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Life from Non-Life

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/27/2018 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 677 times Debate No: 116047
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




I think i should start with a definition for life since alot of people have been making up there own definition for life, the majority of given definitions fail to take in account of virus's and other such pathogens and organisms that may or may not use DNA as an instruction carrier, so for this debate im going to be using the NASA definition for life which is as follows
"a self sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution"

I stand that life in its simplest form can originate from organic chemistry since it must have happend at some point in the distant past or we would not be here today to even discus it.


Right, so firstly, I'd like to start by saying that I've seen one of your previous (but still ongoing atm) arguments, in which you have debated the statement (in which you took the con side): "I am GOD, prove me wrong."

If you could joke about God and religion without fearing consequences, and probably realise that this is clearly blasphemy for most monotheistic religions (particularly Abrahamic ones), then I assume that you either hold really propgressive (or perhaps scientific) views, or you're an atheist.

Now this, on it's own, already sets the bottom line that you most likely do not believe that God is the main reason life was created, which sort of leads this argument into a more scientific-theme.

So I'll start off by asking you, rather simply, and rather clearly, if you can believe stuff can spontaneously generate.
For centuries, people believed that we contained a substance in our bodies called 'phlogiston', which makes things burn, although, weirdly enough, a lot of people who believed in that (mainly in Europe, particularly Western Europe), also believed we were made from Hydrogen and Water, which is still believed and proved today. They also believed that germs were 'spontaneously generated'. This on it's own sets the precedent that it is an outdated and irrelevant thing to argue about, but either way, I'd like to see what you have to say about this.
I'd like to take a philosophical approach too. You can create stuff out of nothingness, can you ? I mean, just like the 'Big Bang' happened out of nowhere for no explainable reason (still unexplainable today by using 100% science and not other fields such as religion or philosophy). I mean there's the theory that once a lot of quarks have gathered, atoms are created on the spot. However, we gotta ask ourselves where do these quarks come from ? And it can't be an endless cycle, as it is impossible that 100% of the universe was disintegrated from it's previous state and then later amazingly EXPLODED (sudden and powerful release of energy) back into what it is ?
We are made from chemical compounds, which you've specified, that is a fact, but those chemical compounds couldn't've come out of nowhere, could they ? Compounds are made from atoms, atoms are made from quarks, and... Quarks are the last thing on our list, nothing that would be able to be identified beyond those, no point in having such small bits anyways. And they don't fall out of the sky.
Debate Round No. 1


Well you are very honest and straight to the point, i kinda fall into a middle ground between atheism and being an agnostic, while i believe that there is a possibility that a supreme being may exist out there, the evidence for such is not met, people will often think im saying that there is a possibility Jesus was the son of god, thats not what i mean however, while i believe that a supreme being may exist, its definitely not going to be the god of the bible, let alone any other gods dreamed up by humanity throughout our history.

I dont have much to say on the whole spontaneous germs thing mainly because the tests they did back in the old days didn't take chemistry or anything like it into example, the test was the put meat into two jars, and cover one jar, the open jar rotted, while the closed one didn't, however this only proves that your not gonna generate bacteria with decomposing meat in a jar, on-top of this the biggest misconception i see creationists latching onto is that they think were saying that bacteria like Ecoli were generated from pre-biotic conditions, this is not the case, the first cells were much simpler, to the point were they didn't use proteins or perform metabolism, and probably used a genetic polymer such as RNA to both store and catalyze information and reactions long before proteins and DNA came about.

I have read what you have said on the big bang, and i wish to correct it little bit, there was no matter before the big bang, the big bang was a rapid expansion of space and time which itself was filled with just energy in the form of radiation, it was not until some time after this expansion that quarks and gluons, bosons, hadrons, leptons formed from this energy, and these eventually paired up into sub atomic particles, only protons and neutrons survived since they are the most stable of sub atomic particals, eventually the universe cooled down enough that electrons could pair up with protons and neutrons to form the first hydrogen atoms, and its basically cosmological evolution from that point onward.

As for how and why the big bang happend, i dont know, and just because i dont know doesn't mean im gonna stick a god must have done it to fill it, you say that the universe cant be endless, but from what we can tell, energy seems to be eternal and when you go back far enough you will encounter a point at the beginning of everything where time simply stops, in other words it appears that space-time gives way to just space if you go back far enough, again i dont know what caused the big bang, but that leaves us able to figure out, like everything else.

But if i had to make an educated guess, this would be it
"Nothing by definition does not exist, therefor all you are left with is existence" <- not fact, just my take.


Of course, that is a theory, but only a mere theory.
I am not arguing that God in particular created life, I am simply arguing whether life could be created from non-life or not. If it would've been created by a Creator, it would imply that it didn't come out of nowhere.

So, you believe that stuff can be spontaneously generated, because of your belief that space existed before time, and matter existed before our history, our DISCOVERABLE history.

Ok, I am not denying your argument, but whereas you can provide necessary proof for whether something else in nature rather than simple atoms, which we are aware make up living organisms, that generate instantly, and add an explanation, and also proof that it did not generate from something previous, and so on and so forth, trying to go back to the origin, I believe your point could be more considerable.
Debate Round No. 2


Im arguing that life can come from non life, which means i believe life can arise out of organic chemistry, how this matter and so forth came into existence in the first place is besides the point, i was just responding to what you said regarding cosmological evolution.


And do you believe having compounds and elements made up into a perfect arrangement that is suited for existing and surviving would also happen out of nowhere ? (Sorry if it sounds aggressive or something, I am trying to keep this a civilised argument)

Also a notable example would be stem cells, which are unspecialised cells in an organism that can undertake almost any task and become specialised in a certain field, which are mostly used for growth, in more serious cases, for repair, but overall, it is simply a cell that can become anything.

As we well know, cells, like any other thing in a living organism are made of chemicals, compounds and elements. But what arrangement of random compounds do you think can undertake multiple tasks such as becoming testosterone (a main component in muscles) or blood cells ? I mean, we know that red blood cells are made from a compound called Haemoglobin, which has the chemical formula of exactly C2932H4724N828O840S8Fe4, whereas testosterone has a chemical formula of exactly C19H28O2. Now I'm not sure how it would contain so many elements, enough to take any function as haemoglobin, or in what sort of process would it lose so many to remain with C19H28O2 to be testosterone. Also, how does that happen on a 30 minute basis ? I mean, steam cells reproduce every 30 minutes, so after 1 hour you have 4 and after 2 hours you have 16 and so on.
This shouldn't be possible without the consume of energy, which would mean that most of the compounds and elements nature has to offer would run out eventually.
Debate Round No. 3


Well first of all Haemoglobin is just a protein that exists inside redblood cells, the cell itself still have a cellier structure, secondly this is useless when we enter the single celled world because Haemoglobin is used in a blood cells which in itself reside inside the blood vessel's of multicellier organisms.

Stemcells use resources from the environment around it and convert it into energy the cell can use, if it didn't it would violate conservation of mass and energy.

But you need to understand that there must have been a point early in life's history were this protein machinery simply did no exist, this is because DNA needs proteins to exist and replicate, while proteins need DNA to exist in the first place, a classic chicken or the egg problem, this is why it believed that RNA came before both of them since RNA is a close chemical cousin to DNA, and RNA can act as both a catalyst for reactions, while at the same time RNA can store information like DNA, but one of the main reasons RNA is thought to have kick started this whole process is because RNA is capable of self replication, via a process called template dependent replication.

However without protein machinery there would have been no way to get things across the cells phospholipid membrane since phospholipid membranes are too good at creating a barrier, this suggests that the first cell membranes were likely made out of a mix of simple fats and alcohols that could have easily formed on the prebiotic earth, membranes made out of simple fats and alcohols will allow certain molecules such as ribonucleotides to cross between the membrane but keep other unwanted things out, further more it has been demonstrated that when these vesicle's are exposed to free floating fats the vesicle's will grow and even divide on there own, so the conclusion that we have made from this is that the first living thing that we could actually call a "cell" was likely a self replicating RNA inside a self replicating fat alcohol vesicle.

The real question is how do we get the origin of DNA and coded protein synthesis from these minimal cells, there is still alot of work being done on this question, however back to how the molecules that make up these minimal cells came into existence in the first place, it has been demonstrated that with the right chemistry you can create Ribonucleotides from much simpler molecules that were on the pre-biotic Earth, and not only that, but when exposed to ultra violate radiation, which would have been plentiful on a young earth without any ozone, leaves only right handed nucleotides which itself can bind into RNA chains by using simple clays or ice as a catalyst.

My point is all the talk about proteins and stem cells have little value in this conversation since life at one point was not as complex as stem cells nor did it even use proteins, and likely wouldn't have even been a "cell" at all.


Right, okay, I might've been off the hook, as I was straight-up talking about a full-scale organism, particularly us.
Right, as I'm doing my science exams, I have been lucky to have revised for my biology exam (which I just had today), and in my book I came across something similar.
So, yes, it is true that life at one point, microorganisms did not require things such as oxygen for living, as, for example, the atmosphere was full of elements like Nitrogen which might've added to the point, and since red blood cells' main job is to carry oxygen to the muscles, we know the existance of complex organisms was not particularly possible.

However, we gotta ask ourselves a simple question. The spontaneous generation, which, let's assume was actually possible from whatever elements being able to form whatever, made life, right ? Well, my main question, which I gotta address in order to make understanding of the concept of life from non-life is why was the new organism suddenly able to 'live' and WHY did it 'live', It did not have a brain telling it what to do, it was too primitive, it only had genetic information which told itself how to duplicate and all, but what is the point ? This is a philosophic question I have to ask. Why did it just 'live' and not die, as it would not feel pain without 'nerves'. What made it survive ? What instinct and from what ? And if you are semi-agnostic or semi-atheist, if there is no point but survival in this life, why did the microorganism even replicate, I mean it wouldn't exactly help it in anyway, it would be a direct waste of energy.
Debate Round No. 4


The only goal for an organism is the survival of its genetic material, without replicating this wouldn't be possible, and if living things didn't replicate there genetic code, then the code would never change or be altered, this seems like it would be well and dandy, until the environment changes and everything goes wrong, every cell would be equally prone to this change and all die, when you have replicating systems prone to change, natural selection inevitably follows selecting out individual ones that have a slight advantage over others to a specific or multiple selective pressures.

This is the whole problem with life, it doesn't have a sound definition, long ago we used to think there was this life force that gave life to inaminate material, this was until it was discovered that substances only produced by living organisms were also able to be created with simple chemistry, once we figured out that life is just chemistry it lead to an explosion in medicine and other things alike, you can zoom into one of your cells "which would be a complex eukaryote" and you will find that no part of the cell is alive, its all just a series of chemical reactions partaking in a complex orchestra to keep the cell and the genetic material alive, so if your cells are not alive, and you are made entirely of cells, then you by definition are not alive, this is the problem with trying to define life, that's why I use the widely excepted NASA definition for life "a self sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution" by this definition the simplest living thing Earth is a viroid, a viroid is just a looped strand of RNA that infects plant cells by hijacking one of there proteins called RNA Polymerase II to continuously replicate over and over, they are thought to possibly be some of the last living reminets of an RNA world.

So basically "cells" were not the first living organism, the moment a nucleic acid formed on the prebiotic Earth that could replicate itself "similar to a viroid" that was the first living organism, cells can be described as HUGE evolutionary advantage, when one of these self replicating nucleic acids got encased in a primitive membrane this would be have been a huge advantage over those that lacked this membrane, because now the molecule has a closed off space to perform chemical reactions and grow without interference from other molecules, its basically a build in complexity from there.

So the moment a molecule was able to replicate itself with changes as a result of replication, that would be the moment something would be alive

Cells don't really have instincts, instincts and consciousness are just a property of some living systems.


So you are arguing that we are in fact, somehow, not alive ? Even though the pure definition of life was, as you said from the get-go, the basic characteristics of a living thing are as follows:
-Organization. Living things are have an organized structure to perform a specific function. In particular, a living thing is made up of a single or a group of cell(s). A cell is the basic structural and functional unit of any organism. Okay, we have established this may be possible from non-life.
-Homeostasis. A life form would have an ability to keep up its existence, for instance, by regulating its internal environment to keep up a constant or favourable state. It has a survival instinct as it's building block, however it would be illogical to assume that under whatever reason the organism can do this on it's own, just as we can't assume atoms on their own can form ionic and covalent bonds on their own. They are sure built in a way to attract each other but under no circumstances do they all magically attract at all times. There MUST be some bigger force able to wield these attractions and reactions in both simple atoms and micro-organisms
-Metabolism. A living thing would be capable of converting energy from chemicals into cellular components through anabolic reactions. It would also be capable of decomposing organic matter through catabolism.
-Growth. A living thing grows, i.e. in size or in number. This is simply a result of consuming resources. However, we have already discussed that billions of years ago, for example when oxygen was first released in the air, there were many types of micro-organisms, some who survive using oxygen, nitrogen, etc. Basically, all micro-organisms survived using a different method. This would mean that we would need to have giant bacteria at this point and nothing would be able to survive from such reactions.
-Response. An organism has an ability to respond to stimuli or to its environment, usually through a series of metabolic reactions. Again, this has to do with the simple concept of a conscience. I do not know how this happens or how do you believe this works if they came from non-life. They couldn't possibly change their ways like that and have a built-in mechanism of 'survival instincts'
-Reproduction. One of the hallmarks of life is the ability to reproduce, i.e. producing a new of its kind. Now this might be possible using energy, but in the very end.
-Adaptation. An organism is capable of changing through time to adapt to its environment. Then again, those changes cannot have come out of nowhere, nucleic acid or not. Something bigger must've interfered.

In conclusion, life could've not generated with account of 'survival instincts' 'awareness of itself and the environment' and 'the ability to judge (from a surviving point of view). They couldn't've just fallen out of the sky. I would've argued about God, but seeing that you do not necessarily want to accept proof about His existance and such, and it's just your personal view, I went by what I thought were the simplest arguments, logic, which simply implies that if somehow all organisms including micro die on this planet (with my exception, I'm also immortal now just for the sake of science), and then I put 2 rocks together and wait 2 billion years, on these rocks some nucleic acid will appear ? I don't think so.
Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Im_Intelligent 3 years ago
And secondly

"do not necessarily want to accept proof about His existence and such"

I would be more then happy to accept the proof of a creator, if the evidence was over whelming and sufficient, however all i have been given as "evidence" is a book that sounds like it was written by people thousands of years ago who knew nothing about cosmology or life itself, a bunch of arguments that have long since been debunked, this is not just my personal view, there is no sufficient evidence to support that the god of the bible ever did anything let alone that he ever existed in the first place.
Posted by Im_Intelligent 3 years ago
Posted by Im_Intelligent 3 years ago
That wasent my point, my point is that most definitions we have given for like are vague, which may or may not be a result of humanity wanting to feel special.
Posted by Im_Intelligent 3 years ago
I was responding to the comment below mine, he has been in some of my other debate commentary asserting god does things without giving any evidence of said.
Posted by HushamFusion 3 years ago
No, I am simply not understanding the basics of your argument, what exactly are you standing for here if it comes to the creation of life. What, just random generation ?
Posted by Im_Intelligent 3 years ago
You want to provide some evidence that your god did it, or are you just gonna keep asserting your goes does everything?
Posted by DeletedUser 3 years ago
Turning the comments into a mad debate about God:
All life came from nothing because God created it from nothing. Nothing itself is not biotic; therefore all life came from something non-living.
Posted by canis 3 years ago
Chemical evolution is a proven fact.
Posted by straightshooter 3 years ago
Agree. Ooze, meteor, aliens. Whatever. Just not a made up fairy in the sky.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by RMTheSupreme 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Round 4, that is all to say really. Con never defeats what Pro bring in Round 4 and until then I was not sure either side correctly attacked the other one or defended against the other's potential attacks but in Round 4 Pro won the debate. I'm not sure how to go into detail about it without quoting Pro word for word. Con clearly thought 'life' meant something more physically complex than it did and Pro won because Con didn't know what they were fighting against until Round 4 and then didn't adapt correctly to the argument of simple life forms at all. Con used no reliable sources at all, so that's also being awarded to Pro.

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