the definition that I use for the most fundamental form of life. Following their lead, I will define the simplest form constituting a living organism as the simplest cell on the condition that it reproduces, or divides in their case, and will even go so far as to give it the additional requirements that as a living cell it must be osmotic and be able to cluster into a colony or group.

    What the early biochemists lacked in their early experiments was heat, or alternatively a catalyst which in this case is certain acid. If for example a pool of boiling down amino acids on a volcanic island where washed out to sea suddenly cooled in the ocean water something called proteinoid microspheres would form. Dr Sidney Fox has been producing these in the lab since the fifties. They are the simplest form of cell, with an outer wall, osmotic behavior clustering into groups as well as budding, reproduction by division and even have streaming movement of internal particles which facilitates the internal chemical evolution so that they could form a nucleus in a billion years. As such, by my definition which was inspired by the argument of creationists, they are alive. This fact offended many religious media and even students of his which then put additional requirements on their personal definitions of life in order to close their eyes at the fact that he had proven natural evolution by creating life in the lab in recreating early earth conditions. After years of haggling with such semantics he finely started to say that they were at least protoalive which is ambiguous enough to satisfy everyone. But he had done it and in fact artificially fossilized microspheres are indistinguishable from the earliest known microfossils that date back to about three and a half billion years ago. Either way, by the reasonable definition which I gave, they are indeed alive. For more info do a google search on +”proteinoid microspheres”
     
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  3. Archie Registered Senior Member

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    I looked up a couple of sites from a websearch. Dr. Fox's work seems to be impressive; but other researchers are not as impressed as either Dr. Fox or you.

    The consensus seems to be Dr. Fox has replicated a chemical process which could be called 'proto-life'; that is, not alive, but a stage in the development of life. I find it curious nothing more has developed since 1953, when the first experiments were done.

    Despite your particular definition, Trilairian, this does not seem to be accepted as 'life' by the consensus of biological researchers.

    On the other hand, it's more than anyone else even claims. This strikes me as interesting and - exciting - in an intellectual way.

    I've proposed - as a challenge to the 'life is chemistry' school - as a proof of 'life is chemistry' (and yes, that's an oversimplification) all one has to do is make a living organism. My proposal is an amoeba. A single celled animal. And, I would allow the 'maker' to use any artificial means needed. Just build one according to the 'plan' and make it live.

    Dr. Fox seems to have taken the 'induce' method; that is, to simulate early conditions in order to 'induce' the production of life, or proto-life, anyway. That's a bit different from my thought, but science is diverse, no?

    Just for the record, I'm a firm Christian. I'm not a Creationist. That isn't as contradictory as it might seem. I'm delighted Dr. Fox is conducting his research. Jesus said, "...the truth shall make you free..." which is a little out of context, but not misleadingly so. God has no fear of mankind learning anything. There is no fact of physics, or science or nature that can threaten God's sovereignty. I personally don't think any science anywhere will ever create 'life' in the popular sense; a moving, consuming, reproducing and adapting entity. We will learn much about it, but I don't think we'll ever get there. But that's just my take on it. If we do, it just means I'm wrong, and I've been wrong before.

    I'll be watching this experiment in the future. Fascinating stuff.
     
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  5. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

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    If the spheres can reproduce, I suspect they can evolve in a very primitive sense just from random chemical changes to their form... allowing them to adapt through basic trial and error. Once you get those two factors down, it certainly meets my criteria for life.

    I will post more once I read up on this. It is really something to think about.
     
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  7. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    If I remember correctly, this eperiment was not a fair test, ie the conditions that were reproduced were very unrealistic, ie no oxygen was involved. I would have to refer back to some material I have on this experiment to be more specific but in all honesty if the thread title did happen then we wouldn't be talking about it on an obscure web forum some fifty years later it would be common knowledge...

    PS If we did create life in a lab it would also prove that intelligent design was needed to do it, think about that...
     
  8. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

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    Why would it prove that intelligent design is required? Any circumstance that can be created by man can certainly be created by the random motions of nature. It just might take a billion years.

    The important thing is that it will prove that no mythical creationary force provided by some supposed diety is necessary.
     
  9. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    4,894
    Because we did the experiment and the scientists involved are intelligent, get it? Your theory of things happening by randomness of nature is a theory and is completely unsupported, so keep searching for nothing...
     
  10. Lemming3k Insanity Gone Mad Registered Senior Member

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    Difference is we've been trying to create life (unsuccessfully) for a long time, whereas the forces of nature in some sense have no direction, life being created would be random as nature isnt trying to create life. In my opinion i dont think creating life supports either arguement.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2006
  11. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    You are assuming that everything came about by randomness, how do you support this claim?
     
  12. Lemming3k Insanity Gone Mad Registered Senior Member

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    Actually i made no such assumption, i didnt tell you my beliefs, i said nature doesnt have the direction to say "i will create life" and thus attempt it the way humans can, if it happens in nature, it simply does.
     
  13. cato less hate, more science Registered Senior Member

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    creating life in a lab only proves that it does not require a supernatural forces.

    to all the creationists: time can do wonders. many (not all) scientists are trying to create early-earth conditions to produce life, and if they succeed they will be doing, in a time frame of decades, what the earth had millions (perhaps even billions) of years to do. the earth might be a unskilled scientists, but it would have preformed innumerable experiments and only had to succeed once.
     
  14. Trilairian Registered Senior Member

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    Then you don't remember correctly.
     
  15. Trilairian Registered Senior Member

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    You need to read the full post. It isn't so random.
     
  16. Lemming3k Insanity Gone Mad Registered Senior Member

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    Well i didnt read the post completely as i merely wished to respond to dave that it isnt entirely random, though there is an element of probability.
    Now, it depends on what you are defining as random, since the creation of life in nature would be a natural, undirected process, it is in a sense random and requiring of the correct conditions since nature doesnt deliberately make all this conditions to create life, there is an element of chance. However the conditions mentioned i imagine would be common over a billion years or so, and natural formation of life is believable.
    I'll have to research this as i have never heard of the experiment and am unsure as to its authenticity, also i have a problem with the sentence about proving natural evolution, as this simply has nothing to do with evolution, this is abiogenesis.
     
  17. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    I remember perfectly well, but I give up wasting time on backtracking to entertain time wasters like you.
     
  18. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

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    Creationist nutters always bitch about the supposed "randomness" factor when no such factor is suggested by evolutionary mechanisms. Far from it. Natural selection is anything but random. Abiogenesis is also a result of anything but "randomness:"
    -Five Major Misconceptions About Evolution

    Finally, doesn't this thread belong in the Biology sub-forum?
     
  19. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    I would agree with you here.
     
  20. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    "Churches are block-booking seats for March of the Penguins, which is apparently a "condemnation of gay marriage" and puts forward the case for "intelligent design", ie, Creationism. To be honest, this is good news. If American Christians want to go public on the fact that they're now morally guided by penguins, at least we know where we all stand."

    ~~Caitlin Moran
     
  21. SnakeLord snakeystew.com Valued Senior Member

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    You're wrong Archie:

    'But the lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The lord said, "if as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us {how many are there?} go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other"'.

    That was just a tall building and .. (the gods).. felt threatened. Guess he can't do much about it now though considering we have Muzzy to help us bridge that language barrier. 1-0 to humans.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2006
  22. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    Ah yes, the typical creationist challenge, make a living thing and if you can't, then god must exist. How little an understanding of the world around us they have.

    Was it not agreed upon by theists that a day of creation may have been a thousand years, or more? It appears even god needs time to make something, although a lowly scientist is challenged to wave a magical wand more powerful than that of a god.

    I would have to ask why science should have anything to do with peoples affiliation to their gods, or why science should choose your god over Allah, for example?

    And as you've already pointed out, no fact of any kind shall separate a theist from his god. Evidently, that speaks volumes about theists.
     

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