The mystery of life

As before mentioned, (Aspects of reality-the mystery of life (1) ) the existence of life is probably the most puzzling aspect of reality of all. The real mystery is, where could life have come from? Why life? Could it have been just a random accident? What made a bunch of seemingly random, naturally occurring, substances form themselves into the primitive cells that eventually became us? It is all very unlikely when you think about it, but here we all are.

 

What do you need for life to happen?

On our world anyway, life is generally carbon based. To make the simple cells of our primitive ancestors, amino acids, sugars and lipids are needed.. These are quite complex substances in themselves. Where did they come from? Why did matter organize itself into these particular forms? Why did then this lead to complex life form and indeed us?

 

Evolution

The theory is that all life evolved from primitive one cell creatures that first inhabited the earth, as a result of a long process called evolution by natural selection. Charles Darwin published his book “ On the Origin of Species” in 1859 . This set out what he saw as the natural evolutionary process.

 

Evidence

To try make sense of this we really have to look at what evidence is out there. The truth is that even if all the raw ingredients for life are available, it is currently not known why this random mix of things suddenly become the primitive replicating cells which are the basis of all life on earth. Darwin may explain how, but he does not explain why.

 

Artificial life

Biochemists today are trying to create artificial life forms in the laboratory. They stated recently that they had succeeded. Craig Venter’s laboratory managed, after years of careful experimentation, to create a new genome by putting together fragments of DNA. They then injected the new genome into an existing bacteria cell. The genome took over the host cell and started replicating. This was hailed as creating new life, but in fact had to use an existing cell. It is no nearer solving the mysteries of how random matter manages to organize itself into replicating life from scratch. The how and why are still dark mysteries.

 

Stanley Millar managed to recreate what was thought to be the prehistoric composition of the earth’s sea and climate in a laboratory in America. Surprisingly, by creating a spark to mimic the lightening strikes on earth, primitive amino acids began to form in the lab vessel. This is interesting, but does not give any clue why these amino acids suddenly might organize themselves to become life.

 

Where did it begin?

There is no consensus from the scientific community. It is generally thought that life began spontaneously in the shallow seas. There are also theories that life may have started in the deep oceans, away from sunlight, but with high pressure and temperature.

 

Where else could it have come from?

It also may have been seeded deliberately or accidentally on the earth. For instance, a meteorite landing in Victoria Australia in 1969 was found to have amino acids in its composition. Could meteors landing in the seas triggered life? Could aliens or an intelligent designer have deliberately seeded the seas to start life off? Or did things happen completely differently?

 

Conclusion

Scientists can describe how life developed, but not why it did so. If it began as mainstream science thinks it did, then does this mean that the “recipe” for life was encoded somehow in the physics of the universe? This is an intriguing and puzzling aspect of reality.

 

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