View Full Version : What precipitated universal 'life'?
01-07-2001, 06:39 AM
As someone trying to learn, I ask this question. How did all of this begin? Not life on Earth, mind you, but life(base elements), period. Be it the Big Bang Theory, Inflation Theory, or the current Theory du jour. What consituted the get-go? And, what scientific certainty do you base this on? All in all, is the current scientific model based on fact or faith? How did the beginning begin?
Techie here. Didn't delve into such issues as postulated
on this site.
I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I'm a newbie seeking answers.
01-07-2001, 02:09 PM
Yeah, but the base elements (stars, galaxies, quarks, photons, etc) are not ALIVE.
Perhaps you are asking "Why is the universe here?" or "Why is there something rather than nothing?"
For a good overview of one person's thinking on the subject, Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" would be a good place to start.
01-07-2001, 02:27 PM
I don't understand what you're after, Thorn.
"Techie here. Didn't delve into such issues as postulated on this site."
Which site? The Straight Dope site? I think all issues are dealt with here. Or was "postulated" the operative word?
What is your main question -
What precipitated life?
What precipitated the theories about what precipitated life?
Let me try to answer the first question in a concise manner:
As I see it, in the multitude of conditions which exist in the universe, and given the multitude of elements, a lot of compounds are going to be created. By accident, randomly, however. Some of these molecules are going to have the power to replicate themselves. That is what precipitated life. There were all sorts of compounds - metal oxides, sulfur compounds, whatever. Some of the compounds, namely the nucleic acids, could replicate themselves. That is where the non-random part of life begins.
The self-replicating compounds with the ability to create more of themselves in the face of adversity would logically last longer than those that didn't. Eventually, the compounds created other chemical mechanisms to prevent themselves (the ones that didn't went away). Increasing complexity in these chemical mechanisms created cellular life. A cell could divide into two half-size cells with the power to absorb other compounds and grow, all using the power of solar energy.
That's my crude description in a nutshell. Self-replication derives from randomness, and creates a small island of order for a time, until its lifespan ends and it dissolves into entropy, and dead compounds.
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