Jumat, 13 November 2009

How Did Life on Earth Originate?

I have just watched yet another television program from NOVA. It explains that possibly a comet carrying microbial dust might have brushed by our planet 3.5 billions years ago. Then it deposited just enough primitive bacteria that initiated the life process that eventually evolved into one-celled animals such as the ameba. The rest took only incredible luck, environmental conditions, and Darwinian theory to become present day life forms. Along the way, the dinosaurs that covered the earth for 175 million years were apparently wiped out by a meteor that crashed into us about 65 million years ago. That event destroyed most of the common animals of the time and forced nature to ?rethink? the large lizards and begin the age of the mammals.
If this past scenario seems a bit far-fetched, complain to the various scientists in the fields of biology, paleontology, microbiology, and chemistry that concocted these theories. The search for a plausible explanation for life on earth has consumed many brilliant theoreticians over the millennium. Of course the secular theologians would cast aside most scientific answers in favor of a more devout solution involving God, his mighty hand, the Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve. Of course that still wouldn?t explain animals, insects, and the dinosaurs, but who can quibble with such details? After all, it?s in the Bible. I?m not anti-religion, I?m just pro-logic. There are major problems with a God that ignores evolution and starts out with humans that resemble modern man almost immediately. We have skeletal evidence of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon that proves an earlier version of Homo Sapiens, thus putting gigantic cracks in the Biblical explanation. But the cosmic dust solution is also problematic as well.
It?s a question of statistical probability. The fact that a comet containing just the right mix of microbes passed at just the correct place above the earth, sweeps by and deposits the minute specks in the exact spots that allow them to thrive and (a) not be killed by the hostile environment, (b) land near water, (c) and/or receive the proper amount of sunlight, (d) have something to feed off, (e) survive the entry into earth?s atmosphere, (f) continue to grow once they land, and (g) evolve once they are here, is one amazing journey. That is, if it occurred that way. A foreign substance on the human or animal body is immediately attacked in many ways. It?s the same in nature. For it to survive the elements would be truly miraculous. So what about the alternative?
Could life spontaneously generate from the gaseous and chemical components of a young earth 3.5 billion years ago? Would an errant spark from lightening striking a clump of methane, hydrogen, and carbon begin a process that eventually would lead to an elephant or whale? Which is more likely? Could a series of chemical reactions that are random and unrelated eventually create a life form? Scientists have attempted to replicate life in a laboratory, ala Frankenstein, for centuries, but to no avail. Today, with all their modern equipment, controlled environmental labs, chemical and organic knowledge, and computer-assisted projections, they still are unable to build even the simplest of life forms. Obviously the construction of life is still beyond us. We can?t even resurrect a dead life form with all are present capabilities. Once the life-force has left the body, it appears irreversible.
Which brings us back full-circle. Where and how did life begin? I imagine that if you have read so far, you are expecting some revelation at this point. I am just a mere mortal like yourself. I contemplate our world and its wonders. I?ve written about reincarnation in my novel. ?Pursuit of the Phoenix,? and many online articles about various aspects of science, including the birth of our universe. But the search for life itself is a perplexing and a controversial conundrum.
My best guess is that either (a) a dimensional rift allowed life to seep in from an existing life-filled parallel world about the time that earth cooled enough to form water vapor, (b) a very advanced space traveler deposited spores among millions of planets, including ours, as part of what it was designed to do, (c) there is a greater intelligence that decided earth was ready for life and caused simple cells to form when he or she felt the time was right.
Take your pick. If you believe in the latter answer, you?re obviously in good company. You must also believe that the same greater being did the same for millions of other planets as well. And therefore we will eventually meet others designed to live in distant worlds for different reasons. And unlike conventional wisdom, we were not created in God?s image. Instead we evolved and adapted to our planet based on nature?s need for survival. Regardless of the result, we are here and the way we got here is probably irrelevant. And my guess is that we will never be able to replicate life as we know it and there?s a good reason. We are not God and shouldn?t attempt to become one. Leave that to the expert.

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