Why Have Scientists Never Been Able to Create Life?

 Science is not, by its nature, necessarily always contradictory to religion. Many prominent scientists have found elegant ways to mesh their religious and spiritual beliefs with the rational conclusions of science.

But one issue has forever driven a wedge between science and religion, and that is the origin of life.

Because if you can’t find scientific proof of the origins of life, it automatically lends credence to religious beliefs about an active big-C Creator who first breathed the spark of life.

But what if science could ever create a brand new life form in the laboratory, not a clone, not a hybrid, not a genetically modified organism, but a full-fledged, brand new organic life form?

Even a single viable cell measuring nanometers in size that was a genuinely new lifeform would be a huge scientific breakthrough and create a vast ripple through the philosophical continuity of the world.

So, is that why science hasn’t been able to find the answer? No.

It’s that they’ve been looking in the wrong place.

Simply (Not) The Best

Right now, the best that science has in terms of explaining the origin of life is either:

A) Life began as a group of inert chemicals that somehow spontaneously combined to form amino acids; OR

B) A meteor splashed into the Planet Earth a bajillion years ago, and it “seeded” the Earth with microscopic organisms.

Answer B, while potentially probable, just circumvents the answer. If life on Earth began because a giant rock covered in space bacteria brought it here, then where did the space bacteria come from?

Even worse, Answer B is impossible to investigate or verify.

Therefore, most experimental scientists seeking to understand the origins of life have been“hanging their hats” on Answer A. But none of the experiments tried so far have worked.

That’s because because there’s actually a third alternative that’s far more plausible and deserves more investigation.

What’s Been Tried So Far

The classic experiment in the scientific search for the origins of life was the Miller-Urey project of 1952.

I won’t bore you with the details, so here’s my summary — scientists boiled a bunch of liquid and then zapped it with electricity. This is where Answer A first originated because they successfully reported that some of the molecules had recombined in a complex way to form what we call “amino acids.”

This idea immediately became the dominant theory for the origin of life for reasons I can’t quite understand. From 1952–2011, scientists have kept the bowls of zapped liquid in the hopes that maybe life needed just some more time to make up its mind and magically appear.

But since then? More experiments that were almost identical in nature, such as zapping a different bowl of liquid with a high-powered laser.

And that’s about it, honest to God (if you can pardon the expression).

Science has come up with plenty of new theories about the origins of life but conducted almost no hands-on experiments to try and create (organic) life forms ex nihil in the laboratory.

Back to the Beginning

The right place for a scientific attempt to create a new life form would be to begin with would be to replicate the environmental conditions of the earliest life forms on the planet — single-celled organisms that appeared billions of years ago.

We know about their long history on the Earth from a variety of evidence. And the good news is that they’re still here with us, so we can study them.

The bad news is that they’re a fraction of zero point (a lot of zeroes) percent of all the life forms in this world. They are a thin sliver of the incredible diversity of life and so we often disregard them because of just how alien they are to us.

As strange as they are, the one thing we do know, though, is that they don’t live in a liquid that gets zapped by an intense energy beam (slash) bolt of high-powered lightning.

The First Snow Globe

All of the organisms that we are used to, the ones we call “life forms”, the plants and meat that we eat, the wood that forms our homes, the fabrics that clothe our backs, the creatures of land and the sea, the trees, the animals, the birds — all that we see in our environment is one big biosphere.

If it helps, think of a snow globe. All the creatures that we interact with in our lives are in that one snow globe.

What powers the lifeforms in that snow globe isn’t a bolt of lightning (or a blast from a space laser) but the energy from the sun. Every life form that we’re familiar with either directly harvests the energy of the sun or feeds on a life form that does.

But there’s a second snow globe on this planet, and it’s in this second snow globe that the earliest life forms originated and still live.

Logic would dictate that recreating those conditions might bear more fruitful results when trying to create a brand new lifeform.

The Deepest Rung of Hell

The energy that powers the second snow globe is not sunlight but a steady stream of high-pressure, super hot chemical energy.

The center of the earth is a gigantic ball of raging fire covered by a thin shell that we call the surface of the planet. This raging fire energy is always trying to escape, so it pushes up until it breaks through the skin of the earth.

In some places, this results in a volcanic explosion. However powerful, an eruption that is relatively short in duration is not an environment where life can develop.

But in other places, there is a steadier stream of raging fire being released — on the bottom of the seafloor.

They’re called hydrothermal vents.

Fire Up the Jacuzzi

Essentially, hydrothermal vents look like God added a psychedelic Jacuzzi option to certain spots on the bottom of the ocean.

These vents continuously bubble up insanely hot water packed full of chemicals 24 hour hours a day, 365 days a year, around the clock.

Not only are these “bubblers” home to the oldest life forms, but they’re also home to the greatest density of life anywhere on the planet. Scientists estimate that the bubbler zones have a density of life up to 100,000 times more than anywhere else.

Back to Snow Globes

The reason why Snow Globe 1 (powered by sunlight) is so much bigger than Snow Globe 2 (powered by bubblers) even though Snow Globe 2 is so abundant with life is that Snow Globe 2 is tiny.

There are only a limited number of bubblers scattered around the ocean floor.

But precisely because hydrothermal vents are so abundant with life, scientists could potentially create a new lifeform by recreating one in a lab setting.

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