Private Musings of an Old Man – Origin of life

Questions and Answers: By anonymous friend. This will go into my Writings Book Series later. TJ

Q1) Are the theories you have enumerated are possibly procedures in a grand experiment by an intelligent designer or just by random sampling?

Ans1: They are theories of scientists who spend their entire lives searching for answers to the possible origins of life. They could just as well have accepted that life is a part of the procedures of a grand experiment by an intelligent designer and done something else with their lives. Or, they can choose to perform scientific experiments to find out if they can produce “life” in their laboratories by random sampling or whatever methods they hypothesize.

Q2) In the grand scheme of things is it easier to believe or not to believe things [we encounter] that we don’t fully understand such as life or how the universe began?

Ans2: It’s much easier for the majority of human beings to believe that God is responsible for all events or objects they don’t fully understand. They don’t have to do anything else but believe in God, the creator of all things they see. In primitive human societies whenever the people saw the moon-God eating the sun-God in an eclipse, they prayed to the moon-God to stop. After a while the moon-God listened to their prayers and spit out the sun God and everyone was happy. They did it everytime and everytime it worked. What scientist was going to do to convince them they were wrong?

Q3) What do you think of certain phenomena in people and nature that can not be explained by science but nevertheless occur i.e. gut feeling, premonitions, predictions of long time ago or ability to see the future among some of us, psychic phenomena such as some people away from home knowing the exact time and death of a love one long before it was communicated to him/her or an experiment I read many years ago [if I remember correctly] where mother dogs with newly born puppies were separate from the puppies; the puppies were then brought to places a few thousand miles away; the puppies were sacrificed; and the time and date noted; observations of the mother dogs revealed that these mother dogs became restless and displayed fear as the puppies were sacrifice at the exact time the sacrifice were done. I am not sure the experiment was replicated; and I do not remember what journal it was published.

Ans3) There are countless experiments conducted by men of science to find out the answers to the questions raised by parapsychology. In psych 101, our professor told us the story of a pilot’s wife awakened at night by the voice of her husband calling her name. The next morning she received a call from authorities telling her her husband had perished in a plane crash at exactly the same time she was awakened by her husband’s voice. Another study being conducted by scientists is the unexplainable coincidences occurring in identical twins separated at birth. There was a story of infant twins put up for adoption to different sets of parents. When they were introduced to each other half-a-century later they had on the same kind and color shirts. They drove the exact same cars and their children had the same names. How in the world can those coincidences happen? Majority will say God made it happen but a few scientists will try to find out why they happen using scientific methods of inquiry. We choose which side of the fence to stand on – the believers or the free-thinking scientists.

Q4) Would you consider that that man is the peak in the evolutionary scale (past, present and future) and that no other entity [like God] is above man?

Ans4) I do not think that man is at the peak of the evolutionary scale. Many factors contribute to how humanity evolves. The lifestyle and the diet of the modern man develop his physical form to conform to its environment. What will man need to look like to lay down on the couch and push buttons of his TV remote control or sit in front of his computer all day? Does the 21st century obese american look anything like his nomadic ancestors who walked from africa to populate the planet? By the way, the modern whale mammal has 5 finger skeletons in its flippers. Why did God put them there? Some scientists believe that whales were once land mammals that ended up in the oceans and evolved to their present form to survive. Do you believe that God made them the way they are now from the beginning and that the evolutionary scientists are wrong?

Q5) For what reason(s) you think why you are an agnostic; is it because you do not know, you have doubts and why do you have doubts; is it because you were disappointed [not answered for what you requested] for whatever reason?

Ans5) Like mother teresa, i cannot believe that there is any God responsible for all the misery and happiness that happens on our planet earth or any other inhabited planet in other solar systems. It is only by chance – the luck of the draw and the roll of the dice – that I ended up where I am. I could have ended up picking trash in payatas all my life instead.

I did not pray to God to be cured of my cancer. Everyone can form their opinions on why I survived. It would be too childish of me to reject God because I prayed for a porsche and was disappointed he did not give me one. From the sweat of my brow I can afford to buy one now but I keep asking myself how driving one will make my life any better?

in my retirement i spend most of my free time thinking about God, religion and the human condition and why things are the way they are. I have lots of questions for which I have not found answers.

I think that there are no right or wrong answers. everything depends on what makes one feel good about God, religion and the human condition. I have no quarrel with that. To each his own beliefs.

Please copy and click:
http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=6qsIK4zEbT4 – ‘Playing God’: Life Created In Lab
Scientist Craig Venter creates life for first time in laboratory sparking debate about ‘playing god’
Artificial life has been created in a laboratory for the first time by a maverick scientist.

Q6) How long do you think random sampling takes to form a single strand of human DNA with all the information imprinted into that strand; and then packed the right DNA and the right numbers in millions of DNA strands in a single chromosome to form the beginning of an organism?

Ans6) I do not know the answer to that question but that does not mean that I have to credit a God for creating the human DNA. Primitive men worshipped the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees and the animals and prayed to them because they did not know the answers to why certain events happened.

Q7) What is life and where did it come from?

Ans7) Livescience.com offers 7 theories suggested by various scientists studying the origin of life. they are as follows:

a) Primordial soup

Life on Earth began more than 3 billion years ago, evolving from the most basic of microbes into a dazzling array of complexity over time. But how did the first organisms on the only known home to life in the universe develop from the primordial soup?

b) Electric Spark

Electric sparks can generate amino acids and sugars from an atmosphere loaded with water, methane, ammonia and hydrogen, as was shown in the famous Miller-Urey experiment reported in 1953, suggesting that lightning might have helped create the key building blocks of life on Earth in its early days. Over millions of years, larger and more complex molecules could form. Although research since then has revealed the early atmosphere of Earth was actually hydrogen-poor, scientists have suggested that volcanic clouds in the early atmosphere might have held methane, ammonia and hydrogen and been filled with lightning as well.

c) Community Clay

The first molecules of life might have met on clay, according to an idea elaborated by organic chemist Alexander Graham Cairns-Smith at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. These surfaces might not only have concentrated these organic compounds together, but also helped organize them into patterns much like our genes do now.
The main role of DNA is to store information on how other molecules should be arranged. Genetic sequences in DNA are essentially instructions on how amino acids should be arranged in proteins. Cairns-Smith suggests that mineral crystals in clay could have arranged organic molecules into organized patterns. After a while, organic molecules took over this job and organized themselves.

d) Deep-Sea Vents

The deep-sea vent theory suggests that life may have begun at submarine hydrothermal vents, spewing key hydrogen-rich molecules. Their rocky nooks could then have concentrated these molecules together and provided mineral catalysts for critical reactions. Even now, these vents, rich in chemical and thermal energy, sustain vibrant ecosystems.

e) Chilly Start
Ice might have covered the oceans 3 billion years ago, as the sun was about a third less luminous than it is now. This layer of ice, possibly hundreds of feet thick, might have protected fragile organic compounds in the water below from ultraviolet light and destruction from cosmic impacts. The cold might have also helped these molecules to survive longer, allowing key reactions to happen.

f) RNA World

Nowadays DNA needs proteins in order to form, and proteins require DNA to form, so how could these have formed without each other? The answer may be RNA, which can store information like DNA, serve as an enzyme like proteins, and help create both DNA and proteins. Later DNA and proteins succeeded this “RNA world,” because they are more efficient. RNA still exists and performs several functions in organisms, including acting as an on-off switch for some genes. The question still remains how RNA got here in the first place. And while some scientists think the molecule could have spontaneously arisen on Earth, others say that was very unlikely to have happened.
Other nucleic acids other than RNA have been suggested as well, such as the more esoteric PNA or TNA.

Simple Beginnings
Instead of developing from complex molecules such as RNA, life might have begun with smaller molecules interacting with each other in cycles of reactions. These might have been contained in simple capsules akin to cell membranes, and over time more complex molecules that performed these reactions better than the smaller ones could have evolved, scenarios dubbed “metabolism- first” models, as opposed to the “gene-first” model of the “RNA world” hypothesis.

g) Panspermia

Perhaps life did not begin on Earth at all, but was brought here from elsewhere in space, a notion known as panspermia. For instance, rocks regularly get blasted off Mars by cosmic impacts, and a number of Martian meteorites have been found on Earth that some researchers have controversially suggested brought microbes over here, potentially making us all Martians originally. Other scientists have even suggested that life might have hitchhiked on comets from other star systems. However, even if this concept were true, the question of how life began on Earth would then only change to how life began elsewhere in space.

Q8) Is 15B years long enough for all the things in the universe to happen in which the point of reference is infinity?

Ans8) I do not know the answer to that question but because I do not know the answer does not mean that God is responsible for all the things that happened in the universe. Primitive men worshipped the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees and the animals and prayed to them because they did not know why certain events happened.

The princeton astrophysicist Reinabelle Reyes does not credit a God for the questions that she does not know the answers to. She keeps on working in the laboratory searching for answers using the scientific method of inquiry instead. I like that.

Do you know the answers to your last 3 questions above? Are you suggesting that because you and I do not know the answers to your questions, our ignorance should be enough proof for us to believe there is a God? Is their ignorance enough reason for primitive men to worship the sun, the moon, the trees and the animals and pray to them as gods? Should we follow their example?

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