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Researcher Builds Life-Like Cells Made of Metal

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the devil-in-the-dark dept.

Science 259

Sven-Erik writes "Could living things that evolved from metals be clunking about somewhere in the universe? In a lab in Glasgow, UK, one man is intent on proving that metal-based life is possible. He has managed to build cell-like bubbles from giant metal-containing molecules and has given them some life-like properties. He now hopes to induce them to evolve into fully inorganic self-replicating entities. 'I am 100 per cent positive that we can get evolution to work outside organic biology,' says Lee Cronin at the University of Glasgow. His building blocks are large 'polyoxometalates' made of a range of metal atoms — most recently tungsten — linked to oxygen and phosphorus. By simply mixing them in solution, he can get them to self-assemble into cell-like spheres."

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guess what (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407136)

first!

I for one (2, Funny)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407138)

welcome our new polyoxometalate overlords.

Re:I for one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407154)

I think I speak for all slashdotters when I say that we all do.

Re:I for one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407302)

Nay.

Re:I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407318)

Yes you do... I can't imagine a single geek who wouldn't like to be ruled by polyoxometalate overlords.

Re:I for one (4, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407586)

Did I say overlords? I meant protectors...

Re:I for one (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407906)

I for one welcome our mad scientists. This dude is awesome. We need more of this dude.

Re:I for one (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 3 years ago | (#37408020)

And I agree

The Grey Goo Apocalypse (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 3 years ago | (#37408088)

This is how it begins...

Asimov (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407140)

Make sure to get the three laws in there early, otherwise we could end up in trouble

Re:Asimov (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407234)

Asimov himself proved that the three laws are pointless.

Re:Asimov (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407942)

Asimov himself proved that the three laws are pointless.

Then rename them to laws 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3

Re:Asimov (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37408002)

Inorganic life made out of metal would by definition not be a robot.

We need them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407152)

To fight the artificial intelligence self-replicating robots that I may or may not be inventing.

Dear researchers: (5, Funny)

mdenham (747985) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407158)

Please make sure that these are vulnerable to projectile weaponry. The last time we had to deal with life forms of this sort, it was a real pain.

Signed,
Col. Jack O'Neill

Re:Dear researchers: (1)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407264)

There's more about these metal-based life forms than meets the eye.

Re:Dear researchers: (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407626)

And let's hope they don't fly. I don't want robots in da skys.

Re:Dear researchers: (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407844)

too late. look at a diagram of the satellites orbiting. there are tens of thousands of robots in the sky, all looking down on us.

Re:Dear researchers: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37408068)

and every single one of them is watching you masturbate, in visible light, IR, x-ray, radar and all other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Re:Dear researchers: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37408000)

I can't tell if you're setting up a whoosh or not, but it's "In disguise", not "in da skies". Okay, go ahead and whoosh me.

Re:Dear researchers: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407288)

Woohoo! Pretty soon Skynet will have the capability to create T2000 "liquid metal" terminators!

Re:Dear researchers: (1)

oPless (63249) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407742)

T-1000. Silly Terminator-Franchise-Wanna-Be-Geek.

Maybe you're getting confused with the T200 SunFire box you're lusting after on ebay?

Re:Dear researchers: (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407842)

T-1000. Silly Terminator-Franchise-Wanna-Be-Geek.

Maybe you're getting confused with the T200 SunFire box you're lusting after on ebay?

On the contrary, the poster has exposed itself as a terminator with its inside knowledge of the latest models! Quick - to the bunker! (oh, wait : wrong forum).

Re:Dear researchers: (1)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407346)

Hah. They'll be subject to evolution, so that'll only last for a while.

Signed,
Megatron

Re:Dear researchers: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407896)

no need for projectiles, bring me all the magnets you got!!

Replicators (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407160)

They're coming. Run for you lives.

Re:Replicators (2)

Liambp (1565081) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407766)

Whenever I see an article like this about yet another scientist trying to create artificial life I wonder whether they have watched and read too much science fiction or whether they just haven't seen enough science fiction.

Re:Replicators (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407990)

Some scientists write science fiction when they're not researching. Isaac Asimov, for example, held a PhD in biochemistry and did cancer research at Boston University.

Decepticons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407174)

Watch out!

Hello, Dr Frankenoppenheimer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407202)

What could possibly go wrong?

Isn't this *precisely* the overture to all of the worst kind of mech-horror stories? Why do I suddenly feel like a frog in a pot of steadily-heating water? I don't know where I am going to get one of those at this time of day, but still....

Re:Hello, Dr Frankenoppenheimer. (2)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407900)

> What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing, really. All replicating things need energy and building materials. Biological lifeforms don't contain significant amounts of tungsten, so these cells have exactly nothing to gain by targeting us. In fact most of our environment does not contain significant amounts of tungsten, so outside the lab, these cells will have no chance of spreading. Even if they make it to a giant tungsten supply, they still need phosphorus and oxygen, and the former is probably not kept in close contact with heaps of tungsten.

And even when our metal overlords have access to all these materials, they will still need energy to actually assemble them.

These cells (assuming they even succeed in getting them to live) will be very harmless indeed.

Shameful hype (5, Insightful)

Linzer (753270) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407210)

This has to be the most overhyped, buzzword-ridden science story I've read in months. As a researcher, I hate to see whatever credibility we have spent on things like this.

This is no news. (1)

aleckais (1457189) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407376)

Actually this is likely: Isaac Newton, I am under that impression, studied such things (as metallic vegetations). Moreover Kurt Goedel is recorded as having said `... but an electron or a piece of rock also has experiences.' (cf. Hao Wang's `A logical journey, From Goedel to Philosophy', p. 292 - an excellent book, in my opinion). So, we should not all that fast dismiss this as false or irrelevant. Also, Goedel: `Matter will be spiritualized when the true theory of physics is found.' (p. 292)

Re:This is no news. (2)

Linzer (753270) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407400)

Which goes to say that Goedel was neither a physicist nor a biologist.

Goedel was also a physicist. (1)

aleckais (1457189) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407438)

Cf. his work on `rotating universes'.

Re:Goedel was also a physicist. (1)

Linzer (753270) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407454)

The homeless guy at the corner of my street also has a theory about rotating universes.

All right, sorry about that. This is really at the intersection of maths and physics, though, but I get your point.

Re:This is no news. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37408106)

And since the "true theory of physics" will never be found because it only exists in Goedel's mind, matter will never be spiritualized.

In a TED talk on this, he said 2 years (4, Informative)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407214)

When asked in a talk [ted.com] on this, he claimed that they would have fully replicating matter (IE : 'living' inorganic matter) in 2 years. The host who asked the question sounded startled when he said "That would be, er, something amazing, yes" - in other words "Yeah, right!".

On the other hand, the lab's publication list is quite impressive, and full of cool looking polygonal structures : http://www.chem.gla.ac.uk/cronin/publications.php [gla.ac.uk]

Necrons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407220)

Now give them phase shift technology and we can make our own Necron army.

Adapt. Engage. Survive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407238)

Nanosuit time anyone?

Re:Adapt. Engage. Survive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407340)

Only from Skolkovo.

They don't do self-replication (4, Insightful)

satuon (1822492) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407272)

Without self-replication I wouldn't call them life, evolution can't work without self-replication of some sort.

Re:They don't do self-replication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407316)

but homosexuals can adopt! j/k

Re:They don't do self-replication (2)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407494)

You don't have to have the ability to replicate in order to be alive. For example worker bees can't reproduce, yet they may be considered alive. Also women past menopause and kids are alive yet they can't replicate. Or even some people who many not be fertile for whatever reason.

Also you can't make "ability" to evolve as part of the definition of life.

Re:They don't do self-replication (2)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407662)

You don't have to have the ability to replicate in order to be alive. For example worker bees can't reproduce, yet they may be considered alive. Also women past menopause and kids are alive yet they can't replicate. Or even some people who many not be fertile for whatever reason.

Also you can't make "ability" to evolve as part of the definition of life.

This is a very narrow, organism-focused view point. Every cell in bees and other "dead-ends" such as all of your somatic cells, are full of replicators, evolved in such a way to enhance the further replication of the germ-line into future generations. Without genetic replication, life as we know it cannot exist. So, yes, replication is a defining aspect of life.

As for the "ability to evolve"... it's not a definer, but more of an emergent property of any and all systems with error prone replication.

Re:They don't do self-replication (1)

hjrnunes (1135957) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407698)

. For example worker bees can't reproduce, yet they may be considered alive. Also women past menopause and kids are alive yet they can't replicate

No. But their genes can (they do in queen bees, and adult humans), and that's what matters.

Also you can't make "ability" to evolve as part of the definition of life.

Indeed. Evolving is not so much an ability as it is a consequence of inexact replication.

Re:They don't do self-replication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407750)

You don't have to have the ability to replicate in order to be alive.

No, but somebody (your parents) has to. Therefore, the ability to replicate is necessary for life to exist.

Re:They don't do self-replication (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407776)

For example worker bees can't reproduce

They can and do [physorg.com] . Bees are less specialised than ants and termites. Sorry for interrupting, please continue with your home-spun folksy gut-feeling science-talk.

Re:They don't do self-replication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407504)

Evolution could work without self-replication, it could even work with only one "individuum". It just that it's not how our genes and our evolution works.

Imagine a metal based starfish that changes slightly every time it's damaged. If the change is for the worse the damaged arm/part have a higher chance of being damaged again. That starfish would do these changes until it can't get damaged by something in it's environment.

Re:They don't do self-replication (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407512)

Viruses can evolve. They can't self-replicate, but use the host's machinery.

That said, the old "are viruses alive?" debate still goes on...

Re:They don't do self-replication (4, Insightful)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407748)

Evolution requires replication, not necessarily self-replication. An earlier poster mentioned viruses, which are an example of a thing, living or not (I'd say not), that evolves without replicating itself.

Broadly speaking, "human men" and "human women" are each not self-replicating, but the system of "human men and human women" is self replicating. Still, you can speak of features that evolved in women distinctly from men, such as prominent breasts, even though human women in isolation do not self-replicate. So as a gedankenexperiment, imagine you have an imperfect cloning machine and a world of only men (the clones pop out full-grown). This single-sex could use it to replicate indefinitely and evolve. And if those men maintain, repair, and build new cloning machines, then you have a species which doesn't self-replicate by itself, but the species-cloning-machine system is self-replicating, much as the man-woman system is self-replicating. Now you can imagine that no new cloning machines are ever made but the one was built to last a hundred million years. Now there is *no* system that's self-replicating but the men still replicate, with the help of the cloning machine, and therefore still evolve.

I don't see why evolution would be a requirement of life anyway. Evolution is merely an inescapable consequence of anything which replicates iteratively and imperfectly, whether or not it is life.

I do know some traditional definitions of life require self-replication, at the species level.

Re:They don't do self-replication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407870)

Without self-replication I wouldn't call them life, evolution can't work without self-replication of some sort.

I agree, from the article, I'd class this as a slightly-less-than-organic-organic-chem-reaction - there's little difference between the processes he is utilizing/what they actually do and a metal amalgam. Definitely not self-replicating, definitely not even cells, just bubbles without filling. While I agree metal-based life is possible, I don't believe this is the way to reach it - you need to start with a base similar to DNA made of metalic components that are bound with a force other than the charge (perhaps the differences in conductivity of that charge, still, it would take new physics to engineer it) and/or work at the metal's melting point or above. I'd bet almost anything Mercury or an alloy of Mercury could be used as equaling water as it has almost universal solvent-like properties amongst metals, but past that don't believe the knowledge is there already to construct metal life without significant research (especially into the thermodynamics of molten metals - which tend to be very difficult things to even scan internal structures of).

All hype aside (lit. ref.) (1)

Lundse (1036754) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407290)

Sound like Erewhon [slashdot.org] . Purge the machines that think!

Cells, riight (3, Insightful)

qbast (1265706) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407320)

So he made some 'bubbles' that don't dissolve and can mimic some simplest properties of a cell like porous membrane. Without self-replication it is not cell or anything resembling life and without some way to change and pass those changes onto next generation there can be no evolution. In related news: I took a cardboard box and painted 'screen' and 'keyboard' on it. It totally proves that laptop can be made from cardboard. Of course it does not work, but this is just a little detail that can be worked out later.

Re:Cells, riight (4, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407532)

Given that reproducing the properties of the membrane is one of the biggest outstanding problems in the creation of artificial cells, it seems pretty obvious that this is a step forward.

Re:Cells, riight (4, Insightful)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407684)

> Without self-replication it is not cell or anything resembling life

Nobody ever said self replication has to work the same way it does for us. The article does say he found ways for the cells to use other cells as templates for modification and indeed replication.
It's an interesting approach to replication - as it changes one existing cell into a replica of another, but it's quite feasible. More-over we have no actual idea what the earliest organic structures looked like, or even how they came to exist. There are dozens of viable theories on abiogenesis and none of them are currently provable - for all we know, that is exactly how the earliest replicating life began ! What were we BEFORE we were cells ? Surely we were simpler, more primitive cells with less of the features of current ones, and before that ? Well the mitochondria we have INSIDE our cells were once a seperate organism... now what used to be something alive in it's own right, is just a component of our cells. How many other components of our cells began as seperate, simpler, life form but didn't leave us fossils to conveniently prove it with ?

This research is in fact incredibly exciting because it shows a way of experimenting with ways early life may have begun. It's using different materials - but that's actually a GOOD thing, as it stops us from trying to just recreate what we have when we don't know what, what we have, used to be. It forces us to think from scratch, as life would have started... and that IS exciting.
More-over, if it works, if it gets far enough... it opens up entire new avenues of consideration in terms of how life may have evolved on other worlds.

Re:Cells, riight (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407826)

This research is in fact incredibly exciting because it shows a way of experimenting with ways early life may have begun. It's using different materials - but that's actually a GOOD thing, as it stops us from trying to just recreate what we have when we don't know what, what we have, used to be. It forces us to think from scratch, as life would have started... and that IS exciting.

Well, you make a better case for his research than he does :)

Indeed, it is a good idea to have model systems that show the same features, but are not necessarily 'what happened'. They can show the principles are general enough to occur spontaneously with a reasonable probability. Another thing about inorganic cells is they are one of the possibilities for part of the systems in early life. In other words; something had to concentrate the chemicals and simple macromolecules that were starting to form so that they could react efficiently. The synthesis reactions also had to be driven in one direction, which can be done by sorting across a barrier (eg : a cell membrane)

Complexity underestimated (2)

Obble (1680532) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407334)

I am 100% confidant that he believes he can make cells from metal. But reality is different. In organic cells, the simplest cell is very very complex. Take for example the ATP synthase - the world's tiniest motor, which is a engine which is compulsory for all life. Every cell has 1000s of these as they convert protons into a transportable energy molecule called ATP. For any cell to be manufacture, he must make many many dependant systems to work together before anything can get off the ground with natural selection or "evolution".

I would be very interested in seeing how far and how complex he can make these systems. IMHO: he faces 2 problems,
  1 is he doesn't have the technology to produce replicators, and all the systems needed,
  2 if he very smarter than every other human on earth in orders of magnitudes then people will say:
          2.1 - He hasn't shown evolution because he built complex nano-bot systems, they didn't evol, they were built.
                        or
            2.2 He proves evolution, look at the new life forms, (and they ignore all the nano tech in it, like batteries, circuits, engines, resource transport trucks, error correcting nano nano robots, etc...) Atheist already ignore all the tech in organic cells so it's seems like this event will be more probable.

Also I dont count crystal structures in either rock / salt / poly -metal - oxide - whatever, to be "living".

Note: I am a creation believing christain. I dont believe in evolution. (I do believe in natural selection)

Re:Complexity underestimated (1)

aleckais (1457189) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407406)

The sole fact of things in space, somehow cohering there is hardly explicable by materialism alone. That we distinguish them and are able to follow them in time (sameness) suggests that there's something else - abstract, unchanging - that causes those things' coherence and our distinguishing theme the one from the other. This is one argument for idolatry's being a grave error: one worships a living something not uncreated.

Re:Complexity underestimated (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407442)

His goal is not to prove, disprove or otherwise challenge evolution. If he manages to build such life forms (what he did yet definitely isn't one), it will certainly be his creation and would say exactly nothing about evolution, nor is it intended to do. What he wants to prove is that metal based life is possible at all.

I'm also sceptical that he will manage to do it (independent from the question if metallic life forms would be possible in principle). But the point is, no matter if he does, it won't tell anything about evolution either way, nor is it intended to.

He did not create anything. (1)

aleckais (1457189) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407450)

He just put together the right conditions and then left the Laws of Nature - which we cannot change, nor are material - do the rest. Again, this is no news: cf. Isaac Newton's `metallic vegetations'.

Re:He did not create anything. (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407518)

He just put together the right conditions and then left the Laws of Nature - which we cannot change, nor are material - do the rest. Again, this is no news: cf. Isaac Newton's `metallic vegetations'.

You really do like Newton's metallic vegetations, don't you? Oh, go on then, I'll google it...

Re:He did not create anything. (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407550)

He just put together the right conditions and then left the Laws of Nature - which we cannot change, nor are material - do the rest. Again, this is no news: cf. Isaac Newton's `metallic vegetations'.

You really do like Newton's metallic vegetations, don't you? Oh, go on then, I'll google it...

Hmm. Ok, I would recommend for you the trilogy of books by Phillip Ball called "Nature's Patterns : A Tapestry in Three Parts" (assuming you haven't already read it)

http://www.philipball.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=20:natures-patterns-a-tapestry-in-three-parts&catid=3:books&Itemid=4

It deals very well with the ideas of pattern formation in nature, and why phenomena like Newton's metallic vegetation appear so much like 'Natural' forms.

Re:He did not create anything. (1)

aleckais (1457189) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407650)

Thanks for the suggestion (didn't read that). In any case, bearing in mind that Newton seems not to believe in demons, what one finds here: http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/newton/mss/norm/ALCH00081 [indiana.edu] can perhaps be acceptable even to such an un-spiritual generation as ours.

Re:He did not create anything. (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407722)

>He just put together the right conditions and then left the Laws of Nature - which we cannot change, nor are material - do the rest.

There is a name for what you just described. It's "experimentation".

That is pretty much exactly what every science experiment did, ever.

Re:Complexity underestimated (3, Interesting)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407468)

Interesting post. I think that you are right, but for the wrong reasons.

As you point out, a major part of the story of life is the growth in complexity. Just having a bounding membrane - Cronin's current claim - is only the first step on a long road. A key next step is - like ATP synthase - to set up an energy source. It is thought by some that the first membranes played an important role in energy capture by allowing primitive cells to set up an ion gradient across them

The problem that I see is a lack of potential in non-carbon structures. The number of possible forms of proteins is very large; the number for polyoxometallates is larger then most inorganic forms but still smaller than organic. So he may get some steps down the road of complexity, but run out of steam (to mix metaphors!) half way there.

Finally, crystal structures only show one feature of life : growth. If he can demonstrate self-replicating, self-repairing, self-bounding, inorganic structures then it will be life.

Re:Complexity underestimated (0)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407646)

So the overwhelmingly atheist scientists around the world are ignorant of science, and the American fundamentalist Christian young earth creationist intelligent designers are going to set them straight? Holy shit, is that backward.

Re:Complexity underestimated (0)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407788)

First, evolution is already proven, so nothing to prove there.

Second, it's perfectly possible to produce a system that will then evolve. There's no requirement that stuff just spontaneously assemble. We can for instance artificially create a new species, which will then go on to evolve if it sticks around.

Atheist already ignore all the tech in organic cells so it's seems like this event will be more probable.

Nobody is ignoring it, but it's not all that important. Darwin didn't know why things worked that way. He didn't know of Mendel's research in genetics for instance, as well as how cells work. But the pattern was there anyway, whatever the reason for it was.

Complexity canard. (1, Troll)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407798)

Two points.
1. The first living cells [youtube.com] were nowhere near as complex as modern cells.
2. ATP is an evolutionary adaptation [youtube.com] it was not a feature of the first cells.

And a suggestion; You can believe any one of the thousands of different creation myths and nobody will give a rat's arse, but please stop trying to use science to support your anti-science, it makes you look foolish and it annoys the hell out of people who have even the foggiest idea what they are talking about..

Re:Complexity canard. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407882)

Both videos are not available in Germany.

Re:Complexity canard. (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407888)

1. They were less complex, but much more so than these inorganic ones. It's not clear if the inner complexity of even the simplest cell will 'just happen' if you throw enough polyoxometallates (POMs? POXes?) into the mix. The transfer of information between cells is interesting (perhaps I should have read the article), but there may be other components necessary to drive the complexity up.

2. That video describes a plausible evolutionary pathway to the flagellum from ATP synthase. Possibly there is a similar pathway from a simple pore-forming protein up to ATP synthase, but that's not addressed there :). The point that functional complex systems evolve from other less-complex systems with (possibly) different functions is important though, of course.

Re:Complexity underestimated (2)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 3 years ago | (#37408054)

>Note: I am a creation believing christain. I dont believe in evolution. (I do believe in natural selection)

Congratulations, so was Darwin. Now you only have 150 years of biology left to catch up on...

Actually what I think you MEANT to say is that you don't believe in abiogenesis. Evolution is the concept of organisms changing, natural selection is one of the effects that can drive the direction of evolution and almost certainly the most important one but there are others which have been identified (mostly because they cause occasional anomalies like rapid speciation). So evolution is not quite a synonym for natural selection, we moved away from Darwin's terminology since it describes only ONE of the things that control evolution and we now know it's not the ONLY thing that does (though it's by far the most powerful force involved).
But indeed, Darwin believed that God was needed to start the process of life - many scientists today believe this was not required and there are several alternative viable theories. So far none of them are proven... but what would it do to your faith if one was ?

Well, if you're faith is worth having at all... NOTHING. So you figure out another of the tools in God's toolbox, if that means you can't believe in God your faith was worthless in the first place. For those of us who don't believe now, it will be just further proof that there's nothing we can't adequately explain WITHOUT a creator.

Re:Complexity underestimated (1)

aleckais (1457189) | more than 3 years ago | (#37408120)

0. As for evolution, consider this: http://science.slashdot.org/story/09/02/16/0328212/Acquired-Characteristics-May-Be-Inheritable [slashdot.org]

1. `many scientists today believe this was not required and there are several alternative viable theories': are they really `viable', are todays scientist all that non-error-prone?

2.`For those of us who don't believe now, it will be just further proof that there's nothing we can't adequately explain WITHOUT a creator.': so for you there are things which confirm that last sentence of yours. Are these not, in a weak sense, `co-creators' (causers) of that same sentence's truth? Moreover, your struggling to make evident that `no Creator is needed' could not be seen as one of its counterexamples? I mean, that you show that one needs to create (construct or prove rather) its truth, itself not being evident, thus at least `no Creator is needed' needs a `creator'.

Re:Complexity underestimated (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#37408118)

Atheist already ignore all the tech in organic cells so it's seems like this event will be more probable.

Evolutionary biology neither a cause nor a requirement of atheism. Raelians are creation believing atheists. St. Augustine famously commented that it was foolish to cling blindly to scriptural untruths in the face of overwhelming evidence. Of course discarding Genesis would be extreme, but certainly taking it to be metaphorical is more tenable than combatting sound science with stories of talking snakes tempting a simple-minded rib woman in to eating magical fruit. There is no dogma in atheism - only (with variations in strength) the shared lack of belief in god(s).

 

Note: I am a creation believing christain. I dont believe in evolution. (I do believe in natural selection)

Is your belief in God based on the same thought process as your unbelief in evolution? If not then I think you're cheapening either science or religious belief. No rational person "believes" in evolution the same way the devout would believe in God. Sure some people say that they "believe" in evolution or gravity, without really understanding why, but we shouldn't be considering the layman here. Evolution is simply a well evidenced scientific theory. Sure it requires faith that scientists worldwide aren't all colluding to deceive, or wrong to a level that would suggest we should discard all of biology as being completely baseless, but this doesn't compare to the faith required to believe in God - let alone the faith (or chutzpah) to believe you have somehow managed to in any way understand what this god wants? It's interesting that creationism alone is quite varied in the Christian world, and when we go to other religious we see even more incredible variations. The only way creation can be unified is perhaps at the very basic level of "an entity was at some point in the past involved in our creation". Beyond that things begin to diverge.

Afraid (2)

Zandali (2440080) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407348)

Self replicating nanobots scare me...but only on this planet. Anywhere else and it's a friggin' miracle.

Oh dear... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407424)

Wasn't something like this the cause of the fall of Ringworld civilization?

Re:Oh dear... (1)

sparkchaser (594964) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407592)

Nah, it was an engineered bioweapon that ate superconductors.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407914)

If memory serves, it wasn't intended as a bioweapon so much as a "hey, with this we can turn them into customers" device.

Which I suppose proves that the Pierson's Puppeteers and AT&T have a lot in common.

the details (-1, Offtopic)

elecsz (2268626) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407488)

I hate to see whatever credibility we have spent on things like this.u can be here to see the details http://bit.ly/oZvFCE [bit.ly]

Re:the details (-1, Offtopic)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407528)

I hate to see whatever credibility we have spent on things like this.u can be here to see the details http://bit.ly/oZvFCE [bit.ly]

Parent is SPAM, do not click.

Re:the details (0)

N!k0N (883435) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407606)

I hate to see whatever credibility we have spent on things like this.u can be here to see the details http://bit.ly/oZvFCE [bit.ly]

Parent is SPAM, do not click.

you're half the GP's UID, and you're just now catching on that you don't click links in the posts?
I'd normally go with "you must be new here" ... but that's not the case now, is it?

On-topic ... if these metal cell membranes work out, does that mean we can walk around like Colossus?

you are right (0)

ckshop (2461992) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407546)

Without self-replication I wouldn't call them life, evolution can't work without self-replication of some sort. air max shoes [airmaxflagship.com]

Just keep it away (0)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407608)

Just keep it away from my Irn Bru

Re:Just keep it away (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407678)

So now there's 2 things "Made in Scotland from Girders..." ^_~

Re:Just keep it away (1)

utsuprainfra (1325107) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407682)

Just keep it away from my Irn Bru

that's funny, but i can't mark it up.

Carbon is far more flexible (2)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407620)

Perhaps *in theory* you could create some system using metals, but in practice in the real world if there was any carbon around in the system than whatever kicks off "life" would be more likely to end up using that simply because of the flexibility it allows and metal based organisms would soon be outcompeted and go extinct. Also its curious to note that his system still requires water.

Wasn't silicon the carbon alternative a few decades back? Whatever happened to the ideas of alternative life based on that (no, not electronics)?

Transformers (1)

jprupp (697660) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407632)

Are they going to be able to shapeshift into cars, trucks, and cool jets?

Re:Transformers (1)

Dark Lord of Ohio (2459854) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407858)

yup.

Re:Transformers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407934)

No, but becasue of the lamest plot device ever thought of they are able to mimic the shape and texture of anything they touch.

We can't even synthesize carbon-based cells yet (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407686)

What he did was inventing a metal-based soap. Wich is impressive, but very far from life.

...blah, blah... robot overlords... blah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407796)

...blah, blah... robot overlords... blah

I for one (0)

i.got.nothin (1955418) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407806)

like to keep flogging dead-horse memes until (and well after) I earn the contempt of the larger /. community.

Transformers (1)

Dark Lord of Ohio (2459854) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407850)

Transformers, more than meets the eye... taddaddadaddaaaaa!

A.C. Clarke Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407910)

Reminds me of the Arthur C. Clarke story in issue #1 of Omni magazine in which a satellite is attacked by metal organisms. The characters discuss the possibility and probability of metal-based life forms evolving and floating throughout space, searching for food.

Cannot be patented though (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407930)

There is prior art: Transformers.

Re:Cannot be patented though (1)

Marc Madness (2205586) | more than 3 years ago | (#37408090)

Also, I suspect Apple might have something to say about iCHELLs.

More than meets the eye. (1)

LordSkout (1427763) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407954)

Of COURSE he can get them to self-assemble! But this isn't anything new, is it? ;)

Playing God with your childhood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37407972)

Well, now we know the true origin of transformers.

Skynet will love that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37408016)

Skynet will love that!

Turns out we were guarding the wrong gate (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#37408064)

The threat is not Skynet. The threat is Beakernet.
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