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How To Explain Life On Earth


One of the deepest, and most intractable mysteries of life, is life itself.

It seems that the reactions and the reagents and the conditions that are needed for life to begin of itself are vanishingly small. And then having stable enough conditions for life to develop into something that is conscious of its own existence and mortality seems like the stuff of science fiction.

So accounting for the reality of this can be daunting - we are here, therefore it is a fact that life has somehow evolved.

It is believed that life first began in the oceans, around 4 billion years ago, where lightning energy sparked reactions that brought basic amino acids in the oceans to be synthesised. These built up over time.

It is believed this led to what has been called a 'soup of the building blocks of life', although as everyone with a box of lego knows, it is a long way to go from the building blocks to the finished model.

It's hard to find a suitable analogy to life, but it's similar. The chance of those building blocks combining to form a longer chain chemical that self-reproduces is perhaps as likely as the blocks of lego being combined into the finished model by the action of the wind alone.

It takes a leap of faith. However, we know that life exists on earth, so unless someone comes up with a better suggestion (perhaps using some plausible form of external agency) it would appear that, however unlikely, this is the case.

As Sherlock Holmes once said, once you have eliminated the impossible, what remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

By: Sally on Sat, Mar 12th 2005

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