May 15, 2009

Scientists Create Life - God Not Required

An elegant experiment has quashed a major objection to the theory that life on Earth originated with molecules of RNA.

John Sutherland and his colleagues from the University of Manchester, UK, created a ribonucleotide, a building block of RNA, from simple chemicals under conditions that might have existed on the early Earth.

The feat, never performed before, bolsters the 'RNA world' hypothesis, which suggests that life began when RNA, a polymer related to DNA that can duplicate itself and catalyse reactions, emerged from a prebiotic soup of chemicals.

"This is extremely strong evidence for the RNA world. We don't know if these chemical steps reflect what actually happened, but before this work there were large doubts that it could happen at all," says Donna Blackmond, a chemist at Imperial College London.
Now of course this doesn't necessarily mean this is exactly how it happened, but it does prove one thing; It proves that for a self replicating molecule - life - to form a magical man in the sky is not required. You just need the right chemicals, the right conditions and they can do it all by themselves.

So i wonder what dark corner the peddlers of the god of the gaps fallacy will relegate their god to now?



  1. I love the Rapture Ready take on this news:

    "Yeah, I dont buy this for a second. Couldnt they have just read Genesis? Saved a lot of time!! "

    "Professing to be wise, they became fools"

    "I think it takes more faith to believe in evolution. "

    "I found how life began many years ago. All I had to do is pick up a Bible and read the first few chapters of Genesis and there it was in black and white."

    etc etc

  2. Where have scientists claimed they have created a living being, even a single cell of life?

    I think Atheists are like a religious fanatics who rush to declare anything a miracle to support own views.

    If scientists can create life, it will be all over the television. Not in some obscure journal that does not even make claims you are running to make on their behalf.

  3. Wait..wait..

    First, yes, the title of the blog post is 'somewhat' misleading as the scientists didn't actually create life, they did, however create the "building blocks" of life. If you cannot fathom what this means than that is a flaw on your behalf, not the scientists.

    Finally, do you realize that you just called 'Nature' "some obscure journal"? 'Nature' is the the most widely used journal for scientists. In other words, if a scientist can get something published in 'Nature' then you know they have done something mighty impressive.

    Holy heck, talk about moronic statements!

    P.S. re. "...Atheists (sic) are like a religious fanatics (sic) who rush to declare anything a miracle to support [their] own views": wow, way to make use of that brush you have there, sir. *sigh*

  4. I just love people like stallions. That kind of people are eager to point to(like in this case) "Where have scientists claimed they have created a living being, even a single cell of life?", "it's not what exactly happened..." kind of claims. But when talking about the bible, they find first chapter of Genesis description suitable to explain universe, biology, zoology, history and all that shit. Think about how many words are written in genesis... Many more BOOKS were written to explain all the things in universe, but christians find few verses enough. And Calling "Nature" "some obscure journal" really makes me laugh (-:
    What, stallions, bible is more suitable for you, and gives clearer answers to world around you? Ha, Ha!

  5. but this does show it takes intelligence to create life. :-)

  6. In the hopes of a good discussion. Does anyone consider it possible that God worked at a slow pace? Meaning he didn't go poof and man was there, instead he let the world "evolve" at an extreamly slow slow rate, thus allowing for the "chemical stew" to happen but also being in control of it as well? Does this idea make sense or have merit with anyone?

  7. Well, where did all the chemicals come from?

  8. It's one thing to create "a ribonucleotide, a building block of RNA", it's another thing to prove that life can spontaneously emerge. This is only (1) a part of (2) RNA which is only (3) a part of a cell. (4) And life cannot exist by itself. It must exist within a community of life forms.

    This experiment proves the one thing (1) and leaves all the others (2, 3 and 4).

    So I do not see how this proves that abiogenesis can occur. It is only a ribonucleotide that has been made. A ribonucleotide does not make self sustaining life anymore than a part of a bolt makes a car.

  9. @redfox712
    1 and 2 are true.
    3 and 4 are not requirements of life.
    Cells today are very complicated, but this was not always so. In a world of cells, naked RNA cannot survive. But before cells became very complicated, naked RNA was alive and well, reproducing in tiny bubbles of lipids it wraps around itself. If you're expecting cells with the full complexity they have today to pop suddenly into existence out of fat air, that's creationism, and if it happens then evolution is wrong because that's not what evolution says happens.

  10. 'Well, where did all the chemicals come from?'

    A vast amount of the energy from the previous universe was drawn together by gravity into a singularity, which then exploded (the big bang). As this energy cooled, it formed simple hydrogen atoms which were drawn together by gravity to form stars.

    Now different elements are created by nuclear fusion inside stars, as gravity forces hydrogen together to form heavier elements, some of these are then forced together and the process repeats forming things like carbon, iron etc.. When the star dies these are shot out into space as large clouds of dust, yet again gravity pulls the dust together to form planets, moons asteroids etc...

    On a planet like this one these elements can interact with each other to form more complex molecules and chemicals...

    I think the article picks up somewhere around here.

    Now I'm no scientist but the whole thing is so simple a child could understand it.

  11. It's easy to just read a book and pick some good values from it and ignore those that seem ridiculous in today's society like stoning your son if he becomes a non-believer.
    If you really think that a concious being appearing and creating life in 6 days is more conceivable than a very well supported scientific theory then I suppose there's nothing more I can say.

    I would recommend you watch this:

  12. So....what about the one before? I mean, where did it ALL begin? The previous universe to the previous? Or the one before. One thing is certain, We will all find out when we pass away. Or we won't.

  13. That's not creating life. They were able to engineer a building block of RNA. That's like saying I built a skyscraper because I found a teaspoonfull of cement.

    That said, even the lab creation of an entire lifeform won't debunk the existence of God.

    You can't use science to disprove a metaphysical concept. When are atheist going to understand this? All you do is simple disprove a literal translation of religious belief which most logical thinking theists don't subscribe to anyway.

    Some atheists are so full of hate that they waste away their life (the only thing they've got) loathing theists. Better spend your time having fun, right? When you're dead, you're dead, so make the most out of life.

  14. @redfox712: "A ribonucleotide does not make self sustaining life anymore than a part of a bolt makes a car."

    And no one claimed it did. But as for your car analogy, the car cannot come into existence without the bolts, and what these experiments show is that the "bolts make themselves" even though they "appear" designed. The more we study the problem we find that "brake pedals make themselves" and "motor mounts make themselves" and things like that.

    It would not be a stretch of the imagination (except perhaps for a Creationist) to see that when all of the parts of the car are able to make themselves, then given the right conditions, it just might be possible for the car itself to form naturally as well. The first car to form would probably look somewhat like a chariot, or maybe it would be more advanced like Henry Ford's Quadricycle. (Lest your idiocy get the best of you, we are speaking in analogies here. Referencing a "designer" for the first car (as analogy) ignores the fact illustrated in this article that the hypothetical designer did not design the parts necessary for the car's existence, it being shown that the parts formed themselves naturally.)

  15. @Anonymous asks: "So....what about the one before? I mean, where did it ALL begin? The previous universe to the previous? Or the one before."

    This is in reference to the earlier comment about the universe coming from a preexisting universe. While the earlier comment was generally correct regarding the source of atoms and molecules, which are prerequisite building blocks for life, the statement that our universe came from a preexisting universe is just one of several possibilities.

    The truth is, we don't know the answer to that question. Creationists sometimes pretend to know the answer (and say so in a manner far more arrogantly than the earlier poster, who merely extrapolated known natural processes), or gloat over the fact that there are actually things we, as a species, don't know (while ignoring the fact that they know less than the scientists over whom they gloat). The Creationist who pretends to know how it all began is like blackness thinking it is a kettle.

    Creationist snide appeals to "how did it all begin, then?" merely validates the scientific process up to the frontiers of what "can" be known given present investigative tools. There is nothing that says these tools (both physical and mental) cannot and will not be improved. While there may be some questions which may never be answered, there is nothing which tells us "which" questions fit this category. Therefore we continue our research. Pretending to know the answer to a demonstrably unanswered question is foolish. The Bible says some pointed things about fools. It is ironic that it turns out to be Creationists who fit this category.

    Most of us (atheists, liberals, scientist wannabes) follow in the footsteps of giants in that we, ourselves, are not doing the mental legwork to discover new things about our universe (which is not to say we could not, had we chosen a different career), but rather, we embrace the ideas being proposed by brilliant members of our species for the explanation of previously unexplained phenomena, and allow the possibility that these explanations can change upon the discovery of new evidence, the making of new observations, or upon the development of a new model of explanation which fits the existing evidence better than existing models. Such people are typically called Free Thinkers (and scientists). In my opinion, they are far closer to "knowing the truth" than any Creationist I have ever come across. Creationists embrace very little, if anything, beyond the naive and childish notion that "God did it".

    Where did our universe come from? Perhaps it was pinched off of a preexisting universe (with some hellacious math to describe the process), or perhaps it came from nothing (from quantum fluctuations in empty space, also with hellacious math to describe the process).

    The multiverse idea is extraordinarily fascinating, but it may lay beyond falsifiability, which does not lend itself well to being a good theory the way Evolution or Gravity are good theories. These latter theories are each falsifiable: there are conditions which could occur or be observed which are forbidden if the theories are true. In evolution, finding a 2 billion year old rabbit embedded in preCambrian sediments could falsify the theory. For gravity, a person "deciding" to no longer obey the law of gravity and fly up into the sky would suffice.

    And yet, even if these things were observed, the first course of action would be to seek out a natural explanation (for instance, implantation of a modern rabbit into older sediments), or a huge gust of wind in the case of "anti-gravity". And certainly hoaxing or myth should be investigated. What we don't want to do, right off the bat, is jump to a supernatural explanation (God did it), as more likely explanations abound. We should bend over backwards in our effort "not to fool ourselves". We should always remain open to new discoveries.

  16. It is one of those problems where there will always be a gap in our knowledge. There will always be a one before the one before and so on.

    There will always unfortunately be room for a master builder behind the scenes if you choose to believe in it/him.

    The question can be flipped on its head and you can ask well if there is a creator or architect then who created them? It follows that if you cannot defend a scientific argument by saying it starts here with a chemical soup because someone else says but how did the soup arrive? Then you cannot defend a God by saying he started things without someone saying well where did he come from?

    It ends with a circular argument that helps no one.

    Far better I think to say, lets go back as far as we can, lets keep pushing at the limits to our knowledge, one day we will take it back a further step, then another and so on.

    There will always be doubt, and that is a good thing, without it there would be no reason to question and no reason to discover. Enjoy life and learning, support smart scientists and just ignore anyone who claims they know ALL the answers, cause no one does, and I doubt we ever will.

    /rant off/