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#4045
James MacAllister
Participant

Duane,

 

Here we have confusion due to the use of language in the use of the word “self”.  Table salt will crystalize out of solution following the form of the NaCl molecule and this might be referred to as “self-organizing”, but what is mean is that the crystal forms according to the molecular bonds in a fashion that is nearly “automatic”. There isn’t any self in a biological sense.  I am not an expert on origins of life, but I have spent a little time studying in that field and there is a good deal of molecular evolution that would have taken place on the early Earth.  Their would have been an abundance of organic molecules (since these exist in space and would have been part of the gas and dust that formed the Sun and planets). The Miller/Urey experiment and other such experiments have shown that most of the precursor molecules for life can be formed by natural processes occurring in the early atmosphere. Various “scaffolds” such as clays or pumices at deep sea vents provide settings where more complex “near life” evolution could occur and deep sea vents provide a setting with an abundant source of energy in the form of hydrogen sulfide for many early “experiments” with metabolism.  The ideas of an “RNA-World” or “DNA-World” are this sort of pre-biotic evolution of molecules or of early biotic evolution with cells using only RNA at first and then later having some of the functions taken over by the more robust (as I understand it) characteristics of DNA.   Many natural phenomena lack purpose or intentionality. They are explained by  forces such as thermodynamics, electromagnetism, radioactive decay, gravity, tectonics, volcanism, etc. rather than teleology.