Eclectic Universe toolbar - easy install/uninstall!

toolbar powered by Conduit

Saturday, June 27, 2009


[The Helix Nebula - courtesy of NASA and The Hubble Space Telescope]

The photo above is also sometimes referred to as The Eye Of God. While it's an inspiring image to say the least, and perhaps it might lead a religious person to think of God, I've shown it here because it inspires me to comment on life in the universe and here on Earth as a result of, not God, but Man's efforts to create life from scratch and find it elsewhere in the universe besides Earth.

Just a few months ago there was an amazing development in science. Here are a couple of quotes from LiveScience:
"Now scientists have created something in the lab that is tantalizingly close to what might have happened. It's not life, they stress, but it certainly gives the science community a whole new data set to chew on.

The researchers, at the Scripps Research Institute, created molecules that self-replicate and even evolve and compete to win or lose. If that sounds exactly like life, read on to learn the controversial and thin distinction."

And, later in the same article:
Specifically, the researchers synthesized RNA enzymes that can replicate themselves without the help of any proteins or other cellular components, and the process proceeds indefinitely. "Immortalized" RNA, they call it, at least within the limited conditions of a laboratory.
More significantly, the scientists then mixed different RNA enzymes that had replicated, along with some of the raw material they were working with, and let them compete in what's sure to be the next big hit: "Survivor: Test Tube."
Remarkably, they bred.
And now and then, one of these survivors would screw up, binding with some other bit of raw material it hadn't been using. Hmm. That's exactly what life forms do ...
When these mutations occurred, "the resulting recombinant enzymes also were capable of sustained replication, with the most fit replicators growing in number to dominate the mixture," the scientists report.
So, we're getting close to being able to create life from scratch! I for one, don't doubt that we'll get there sooner or later.

My question is: What does that mean for those that would inject a god or other supernatural power into the equation of life's origin and evolution? In other words, if man can create life himself, then why would a god be needed to explain how life got started on Earth?

And, what about the over 300 planets we've discovered so far in our galaxy, the Milky Way? As the numbers climb, and they surely will with the deployment of the Kepler Space Telescope whose main mission is to discover Earth-like worlds circling other stars, doesn't it seem likely that we'll someday confirm that we are not alone in the universe? We've even discovered a planet in another galaxy - our close neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy.

So, where is it all leading? What's the next step? I believe it's all leading to another global paradigm of life itself! Sooner or later, it seems that there will be no place for a god to have done anything except possibly to have set the creation of the universe in motion to begin with. Perhaps that won't be enough for some people. For others, it will be too much to chalk up to mythologies. For me? I think the next step will be to find Intelligent extraterrestrial life. I admit that it might be a longshot, but that's where the path of science seems to be leading - as we step forward into knowledge.

Perhaps the Eye Of God is really in ourselves rather than in an inspiring image of the cosmos. And the Next Step is having faith in ourselves.

No comments: