life

Here we encounter one the biggest issues in the debate. Can Pasteurs findings be disproven or should we state that life can only spring from life - life being the first cause?

Pasteurs experiment

In 1864 Pasteur performed what is generally recognised to be a decisive experiment, disproving generatio spontana - even in Bacteria. See links 2-4 for more!

Origin of life

Steps into abiogenesis

Almost all of the experiments in this field are related to the origin of simple organic molecules, but that is only step 1. You can discern at least seven steps in this process:

  1. Step 1: amino-acids and building blocks of DNA - if they come into being spontaneously, we find left- and right-handed varieties (see below the links).
  2. Step 2: organising of monomeres (building blocks) into polymeres (proteins and DNA). Problem: random processes break down most of it and all kinds of unwanted chemicals will be formed. Decline and chaos is what usually happens in nature - unless directional building up can be done (using information).
  3. Step 3: After polymerisation proteins usually are folded in a specific 3D shape (sometimes inside special folding boxed), decorated with sugar chains and often joined to other moleculer (proteins and other stuff).
  4. Step 4: organising polymeres like DNA and proteins in more complexe structures with a membrane around it (the proto-cell). Problem: we don't know how this can be done without directional use of energy and without an information code.
  5. Step 5: enzymes have to see to it that all kinds of processes in the cell go in the right direction and the right speed (they katalyse), which is also necessary in step 7. Using RNA for katalysing itself seems less likely: RNA is unstable.
  6. Step 6: deliberate and directional exchange of molecules - gatekeeper proteins are necessary.
  7. Step 7: self-replication - an information code is necessary. Without this step there won't be any follow up and natural selection cannot work.

No real viable mechanisms are available. Some decades ago a scientist suggested a special syntropic power in matter (working against the natural tendency to chaos and falling apart) - not a shred of evidence. Polyphylists will suggest this is beyond science.

 

Origin of life and God filling the gaps?

Some people will say more research will lead to more understanding: we will less and less need God to fill the gaps. But in this case it seems to be the other way around. In former times it seemed so easy to believe in spontaneous generation, but first Redi, than Pasteur proved the idea wrong. More research has lead to the conclusion that we less and less understand how such complicated cells could be born by chance, by natural processes out of inanimate matter.

A minimum cell needs a minimum number of steps to be able to functione properly

LINKS:

  1. Wikipedia on Abiogenesis
  2. Wikipedia on Spontaneous Generation
  3. More about Pasteur and Spontaneous Generation
  4. Take a look at All about Spontaneous Generation
  5. Several articles about origin of life
  6. For more Dutch links go to: 'leven'

 

Even simple organic molecules can have two varieties - only one of these can be used in living cells

 

Proteins have to be folded in the right way - for some proteins special folding boxes exist

KEPLER-SCIENCE