How did life arise?

I bumped into this question when I was arguing over evolution and creationism. It is very favorite claim that life had to be made by God because humans were not able to create it from dead matter, rocks for example.

This is famous problem. It is true chemists were not able to create life when simulating the early time on Earth 3.6 billion years ago (this is for simplicity, it is kind of difficult to say when exactly life arose).

Now of course there are theories and one of them is the theory of primordial soup. This is theory that in the ancient ocean there were dissolved some basic molecules which we can find even on other planets (so we have proof for them that may have been here (and almost surely were)).

So as they are floating in the dead ocean there is some great radiation coming down and hitting these molecules. Also there is what is called “primordial lighting” which is the lighting that should be able to create more complicated molecules only by hitting ammonia, hydrogen and other stuff. It was proved that there should be monomers too. Those are simple organic compounds, such as lipids or proteins.

Chemists were able to create with some radiation and electricity even amino-acids. The last step was that we were able to create purines and pyrimidines, those are building blocks of DNA and RNA which is kind of important.

RNA and DNA, key components for modern living.

Nothing more, we were not able to create life, yet. What would the next step be? Something that is called replicator.

Replicator is any molecule or lot of molecules that are able to replicate itself. This is key. If we are able to create some kind of replicator from the primordial soup, we will take a giant leap forward, because then onwards evolution takes a place.

When replicator replicates it should make exact copy of itself like in asexual reproduction. But as good secretary makes roughly one mistake per page, even the replicator will eventually make a mistake. This is called mutation and it is either helping the organism or not. This process drives evolution even that only small part of all mutations may be helpful. Those who have good mutation will have more replicas of itself and eventually there will be only those which are better, this process will repeat in what is called evolution when after hudreds of millions of years you are standing here, originating from one simple replicator, as well as me, your class mates all other animals, bacteria and viruses. This was never observed but it should work like this.

In bottom you can see the LUCA, first original organism from which we originate!


So will we be able to create replicator? The problem with that is that only several laboratories over world are working on this. They are working on it only for about 100 years which is not much considering geological time.

While I did not see their laboratories I bet that they are working on small areas, maybe area of swiming pool and I found, I cite:

Liquid water covered much of the Earth’s surface by 3.6 (or 3.8?) Ga, but when before that it condensed from a dense atmosphere is undefined.

We can of course speculate on what “much” means though I would guess that we can start on reasonable 50% of Earth’s surface which is 255,036,000 square kilometers. When speaking about swimming pool I will take olympic swimming pool though I guess that the chemists work with much much smaller, they would not be able to control such a big area.

Imagine controling experiments on this thing!

It means that the Earth was able to use roughly 204,028,800,000 times bigger area than chemists not talking about the fact the oceans are deeper.[1] At the same time, there were couple of millions of years for this to happen compared to 100 in laboratory.

My point is that we maybe should not expect the life to rise in our laboratories, because if it does, life is much more probable that we thought[2].


PS: Do not ever argument by saying that Pasteur proved that life can not rise spontaneously, because he did not.

Read more: 1) 2) 3)

[1]Of course you could argue that in laboratory you can use lighting all the time and be purposeful with your selection of molecules.

[2]Maybe we should since our techniques improve and we are getting better in simulating and controling the environment of primordial soup.


23 thoughts on “How did life arise?

  1. You, of course, know that my “like” does not mean I agree. 🙂 But I like the argument. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but ask (remembering who’s asking) why the need to spend time, money and many other resources disproving God… Does it really make a difference in people’s lives whether or not God truly exists because as we know, we believe what we want to believe, right? ( Should we not rather allocate resources supporting humanity as a whole instead of something that divides humanity. I know… Science and Philosophy both have their independent importance and benefits… As with Religion…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah sure why not, as I said in another comment, science is not trying to disprove God the only thing that there is problem with is creationism, but people can be evolutionists and God-believers at the same time

      Liked by 1 person

  2. hoponacomet says:

    The question of how life first arose on Earth is probably one we will never fully answer. However, we don’t need to get an exact answer if it can be shown that life can arise without the need for any divine intervention and I am optimistic that this will happen in my lifetime. In other words, with a plausible explanation for the origin of life generally we can quickly conclude that God need not have intervened.

    You pointed out something that many theists and creationists miss when they discuss the issue of life’s origin and its seeming improbability – the experiment, as it were, to create life was run innumerable times in the span of a few million years. This gave chemistry and physics a fairly decent chance at forming the right sequences of amino acids and proteins that would lead to the first semblances of life. Creationists will often claim that such an event is highly improbable and it is. But to think that it was only tried once is laughable. Chemical evolution tried and failed numerous times before it finally succeeded.

    Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mathsandmoreblog says:

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    • Hello,
      If you want to grow your network you should not go on other blogs and beg for follows. WordPress does not work this way. I recommend you to get involved in the community. At the start you will have to be giving before you will be receiving. Keep that in mind before you comment on other blogs like this.

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      Have a good day


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