Genetic Building Blocks Found In Meteorite

Conjuring up images from the movie “It came from Outer Space“, it turns out we may all be from space. Some of us are “spacier” than others. This news of finding the building blocks of life in a meteorite comes as a small surprise.  I swear though I’m not related to anyone in Chico by by more than 17,000 AU.

Scientists have confirmed that the components of genetic material could have originated in a place other than Earth.

A recently published report explains how uracil and xanthine, two basic biological compounds, were found within a meteorite that landed in Australia.

The Murchinson Meteorite, more here

Here is the paper: “Extraterrestrial nucleobases in the Murchison meteorite”, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Sunday 15 June 2008 (Print publication)

A full copy of the research (HTML and PDF) can be downloaded at:


“They tested the meteorite material to determine whether the molecules came from the solar system or were a result of contamination when the meteorite landed on Earth. The analysis shows that the nucleobases contain a heavy form of carbon which could only have been formed in space. Materials formed on Earth consist of a lighter variety of carbon.”

Here is the full press release:

Imperial College News Release

For Immediate Release:

Friday 13 June 2008

Scientists have confirmed for the first time that an important component of early genetic material which has been found in meteorite fragments is extraterrestrial in origin, in a paper published on 15 June 2008.

The finding suggests that parts of the raw materials to make the first molecules of DNA and RNA may have come from the stars.

The scientists, from Europe and the USA, say that their research, published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, provides evidence that life’s raw materials came from sources beyond the Earth.

The materials they have found include the molecules uracil and xanthine, which are precursors to the molecules that make up DNA and RNA, and are known as nucleobases.

The team discovered the molecules in rock fragments of the Murchison meteorite, which crashed in Australia in 1969.

They tested the meteorite material to determine whether the molecules came from the solar system or were a result of contamination when the meteorite landed on Earth.

The analysis shows that the nucleobases contain a heavy form of carbon which could only have been formed in space. Materials formed on Earth consist of a lighter variety of carbon.

Lead author Dr Zita Martins, of the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, says that the research may provide another piece of evidence explaining the evolution of early life. She says:

“We believe early life may have adopted nucleobases from meteoritic fragments for use in genetic coding which enabled them to pass on their successful features to subsequent generations.”

Between 3.8 to 4.5 billion years ago large numbers of rocks similar to the Murchison meteorite rained down on Earth at the time when primitive life was forming. The heavy bombardment would have dropped large amounts of meteorite material to the surface on planets like Earth and Mars.

Co-author Professor Mark Sephton, also of Imperial’s Department of Earth Science and Engineering, believes this research is an important step in understanding how early life might have evolved. He added:

“Because meteorites represent left over materials from the formation of the solar system, the key components for life — including nucleobases — could be widespread in the cosmos. As more and more of life’s raw materials are discovered in objects from space, the possibility of life springing forth wherever the right chemistry is present becomes more likely.”

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Steve Stip
June 13, 2008 9:22 pm

I read somewhere that even if the entire universe was converted to just the amino acids found in life and allowed to react for the life of the universe, that even the simplest form of life capable of evolving would be statistically impossible.
A solution to this problem is to postulate an infinite number of universes and that we just happen to be in a “lucky” one or else we would not be able to notice how lucky we. Those other universes, I understand, are undetectable even in principle. This leaves one with the ironic necessity of “faith” in order to believe in them.
Bring on the abuse.

Mike Bryant
June 13, 2008 10:50 pm

Reminds me of the movie “Expelled”. Choose your faith,
Mike Bryant

Roger Carr
June 14, 2008 12:13 am

Life began down here in Australia? That’s news to you? Crikey; we’ve always known that, but y’all have even ignored one of your own when he alerted you:
Australian history …..does not read like history, but like the most beautiful lies; and all of a fresh new sort, no mouldy old stale ones. It is full of surprises and adventures, and incongruities, and contradictions, and incredibilities; but they are all true, they all happened.” Mark Twain from “More Tramps Abroad” (1897)

Alex Llewelyn
June 14, 2008 12:49 am

Unrelated, but daily satellites are warmer than last year for first time this year…

June 14, 2008 2:59 am

jeez…. first we had Darwin sayin’ me Gran’ mother woz a Monkey….. Now she’s a rock from outa space…… !
*wink* couldn’t help meself. Thought I’d get the Creationists in on th’ act…

Gary Gulrud
June 14, 2008 4:23 am

Ah, “building blocks”, like molecules of Guanine, Uracil, Deoxyribose, etc.
Reminds me of Sagan’s theories from the 50’s following Urey and Miller’s work. DNA was first constructed inorganically in glaciers over the eons.
So Gaia is not ‘Our Mother’ but the ‘Cosmos’.

Bill Illis
June 14, 2008 6:51 am

The material that makes up meteorites also collected together to form the Earth. Humans and the Earth, itself, are space debris but there is no reason to expect that complex organic molecules (and water) came from space after the Earth formed.
I imagine sufficient quantities of everything was here already.
(We often hear how scientists say the water on Earth came from comet bombardment in the early Earth. But there always was lots of water in the material that formed Earth. In addition, there was lots of hydrogen and oxygen atoms in that material and, eventually, those two atoms were going to form up to produce the water molecule. The bonds are so strong and the reaction is more-or-less destined to occur – hydrogen burns very easily and that burning is actually the reaction with oxygen that forms water.)
Of course, other than hydrogen, helium and a little lithium, all the other atoms that make up Earth were once inside the interior of other stars and the elements heavier than iron were all inside a number of different supernovas, so we really are space debris.

kum dollison
June 14, 2008 6:52 am

Anyone who ever got broke when the Two Seat put all his money in the pot, dead to the “four of clubs,” and hit it knows that “Odds” don’t mean nothin.

Patrick Henry
June 14, 2008 7:10 am

Uracil molecules contain twelve atoms, and Xanthine contains fifteen. DNA molecules contain ten million atoms. It is a quite a stretch to believe that DNA could “spring” from such simple molecules. The universe is dominantly entropic, and the huge increase in order required is unreasonable.
We do not see any existing life forms simpler than DNA based, and we do not see the claimed progression of Uracil->DNA repeating itself anywhere in the universe – including earth. Both of these are essential requirements of evolutionary theory, yet we see neither.
The evidence for a random origin of life is much poorer than the flimsy evidence for AGW. At the time Darwin made his theories, it was believed that “simple” life forms like lichens were in fact very “simple.” We now know that isn’t true, and it is time to advance the science past 150 years ago. Hard core Darwinists are stuck in the distant past, and it is time to end the dogma on all scientific fronts. They are even more clueless than the bible thumpers.

Bruce Cobb
June 14, 2008 7:24 am

So, what they’re saying is that life was here, just that meteorites may have contributed their own DNA building blocks. Interesting theory. The article doesn’t talk about how life actually begins, which is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. I personally am a proponent of the scientist Wilhelm Reich’s works in that regard.

June 14, 2008 7:26 am

Great. Now I have to send out yet another invite to a relative for my family reunion. Maybe I can just say I mailed out the invite, but it must have gotten lost in the mail. I have some boring relatives, but “Rock” really takes the cake…

Tom Bruno (in Florida)
June 14, 2008 7:30 am

I always new my step mother was an alien.

June 14, 2008 7:45 am

So… extraterrestrial soot deposition?
Steve Stip:
As for the old timeless unary one, no need to be apologetic. The assault on religion in western culture is grossly out of balance. It does indeed require faith to accept abstruse mathematical speculations in cosmology. But after a point the dilemma becomes obvious: It’s turtles all the way down!
A lot of atheists have gone for Gaia-science as their replacement religion. I say this as a non-theist. Y’know? A heathen in the back-pews… 🙂
Their cause celebre fills a God-shaped hole in their lives. I know how it sounds ironic for me to say this but I’d rather the susceptible go back to believing in God, at least there are broad humanist standards that aren’t driven by a media-powered elite. Some of the angry anti-theistic garbage that passes as atheism is just plain mean.
I’m also Buddhist but just as far in the back pews as I am in any other religion. My friend says I have all the makings of a bad Catholic. I hear the first ring of Hell has both stadium heating and visitation rights.

June 14, 2008 7:46 am

D’oh! That was supposed to read “stadium seating.”

June 14, 2008 7:51 am

Man from meteorites . . . how farfetched.

June 14, 2008 7:54 am

“The finding suggests that parts of the raw materials to make the first molecules of DNA and RNA may have come from the stars”
Surely any ‘raw materials’ heavier than Hydrogen came from the stars at some point in time, we are all made up of stardust!

Retired Engineer
June 14, 2008 8:01 am

Very believable. I’ve dated women from outer space, others were convinced I crawled out from under a rock…)
Slightly more seriously, scientists have ‘created’ some of the DNA building blocks by electrically zapping chemicals thought to be in primitive Earth’s environment. Maybe carbon has a predisposition to assemble in certain ways.
As for what preceeded the Big Bang, I’ve long though a loud voice saying “Let there be light” would fit the requirement.

Steve Stip
June 14, 2008 8:08 am

I’ll bring ice water when I visit.

Craig Moore
June 14, 2008 8:16 am

I guess this explains the rocks in my head. Are these meteorites God’s carbon footprints on the path to celestial caused climate change?

G Alston
June 14, 2008 8:27 am

Steve Stip —
I’ve heard this argument before and have always found it to be lacking. It’s not been thought through, although it sounds eminently reasonable on the surface.
A lot of stuff is statistically improbable if you assume mere randomness. One example of a creationist argument illustrating randomness is that you can put say 20 parts of a meat grinder in a clothes dryer and let it tumble for a thousand years and *still* not have anything other than 20 random parts when you were done — no meat grinder, no self-assembly. Stuff doesn’t self-assemble, thus Darwinist thought is said to be disproven.
But then again, this argument is false. There is no natural reason for the parts to *want* to mate up. But in the atomic universe this is not the case. Due to valence and so on, hydrogen atoms *want* to bond to oxygen atoms and create water. Similarly, atoms within certain molecules *want* to bond to other atoms. This is especially true in favourable conditions. Suddenly, the apparent randomness is no longer very random, and more complex atomic chains are not only unsurprising but expected.
DNA is a prime example… G, T, A and C molecules *want* to bond to each other, and will do so spontaneously. They do so in known pairs. This isn’t by accident or randomness, but as the result of their atomic construction. In short, there isn’t as much randomness as claimed. My question is what the motivation is for such claims — are they propagated by those who fail to think it through or by those with a fundamentalist agenda?

June 14, 2008 10:10 am

there is no contextual difference between “in the beginning God said “let there be light” and describing the singularity that is referred to as the big bang – there is however (to my feeble neurons anyway) a 180 degree difference in mental processes. The former is handed down from on high, unalterable, unquestionable, and non-falsifiable. The latter implies questioning, wondering and experimentation – and the ability to discard theories that do not adhere to observation and measurement.

Steve Stip
June 14, 2008 10:45 am

G. Alston
From what I understand, amino acids do “desire” to link up. It is not the “desire” to link up that is in question but the probability of forming a system that can replicate and evolve. From what I understand, amino acids don’t have much preference in bonding with each other. But even if this is false, I can think of another thought experiment. Convert the entire universe to the amino acids necessary for DNA and let them react for 15 billion years. Would that give a DNA strand (neglecting the other components necessary for a life form) that could evolve?
I am neither a chemist or a mathematician. I have read that the evolutionists and the mathematicians broke up in 1964 over the improbability of the origin of life by chance alone.
I do not say that the origin of life is impossible by chance alone; just that it is statistically impossible in THIS universe given its size and age.
Life could not have originated in this universe by chance alone. But what about an infinitely old and/or large universe? Then anything is possible including the chance formation and evolution of a Creator.
This universe may simply be a big crib.
By the way, I am indebted to Dr. Hugh Ross for the above info.
As for agendas, just this, that science quit dismissing the idea of a Creator out of hand. It is as silly as ants in an ant farm dismissing the possibility of humans.

Patrick Henry
June 14, 2008 10:50 am

G. Alston,
If what you are saying were true, we would see –
1. Many different types of GTAC based life – not just DNA based.
2. The process of life evolving from basic building blocks repeating over and over again.
3. Life all over the universe.
We see none of the above. Obviously there is a critical component to the equation which is non-random.

Steve Stip
June 14, 2008 10:50 am

Forgive me, true scientists would not dismiss that possibility. Perhaps they should reign in their over enthusiastic fellows and disciples though.

Jeff Alberts
June 14, 2008 10:51 am

We do not see any existing life forms simpler than DNA based, and we do not see the claimed progression of Uracil->DNA repeating itself anywhere in the universe – including earth. Both of these are essential requirements of evolutionary theory, yet we see neither.

And we’ve looked in SOOO many places in the universe. Some theories may never be experimentable, but the alternative, a big sky daddy, is simply so silly it doesn’t deserve discussion.

June 14, 2008 11:18 am

We are born.
We will die.
In between we wonder why.
(Except in my case, when I’m eating a really good cake.)

Steve Moore
June 14, 2008 11:31 am

Hey, maybe Fred and Chandra were right after all!

June 14, 2008 11:56 am

Interesting read, but I doubt the ideas behind it somewhat.

Patrick Henry
June 14, 2008 12:12 pm

“Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”
“The scientists’ religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”
Albert Einstein

June 14, 2008 12:13 pm

Another meteorite that is astoundingly important and collected correctly (by a non-scientist) is the Tagish Lake carbonaceous chondrite that fell in January 2000. It had the decency to fall on a Canadian Lake and pieces were found by local resident. He collected them in plastic bags and kept them frozen until turning them over to scientists.
Most carbonaceous chondrites don’t survive entry or become degraded quickly. This one retained much of its volatile chemicals and provided scientists a once in a lifetime chance to study such pristine materials.
No amino acids or nucleic acids, but a good collection of other organics. Including nicotinic acid. Who knew ET smokes?….39.1737H

June 14, 2008 12:34 pm

“This universe may simply be a big crib.” Petri dish?
Panspermia: Its own origins and evolution
The idea that the seeds of life are ubiquitous throughout the cosmos goes back to Anaxagoras, a Greek philosopher. In the 1800s, French chemist Louis Pasteur proposed that spontaneous generation of life could not have occurred on Earth. British physicist Lord Kelvin and others jumped on Pasteur’s bandwagon and suggested that life might have come from space.
Two leading researchers carry the bulk of the panspermia torch. The renowned Sir Fred Hoyle, known for his studies of star structure and the origin of the chemical elements in stars, has worked with Chandra Wickramasinghe over the past three decades to pioneer the modern theory of panspermia.

Evan Jones
June 14, 2008 2:08 pm

We are stardust, we are golden,
We are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Tom (in Florida) Bruno
June 14, 2008 3:19 pm

To all who have used the argument “we don’t see any” or words to that effect:
We have only been able to really “see” about 60 or 70 light years out. Our Milky Way galaxy is 100,000 light years across. There are millions of galaxies in the known Universe. How egotisical to say we “Know”. I do believe there is plenty of life out there, however, I absolutely reject the idea we have or are being visited by anyone or anything intelligent that is not from Earth. Perhaps we are simply the top dogs so far, the most advanced species ever. Perhaps it is just by the happenstance of a lucky spot in a solar system that has a lucky spot in the galaxy which has allowed us to get this far in our evolution. Then again, only a species evolving on a planet that happens to have a lucky spot in a solar system that has a lucky spot in the galaxy would be able to evolve enough to even ask the question.

Kevin B
June 14, 2008 3:20 pm

I’ve always favored the panspermia idea, if only because it makes the chance of meeting aliens built roughly like ourselves a lot more likely. Since I’m a lover of sci-fi stories this has always had it’s attractions.
I did read one novel which postulated that life evolved as organised energy shortly after the big bang. Considering that all the space, time and energy in the universe was a lot more squashed together then it seemed plausible enough to me.

June 14, 2008 3:48 pm

Well, to some extend I believe that people are going to read more into this than needs to be. Yes, some forms of these chemicals could have formed in space. They could also form here from the same chemical building blocks once conditions were right for their formation. Yes, these in the meteorite might have formed before conditions were right here, but that didn’t mean that the chemicals that exist here were originally delivered from space and didn’t form here later when conditions for formation were better.
So if you have a stone (meteorite) with these chemicals locked up inside, it doesn’t immediately follow that these chemicals would “get loose” and cause life to spring up. I think it just means that certain chemicals can be created in all sorts of places, Earth included. And in and of themselves, these chemicals do not create life, they are simply some of the building blocks that evolved to be used in that process. And if follows that the building blocks would be rather easily created because if it was difficult, life probably wouldn’t have formed.
I believe that anywhere you have a duplication of all the miracles that have led to life on earth … the right gravity, a stable orbit, a stable star in a location with little cosmic radiation free from recent novae, the right amount of water, the right mix of elements, the right amount of volcanism to cycle things through anew and provide fresh raw materials, the right atmospheric content, the right temperature … life would probably be bound to develop. But there are so many things that had to be lined up just right to make life “catch” here, I do honestly believe that intelligent beings like ourselves are going to be exceedingly rare in this universe.
It could not have evolved around 1st generation stars as their planets would be only gas giants of hydrogen. It took Earth 4 billion years to evolve “intelligent” life and our star has less than a half billion years left of conditions where earth can support life. As the sun goes hotter and the earth’s core cools and volcanism stops, the oceans will outgass, the CO2 will be bound up in products of erosion and the Earth will die long before the Sun does. So you need stable conditions suitable for life for about 4 billion years if our experience is typical. We might well be alone in the universe.
It constantly amazes me how we are actually the universe being curious about itself.

June 14, 2008 4:19 pm

It seems reasonable to me considering how much meteorite activity over the ages that components of these objects could have contributed to the building blocks of life.

June 14, 2008 4:34 pm

where can we see the daily satellite temperature updates? i have not figured that out.

June 14, 2008 5:03 pm

I can’t accept the argument that if we can’t explain something God must exist. We might as well say: we can’t explain something, therefore the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists.
Also probabilities encompass both stochastic processes and the analysts ignorance of the true causal mechanism. So life appears unlikely to us; that may be because it is unlikely, or because we are ignorant of the causal processes that bring it about.
But to me, the most interesting thing about this meteorite is that it makes it much less likely that DNA and RNA are exclusive to Earth. Therefore, extra-terrestial life is much more likely than previously thought.
Bayesians, start your engines!

June 14, 2008 5:24 pm

Retired engineer,
the experiment you speak of is problematic in a couple of ways. First, the product of the zapping has to be immediately removed from the area where it is produced or it will break down into its constituents. Specifically he used a trap with cold water to catch the amino acids so that they wouldn’t be broken down by subsequent zapping or succeeding chemical reactions!! Probably not a very good replication of the conditions of the early earth.
The other issue with this experiment is much more important, and applies to all others that have been done. It is that they have been unable to create optical isomers of one type.
Optical isomers come in L-amino (left) or D-amino (right) types and are formed in equal proportions (racemic) by the current synthesis experiments. Earth biology is comprised of almost exclusively L-amino types.
In genetics and other biological experiments, the researchers use biologically produced optical isomers to produce MORE biological (exclusively left or right) optical isomers. We are still at the Life=Life Synthetic=No Life stage.
Of course, I always find it interesting how scientists look at meteorites and automatically ASSUME they have a non-earth source. With the huge collisions, that are pretty well proven, the earth would have lost quite a bit of material. Some of them may have impacted other bodies in the Solar System. Some of it would have gone into orbits which would eventually re-impact!!! Maybe these rocks are just coming home!! 8>)

Steve Stip
June 14, 2008 7:52 pm

“Some of it would have gone into orbits which would eventually re-impact!!! Maybe these rocks are just coming home!! ” KuhnKat,
If life (or its remnants) is found on Mars or elsewhere in the Solar System, I would bet that it turns out to be related to life on earth. The current theory
seems to be:
water + energy source + organic molecules + a wee bit of time = life.
By all means, let’s go to Europa and find out.

Patrick Henry
June 14, 2008 8:31 pm

Hi Steve,
Why so we need to go to Europa? If the theory is true, we should see the process of extremely primitive life evolving repeated on earth – over and over again.
I suspect if that was happening, we would have heard about it.

Steve Stip
June 14, 2008 9:05 pm

Darwin said something about existing life not allowing other life to get started.
Still we could sterilize a huge vat of amino acids and wait a while. Be we would have to allow it a few million years or so depending on the vat size. Europa has been sitting there for who knows how long with oceans of water.
“I suspect if that was happening, we would have heard about it.” Patrick
LOL! You can bet your sweet bippy we would have heard about it!
They would still be dancing (naked) in the streets.

David Gladstone
June 14, 2008 10:32 pm

Jack Sarfatti is a theoretical physicist, studied with Bohm and Feynman and Bethe, is now working on an extension to standard quantum mechanics/relativity:
Fred Hoyle predicted this. He also correctly predicted a key nuclear resonance in carbon 12 without which our life form is not possible
But no resonance was known in carbon-12! Enter Fred Hoyle. Hoyle calculated the temperature inside a large star to be about 100 million degrees and worked out how much kinetic energy this would give to the particles rushing around in the star’s atmosphere. Knowing the masses of both beryllium-8 and the alpha particle, he was able to predict that there must be an excited state at an energy of 7.6 million electron volts in the nucleus carbon-12. His certainty of the existence of this state was based on what we now call the ‘Anthropic Principle’ – since he, Fred Hoyle, a life form based upon carbon molecules, existed, then the resonance must also exist to create the carbon. A team at Cal. Tech. led by Willy Fowler ( later a Nobel Prize winner) began the search for the mysterious resonant state in carbon-12, and discovered it – just a few percent above Hoyle’s prediction. To this day, the 7.6MeV state in carbon-12 is known as the ‘Hoyle resonance’, and Hoyle’s prediction of its existence is possibly the only proven example of a scientific prediction using the ‘Anthropic Principle’.
Hoyle, using Wheeler-Feynman also showed that advanced light waves back from a perfect future absorber cause the present virtual photon zero point energy responsible for spontaneous down transitions of electric charges releasing real photons ~ “jerk” radiation reaction term ~ time derivative of the charge’s acceleration.
This is the key to understanding the anti-gravitating dark energy since the future de Sitter horizon is Wheeler & Feynman’s perfect future absorber.
– Show quoted text –

June 14, 2008 11:31 pm

Just realized I didn’t include any background info on the scientist and his experiment:
Miller Urey Experiment 1953
Here is an article on life and optical isomers:

Tom (in Florida) Bruno
June 15, 2008 4:23 am

Wasn’t it Hoyle that also deduced, using the same principle, that there must be also something different about the energy state of O16 that made it difficult for C12 and an alpha particle to stay together? If not, most C12 would have become O16 and we wouldn’t be here.

Steve Stip
June 15, 2008 6:28 am

I enjoyed the link on chirality. Thanks

June 15, 2008 7:33 am

[…] at Watts Up With That? some pretty cool stuff found in a […]

June 16, 2008 5:47 am

I am a simple farmer who at times ponders creationism V darwinism. But surely in this day and age why cant we build a super computer that is linked to all of the alledged building blocks of life, a mix master and a microwave oven and then load a program that says mix randomly until something happens?

Gary Gulrud
June 16, 2008 6:50 am

“This is the key to understanding the anti-gravitating dark energy since the future de Sitter horizon is Wheeler & Feynman’s perfect future absorber.”
My brain is full, can I have my nappy now?

Tom Bruno
June 16, 2008 7:13 am

New info:
Just because we can’t detect things doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

June 16, 2008 10:31 am

“We are STAR STUFF….”
– C. Sagan

June 16, 2008 12:31 pm

We are star stuff, true enuff
but how we got together
is quite another matter.

Pamela Gray
June 16, 2008 5:03 pm

Cure for information hangover:
Dark Irish beer, cold or warm, doesn’t matter. If you drink enough of it (and at my size it won’t take much), only the important things are left to figure out.

June 16, 2008 5:49 pm

Pam likes the beer.
She makes that quite clear.
She might be quite short;
but I’m sure she’s not stout

Alex Llewelyn
June 16, 2008 11:35 pm

Oh god its emabarrasing really this creationist nonsense. I mean really Patrick Henry, while life is unlikely to arise, over the whole planet over BILLIONS of years it would require just one fluke reaction among countless trillions of molecules to occur on Earth for life to arise. And furthermore, by the anthropic priniciple, we can include the probabilities of life arising on any one of the trillions on planets in the universe via the anthropic principle. So we wouldn’t expect to see life reevolving in our lifetimes because that IS very improbable, but will happen after billions of years somewhere in the universe, and it need only happen once, (although it probably happened many times) for there to be life. Also we can only see the tiniest fraction you can imagine of the universe at just one time, so frankly we have no idea if there is life out there. Moreover, how do we know whether life is present on a plantet just by looking. We have only landed on a few bodies in outer space and only in our solar system. Sorry, your argument is bogus: we wouldn’t expect to see any other forms of life evolving because we having been looking for long enough in enough places.

Bruce Cobb
June 17, 2008 6:01 am

Some say life is accidental, others say it is by a Creator. In a way, they are both wrong, and both right. What they are missing is the key element, beneath our very noses, an energy ubiquitous everywhere, and throughout the universe. Life energy, or what Eastern religions call prana, or chi, is real, can be concentrated, and has force. It can easily be seen by the naked eye by looking at a blue sky (because it shows up better, and is more vigorous in clear weather) and cupping both hands around your eyes (which focuses your vision, and shields the eyes from too much light so you don’t squint), focus your eyes at a distance of some 4 feet or so away – it helps to imagine a leaf or some physical object there. The rapidly moving white-yellow sparks spiraling and streaking about are one indication of that energy.

June 17, 2008 6:58 am

Take a primitive atmosphere of methane and ammonia and stuff like that, submit it to an electrical discharge ( simulated atmospheric lightning ) overnight, and in the morning you’ll find your container with a brown goo containing various amino acids, the building blocks of protein.
Under the right conditions, “life” is just a matter of time when the conditions are right. Maybe we were “seeded” from outer space, maybe not. But somewhere in the universe time won out over religion, for the Bible doesn’t even mention Alpha Centauri.

June 17, 2008 11:15 am

‘… for the Bible doesn’t even mention Alpha Centauri” Jim Peden
It also does not mention Pam’s favorite Irish beer. : (

June 17, 2008 11:17 am

or the color of my grandmother’s socks.

June 17, 2008 12:03 pm

Jim Peden,
I apologize for my brutal rely. We all have feelings, sometimes I forget that in my zeal.

Gary Gulrud
June 17, 2008 3:24 pm

Please, science is trouble enough for all who pass here. Let’s avoid the ‘deep questions’. The answer is 47, or was that 42?

June 17, 2008 3:30 pm

The number is 42 and is more profound than you might think.
The number for God in the Bible is ‘7’.
The number for man in the Bible is ‘6’
Go figure 🙂

Jeff Alberts
June 18, 2008 9:57 am

What’s the number for pizza?
Seriously, how is that profound? Is there somewhere in the babble that says multiply these two numbers and that’s the answer to everything? If you add them you get unlucky 13. That’s even more profound…

Gary Gulrud
June 18, 2008 10:37 am

Yes, I’m acquainted with Hebrew.
Newton and Maxwell, for example, have been described as students of scripture who dabbled in science.
I am not as sanguine that we dabblers in science can do philosophy, let alone religion, anything but violence. Sorry.

June 18, 2008 11:10 am

Good point about “13”, touche. Might be something to consider there too. I’ll not defend the Bible, it is quite capable of doing that itself.
I do recommend it to scientists and mathematicians. I think it no coincidence that many outstanding members of both classes were/are Jewish. To reconcile the paradoxes of the Bible stretches the mind and imagination.
I find it an amazing coincidence that “42” was picked. I was just pointing that out. But think of it, “What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?” Certainly it has meaning only to sentient beings and if there is a Creator, can He be excluded from the meaning of life?

June 18, 2008 11:12 am

in the interest of honesty, I’ve change my nom de plume. Drat, I meant to keep that secret. Oh, well.

Tom Bruno
June 19, 2008 4:52 am

Bruce Cobb,
May the force be with you!

August 26, 2008 4:02 pm

Yes I believe this… but who knows what else happened
Yesterday i had a dream where we , the Earth, was invaded from ufos and other type of lives. And I remember that it happened when it was reported to happen a rain of meteorites or some unusual activity in Alpha Centauri (news reported meteorites but they were ufos coming to the Earth). It is just a dream but you have to know that I don’t read about this subjects or read science fiction or whatever.
I do believe that intelligent life exist, my grandfather saw one and many friends too, and a teacher saw it along with a group of students… so this is real but the question is… how sure we are that they are not going to hurt us when coming here ? In my dreams they tried and we know that if us, people of the Earth, would discover other beings we would take advantage of them.. so I wouldnt like them to come here or I wouldnt send other meins saying “we are here”… the NASA should be more careful
They must be more intelligent as they already found the way to come here , so we should have a low profile I guess

August 26, 2008 4:13 pm

I promise you we are alone in the Universe. If not, may the space aliens eat me first. Sweet dreams.

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