How did the material from which DNA is formed come to be?
How does something/anything come into existence before there was anything material?
How did DNA figure out in which order the nucleic acids which form it should be placed and how many base pairs it needs? How did protein evolve from nothingness?
“Of the trillions of cells that compose our body, from neurons that relay signals throughout the brain to immune cells that help defend our bodies from constant external assault, almost every one contains the same 3 billion DNA base pairs that make up the human genome – the entirety of our genetic material. It is remarkable that each of the over 200 cell types in the body interprets this identical information very differently in order to perform…”
(The only thing that matters is faith expressed in love.)
Chemistry. And before that physics.
There has always been material coming in to existence. Nothingness is unstable.
DNA is an evolution of RNA which probably - as in almost scientifically certainly - had other NA precursors emerging from, co-evolving with PAH chemistry in the iron-sulphur world. Protein is the result of RNA expression from DNA. A long way from the unstable nothingness.
Some stupid random process eh?! Being is not random. It is ordered. Otherwise it would be utter, incoherent, rationally unapprehendable chaos. Necessity operates from the quantum - and ‘in’ prevenient nothingness - on up. Order does not imply meaning.
Is there intentionality in the instability? In Christ is yes.
I am an atheist, but I am always eager to build bridges between atheists and people of faith, especially when it comes to science. I am a scientist, and I think it is a wonderful thing to be involved in. I think that there are many, many Christians who would also find science to be a rewarding career, and I would hate to see unnecessary theological hurdles put in their way. This is why I find BioLogos such a refreshing place because it shows Christians that they don’t have to throw away their faith in order to accept science. I also hope to counter some of my mistaken atheists when they claim science is not compatible with religion.
If you want to discuss the atheism v. Christianity debate or why I am an atheist we can, but it’s usually something I avoid because converting people to atheism is not my goal. I don’t think it is my business to tell other people what they should believe, unless we are talking about well evidenced science.
My best (life long) friend is a Christian and a civil engineer/surveyor
My next best friend is a Christian and an MD, and an ordained minister
My next next best friend is a Christian and is the IT guy for the hospital I work at
My point being that most of the Christians that I know are technical people or scientists
Most of the hydrogen and some of the helium and lithium in the universe came from the condensation of energy early in the history of the universe. As Einstein taught us, energy and mass are interchangeable and can transfer from one to the other. This is why atomic bombs are so powerful, because they convert mass into energy. All of the heavier elements came from fusion inside of stars. As the old saying goes, we are all stardust. When stars go supernova they spill all of these heavier elements out into the universe where they can gather back up due to gravity and form new solar systems. If life did arise through abiogenesis then it formed through the reaction of those elements to form larger molecules.
My understanding of quantum physics is a bit slim, but there is a concept of virtual particles which fits your description.
However, that really doesn’t apply to abiogenesis, evolution, or biology since those processes involve matter that is already around and doesn’t require matter to emerge from nothing.
It didn’t. It just so happens that DNA strands that get copied will outnumber DNA strands that don’t. As biology shows us, there are many, many different DNA sequences that result in copies being made.
They didn’t. The current thought is that they were first made by RNA’s that were able to string amino acids together, just as they do now.
A good analogy is cooking. DNA is the pantry that contains all of the ingredients. You can get a lot of different dishes depending on how you mix those ingredients and how you cook those ingredients. DNA isn’t really a list of instructions, but an ongoing chemical reaction. It’s the chemistry of genetics that produces what we see.
I know what you mean. Likewise I, as an agnostic, know of no supernatural agency capable of creating the complexity and functionality we see in living organisms. Neither has been successfully reproduced under laboratory conditions. I don’t see how the lack of evidence for one of these hypotheses entitles anyone to conclude with certainty the other. While I think it is true that everyone must believe some things about what and where we are, I don’t think an origins story for life or our planet is at all essential.
Thanks for such a detailed answer. I still don’t get it. From where did the random flucuations arise? How did they come into existence from pure nothingness? Virtual particles, same question.
Could we conduct an experiment to try to reproduce what you suggest took place to create something that would lead to mountains and life?
If we created a vacuum inside of a sealed container with nothing inside of it, and left it alone with no outside forces present, would we, could we, create a pebble? A rock, mountain, a universe, life, intelligent life? A random flucuation, a virtual particle that would eventually become the universe?
I personally don’t know. There may be physicists that could answer that question.
They emerge in spacetime within our universe, so I don’t know if you could call that pure nothingness.
I don’t think there is a practical way to do that experiment. The experiment would need reaction volumes consistent with the water volumes found on all habitable planets in the universe, for a start. We would also need millions of years for the reactions to take place, and we would have to model all of the possible planetary conditions. We are talking about really unlikely reactions, so we need the volume and time needed for those reactions to take place. No one thinks life just popped into existence from nothing. If abiogenesis is true, then life emerged because of chemical reactions occurring with matter that already existed.
Nevertheless, we don’t need to know how the first life came about in order to determine if life evolved from the same common ancestor.
No. You would need matter, which is what our universe started with. The pebbles you see on Earth were formed from the matter found at the beginning of our universe. We can determine proximate causes without needing to understand ultimate origins. We don’t need to know where the energy in our universe originated from in order to determine how clouds form, as one example. We also don’t need to know how the first life came about in order to determine how life changed once it was here.
My questions concerned how matter came to be in the first place, before the beginning. Like you said, something can’t come from nothing and prior to 14 billion years ago, there was nothing.
I think it is fair to try to figure out how everything began as we consider whether or not God is involved in the development of life. In fact, everything else revolves around that issue, imo. If God is, it necessarily must follow that we interpret everything from the perspective that God is, I think.
It came about by the condensation of energy at the beginning of the universe. That energy was there from the very start of the universe.
We don’t know what was around before the initial expansion of our universe.
It seems rather irrelevant to me. God could have come across our already formed universe and then created life on Earth. God could have set up a naturalistic process that naturally gives birth to new universes. The origin of the universe has as much to do with the beginning of life as it does the beginning of a raincloud.
We don’t know how the universe came about, nor do we need to know in order to study the possibility of how life emerged on Earth.
I agree that understanding how the universe came about could supply us knowledge about God, but it wouldn’t supply us knowledge of how stars, planets, life, or species come about. If we are trying to figure out how life came to be, the best place to start is after the Earth formed and had water on its surface.
The best place to start, imo, is at the beginning. Let’s pm if you want to continue this. BTW–ALL ARE WELCOME TO JOIN IN THIS CONVERSATION. COME ON IN!
If there is a God behind creation, I bet He had a purpose in mind when He decided to speak and kick off the whole shooting match.
If there is a God and it is possible to know him, I want to know Him. I’m curious about lots of stuff. Knowing God would be way beyond cool, to me. I think it sheds a different light on everything that is, if God created it all.
I believe science itself, the laws of nature, weak force, strong force, magnetism, gravity, relativity, quantum physics–all these incredible things, all point to a Mind behind the scenes.
The list of things that are peculiar to our planet, our moon, our planet’s place in our solar system, our solar system, our solar system’s location in our galaxy, our galaxy, and more that enable life here would make your eyes glaze over. Having a gas giant like Jupiter turns out to be critical, for instance. (I am not claiming that ‘fine tuning’ can be proven.)