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#1 minos

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 07:01 AM

When somebody is studying the phenomenon of viruses ,he can see that when viruses are not coming in contact with a host organism, they are a sum of chemical compounds that not fulfill the criteria to be considered as life.While on the other hand they start reacting with a host, or in other words they start making chemical reactions with the compounds of the host,they become alive.The same thing happens with prions ,which are proteinaceous compounds that while they react with proteins of the host, they become alive in a way.....Lets hypothesize that we make the hypothesis that:No living organism is possible to remain unchanged structurally.Lets hypothesize that this rule is principal in nature and nothing could go beyond it or prove that it is untrue.What would that mean to the way that we see the world?First of all lets make clear what we mean: An organism that would remain unchanged structurally during a very small period of time,would be considered as not living for that period. When we say unchanged we mean of course that there are not taking place any chemical reactions inside it.Maybe there is a single cell inside an organism that is unchanged,but the rest of the cells are changing. We say then that this organism has a dead cell.,but the organism as a whole is alive.Maybe this cell would be able to regain life if it react with the appropriate signals.But maybe not.If we want to see the consequences of our hypothesis in the nature we meet the question:what is the least that can be considered as life?For example, a mitochondrion can be considered life according to what we said, but a simple chemical molecule cannot,unless it reacts with another molecule or substance.At the moment of the reaction these two substances are the least that is considerd life.So, a simple chemical reaction as long as it happens ,is the simpliest form of life, or else, the sparkle of life.That means that the superior organisms as well as all the organism is a summation of chemical reactions.The advantages of the hypethesis that we made is that we can explain successfully the prions and the viruses.


..The new hypothesis also says that life existed before the first cell,in the form of chemical reactions.Scientists have accepted that life was originated from a single cell,which was the first cell on earth, and composed the first thing that was a form of life. The evolution of this cell had as a result the formation of life the way that we know and see today. A problem with this idea is that, as we know, if we had just a single cell in earth right now, and out of it there was nothing, then not only this would not lead to the formation of more complicated forms of life,but this single cell soon would be dead.Despite of that,most scientists accept the single cell theory.The new theory that we introduced claims that the existence a first single cell was not necessary to start the evolutionary process that would lead to life as we know it today, but says that life preexisted , because even a single chemical reaction is a form of life.The creation of the first cell actually is the result of the existence of life.
The property of reproduction in living beings that are chemical reactions seem

s to actually be a result of the energy that forces the chemical reactions to continue happening.Life continues because chemical reactions continue.Reproduction seems to be one of the most ancient properties.

Lets see now another problem: In the beginning, life on earth was simplier than today. That means that there was a system of chemical reactions that gave its place to a more complicated one.This sounds a bit strange because if a system of chemical reactions does not get energy from outside, leads to an equilibrium state. If we accept that our new theory is true, means that there had to be an external source of energy{probably the large quantities of energy that comes everyday on earth from the light of the sun that lead not only to the survival of the first forms of life, but also to their survival of the first forms of life, but also in their evolution.Imagine that with the help of a sourse of light we cultivated in a way,some chemical reactions in a small place.After a period of time,they are getting more and more complicated.Lets hypothesize that someday the whole system becomes extremely complicated.We could not see nothing more but a mixture of colours and shapes.This is life.But human is a part of this complicated system which means that he sees things in a mirror like way,because he is in the system.so it is very difficult for him to see life in an objective way.

living organisms normally are not dying because the chemical reactions that are composing them are continuing happening.if we analyze all these reactions we will have a very good view to their homeostasis.As we said we are seeing the world from the inside , or else in a mirror like direction, because we our selves are part of things, so we appreciate things from its results.We think that homeostasis is a very magical and perfect mechanism, because we are the result of homeostasis, but the theory that we analyzed says that homeostasis simply is the cataloge of the chemical reactions that are still happening, and just because they keep happening, the organism is alive.The complex organic compounds that are composing living creatures probably are the results of many years of reactions, or else they are the fingerprints of the reactions from the beginning of all the reactions till today.

We are the results of all these , and so it is normal to think that if something was not the way it is, WE would not be there, the way we are!So we think that they are essential for us and everything was arranged perfectly, and if something was a bit different ,we would not be there, but as i told everything depends on who is the observer.We are a changing complex, and everything that happens lead to us.We see things from the opposite side though.

#2 dyslexic nam

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 04:12 PM

Well, that is one heck of an entrance. Welcome to CN :)

#3 dickbill

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 06:21 PM

Yes, some have said Humans are 'measuring' the universe, almost in the sense 'you have been measured, you have been weighted' to test your finite limits to reduce you. That is, Humans are extracting information out of the Universe. But, 'obviously', we humans are part of the Universe. So the Universe is measuring itself. That is inescapable, unless you remove the word 'obviously', which in science is the evilest qualificative never to be used.

#4 Jarad

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 08:31 PM

Lets hypothesize that we make the hypothesis that:No living organism is possible to remain unchanged structurally.



I would argue that your criteria is required for life, but not sufficient for it. By that simple definition, fire is alive. So is a rusting piece of metal, or an eroding piece of rock, or a sand dune shifting in the wind.

Viruses and prions are an interesting class. I would argue that they are not in fact fully alive (viruses are closer than prions). Viruses have part of the machinery necessary for life, but are not fully alive by themselves - they must commandeer a living cell in order to fill in the missing gaps. A prion can only produce more prions in the presence of the correct precursor protein - it is essentially a misfolded protein that can "recruit" properly folded ones into the same misfunctional conformation.

I think that life evolved from simpler self-replicating molecules. You can thing of them as precursors to life, if you like, or nearly-life. You are correct that there must have been precursors that were simpler than what we consider to be life now, but just changing the definition to be looser doesn't really answer the question.

Jarad

#5 llanitedave

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 08:38 PM

I agree. A prion is a pretty simple automaton that essentially does one thing and one thing only. A virus cannot exist without a pre-existing cell to infect, so it can't really have been primary to any other life form, regardless of what you choose to call it now.

I'm sure there was a period that we would consider to be a fuzzy gray area between life and non-life. Maybe bare replicating molecules that did little else but copy themselves on a substrate. Maybe some two stage process, where one molecule would catalyze the creation of a second, and the second would catalyze the creation of the first. Maybe some combination of the two, and other combinations unknown.

But this isn't a new hypothesis. It's pretty much mainstream as far as I've read.

And btw, minos, welcome to Cloudy Nights!

#6 Kon Dealer

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 05:00 PM

Read up on "LUCA" :)

#7 moynihan

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 09:35 AM

“Lets hypothesize that we make the hypothesis that: No living organism is possible to remain unchanged structurally. Lets hypothesize that this rule is principal in nature and nothing could go beyond it or prove that it is untrue. “

I would posit that one does not have to state that as a hypothesis. It is an observable condition, i.e. a fact. As is often said, change is the only constant.

“The complex organic compounds that are composing living creatures probably are the results of many years of reactions, or else they are the fingerprints of the reactions from the beginning of all the reactions till today.”

Yep.

#8 Pess

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:56 PM

a simple chemical reaction as long as it happens ,is the simpliest form of life



So by this definition seeds are not alive? Spores are not alive?


Hmmm, further speculation: are sperm and unfertilized eggs alive?

You can create cell-like vacuoles containing chemicals that are reacting...are they alive?

Not so simple, eh?

Pesse (Welcome to the worm hole) Mist

#9 Pess

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:04 PM

Life is analogous to a row of chairs on a stage. To the far right we have complex multicellular animals. As we move left we go down in life complexity finally to prokaryote, virus and then prion....depending on your definition of 'life' you can separate the dividing line anywhere.

For myself, I feel there is no dividing live..just a sliding gray scale from muck to complex life.

Pesse (Kinda gives a new twist to 'Shades of Gray') ist

#10 scopethis

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:27 PM

It's the Andromeda Strain, isn't it?

#11 Jarad

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:52 PM

So by this definition seeds are not alive? Spores are not alive?


Well, those are again a bit of a special case. Spores and seeds are in stasis - not currently living, but with the potantial to come to life given the correct conditions.

You can create cell-like vacuoles containing chemicals that are reacting...are they alive?


If they aren't capable of self-replicating, then no.

Jarad

#12 Kon Dealer

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 03:52 PM

Viruses are capable of evolution- most years a "new" 'flu virus comes around. Or look at HIV- it's "sloppy" replication allows the production of many different strains which can outpace our immune systems and rapidly become resistant to anti-HIV drugs.
So are viruses alive?

Or consider some seeds/spores. They can exist for hundreds, if not thousands of years, without any metabolism- an anabiotic state. However given the correct environmental conditions are still capable of germination, growth and reproduction.

I agree with Pess. Where do you draw the line?

#13 Jarad

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 04:36 PM

Where do you draw the line between red and orange in a rainbow?

Pick a spot, and draw it.

For the definition of life, I like this one:
http://en.wikipedia....ife#Definitions

Viruses come close, but not quite. They cannot reproduce without a suitable host cell, they do not grow (they make exact copies of the same size), nor do they metabolize (they rely on the host cell's machinery for that), nor do they perform homeostasis (they again rely on the host cell to perform that function). They do respond to stimuli (binding to a host cell), they do reproduce, and they do adapt. So 3 out of 7 ain't bad, but it ain't life.

Seeds and spores are capable of germinating into life, but they are in a state of stasis. I would classify them as "potential life" until they germinate, then they are alive.

Jarad

#14 imjeffp

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:17 PM

I remember reading once about Mad Cow Disease that you can't kill a prion, since it isn't even alive to begin with.

#15 llanitedave

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:09 PM

You can't kill 'em, but you might be able to make 'em mad.

#16 brentwood

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:08 AM

Many years ago, experiments were conducted in which electrical fields were generated in a sealed container containing various elements and compounds. The result was a gooey mess that contained amino acids, that were explained as the 'building blocks' of life.
This was a long time ago and I was wondering if those experiments or something similar had been done recently to try & get further up the ladder of Life?

#17 DarkSkys

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 01:33 AM

Many years ago, experiments were conducted in which electrical fields were generated in a sealed container containing various elements and compounds. The result was a gooey mess that contained amino acids, that were explained as the 'building blocks' of life.
This was a long time ago and I was wondering if those experiments or something similar had been done recently to try & get further up the ladder of Life?


I think the problem you would run into after makeing the AA's, is time.

#18 minos

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 12:15 PM

well, actually the whole idea is that the definition of life is made only because we are a part of it.we call life everything that looks like us.As long as a virus or a spore has metabolism and make similar processes like us, we call it alive, but when they have zero metabolism, we find it hard to consider it alive.Fire on the other hand doesnt look enough like us to consider it alive.
Life is a creation of our mind, to describe anything that is like us,eg an ongoing system of reactions.It doesnt exist as an objective thing in the universe.For example a stone that is travelling million light years away from earth, can only see a soup of random, meaningless chemical reactions near the surface of earth, because it is not participating in the system.....
It is not necessary that the first self replicated thing created protolife...instead (near)self replication could be the result of the fact that the reactions were continuing to happen in the young earth(and so we,as the result, judge it from the opposite direction).

#19 Pess

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 01:51 PM

So by this definition seeds are not alive? Spores are not alive?


Well, those are again a bit of a special case. Spores and seeds are in stasis - not currently living, but with the potantial to come to life given the correct conditions.

You can create cell-like vacuoles containing chemicals that are reacting...are they alive?


If they aren't capable of self-replicating, then no.

Jarad


Well Jarad, you made my case. If there are 'Special cases' then you can't make a dividing line. No matter what reasonable definition you put on life I can find a Special case exception.

Prions are just a protein but can self replicate using another cells machinery...well, you might say, they are not doing the chemistry themselves so they are not technically alive.

OK, but can YOU (you in the generic sense, of course) self replicate without help from another organism?

Chemical reactions go from simple hydrogen-Oxygen plus spark equals water all the way up to complex ballet like interactions that we unequivocally point to as the chemistry of life.

What is life? The answer becomes more complex if we ask "What is not life/"

What if we take an elephant zygote and remove its nucleus? Does it still live? What if we now insert a mastodon DNA nucleus? Did we create life?

Did the Ford assembly line build a car even though it only assembled parts built elsewhere? Does the steel foundry create the car when it creates rolls of steel? Does the stamping company create the car when it stamps out the block and covers and other metal parts to ship to the factory?

Are we only creating life when we start with the periodic table of elements and move down the tet tube assemb;y line to a fully functioning cell?

Pesse (Did Dr Frankenstein create life, or only sew some parts together?) Mist

#20 Jarad

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 04:01 PM

I guess I just don't see these issues as problems.

We set a definition, then we abide by it. If we see an example that we think is mis-classified by the definition, then we adjust the definition.

I am comfortable that the current definition correctly defines prions and viruses as "not life". I don't find seeds and spores to be a problem for the definition - while they are dormant, they are not currently alive, but have the potential to come to life given the right conditions. The current definition correctly classifies them both while dormant (not alive) and after germination (alive).

For your other question, if we remove the nucleus from a cell then it is no longer alive - it cannot replicate, nor grow. If we replace the nucleus with one with a complete mastodon genome, then it is now alive again, and a different species. Does that mean we have created life? That depends more on your definition of "create" than that of "life".

Jarad

#21 Pess

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 12:16 PM

Jarad-

I was not trying to promote a point.

I was trying to ask questions and cite examples the 'muddy' points others were making.

If you take something defined as 'not life' and you do something to it so now you call it 'alive' you have ipso facto created life. Saying you need a special definition of 'create' to go there is too much reminiscent of an ex-president asking to define what 'is' is.

I think I was trying to get across that any definition of life that includes everything is too broad to be meaningful and one that is narrowed down will inevitably exclude many, many legit examples.

Pesse (Seeds CAN reproduce--just add water. Just as I CAN reproduce--just add hot blonde) Mist

#22 Jarad

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 01:32 PM

I was pointing out that it is more along the line of your car example - if a factory assembles parts made elsewhere, have they "created" a car? If we inserted a genome that we had designed from scratch, I would say we have "created" life. If we insert a genome we copied from a mastodon, I am not sure how much we "created". Maybe it would be better in both cases to say "assembled". The car factory assembled the car, and by replacing the genome we have assembled a living cell.

But the similarity between the two example is because the key question there is about "creating", not about "life". There is no question that what went into the factory was not a car, and what comes out of the factory is a car. So the definition of "car" isn't the issue there, and the definition of "life" isn't the issue in the other example.

Jarad

#23 Pess

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 03:12 PM

I was pointing out that it is more along the line of your car example - if a factory assembles parts made elsewhere, have they "created" a car? If we inserted a genome that we had designed from scratch, I would say we have "created" life. If we insert a genome we copied from a mastodon, I am not sure how much we "created". Maybe it would be better in both cases to say "assembled". The car factory assembled the car, and by replacing the genome we have assembled a living cell.

But the similarity between the two example is because the key question there is about "creating", not about "life". There is no question that what went into the factory was not a car, and what comes out of the factory is a car. So the definition of "car" isn't the issue there, and the definition of "life" isn't the issue in the other example.

Jarad


very good points.

Pesse (But I still say my Pet Rock is adorable & alive :p.) Mist

#24 Jason H.

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 08:45 PM

One may find the following articles of interest

Abiogenesis
http://en.wikipedia....iki/Abiogenesis

AND
Nanobacterium

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Nanobacteria

"...evidence for life cannot rest on morphology alone" (because other processes may mimic it)

Jason W. Higley

#25 minos

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 12:08 PM

I don't know how can i better explain my thoughts, but i think the whole concept is extremely plain and simple, even though someone should be willing to think by himself, in order to appreciate them.
The basic idea goes like this:
i am arguing that life is an open system that is getting energy from the sun.BUT i am also arguing that if you consider life as a WHOLE (without dividing it into species ,organisms, etc) ,you get a sum of just RANDOM chemical reactions.
If we were totally objective observers ,or else we had nothing to do with life,we would be able to see it.But unfortunately, we cannot do that, because of our perspective.We are a small part of these reactions and we are living inside the system, so we judge from a perspective that is confusing when you are trying to study what is life.
The natural history of these reactions led to the forms we see today.Through our perspective, while we are studying this history, we see it as evolution. We see everywhere determinism, but its only because we are the results of all these.






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