DailyDirt: Life Is Complicated

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The classic question of "which came first: the chicken or the egg?" is not that easy to answer. There are a lot of unanswered (and perhaps unanswerable) questions about the origins of life. What came first: DNA, RNA or proteins? How did chirality start? We have a few clues, but without a time machine, we can't quite observe what actually happened. Here are just a few scientific probes that could help us understand the early stages of our biosphere. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

Filed Under: biology, biotech, chirality, dna, mitochondria, origin of life, primordial soup, ribozyme, rna, test tube evolution


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 17 Nov 2014 @ 5:30pm

    Waiting For The ...

    ... “Life Is Too Complex To Have Arisen By Itself” mob to show up ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2014 @ 6:41pm

      Re: Waiting For The ...

      Wouldn't be because there is no evidence to support this would there?

      A baseball sitting next to a broken window does not mean that the window was broken by that baseball.

      Whether life got here spontaneously or by design of some kind remains to be seen. We still lack a great deal of information. Anyone that disagrees with this are the types that walk away from the seen mentioned above and assume it was the baseball. Meer fodder for their simple minds believing themselves to be superior to every other id of hubris walking on two legs among them.

      Your comments appear to put you in the "I only like the parts of science I agree with" camp... much the same as the "I only like the parts of my religion I agree with" crowd. A "Sunday scientist" as it were.

      And there you have it, science has become a non-deity religion to replace the deity based religions most of the world believes in. Yes most of the people can indeed be wrong and additionally fooled most of the time, however this proves nothing either.

      Science is the search for proof and understanding, anyone whom says it disagrees with religion does not understand science.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 17 Nov 2014 @ 6:54pm

        Re: We still lack a great deal of information

        One piece of information we do not lack is this powerful thing called “logic”.

        You see, if life was too complex and wonderful to have arisen by itself, then it had to be created by someone/something else. Agreed? But this someone/something else presumably had to be even more complex and wonderful than life. So how could it have arisen by itself?

        Unless it, in turn, was created by something else...

        You see how logic works? Once you start claiming that anything is “too complex to have arisen by itself”, you end up in a trap of your own devising, hoist by your own petard.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2014 @ 7:18pm

          Re: Re: We still lack a great deal of information

          "You see, if life was too complex and wonderful to have arisen by itself, then it had to be created by someone/something else. Agreed?"

          We fundamentally lack the information and evidence to know any better... that is just all there is to it... mankind once used logic to create slaves, murder, and work all manor of despicable act against each other. Forgive me if I do not immediately take your logic for anything special.

          I simply told you that you don't know either... and your desire to dance around it like an ignorant idiot shows you are nothing but a fundamentalist just like all the other idiots peddling their stupid religions.

          There is a reason that science advances one funeral at a time... just like the Pope and the Catholic Church. Funny how they parallel each other so well. Both have brought a lot of good and evil to life here on our special little mudball in the universe.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 17 Nov 2014 @ 8:03pm

            Re: We fundamentally lack the information and evidence to know any better

            Know any better than what? Is or is not life “too complex to have arisen by itself”? The answer is either yes or no.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2014 @ 9:22pm

              Re: Re: We fundamentally lack the information and evidence to know any better

              Know any better than what? Is or is not life “too complex to have arisen by itself”? The answer is either yes or no.
              Wrong question. Even your basic "logic" is untenable until you can answer the first question, which is:

              What is life? If one understands what "life" is then you may be able to go onto your question.

              We can create various processes that appear to mimic the processes we find in the cells of "living" creatures - but we do not seem to be able to define what is living and what is not.

              A simple example is related to plant seeds. One can set up an experiment where you can take a number of seeds. They are characterised by not growing, there is no self division, no energy production or usage. They simply exist. Place them into what we consider to be the right conditions and some will suddenly start cell division and growth, using the external environment to "grow" and others will just do nothing. Anyone who tries to propagate plants by this method has this experience at some time.

              Yet for all our investigation and study, we are unable to distinguish which will grow and which will not. Plants are not the only things that do this, there are other organisms which appear to have this capability.

              We may have some broad principles as to what is living and what is not and we still don't understand what is "life".

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 17 Nov 2014 @ 9:42pm

                Re:What is life?

                Why, the subject of this discussion, of course. What did you think it was?

                Now get back to answering the question.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2014 @ 11:08pm

                  Re: Re:What is life?

                  Why is a Kiwi like a Dodo?

                  They both have birdbrains.

                  I read your response and all I can think is how much effort it takes to explain anything to a Kiwi.

                  Let the jokes begin!!!!

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 18 Nov 2014 @ 1:03am

                    Re: What is life?

                    Evade the point, much?

                    Choose whatever definition you like for “life” so that the answer to the question “is life too complex to have arisen by itself?” is “yes”, and we will proceed from there.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2014 @ 4:10am

                      Re: Re: What is life?

                      You are the one who argued the point of using "logic" to determine an outcome. If you start with a premise for which we do not have a basis for validity then any logical argument based on it being true and valid gives rise to a result that is not persuasive.

                      I have seen your style of arguing and you tend to argue that your position is true, hence any arguments against your position have to be false because your position is true and you don't actually have to prove anything because your position is true.

                      This is usually what a "true believer" argues from. Religious, political and scientific arguments of this nature don't lead anywhere.

                      Finally, since none of us were there when life came into being (whatever life might be and we don't have any actual knowledge of what the conditions or circumstances were at the time, as in actual verifiable measurements), any arguments about how/what/why of life's beings are purely speculative and are based on our individual belief systems. You cannot prove anything about life's beginnings. You can certainly make hypotheses but verifying them or proposing experiments for them fail in one very singular way - we don't have the starting conditions available for us any more, they are not even reproducible because we don't know what they were.

                      So we can't even argue about complexity since complexity is in the eye of the beholder. Look into the subject of perception for examples of this. If you have asked the wrong question then you will never get the right answer.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2014 @ 7:15pm

        Re: Re: Waiting For The ...

        Wow, what a bunch of circular bullshit.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2014 @ 7:21pm

          Re: Re: Re: Waiting For The ...

          Wait, so you have the proof that science and everyone, including myself, have been looking for?

          Out with it... otherwise you would not know any bullshit if it hit you in the face cause you seem to be ignorantly covered in it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Beta (profile), 17 Nov 2014 @ 9:42pm

        Re: Re: Waiting For The ...

        We are considering complex chemistry and looking for a theory that assumes little, predicts much and can easily be disproved if it's false.

        A theory involving ancient non-human intelligences doing vaguely defined things at an unspecified time is a theory that assumes an enormous amount, predicts nothing and is nondisprovable.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 17 Nov 2014 @ 7:32pm

    It's OBVIOUS where life comes from...

    Time Travel. Just like our space probes carry life to other planets, our time probes will carry life back to the beginning... just like the always have before. ;) 8)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    McCrea (profile), 17 Nov 2014 @ 8:11pm

    The classic question of "which came first: the chicken or the egg?" is not that easy to answer.


    Actually, one of my first philosophical lessons was that that is one of the easiest paradoxes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 17 Nov 2014 @ 8:34pm

      Re: which came first: the chicken or the egg

      That’s easy: there were eggs before there were chickens.

      Well, you didn’t say chicken egg...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      jim, 18 Nov 2014 @ 6:42am

      Re: oh, really easy

      Could not have happened. Chicken or egg. Need two chickens for one egg, one chicken does not reproduce.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      jim, 18 Nov 2014 @ 6:42am

      Re: oh, really easy

      Could not have happened. Chicken or egg. Need two chickens for one egg, one chicken does not reproduce.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger (profile), 17 Nov 2014 @ 8:18pm

    I blame...

    ... the magical amino acid fairies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Guardian, 17 Nov 2014 @ 9:04pm

    @#2

    um by design ya say? SO how did that life arise , and there you hav ethe chicken and egg syndrome right....NO.

    LIFE had to start....
    GOD YOU SAY...

    so what made god then...see what i mean ....
    heck lets have real fun , what made all the matter etc in the universe in the big bang and what caused a singularity to explode....NO really we have super massiv eones that never seem to explode...so what caused it? 2 such things colliding....?

    LOGIC dictates that some how someway it evolved or was caused by events with the right timing

    and if you think about all the junk we have in our dna that appear sot do nothing anymore you get the idea its been trying and awful long time
    4 billion or more years on earth alone....13.7 billion to make 9.7 billion before that to get one earth....

    and until i see pics of actual planets like earth they can ramble all they want....when i see one i know it wil have life if its like our planet

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2014 @ 11:17pm

      Junk DNA???

      Using the term Junk DNA is incorrect - try using the correct terms (coding and non-coding DNA). Non-coding DNA does have function even if it doesn't generate proteins.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    santa clause, 17 Nov 2014 @ 9:08pm

    chemical reactions and combinations of atomic structures 101

    well kiddies today i'm going to discuss things very simply so you all GET it....when you apply say a charge to one type of atom it may bond to another or not....you push them around in a bowl they may bond or not...they form these bigger things called molecules... and what happens is those can interact with others...what this and our science has yet all to figure is the right starting mix that can allow for things to evolve into what we are today...

    simple no brains required...google chemistry and the periodic table and how the atoms can interact...there is a reason evolution happened this way and if you look up the mass extinctions you will see, that life was very different in the beginning....in fact that life COULD NOT LIVE TODAY...because of oxygen....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2014 @ 10:49am

    Oh, really even easier.

    Dinosaurs are hatched from eggs. Dinosaurs were around long before the chicken. Thus, the egg came before the chicken.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.