June 9, 2008

Life Artifically Created In The Lab

Well, that actually depends on how you define "life."

If by "life" you mean self-replicating organic molecules, and by "creating" life, you mean doing something to transform non self-replicating organic compounds into self-replicating organic compounds, then scientists have created life.

What they haven't created is spontaneously-organized DNA or its equivalent, or fully-functioning, single-celled organisms. Not yet, anyway. The takeaway from this is that we are now a significant step closer to having an understanding of how life may have (emphasis on "may") actually started.

By the way, this is neither proof or disproof of evolution. This is biology, yes; evolution is one facet of biology but this is something else. Evolution purports to explain the diversity of life; why there are so many different species of lifeforms. Evolution does not purport to explain the origin of life -- although it posits a common ancestor for all life forms, evolution does not purport to explain how that common ancestor came into existence.

But this is an issue that ID advocates need to address because ID, unlike evolution, purports to explain the origin of life. It's plausible enough to believe that long ago, similar sorts of conditions may have existed in the right kind of environment and a simple self-replicating organic compound came into existence -- purely through natural causes. That self-replicating organic compound may have then evolved in divergent ways, setting in motion a chain of evolutionary developments that have led to the diversity of life noted today.

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