Life - how the hell did that happen?

I was browsing some of the creationist vs evolutionist debates on here (quite heated they are too) and it got me thinking. As an athiest, I have to rely on science to give me answres to the big questions - fortunatly, science being as it is, it tends to answer all of them quite satisfactorily!

One of the creationist arguments against evolution is that life cannot come from nothing - life is so cool, it has to have been designed. There wasn’t a big bowl of liquid, it got zapped by lightning and life just started Frankenstein-stylee - God must have sat himself down and made life.

Now, I have a hard time in believing that life got created by an all-knowing entity, but on the other hand - how DID life start? DID something just get zapped, and life came about? And if so, has anyone replicated this? It shouldn’t be hard to replicate if it were true - surely it’s just a case of making up a mix and throwing amps at it.

I can’t STAND creationism - it smacks far too much of knowing the answer before asking the question to me - but I won’t be able to rest my weary head and be absolutly sure of the lack of God in the universe until I get this little bit of proof. Any takers?

P.S. The reason why this isn’t in the “Great Debate” board is that it’s not a religious question - it’s a science question. Please don’t storm in and try and convince me of The Glory Of God - it ain’t gonna happen. However, I would feel a lot better if I knew the answer to this nagging question.

Two guys named Miller and Urey set out to replicate the beginnings of life in the “Primordial Soup” in which amino acids formed into the first proteins. They mixed ammonia, water, hydrogen and methane to reproduce what they believed to be the Earth’s early atmosphere and zapped it with electricity and got amino acids. Carl Sagan replicated part of this experiment with UV light and determined that between the various energy sources a surprising number of biologically present amino acids are formed. Some folks pooh-pooh all this saying that amino acids are a far cry from proteins and that for them to spontaneously form protein structures violates the second law of thermodynamics…but I’ll let someone more knowledgable address that one.

It’s all nonsense, at any rate. It’s turtles all the way down.

Well, here’s NASA’s best guess.

Cheers for the link duck. I knew this was the idea, but any experiments proven it? Science makes predictions that can be backed up by rigirious experiments - and I don’t know if that’s happened yet.

Pravnik: thanks for the info - so we get amino acids by zapping early Earth’s atmosphere. That’s cool - but have we yet to turn those amino acids into proteins? It must be do-able.

No, no theory has been proven. Frankly, we might not ever know for sure what happened. We might prove that there are ways it could have happened, but lacking a microscope-equipped time machine, we’ll probably never know if that’s what DID happen.

There are several leading theories about this ranging from the lightning strike to the use of ocean clays as catalysts to help selectively encourage certain reactions. I highly recommend “At Home in the Universe” by Stuart Kauffman, where he uses computer models to argue that once you have a certain complexity level in the primordal soup, life is not only likely to occur, but almost inevitable.

So much for answering that nagging question. You don’t reckon that the creator designed it just so we would be kept guessing, do you? :confused: