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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

 

Who Says Science Contains No Religion?

There doesn't seem much doubt that the form and function of our bodies - all living bodies - is determined by the content of our DNA. There doesn't seem much doubt that that DNA can change, and that those changes can be inherited.

Some doubt that those changes can accumulate enough to produce clearly distinct species; others do not doubt. But, for the moment, assume that to be so.

Then all the way back at the beginning, when life first formed on this planet, there must have been some set of the appropriate, non-living resources, and there must have been so event that combined them. The details would be interesting, because this event has not been duplicated in any lab... but that is beside the point for the moment.

Instead, consider the result of that event: the very first strand of DNA was formed. The structure of that strand was so remarkable that it not only self-organizes; not only divides and replicates itself; not only builds and defines a self-organizing creature around it; it also endures billions years of random changes without being destroyed. Quite the contrary, in fact: these changes often add size and complexity to the resulting creature, making it more durable and adaptable.

Furthermore, this remarkable strand appears to be unique. Despite the years that have passed, there is no evidence of any non-DNA life, much less any that rival it. Even viruses, which are acellular and must invade DNA-based cells in order to reproduce, contain snippets of DNA or RNA.

Furthermore, despite all the years that have passed, there is no evidence whatsoever that the event, whatever it was, ever happened again. On the contrary: the similarities of all life at the cellular level is frequently used to argue for the validity of the theory of common descent.

So, even if all the theories are right, and even if life arose from non-living elements, then it did so only one time, in only one way. And that single self-duplicating, self-organizing strand that resulted contained within it all of the detail, richness, and diversity of living creation that we see today, merely requiring random bombardment by radiation, hazardous materials, and its own living metabolism as the keys to unlock them.

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