Musings on the origin of species

    The question of origination has plagued scientific minds since the inception of man. Where did we come from? How did particles go from living to non-living? Using every principle of physics, chemistry, and biology, scientists have yet to come to a conclusion. There are many theories that have been applied to the question of the origin of species, and these are a few which are still applicable today.

 

  Panspermia was the first cited theory-being mentioned in the 5th century by a Greek philosopher by the name of Anaxagoras (The word panspermia is of Greek origin, meaning seeds everywhere.) The theory suggests that organisms originated on other planets, embedded themselves into chunks of rock, and eventually arrived on Earth via meteors. Once the matter was on Earth’s surface, it evolved into proteins from amino acids, and eventually evolved into life.

  Abiogenesis, also known as spontaneous generation, is another popular theory. It’s the idea that life on Earth could have arisen from inanimate matter. Simply put, life began in water as a result of the chemicals in the atmosphere and some form of energy to make amino acids, which would then evolve into all species. Early concepts of abiogenesis were extremely simplistic. –Rotting meat was soon covered in maggots, and so it was assumed the meat had evolved into maggots.—This was the most accepted scientific explanation for the reproduction of living things as recently as a few hundred years ago.

  Inorganic incubation is essentially the same theory as abiogenesis, with the exception of the formation order. Instead of the amino acids forming first, and then evolving to a cell-like structure, scientists had the idea the cell came first and was later filled with amino acids. It was thought the first cells were really not living, but inorganic ones made up of iron sulfide, and they were not formed at the Earth’s surface, but in totally darkness at the bottom of the oceans instead.

  Creationism is the theory that the universe and everything in existence was created by the will of a supernatural being. The pertinent verse in the Bible, Genesis 1:1, states: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. Following this proclaimation, the earth is presumed to have been created in a period of six days; and on the seventh day “he rested”. While there are various forms of creation theory, there are also many metaphysical systems besides the likes of Christianity which cite a form of “intelligent design”; the roots displayed in the first few verses of the Bible are adequate.

  Scientific evolution theory is arguably the most popular theory to date . This theory relies strongly on the Big Bang theory, which was the beginning of the formation of matter. This eventually lead to the creation of planets, Pangaea, and life on earth as it evolved over millions of years. The theory of evolution suggests that all living organisms come from the same ancestor. As the population grew into larger groups, smaller groups would break away and evolve independently to eventually diversify into a new species. *The Big Bang Theory is the idea that the universe originated sometime between 10 Ga and 20 Ga years ago from the cataclysmic explosion of a small volume of matter at extremely high density and temperatures. Long story short, the universe began with a super-powerful explosion, and continues to expand.*

  Despite the vast amount of widely varying theories which exist to explain the origin of life, contemporaries must resort conclusions derived from inductive reasoning only on the basis of probability, as there is still no definitive proof as to which theory (if any yet devised) are correct. Perhaps, if the human race manages to overcome the odds and extend it’s survival a few more decades, current theories will have either gained strength or the sanction of the scientific community. Rest assured, even if man enters another stone age, the spirit of curiosity which drives us toward questioning our existence will not cease until mankind has drawn it’s last breath and the last neuron has fired.

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