Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Origins of life - A Scientific Perspective

All photos are taken by the writer of this blog.

Ask yourself. Do you rely on processes of Science everyday?

We use the computer, the Internet, mobile phones, television, cars, buses, airplanes and credit cards. All these can work because of Science and its processes.

You rely on transport everyday. It works because of the discoveries made by scientists


How can we trust airplanes to fly safely 95% of the time? Because of countless experiments and discoveries made by scientists.


Even when we cook, we rely on the knowledge of Science to make things work. We know with oxygen, fire can burn. And how did we know this? Because through scientific experiments, we found this method to be true.

We rely on Science to cook

We know the clouds are made up of water droplets.

Did scientists have to fly up to the clouds to know this? No! They found out clouds were made up of water droplets through experiments and the water cycle process, reproduced in the labs!

So do we have to travel back BILLIONS OF YEARS AGO to find out how life originated on earth? NO! Through experiments and reproducing the early conditions of earth, the answer can be found!

So, how did life originate on earth?

Let us look at it with science, since we rely on science in our everyday lives, and science has been proven to be true many times.

Natural sciences tell us that life came from non-life substances. This might sound ridiculous to many people. Well it sounded ridiculous to me a few years back. I asked : How is it possible for life to originate from non-life substances?

Is this possible? After reading a few articles and understanding the scientific process. Yes, I realised it is totally possible.

Amino acids, a necessary substance for life to begin, can be formed by chemical reactions, unrelated to life, on its own, without any intervention from any living beings.

In the Miller–Urey experiment, scientists reproduced the conditions of the early earth to try to stimulate life on its own.

In the experiment, scientists successfully formed amino acids naturally, on its own, in the right environment, under the right circumstances.

The experiment was a big discovery about the origins of life because if amino acids could be formed naturally on its own, then proteins can be produced from amino acids and thereby life becomes a possibility from then onwards.


Organic compounds coming together to form the basis of life

Besides amino acids forming on their own on the early earth's surface, there is another theory of how amino acids first originated. Scientists believe it was also possible that amino acids or organic compounds were brought in from outer space via comets and asteroids that collided with earth.

These comets and asteroids carried organic compound from other planets and brought it to earth, and under the right circumstances, life begun.

With the presence of amino acids forming itself naturally, life becomes a possibility

And the earth would soon be teeming with life, without the help of any external party.

So from the Miller–Urey experiment, we learnt that life can indeed start from non-life substances, under the right conditions.

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