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    Posts: 1743
  • Darwins +85/-2

I think the problem is, we start off the debate with DNA, and say, OMG, how could it ever form out of the primordial soup?  Well it can't.  Let's start with the basic, something the bible takes for granted - water.  The fact that oxygen and hydrogen combine so easily is really  all the evidence life needs - then just add an unfathomable length of time.  Of course the argument from creationists would be god created water, but no, a god is not needed for the elements of hydrogen and oxygen to combine, nor for any elements to combine.

One big question that remains unanswered about the evolution of the early Earth is how volatiles such as hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon arrived – their presence being crucial to the origins of water and life. The two main candidates for the sources of these elements are asteroids, found between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and comets, which come from the colder outer reaches of the Solar System. Current models suggest that at some point in the evolution of the Solar System, a jolt to the orbits of Saturn and Jupiter caused  comet-like material in the outer Solar System to be flung inwards into the present-day asteroid belt – eventually arriving at Earth and bringing the crucial volatiles.

I disagree with the above idea of C,H, N, and O needing to arrive from outside - if it's on an asteroid, I believe it could have been here.  Anyway, organic chemistry offers the best clues to how we can get to life starting from scratch.  Here is one supposed composition of stars:

Element             Abundance (% of total                     Abundance
                       number of atoms)                  (% of total mass)
Hydrogen                  91.2                           71.0
Helium                  8.7                          27.1
Oxygen                0.078                          0.97
Carbon                0.043                          0.40
Nitrogen                0.0088                         0.096
Silicon                0.0045                         0.099
Magnesium        0.0038                         0.076
Neon                         0.0035                0.058
Iron                         0.030                        0.014
Sulfur                 0.015                        0.040

If you study organic chemistry, you see how strings of carbons, hydrogens, and oxygens combine, with all sorts of elements added here and there on the string, and create (without a god) all sorts of chemicals.

I believe we should let this sink in (about one hundred million years) before we move to a basic amino acid, and then a virus.  Remember, we have more than all day - we have over 4 billion years. 

Notice how N,H, and O combine without god to form 21 amino acids.


edit: spelling
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Astreja Organic chemistry FTW! January 23, 2014, 12:37:13 AM