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Liquid Crystal Phases of DNA, Beginning of Life?

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the lot-better-than-my-theory-of-gum-and-scotch-tape dept.

Biotech 150

An anonymous reader writes "A team led by the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Milan has discovered some unexpected forms of liquid crystals of ultrashort DNA molecules immersed in water, providing a new scenario for a key step in the emergence of life on Earth. CU-Boulder physics Professor Noel Clark said the team found that surprisingly short segments of DNA, life's molecular carrier of genetic information, could assemble into several distinct liquid crystal phases that "self-orient" parallel to one another and stack into columns when placed in a water solution. Life is widely believed to have emerged as segments of DNA- or RNA-like molecules in a prebiotic "soup" solution of ancient organic molecules.

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Life? (3, Funny)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463391)

Life was started when the Great Green Arkleseizure sneezed it across the universe to this location. Stop shattering my worldview with these so-called "discoveries."

Re:Life? (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463623)

Obviously off on the religious mockery tangent, but this isn't really offtopic. If (I'd say when) we discover how to make life from inanimate matter, there's bound to be yet another clash between Genesis [wikipedia.org] and Abiogenesis [wikipedia.org] . And some people will yet again claim that the Book is right and science is wrong. Obviously religion gets a lot less personal if God is someone that once snapped his fingers and there was a Big Bang - and that everything that follows can be replicated in a test tube. But I think that we in the not too distant future will make the connection from inanimate molecules into primitive replicating beings. And if God doesn't smite us down at that point for invading his turf he never will.

Re:Life? (1, Insightful)

sigzero (914876) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463671)

Where did the stuff that made up the "Big Bang" come from? If it was inert what was the "catalyst"? I don't think there ever will be a connection from the inanimate to the animate.

Re:Life? (2, Insightful)

brainnolo (688900) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463705)

The fact that you do not get it, or nobody gets it does not mean that there is no explanation. Our brain is amazing but I doubt that it is the top intelligence ever achievable by a living creature, so it is plausible that we are just not intelligent enough to understand some things.

Re:Life? (5, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463825)

We're plenty intelligent enough... we just don't have enough data and probably never will, but we can make guesses - more educated guesses than those made by early philosophers (religious academics and natural academics). Personally I don't see the disconnect between early science/religion and modern science. They sought answers with what information they had available.. we do the same. Just because some cult of people want to believe that we were at the pinnacle of understanding some 2 - 3 thousand years ago, doesn't discount the efforts made at the time.

Those Rabbis, Greeks and monks were very smart people - they also had to deal with politics and ignorance however and sometimes the best way to deal with that is to dumb it down to a lowest common denominator. "That's right, God made that happen. Don't go to war over it... it was a miracle. Now give us money so we can keep teaching your kids how to read/write and count to ten."

Re:Life? (1)

LouisZepher (643097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465869)

If only I had mod points (and then, having not posted, of course). Very well put, I doubt I could've said it any better.

not intelligent enough... (4, Insightful)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463849)

...Or don't have the proper perspective. For example, consider one of those huge walk-through mazes. Those things are dog-simple when seen from above, but when you're inside of it, it can take an hour to get out. You do eventually get out, but it takes a lot longer to solve that way than the seconds it would take when seen from a better point of view.

I'm personally of the opinion that nothing science concludes will ever be able to prove or disprove the existence of (a) God(s), so I'm not sure why this discussion keeps coming up. Yeah, science never "proves", only "shows to be likely", whatever. The point is that you either believe in God or you don't. There's no scientifically veritable "correct" answer that can ever be had until some day in the future when it's too late to do anything about it anyway. You're either worm food or in your final eternal resting place... wherever that may be.

Honestly, the religion bashing is completely pointless and is getting really, really old hat.

Re:not intelligent enough... (2, Interesting)

brainnolo (688900) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463951)

Religion bashing may be pointless but, like governments, the main religious organizations are very influent, powerful and rich (and unlike governments they do not offer any tangible service). I'm all for free thinking but for example the Roman Church has been involved in many scandals and crimes against humanity (crusades comes to mind obviously) and they are never punished for their actions. If my opinion was worth something religious organization wouldn't be allowed or would be controlled as tightly (or even more) as corporations. Corporations which do not even need to prove the existence, let alone the quality of what they sell (the hope of life after death).

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464219)

Now that you mention the Crusades, I advise you to read up some history books before saying "it was all the Church's fault" or "it was a war of religion".

Re:not intelligent enough... (2, Insightful)

Pax681 (1002592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464801)

erm... pope boniface orderd the first crusade... against ther muslims.... to get jerusalem and the "holy land" into charistian hands....... there fore the church of rome ordered the crusades ad backed ALL of the crusades. to say this wasn't a war of religion..which it BLATANTLY was , AND to then say read books on it is quite frankly amazing. you see when the poster reads up on it he will see that it was a war of religion. i give talk on a semi regular basis about the Templars, their history, the crusades and such and have been on UK radio talking abot them on more than one occassion. i am by no means the leading world expert but i would say i am competant in my knowledge and recgnised as such by groups, organisations and radio(BBC Scotland being one of them) you can try to wish away the absolute fact that there have been more torture, deaths ,murders,attempted genocides and general inhumanity(look to the cathars for a start) in the name of religion to utterly quash your statement. and Christianty(both roman and non roman) does have to shoulder it's burden there(yes jesus pun intended)

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465069)

Bonifacius? Are you sure? It was a proclamation by Pope Urbanus (of which there are multiple transcribed versions, so there is uncertainty on what had been actually said) and it was just a "call to arms", but he himself did not expect the reaction.

Talking about a war of religion is an understatement of the Crusades (but nice for people trying to push ideologies), a mixture of many different factors, and which represent part of the medieval mentality (a strange, complex one, but not certainly the one of a "Dark Age"). Let's not even bring the Templars in this discussion, as way too many hiistorically inaccurate facts have been said about them.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466187)

........and they are never punished for their actions.......

You hypocrite! Have you ever been punished for your bad actions? How many lies you have told so far in your life, or stuff you have "appropriated" that wasn't yours? How about the other eight commandments? Notice they are called commandments not optional choices. How many times have you broken traffic laws and not been punished. Ever wonder what kind of a world it would be if EVERYBODY got punished instantly, EVERY time we broke some law? Because we ALL are law breakers, we all die eventually, without exception.

Re:not intelligent enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21466887)

"Because we ALL are law breakers, we all die eventually, without exception."

We do all die eventually.

Re:not intelligent enough... (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464051)

I'm personally of the opinion that nothing science concludes will ever be able to prove or disprove the existence of (a) God(s), so I'm not sure why this discussion keeps coming up.

It keeps coming up because religious ideologues keep insisting that science is wrong because it contradicts their beliefs. And they want to base public policy and education on those beliefs. The beliefs themselves are a personal matter, of course, and they've got every right to believe that Rapture is imminent or that life was created in its current form 6000 years ago; the conflict occurs when they try to base things like environmental management or what's taught in high-school science classes on it.

Honestly, the religion bashing is completely pointless and is getting really, really old hat.

The science bashing isn't pointless at all -- it's a means of gaining political power -- but it's definitely old hat, which doesn't keep fanatics from doing it. Scientists who bash religion, e.g. Dawkins, do so out of disgust with religion's continual insistence on trying to replace knowledge with ignorance, and the consequences thereof.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464247)

However, religion bashing has come to a point where even admitting of being religious is a cause of ridicule or arrogance. Don't forget that tolerance works both ways - from "less open" to "more open" and from "more open" to "less open". I've only seen the former, which in turn causes a lot of people to behave rather arrogantly.

Religion by itself is not a curse, nor a tainting mark. I do science and I am religious. Is there something wrong in that?

Re:not intelligent enough... (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464441)

However, religion bashing has come to a point where even admitting of being religious is a cause of ridicule or arrogance.

[shrug] I haven't seen that; I have seen a lot of religious believers being hypersensitive and interpreting fanatic-bashing as religion-bashing generally. E.g., when someone attempts to jump in on a discussion of the origins of DNA in the early terrestrial environment with, "That can't be true because Genesis says ..." then mockery is the only reasonable response. That's not religion-bashing, that's fanatic-bashing. If you are willing to accomodate your religious beliefs to scientific observations, as many religious scientists have done, then hardly anyone is going to attack you for it. (And those who do can be ignored; there are cranks and professional malcontents on both sides of every argument.)

I do science and I am religious. Is there something wrong in that?

Of course not. Motivation is irrelevant when science is done right. You can study a problem because you have a personal interest in solving it, because you want to unravel the mysteries of God's creation, because someone is paying you a whole lot of money to do so, or just out of simple curiosity -- all of these motivations can produce good science, and will no doubt continue to do so. But it's important to acknowledge that some motivations are more likely to lead to bias than others; and it is absurd to deny that religion has introduced considerable bias into the study of the origins of life.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1, Insightful)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464545)

[shrug] I haven't seen that;
Welcome to the internet. Population: every smug, religion-hating atheist on the planet.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464645)

Welcome to the internet. Population: every smug, religion-hating atheist on the planet.

And every hypersensitive religionist who will find every excuse to make personal attacks based on out-of-context snippets of /. posts, apparently.

Depends ... (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464687)

If you're a theistic fanatic acquiring knowledge partly to aid you in spreading your personal brand of lunacy by whatever means, then yes.

If you are a deist ala Einstein and Thomas Jefferson then fine.

Somewhere in between? Then it depends on where exactly.

Re:not intelligent enough... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21464753)

However, religion bashing has come to a point where even admitting of being religious is a cause of ridicule or arrogance.
Gee I wonder why? Oh that's right, it's because most often "your religion" has some pretty nasty things to say about the rest of us. Such as suffering in eternal agony unless we reciprocate the love of your god or prophet. When was the last anti-Buddhist rant you've heard or read? Ever? Stop trying to pass off being spiritual as having an organized set of beliefs that you must adhere to and coerce others to adhere to as well. I consider myself a very spiritual person but I'm still an atheist and an agnostic. It's not bashing of beliefs, customs or traditions, it's the rational rejection of questionable claims. God has never claimed to exist. It's not like God is the shining sun, I can feel the heat and I can see the light but I'm just some asshole rejecting it. I'm not walking around tripping over God and then willfully disbelieving out of spite or arrogance. The existence of God is non-obvious, therefore the burden of proof remains squarely on those making the claims, no matter what kind of flawed thought-process you follow. As for my idea of "God" it's more of a nomological necessity similar to the fundamental force of gravity rather than a personal deity with two eyes, ears, arms, legs and testicles. Seriously, that idea of a god that your parents taught you out of an uncorroborated book written by Stone Age peasants is laughable and you really do only deserve ridicule and shame, if and only if you've been presented with all this evidence and still hold true that Jesus Christ is the only way God could come up with to save us from his dysfunctional Universe.

And if you don't like it, fuck you.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465195)

---Religion by itself is not a curse, nor a tainting mark. I do science and I am religious. Is there something wrong in that?

Absolutely not.

Well.. I have grown away from religion (Catholicism) because of linguists, historians, and anthropologists... scientists.

When I hear the reports of an archaeology dig about how the Bible wasn't quite true, I lose some faith.
When I see the reports and academic writings indicating how a different peoples history doesn't coincide with the Bible, I lose faith.
When I witness the manuscripts and books which Dark Ages priests added their own stories to the Gospels, I lose even more faith.

What do you believe when at least 25% of your faith is proved false by science and alternate histories and anthropological studies?

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465563)

In that case, you realize that the scriptures, like everything else, are product of their times. Even if Catholicism believes they're "inspired", a good theologist will tell you that even so, they must be interpreted with regards of the historical and social context of the time. I've seen a Jesuit theologist talk about that in the context of Noah's Ark, and he made perfectly valid arguments without being "blasphemous".

Unlike other variants of Christians, Catholicism does not really promote a literal interpretation of the Bible. Surely you'll find people who tell you otherwise, but it is not the case "officially".

Re:not intelligent enough... (0)

arminw (717974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466681)

.....When I hear the reports of an archaeology dig about how the Bible wasn't quite true.........

Can you give an example of that and not just somebody's opinion or interpretation of the data?

(.....What do you believe when at least 25% of your faith is proved false by science and alternate histories and anthropological studies?.....)

Are you taking about actual scientific facts and data, the raw data that is, or someone's interpretation of that data? Both scientists and religionists tend to interpret data through their world view and pre-suppositions.

Example: In 1929 Edwin Hubble discovered the "red-shift". That light from distant objects is shifted toward the red end of the spectrum. That was and still is a measured fact. However then he INTERPRETED that to mean that these objects are in rapid motion due to the well known doppler effect. He and most scientists never considered that the cause of this observation may be something entirely different. Today, still, the entire science establishment of astronomy and cosmology takes this interpretation as established fact.

The other sciences you mentioned are no different. They observe data and then interpret that data. These interpretations, just like any propaganda repeated often enough,long enough, and loud enough, are eventually believed as truth.

So you must choose whether to believe these interpretations of the data or believe the claim of the writers of the Bible, that they were eyewitnesses of the events and people they wrote about.

Re:not intelligent enough... (2, Interesting)

moz25 (262020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465473)

Don't forget that tolerance works both ways - from "less open" to "more open" and from "more open" to "less open".

I have no issue whatsoever with people who keep their religion to themselves or who behave in ways that I would expect, i.e. modest, kind and forgiving. I know people who are like that and I have no troubles with them.

Instead, we are confronted almost daily with "proud Christians" who are so intensely narrowminded that they cannot even comprehend that we do not secretly believe in God and by extension fear God. I never understand the logic behind yelling "you'll go to Hell for [insert triviality]!!" to someone who doesn't believe in a Hell.

Now you'll probably claim those people aren't "real Christians", but realize they are vocal and cannot be ignored. As you know, they are very active politically. Heck, if you're active in politics, your best bet is to claim you're religious even if you're not. Too many people associate it with being "good".

Let's not get into the specifics of your particular religion, because IMO if you take a step back, it is rather ridiculous. So many things are taken out of context, interpreted to fit biases or simply translated incorrectly. For example, "Jesus walks ON water" is written same as "Jesus wants NEXT TO water" in the original language.

Then the whole anti-homo stuff... jeez. Only 0.02% of the whole book can be interpreted to be about gays somehow and even that can be explained away through context and interpretation (e.g. good luck following all the rules in Leviticus). Yet Christianity appears to be all about sexuality and homosexuality in particular. That's what they're really vocal about and even base voting decisions on.

Then there's the Jesus guy... an illiterate carpenter who care about poor sick people. While I don't believe he had any powers, I can run a thought experiment of "what would Jesus do". Well, it's *really* hard for me to imagine that such a figure would endorse any of the smug bigoted consumption-oriented Christians of today.

Can you at least see how modern implementation of religion doesn't even inherently bash logic, but even conflict with its own roots?

I really wish we as a humanity could put all this rubbish behind us. On the other hand, humanity being what it is, we could most likely expect something even worse (e.g. Scientology)...

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465599)

I hope this doesn't sound like an ad hominem, but your post incarnates the attitude I was writing about in my other message. Calling it "rubbish" does not make you any better of the religion you despise, even though you may have all the logic behind you.
Pride in a religion is nothing wrong unless you start killing people in its name. And yet, it would be the person's fault, or fault of the people who indoctrinate... but not of religion itself.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

moz25 (262020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466437)

I agree the word "rubbish" was ill-chosen, but I do not despise religion itself. There are lots of belief systems that a majority of people consider to be false, yet can still appreciate. It's not like I'm going to despise kids for believing in Santa.

The difference is that with religion, it's actual adults with power and money pushing flawed logic with energy and fanaticism. It is difficult to remain modest while those who assault logic on every level shout the loudest.

It complicates matters that those who are so vocal also act in ways that appear completely in conflict with the very tenets of the religion they advocate. I'm all for the concept of "love your enemies" and to be forgiving. I wish I'd actually see that attitude more often.

If you're religious and it helps you become a better person, good for you. However, if you're going to tell me that I'll go to Hell for not believing in your deity (which is no more real to me than Santa is to you), then do not expect any respect for your intellect.

As I understand from quotes that people throw around, a relevant part of the indoctrination process deals with preparing followers to ward off critisms. Either their own or from skeptics. Why listen to me when I'm blind and Hell-bound anyway? Logic schmogic.

Pride in a religion is nothing wrong unless you start killing people in its name.

It depends completely on the form of pride. Does that pride entice you to hate others or act nasty towards them? I don't see why in the transition from "not-wrong" to "wrong", you'd put the cut-off point at killing people. If I hit you in the face, I wouldn't have killed you, but it'd still be wrong.

Re:not intelligent enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21466257)

Jesus walking next to water wouldn't be much of a miracle, would it? Probably safe to say that on water is what was meant. As for the homosexuality part, doesn't mean anyone has to be a jerk or anything, but the Bible is pretty clear that it's a sin.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

moz25 (262020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466461)

Looking at the context, homosexuality is as much a sin as eating shellfish or wearing clothes of certain modern fabrics. If it's as much a sin as something that's obviously not a sin, then it's obvious to understand that it's really not something to get worked up about.

Try to at least read the thing without cultural bias...

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466477)

.......I do science and I am religious. Is there something wrong in that?....

Nothing at all. They ask and try to answer different questions that have puzzled the minds of man since the dawn of history.

Science attempts to answer "how" questions. Religion is tries to answer "why" questions. Neither has cornered the market answering "when" things happened or when they might happen.

All information comes to us either by first hand experience or by communication from some witness. Nobody can PROVE if a witness is telling the truth or not. All we can do is to either BELIEVE the witness or not. Even your own senses can deceive you.

When a scientist does an experiment or observation, it only applies to the time he does it. We can assume (believe) it should logically apply also to the past or the future, but there is no way to know that for sure. If scientists and religious folks both talk about the WHEN of things, we have to believe one or the other, until someone invents time travel. No human scientist has gone back and observed the formation of life, so we have to believe their assertions about it. Even if someone did travel to the dawn of time and then came back, we'd still have to take their word for it or not.

We also, equally, may choose to BELIEVE, or not, the religious claim of revelation from God to a human called Moses about when life began. Nobody can go back to verify that Moses heard correctly.

Present evolutionary dogma depends on time, unfathomable quantities of time. Time essentially occupies the place of God. Given enough time, anything is possible. Time is omnipotent, in that it can do anything that God can do. Time can turn not only a frog, but even a rock into a prince.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466801)

I do science and I am religious. Is there something wrong in that?


I studied for many years on a catholic school. We had our religion classes. We had our masses. And we would have hour biology classes. The teacher, btw, was a priest. He would even say "science is the tool god gave us to understand his creation". I find that a very enlightened way to look at things.

A scientist who is also religious is something very natural for me.

Re:not intelligent enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21465675)

Scientists who bash religion, e.g. Dawkins, do so out of disgust with religion's continual insistence on trying to replace knowledge with ignorance, and the consequences thereof.

And certainly not because he's a whiny little man who wasn't praised enough as a child.

Re:not intelligent enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21465747)

w00t bitchfight

Re:not intelligent enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21465845)

Dawkins doesn't bash religion, he criticises it. Have you read "The God Delusion"? If no, I recommend it; it's not the vicious attack that some religious (!) people would like it to be.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

Peter La Casse (3992) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466023)

It keeps coming up because religious ideologues keep insisting that science is wrong because it contradicts their beliefs.

I was with you until you said "wrong". Too often I see religious ideologues insisting that science is the only rational basis for a worldview, because other worldviews contradict their beliefs. Religious zealots, regardless of flavor, tend to be distressingly similar when arguing their points of view.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466985)

It keeps coming up because religious ideologues keep insisting that science is wrong because it contradicts their beliefs.

Wrong. Find me one of these threads that is started by a religious ideologue. And science is a methodology. It cannot be right or wrong. Scientists, on the other hand, can be many things, including, but not limited to, right, wrong, ideological, and irrational.

Grow some brains (1)

Mushukyou (739593) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464553)

Religion *is* very old, and it sucks all ass. The reason why we religion bash is very simple. Religion attempts to brainwash mankind into thinking we already have all the answers to the ultimate questions. Science is the only way to find out what exists externally from ourselves. This being the case, religion is bullshit and must be trampled on whenever possible. The reason why science doesn't care about gods is because we made up gods. Science doesn't care about the things we make up - just like Unicorns or Fairies. The logical position is to be an atheist. The alternative is to sacrifice logic, common sense, and to basically be wrong.

Re:Grow some brains (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465127)

Then I would call you ignorant.

If you were as wise as you indirectly claim, then you would realise that there are so many more questions about everything than answers.

Not so amazingly, science cannot explain many things. For example, look at the Fermi Paradox. For another, investigate why quantum mechanics does what it does. Whatever we dig into, we open more questions and unexplainable phenomena.

The wisest I know are agnostic and are open to interesting interpretation. And they certainly don't religion-bash.

Re:Grow some brains (1)

Mushukyou (739593) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466259)

Then I would call you ignorant.
You can call a well educated man ignorant if you'd like, that's fine, but you'll look like a fool in the process.

If you were as wise as you indirectly claim, then you would realise that there are so many more questions about everything than answers.
What the hell does this have to do with the conversation?

Not so amazingly, science cannot explain many things.
Correction, science hasn't as of YET explained everything.

Whatever we dig into, we open more questions and unexplainable phenomena.
To use the word "unexplainable" makes you the ignorant one.

The wisest I know are agnostic and are open to interesting interpretation.
You must not know very many wise people, then, because agnosticism means you believe something to be unknown or unknowable. You must still be either theist or atheist. Agnosticism has to do with knowledge, theism/atheism has to do with belief - they are separate animals. I am open to many things, so it looks like you not only needed to be educated on agnosticism, but on atheism as well.

And they certainly don't religion-bash.
Religion is bad for mankind.
It kills our people, slows scientific progress, and separates people into unnecessary groups that cause self segregation.
Without religion, the world would be a much, much better place (I'm not saying a paradise, but much better). It's good for mankind to "bash" religion. Very good. Before you respond to someone that knows their shit, think beforehand and make sure you know what you're talking about. Who's the ignorant one now?

Re:Grow some brains (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466923)

.....The alternative is to sacrifice logic, common sense,......

What you are really doing is elevating your logic and common sense into the position of God. Do you know everything that could be known? Is there any human that does? If not, you cannot know there is no God any more than a religious person can know that there is. They don't have all knowledge either. Both can only BELIEVE. Who are you to say that your belief is truer or better than someone else's? Are you God or something? Does your belief give you the right to trample on the belief of other people just because YOU believe their belief is ridiculous or illogical? Is your vaunted, so called logic able to judge as someone who possesses all knowledge?

There isn't and there has never been a culture that did NOT have some sort of religion. In your human pride, you worship your intellect and logic. Humans are an incurably religious creature. Maybe, just maybe, that might tell you something about the Biblical assertion of humans being made in the image of God. An image stamped on a coin is pretty hard to obliterate. Nobody can do it without certainly destroying or severely damaging such a coin. This image of God in man is very hard to obliterate.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464783)

Science can't prove or disprove there's a god or gods, but it can turn up an awful lot of evidence that a particular idea of what a god is like is unlikely to be correct.

Scientists creating life from inanimate matter in the lab has absolutely nothing to say about whether god exists, but it pretty much blows out of the water the idea that creating life is the exclusive province of the divine.

Not exclusively divine (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466249)

Science can't prove or disprove there's a god or gods, but it can turn up an awful lot of evidence that a particular idea of what a god is like is unlikely to be correct.

Scientists creating life from inanimate matter in the lab has absolutely nothing to say about whether god exists, but it pretty much blows out of the water the idea that creating life is the exclusive province of the divine.
[italics mine]

Actually, *scientists* creating life from inanimate matter in the lab is an example of intelligent design (in this case the designer being the scientists). Historically, many proponents of Judaism and Christianity have proposed intermediates in their interpretation of creation (e.g. angels). A major point of just about all flavors of Jewish and Christian theology is that God prefers to use human (and sometimes angelic) agents as opposed to directly working miracles.

For that matter, we *already* design machines exhibiting many of the characteristics of "simple" life (robots), and the primary missing factor (self replication) is doable in principle - but just isn't cost effective for current applications and technology. (The ability to extract needed atoms from a wide variety of food sources via nano-tech is crucial to making self-replication cheap. Mining, smelting, growing crystals, etc are not easy to do on a small scale.) When we observe life springing from inanimate matter *without* the help of scientists (other than a reasonable interpretation of ancient conditions - or even modern conditions on some lifeless planet), then we will have observed abiogenesis.

Re:Not exclusively divine (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466383)

I didn't say intelligent, I said divine.

Certainly all religions, or even all adherents of particular religions wouldn't find scientists creating life a threat. There are some though, and they seem to be particularly vocal about the origins and basic mechanics of life creating being off limits to humans.

So when the first scientist creates life that gives us three options (by my in-the-moment count): 1) there's nothing divine about creating life, 2) those scientists are the hand of God at work or 3) humanity has elevated itself to the point where it possesses at least some divine powers.

You're absolutely right, some religions will be happy with one or two of those three, some might even embrace all three possibilities. But there are some really big name ones that will have a hard time trying to figure out which one of those possibilities is the least abhorrent... and would very gladly block any research that might ever force us to examine the question.

Re:Not exclusively divine (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466901)

So when the first scientist creates life that gives us three options (by my in-the-moment count): 1) there's nothing divine about creating life, 2) those scientists are the hand of God at work or 3) humanity has elevated itself to the point where it possesses at least some divine powers.
Humanity has always been considered to already possess some divine powers by Jews and Christians (and other religions for different concepts of "god"). "Ye are gods." "We are made in the image of God." Classically, literary and mathematical works were pointed to as examples of "sub-creation". Humans creating self-consistent worlds that exist apart from their creator. In the computer age, we create dynamic virtual worlds as a matter of course, and people these virtual worlds with self-replicating agents. We interact with these virtual worlds via avatars, and occasionally work "miracles" by patching memory or using cheat codes. We "speak" (write software) worlds into existence. We are gods.

If you think about it, *our* origin is a historical, not a scientific question. It is a question of what *did* happen, not what we normally observe to happen. Consider this: if in the future, we succeed in creating artificial intelligence/life, we will have firmly established that we *could* have been designed. Our creations may go on in their turn to design intelligences. The source of that chain of created beings has to stop somewhere - at an uncreated intelligence. That stopping point is by definition "God". Why are we so sure that we are the ultimate uncreated intelligence? The application of Occam's razor to origins depends on your presuppositions.

So yes, all 3 possibilities have always been tendered in classic Jewish and Christian theology. The issue is not whether "only God" can create. The issue is whether we (humanity as a whole) are the top of the chain (or the top of one of many chains). The issue is whether we are God, or one of the gods.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

EonBlueApocalypse (1029220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464903)

This seems off topic but it's still a subject we have to come to terms with as we see reality behaving in a vastly different way then we once thought it had. I think the problem with religion is not god, but that most religions think they have the definitive answers to why we are here and discredit new information that does not conform to a certain belief system. It's not the idea of god but the thought of behaving, thinking, acting, or ignoring facts in certain ways to appease what largely is an idea. Just because a lot of people feel God behaves one way and another lot of people feel God behaves in another doesn't mean any of them are right. Not that, that proves them wrong either but as with religions of the past or even religions outside our current belief how often do we give these ideas a chance? Perhaps theres even the possibility that like what we once knew of the universe, that humanities image of god may also be way off track. In my case it's not common nor uncommon to be mistaken as an atheist because I do not accept any religion as absolute truth. My mostly Christian family feels iv abandon God because iv abandon religion as an absolute, while I on the other hand feel I've found to be a more grand and more acceptable idea of what "God" is then I have seen anywhere else. While that doesn't make me correct in anyway, it still seems miles away from the traditional view the of what you are for not accepting a religions beliefs. Life is what you make it, and you can see that threw all the different cultures and religions in the world, it seems a lot of the religion bashing is from frustration and not realizing that what these people believe and grew up in is reality for them not just ignorance.

God of the gap (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464981)

Science will never disprove god, and it ain't the job of science. But as science explain more and more, even up to the point we are nearing a reproduction of the apparition of life, domain once reserved to the "sacred & religious", the god of the gap back down to the shadow. I guess that there will be a point where only the primal move/big bang/or whatever could be assigned to such a god of the gap. And nothing afterward. This is what i think most of those attacking science want to fight against. The relegation of their god of the gap to an initial push, without intervention afterward.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465387)

There are a lot of claims in religion that are beyond what we can ever prove by science, and those will never be answered. However, most religious texts make claims about earth, life and our origins that are testable. Quite many of these turn out to be wrong, as in "the earth is flat" wrong in every sense but the philosophical discussion on whether knowledge can be gained through observation or exists at all. Under any other circumstance you'd call those undisputable facts, as solid as the chair I'm sitting on.

Clearly God would know the true answer to these questions, so how can there be false answers in a book of truth, or at least that appear to us as false (solves 99% of the "proof" issues)? There are many possible answers to this - perhaps God doesn't want us to know, perhaps it's a test of faith, perhaps they are the truth but hidden from us, perhaps they are simplifications for those who lived thousands of years ago, perhaps the writing down was inaccurate and so on. If the religious would simply accept one of them, there'd be no conflict between religion and science.

Instead some people - quite many in fact - insist that there are no false answers. That these answers, which are directly contradicted by observation, are none the less true. That these answers should be taught as truth, and that any other answer shall be suppressed. Even if it's what any sane, unbiased person with no preconceptions would conclude that the answer is when presented with the evidence. Do not check, do not reason, just take it at face value because there's no other. So the problem isn't to use science to prove or disprove God - it's that people use God to disprove science.

Re:not intelligent enough... (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21467083)

......That these answers, which are directly contradicted by observation, are none the less true.......

The question whether the answers contradict the observations themselves or someone's interpretations of the observations. When scientists "measure" the age of rocks, for example, they use radioactive decay as their clock. The assume (believe) that this clock is both accurate and CONSTANT over the time period in question. This assumption is never questioned and on the surface seems to make sense. However, there is no way to PROVE that this radioactivity clock, upon which the immense ages theorized, are based, is in fact invariant over the large spans of time. So we can either believe our logic or we can believe the writers of the Bible who claim that God Himself told them a little, not nearly as much as we'd like to know about how things began. Either way, science or religion, it comes down to belief.

Re:not intelligent enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21465723)

really, really old hat


Welcome to SlashDot, new user! I hope you enjoy your stay. Your standard meme pack is enclosed with this letter; please note when using that the "Soviet Russia" meme will attempt to post you, but this is perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about.

Signed,
Your friendly neighbourhood insect overlords.

Re:Life? (0)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464029)

So. Who created god?

Answer me that and I'll get down on my knees and worship him. The bigger one that is... Our god would obviously just be a little godling in comparison... I like to think of him as a Mini-Me god.
 

Re:Life? (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464355)

How did you draw the latter conclusion from the former questions?

Re:Life? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465429)

Why do you even think your questions make sense?

Re:Life? (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464385)

Its interesting to me the idea that only God can create life. I dont know if there's a scriptural basis for it or if its something people just assume is true. Perhaps those that believe in immortal souls would view it differently than those who believe a person or animal IS a soul like Jehovah's Witnesses and 7th Day Adventists. If life requires some spiritual soul then yes it would make sense to say only God could make life. However if we really are just our bodies then I see no reason that man couldnt eventually duplicate what God has made.

Re:Life? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465465)

Even if your conjecture is true, why not the Giant Invisible Green Panda or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Three Infinite Donuts of Doom?

soup (1, Interesting)

badran (973386) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463409)

So basically we all started out as alphabet soup......

Re:soup (0, Flamebait)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463879)

NO, no, no... DNA and carbon-based life was an accident. The life forms of a bajillion years ago were evolved from carbon nanostructures and interstellar dust [slashdot.org] , what we would call robotic lifeforms. The DNA liquid crystals were an accidental byproduct of failed display technology. One of the researchers accidentally punctured his liquid crystal display with a tool, rinsed it off in salt water, it drained into a sewer full of salt, iron, trace metals and lots of carbon (hey, robotic life has to poop), and off it went.

Ironically, those carbon nano based lifeforms were wiped out in a mutual jihad as they fought over whether or not the billions of lines of code that defined their existence evolved through chance or were part of an "intelligent design".

Hey, that makes as much sense as the Bible AND the Evolutionists put together. ;-)

Re:soup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21466449)

Modded flamebait? Who is going to flame the poster? The Bible thumpers, the Evolutionists, or a cooperative effort of both? If the latter, then that would be a first. I, for one, would welcome our Creation/Evolutionists Overlords.

Nevar 4 Get (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21463463)

As long as you remember that Jews are the enemy you should be ok.

Jews did WTC. Nevar 4 Get.

neat (4, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463473)

"The key observation with respect to early life is that this aggregation of nano DNA strands is possible only if they form duplexes," Clark said. "In a sample of chains in which the bases don't match and the chains can't form helical duplexes, we did not observe liquid crystal ordering."

The CU-Boulder and University of Milan team began a series of experiments to see how short the DNA segments could be and still show liquid crystal ordering, said Clark. The team found that even a DNA segment as short as six bases, when paired with a complementary segment that together measured just two nanometers long and two nanometers in diameter, could still assemble itself into the liquid crystal phases, in spite of having almost no elongation in shape. Subsequent tests by the team involved mixed solutions of complementary and noncomplementary DNA segments, said Clark. The results indicated that essentially all of the complementary DNA bits condensed out in the form of liquid crystal droplets, physically separating them from the noncomplementary DNA segments. "We found this to be a remarkable result," Clark said. "It means that small molecules with the ability to pair up the right way can seek each other out and collect together into drops that are internally self-organized to facilitate the growth of larger pairable molecules. "In essence, the liquid crystal phase condensation selects the appropriate molecular components, and with the right chemistry would evolve larger molecules tuned to stabilize the liquid crystal phase. If this is correct, the linear polymer shape of DNA itself is a vestige of formation by liquid crystal order."
one of the requirements for life is that you have an environment that supports molecular self assembly and recognition, this experiment seems to show that this is the case with DNA and RNA strands as short as 6 bases and can select for more stable configurations over time. It's the beginnings of evolutionary natural selection- base pairs assemble into structures that have certain desireable characteristics.

Re:neat for our children overlords! (1)

tomblag (1060876) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464255)

Which brings up an interesting question. If intelligence is some kind of naturally occurring, self perpetuating thing when certain conditions are met. Does it not appear humans are furthering it along with silicon? Sounds to me like we are creating an environment for the next stage of life.

Re:neat (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466935)

one of the requirements for life is that you have an environment that supports molecular self assembly and recognition, this experiment seems to show that this is the case with DNA and RNA strands as short as 6 bases and can select for more stable configurations over time. It's the beginnings of evolutionary natural selection- base pairs assemble into structures that have certain desireable characteristics.


How can one base pair be any more desirable than any other base pair, unless it exists within the context of a cell, or in the context of some other preexisting complex machinery that will treat the the strand as a blueprint for manufacturing another kind of molecule?

Re:neat (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21467483)

some strands of genetic material are catalytic- the point is that genetic material isn't just information encoding, it also can act as a part of the cellular machinery its self. it catalyzes its own cleaving, acts as a primitive amino acid string ribosome and catalyzes the formation of other molecules. only later do these molecular systems evolve into what we now would recognize as a functional genetic system based on DNA or RNA as the main carriers of information. is it efficient? no, not really, it is quite slow but it is an example of a very rudimentary evolutionary system that can replicate and select for DNA/RNA strands that are better than those before them. a strand of RNA that can catalyze its own replication will outcompete one that is slower- mutations happen constantly since the whole system has little in the way of genetic repair yet so things change fast. modern day ribosomes are composed of RNA and protein, this is probably an evolutionary fossil from the first "ribosomes" that strung amino acids together. for example, amino acids self assemble in the presence of higher temperature and acidity into apo-proteins which are by themselves catalytic. it is likely that these apo-proteins or any polypeptides associated with nucleic acids under conditions that later evolved into primitive ribosomes. at first these complexes probably speed up the rate and accuracy by which genetic material is replicated and further down the line had a dual purpose- to systhesize its self more efficiently and then the evolution of a genetic system with a small number of base pairs acting to encode for amino acids directly ratehr than catalyzing the synthesis and stringing together of polypeptides. specialization leads to better efficiency and eventually other components of the cell are synthesized and evolve over millions of years to form the first bacteria.

from ooze we came? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21463559)

quite a mixture to have occurred by chance? does it make the agnostic feel safer/less responsible for the well being of yOUR fellow ooze?

never mind second guessing/denying the creators, consider more the blood, guts & dead people, as well as innocent children being blown to pieces. takes some of the excitement of the techno babble out of it. yOUR 'mainstream' media has failed us whoreabully in this aspect.

the lights are coming up all over now. pay attention. it's cost effective, & could help make the future brighter for all of us. don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, so you'll be alert when witnessing the big flash.

there's lots to be done. the planet/population remains in crisis mode.

we're intending (do not underestimate intentions) for the philistine nazi execrable to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com] [google.com]

micro management has never worked. it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster.

the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption.

fortunately there's an 'army' of 'angels'(light bringers, for those who are afraid of/confused by heavenly stuff), coming yOUR way

do not be dismayed, it is the way it was meant to be.

the little ones/innocents must/will be protected.

after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit?

for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way), there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available after the big flash occurs.

beware the illusionary smoke&mirrors.con

all is not lost or forgotten.

no need to fret (unless you're associated/joined at the hype with, unprecedented evile), it's all just a part of the creators' wwwildly popular, newclear powered, planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

or, it could be (literally) ground hog day, again? many of US are obviously not interested in how we appear (which is whoreabull) from the other side of the 'lens', or even from across the oceans.

vote with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable.

we still haven't read (here) about the 2/3'rds of you kids who are investigating/pursuing a spiritual/conscience/concious re-awakening, in amongst the 'stuff that matters'? another big surprise?

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Re:from ooze we came? (1, Flamebait)

Gotung (571984) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463659)

Unfortunately with its tendency to test out every possible variation, evolution also leads to nutbags like you. Go join a suicide cult and help evolution run its course.

Re:from ooze we came? (1)

GotenXiao (863190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464125)

Your sarcasm detector is broken. That, or you've never read the wonderful works of Douglas Adams.

Re:from ooze we came? (2, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463749)

do not be dismayed, it is the way it was meant to be

I'm curious. Do you ever, you know, actually read your own posts? Unpunctuated, case-mangled, non-sequitor-ish loony ramblings have the very subtle effect of, you know, making you look like a simpering, witless, theo-clown. Just sayin'. Other than that, have a great weekend!

Re:from ooze we came? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21464511)

I'm curious. Do you ever, you know, actually read your own posts? Unpunctuated, case-mangled, non-sequitor-ish loony ramblings have the very subtle effect of, you know, making you look like a simpering, witless, theo-clown.

Read it again. It's fascinating how much time he must have spent preparing that troll post. The case mangling has a purpose to it (yOUR, as a way of saying both "your" and "our", his use of "us" in "many of US" is obviously intended to reference the united states...mispellings are also purposeful, like "horribly" misspelled "whore-a-bully"...

There's no deep message embedded in it, but the idiot who posted it thinks he's brilliant. Probably an english major.

Re:from ooze we came? (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464625)

There's no deep message embedded in it, but the idiot who posted it thinks he's brilliant. Probably an english major.

On reflection, I think you're right. That degree of wack-a-doo sophistry takes work. Hard, hard work. Because even for someone with a low IQ, it's a major project to lie that baldly about how you see the world, or (much harder!) actually suspend reason long enough to actually convince yourself that's how it really is.

Re:from ooze we came? (1)

Peter La Casse (3992) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466051)

Because even for someone with a low IQ, it's a major project to lie that baldly about how you see the world, or (much harder!) actually suspend reason long enough to actually convince yourself that's how it really is.

Actually, it's pretty easy. Unfortunately.

Re:from ooze we came? (1)

ardle (523599) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466873)

An example might once have been the kind of person who watched Fox News; now such an example would be someone who appears on Fox News.
I wish...

Re:from ooze we came? (0, Offtopic)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463757)

tbh I prefer bhuddabot

C- Trolling effort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21464031)

Not a total loss, but could use some real improvement. For instance the classic creationist troll is spewed forth in one massive text dump of a paragraph, never in these short sentences and sentence fragments with breaks in between. Real quality creationist trolls will include multiple links to conspiracy sites, not just one random link. Also, you SEEM unfamiliar with THE caps lock and shift KEYS. Any creationist troll worth their salt will liberally sprinkle their post with lots of random capitalization. The yOURs are problematic in that it's too consistent; a real creationist troll wouldn't miss the y more than once. However you did omit capitalization at the beginning of each sentence so that saves you from getting a lower grade. Your misuse of punctuation is wrong because you want too little punctuation, not too much, although at least what is there is usually incorrect. Kudos on the general incoherency, though.

Article Summary... (0, Troll)

PatrickHagerty (199571) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463759)

Humans are Borg!

Atoms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21463791)

form molecules... news at 11!

How Did the DNA Strands Form? (1)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463865)

Supposing that life started with random DNA strands that somehow self-organized, how did the DNA strands form? Randomly, all by themselves? How likely is that? Anyone knows?

Re:How Did the DNA Strands Form? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463939)

How did the DNA strands form? Randomly, all by themselves? How likely is that? Anyone knows?

I'm sure the likelihood is a factor of time. While I could use the 1000 monkeys analogy, I prefer Steven Wright: "Anywhere is walking distance if you have the time."

Re:How Did the DNA Strands Form? (1)

Ramble (940291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464137)

No-one knows yet but I do remember reading that some complex organic molecules present in dust clouds in space managed to form a helix through the action of the sunlight hitting it. You do also have to keep in mind that it's highly unlikely that molecules would have formed modern day DNA all at once, it would have probably been small steps, and you also have to remember that we're not heading for a target here, it's not like the molecules felt compelled to form this particular structure we recognise today as DNA.

Re:How Did the DNA Strands Form? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21464201)

It is known that prebiotic earth contained formamide as well as various minerals from comets or other rock formations. Heating of formamide in the prescence of various minerals (which act as catalysts) can produce nucleotide bases including purine and adenine. RNA (which it is generally considered to have been the first self-assembling system) consists of the nucleotide bases attached to a phosphate backbone. How they attached to the backbone is being studied.

Re:How Did the DNA Strands Form? (2, Informative)

harrv (627638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465913)

In "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins, he makes the point that there are approximately a billion billion planets in the universe within the so-called "goldilocks zone", that is, capable of sustaining life because they probably have liquid water. So, even if the likelihood of DNA or RNA randomly forming was a billion-to-one, that would still mean that it has happened on a billion planets.

Re:How Did the DNA Strands Form? (1)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466841)

So, even if the likelihood of DNA or RNA randomly forming was a billion-to-one, that would still mean that it has happened on a billion planets.

Sor far, nobody has ventured a probability figure based on observation. I take it that nobody knows since the random formation of DNA/RNA strands has never been observed. However, it should be possible for a bio-chemist to figure out the likelihood of the right molecules getting together in some primordial soup. What if the probability is zero? Has anybody here thought of this possibility? I guess not.

Re:How Did the DNA Strands Form? (1)

SagSaw (219314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21467245)

What if the probability is zero?

Since DNA and RNA did form, the probability is greater than zero. If the probability is calculated to be zero, it implies that one or more of the assumptions that went into the calculations was incorrect and it's time for science to fill in a few more gaps and then re-compute. That's the power of science: You can refine your models and re-check for as many times as are necessary to produce useful results. Perhaps the incorrect assumption _is_ that DNA/RNA formed randomly and we need to investigate how DNA/RNA arrived on our planet.

Now I, personally, don't know how knowledge of the origin of DNA/RNA will benifit humanity. I do know we'll never find out if we take the easy way out and invoke an unobservable supernatural power.

Media is nice, just not all that important (1)

0x1b (979991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464119)

This discovery is interesting if one sees genesis, as well as life, from the perspective of a process. The implications of the underlying affinity for replication are left for theologists to elaborate.

please see:
A. Graham Cairns-Smith of Glasgow
Genetic takeover and the mineral origins of life
Cambridge University Press 1982
LoC cat # 81-17070
ISBN 0 521 23312 7
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Cairns-Smith [wikipedia.org]

Media is nice, just not all that important - unless you are it.
Was it you that had the good day, or was it what you did that had the day?

Re:Media is nice, just not all that important (1)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464713)

Sorry, I'm a little (read: a lot) hungover, so I don't know what the rest of your post says. But there's one thing I take issue with:

Media is nice, just not all that important
Do you really think so? Maybe you should ask those dictators who use government-controlled media streams to send out their propoganda if they think media is important. Maybe you should look up the relationship between the prevalency of free press in a country and its government's human rights violations. Media, and to a greater extent free press, is INTEGRAL for any democratic society.

Oh, and I suppose you don't consider that book you just cited as a medium? Books are as much of a part of media as newspapers, TV, radio, and the internet. In fact, there are many times that books, as media, changed the face of the world. Martin Luther's writings led to the Reformation that created many of the Protestant sects of Christianity.

Yeah, I'm off-topic, but I'm willing to take a bit of a karma beating to set this guy straight.

God of the Gaps (3, Insightful)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464131)

It's shrinking. One day they'll be no place to hide.

Re:God of the Gaps (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21464273)

Doubtful, if the universe never existed at one point, therefore an the potential for it's existence must have always existed or we wouldn't exist, so something exists. Whether that something is a god, or something else know one can know.

You can't draw an existent from an absolute-never-existance. Science must submit to logic in the end, else science falls apart since:

Definition Logic:
1. A method of human thought that involves thinking in a linear, step-by-step manner about how a problem can be solved. Logic is ***the basis*** of many principles *including the scientific method.*

Re:God of the Gaps (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464579)

Who's they?

Re:God of the Gaps (1, Offtopic)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466719)

Ever study a godless society or those in power that don't believe in God (or "higher power" more specifically)? You get a nasty form of hubris and arrogance hell bent on power and selfishness.

On the flip side of the coin, I wouldn't want to live in the days of the crusades or modern radical Islam either. But don't wish for a Godless society. It's just as bad.

oblig Dannett ref (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464369)

I bet Daniel Dennett is happier now

What about clay theory? (1)

traveller604 (961720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464415)

For me it paints the most likely scenario..

noodley appendage (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464417)

The article had too many confusing words in it, but I'm pretty sure I saw the FSM in the pretty slide. What will he think of next...

One of the great mysteries of science (1)

Jeff1946 (944062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464699)

After why the big bang, the origin of the first DNA to reproduce is greatest mysteries in science. Even with all we know, I have not encountered a plausible explanation about the first DNA was produced. Without invoking an intelligent designer, I would speculate the first life arose near ocean volcanic vents which provide an energy source and significant temperature variations. The temperature variations would cause double strand DNA to split at higher temps. then recombine when it moved to cooler temps much in the way the PCR is used to multiply DNA today. One of the truly remarkable things about the universe is its ablility to go from mostly hydrogen to world as we know it today.

putting ? on story titles? (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 6 years ago | (#21464855)

I hate seeing question marks on story titles. Throw in the word "speculation" if you must but leave out the question mark because you're not asking a question, you're speculating on questionable content. It's happening way to much at Slashdot, Digg, et al. Mod me down to oblivion but I had to get it off my chest because it's been bothering me for a long time. Thanks for listening.

Re:putting ? on story titles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21465313)

It's happening way to much

You mean way too much. Don't criticize grammar and/or spelling if you can't back it up yourself.

Re:putting ? on story titles? (1)

thebjorn (530874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21466307)

It's hard to come up with intelligent titles in the very limited number of characters that you're allowed. Throwing in the word "speculation" would have made it too long. In this case the article suggests the question, so I'm not sure I see your point.

-- bjorn

Sample might be corrupt (1)

macz (797860) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465445)

The sample came from Hugh Hefner's hot tub, so there was all kinds of DNA in it.

jolt of life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21465453)

what they need is a jolt of electricity and see if anything extraordinary happens..

or maybe dropping in some menthos and see if fountain of life will burst outta it.

Not excited yet (2, Insightful)

sammysheep (537812) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465915)

First, we need the spontaneous formation of a membrane that can selectively remove calcium. Calcium at higher concentrations is cytotoxic and will aggregate proteins/nucleic acids. Calcium regulation is therefore tight and ubiquitous in living things. See article. [sciencedirect.com]

Given such a membrane and some short DNA polymers, we also need to translate this random "information" into something meaningful. The current mechanism is: DNA -> RNA -> PROTEIN. This requires RNA polymerase or, at least, some ribosome-like enzyme to make a protein product. These enzymes are usually proteinaceous themselves--catch 22. We also need a DNA polymerase for replication if we wish to propagate our newly acquired "information".

I am more interested in how this spontaneous aggregation of DNA crystals could play a role in living cells.
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