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Organic Compounds found in Meteorite


The Dark Lord

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Well, these finds aren't anything new. Amino acids and several other complex organic compounds have been found in meteorites before, but that doesn't really prove anything. Given enough circumstances (elements, liquid medium, energy), anything can be formed. Probability dictates that organic compounds would have to form sooner or later, with heavy emphasis on the former, since carbon is just such a versatile element that basically everything bonds to it.

 

The problem with using this and extrapolating that creating life is just around the corner is that we don't have the faintest clue as to how organic compounds "get together" and form life. Sure, we could always label this magical assemblance of compounds as an emergent property of nature, but that doesn't explain anything. There isn't a single theory out there that explains how the materials in a living cell combine and then carry out functions that label said cells as living entities. All this means is that humans probably don't have the mental capacity to explain or even rationalize the process in which chemicals can form life, and I doubt we ever will. We might be able to replicate life in an enclosed environment, but explaining the emergent properties involved is probably akin to trying to explain the creation of time.

 

I take it you've never studied biochemistry or molecular biology? We know that lipids agglomerate to form cell membranes due to hydrophobicity, we know that hydrophobic amino acids cluster together in the centre of proteins by the same mechanism. We also know this is how different proteins can cluster together to avoid the aqueous environment in which they find themselves. We know that certain amino acids can donate protons/react with certain molecules in other ways to facilitate chemical reactions in cells (i.e. catalysis). We know that complementary, single stranded DNA molecules join by hydrogen bonding and this is the basis of reproduction (four bases where A binds T and G binds C leaves few options for mistakes or deviations from this plan). We know that adding a phosphate group to certain proteins can modulate their shape due to local electrostatic interference, hence changing the active site of the protein and changing it's ability to do its job. We know how amino acids join by dehydration reactions and even the biochemical pathways by which they are formed (either from sugars or other amino acids, mostly). We know how inactive proteins can be activated by having part of their amino acid sequence chopped off by other proteins. We know that certain charged amino acids are attracted to others of an opposite charge, and we know how hydrogen bonding between amino acids can take place to form secondary structure, both helping form the shape of proteins. We know the pathways by which sugars can be broken down for energy or stored, or how they can be partly broken down and converted to fats. We know how oxygen can complex with the heam group of hemoglobin in red blood cells and be carried around the body.. We know all this, and a heck of a lot more.

 

The problem in creating life from scratch is not with our knowledge, it's with the application of that knowledge. It's just impossibly impractical to create life at this stage.

 

 

I have taken those classes, but those concepts are still all elementary Biology and Chemistry. What I'm talking about isn't the chemistry within living cells. We can recreate these things, yes, but it's not practical or even possible for us to comprehend how all of these properties come together to form an entity that can preserve itself and reproduce. One of the main things I find most "alarming" is that nature ALWAYS does things that require the least use of energy, but reproduction and the creation of life basically kicks Nature in the balls. DNA and proteins shouldn't be coding for and creating other proteins when it's obviously more efficient to just hang around in a liquid medium in a shape that minimizes polar/non-polar interactions. And even if this were possible, why do these chemicals (after all, life is just a jumble of chemicals) insist upon recreating copies of themselves? This expends vast amounts of energy and it isn't beneficiary to the individual cell in any case. Think of how efficient bacteria would be if they didn't feel the need to devote a large portion of their cell cycle into reproducing. Sure, it creates genetic variability, but what does that contribute to the individual?

 

Think of all the things you posted, and then think of how emergent properties could possibly combine all of those things and contrive what we call life. It's just not within our current knowledge.

 

I don't think I quite get your point, sorry.

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The Second law of Thermodynamics says that a spontaneous process in an isolated system will result in an increase of entropy. You can still have entropy reductions in a system (like a cell, or a zygote, or a planet) as long as its surroundings have an equal or larger increase in entropy. For instance, the growth of beings isn't spontaneous: you have a great deal of machinery and energy used for it.

 

Entropy isn't a being and it doesn't plan how it will increase in the future. The whole concept is much easier to understand on a microscopic level, and escalating it to biology isn't as easy as you think.

 

As for 1230abcz's point, you can imagine cells get randomly destroyed, and the genes inside the cell that reproduces will more likely subsist keep on existing. Even if it's not directly beneficial for the individual to reproduce, you can say it favours the genes on a larger scale.

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The Second law of Thermodynamics says that a spontaneous process in an isolated system will result in an increase of entropy. You can still have entropy reductions in a system (like a cell, or a zygote, or a planet) as long as its surroundings have an equal or larger increase in entropy. For instance, the growth of beings isn't spontaneous: you have a great deal of machinery and energy used for it.

 

Entropy isn't a being and it doesn't plan how it will increase in the future. The whole concept is much easier to understand on a microscopic level, and escalating it to biology isn't as easy as you think.

 

As for 1230abcz's point, you can imagine cells get randomly destroyed, and the genes inside the cell that reproduces will more likely subsist keep on existing. Even if it's not directly beneficial for the individual to reproduce, you can say it favours the genes on a larger scale.

 

 

Assuming your point, you'd have to think of a group of genes as an observant entity that performs actions for the greater good of the group. That in itself is intelligent design, but how different chemicals react to perceive such stimuli isn't well defined.

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I just read in my organic textbook that they already knew the Murchison meteorite had the amino acids required for life.... But even more interesting is the fact that there is a 7-9% excess of L-amino acids :blink:

 

As anyone in molecular biology or chemistry would know, pretty much all amino acids that make us who we are are left handed, even though there is no 'reason'. It's interesting to know that even amino acids on super old meteorites are also favourable left handed.

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