Friday, 10 May 2013

Chemical Origins of life

I am sick of creationists claiming that life could not have started from simple chemicals. It really makes me angry as I am a chemist and anyone with a chemistry background should be incapable of denying that life could originate from simple chemical processes.

It is for this reason that I am greatly encouraged by the latest edition of Nature Chemistry which focuses on the chemical origins of life. (http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v5/n5/full/nchem.1647.html) It has been many years since the initial primordial soup experiment of Miller and Urey (http://www.chem.duke.edu/~jds/cruise_chem/Exobiology/miller.html)which showed that basic chemical compounds could be transformed into the simple amino acids. Importantly chemists did not stop there, and they are now showing far more remarkable things with respect to chemical origins of replication/life utilising various types of molecules.
http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2013/02/self-assembling-molecules-offer-.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2857173/
http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110223/full/news.2011.118.html

But there is even simpler ways to show that life can happen through simpler processes than all these experiments shown above. Let it be noted here that the experiments above are also simple, but to show what is actually happening at a molecular level is the difficult part.

For example an amazing part of the cell is the cell wall (http://library.thinkquest.org/C004535/cell_membranes.html), which provides support for the cell and allows the flow of liquids and other chemical compounds (sugar, minerals etc.) in and out of the cell. Now its a real simple experiment to take some lipids (a type of fat which has a water loving and water hating  part) and put it them into water, where after you will see surely some lipid bilayers taking on a round form. In other words we have water inside and outside... which is the basic form of a cell wall.  The amazing thing about this experiment is that even a 5 year old can do it.


 http://studentweb.usq.edu.au/home/U1013108/biotutor/phospholipidbilayer.html



So when a creationists says there is no way that the origin of life can be explained I know that they are dismissing facts.