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back to article SCIENCE and RELIGION AGREE! LIFE and Man ARE from CLAY

Topflight boffins say they have discovered that life - or anyway the necessary complex precursor chemicals without which life cannot appear - probably originated in ancient "clay hydrogels". "We propose that in early geological history clay hydrogel provided a confinement function for biomolecules and biochemical reactions," …

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Trollface

So...

... what about all the other claims in the Bible...?

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DJO
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Re: So...

I think this might be just a tiny bit "tongue in cheek", there is a slight difference between clays forming the substrate, confinement and some chemicals for early single cell-like structures to form, and squidging some clay into a man, breathing life into it and sending it on it's way. Of course I may be wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

The one about it being a good idea not to interrupt more important guests at dinner parties is a good one. As is the observation of Jeremiah that if you don't pay attention to the needs of the poorer parts of society you will get a lot of unrest.

The rest of it is somewhere in reliability between the Physical Review and the Daily Mail.

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Re: So...

Oh Jeebus...

I was just going to refresh my knowledge of the six days of creation in Genesis to see how well it tallies with science (the order is vaguely correct) but I got distracted by this moronic site:

http://www.missiontoamerica.com/genesis/days-of-creation.html

I like the way that it explicitly goes out of its way to show that there can be no compromise between science and the Bible ( or their interpretation of their version of a bible)

Oh, but it gets better- apparently T-Rex was a vegetarian (else it doesn't fit the scripture):

http://www.missiontoamerica.com/genesis/dinosaurs-people.html

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

@Dave 126

The problem in the US has been twofold: first, the Westward expansion outran civilisation, which meant that preachers outran scholarship, hence Bible literalists who didn't even realise the Bible wasn't originally in English. Second, American exceptionalism which tends to support the idea that mankind is unique, and that homo sapiens americanus is the very peak of the pyramid.

The chilling effect has had implications for anthropology, psychology and zoology, for a start (chimpanzees, for instance, can't have language because God only gave it to mankind) and even astronomy, where the plurality of worlds - something that was obvious to Pope in the 18th century - has to be defended as an idea against the people who believe in the uniqueness, in a vast universe, of life on Earth.

This is how it is possible to have, say, rocket scientists who believe that the Earth was created in 4004 BC. It is of course more difficult if you actually are a geologist or an astrophysicist.

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Re: So...

>Bible wasn't originally in English.

You aren't trying to imply that Jesus was a foreigner are you?

>homo sapiens americanus is the very peak of the pyramid.

Unlikely - they don't even play cricket

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Re: So...

Wow, http://www.missiontoamerica.com is awesome, it has completely changed my World view. As part of the explanation for vegetarian dinosaurs, he says "Big, sharp teeth do not mean an animal is a meat eater." which is correct of course, just think of sharks, no wait, think of tigers, um, no... lions. Well he did mention bears, so I suppose he must be right.

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Re: So...

"http://www.missiontoamerica.com/genesis/days-of-creation.html

http://www.missiontoamerica.com/genesis/dinosaurs-people.html"

Yep, crazy people tend to respond to the world around them in a crazy manner. This includes making crazy religions (not all of us think the Bible is a science textbook).

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Re: So...

"I think this might be just a tiny bit "tongue in cheek", there is a slight difference between clays forming the substrate, confinement and some chemicals for early single cell-like structures to form, and squidging some clay into a man, breathing life into it and sending it on it's way."

True enough, as every clay I've looked at the chemical analysis of had a dearth of iron.

You remember iron, that hemo part of hemoglobin?

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Re: So...

Now, now. As a lifelong US citizen, born in the US, raised in the US, I have to disagree with your disparagement of US exceptionalism.

The US is chock full of exceptional people. The same exceptional people who we usually load into a short bus to special education.

You *are* correct that religious lunatics spread as fast, if not faster than western expansion. Interestingly enough, the most respected in "the hills" are not men who have a college degree in any form of divinities, but in the "preacher", who is as qualified in religion as the petroleum station attendant in religion or pretty much anything else.

I'll also disagree your your species name. It is obviously correct as pan sapiens americanus, though I'm being generous with the sapiens part in regards to the entire species.

I do agree with the suppression of science in the US. You're spot on.

However, the Earth *is* only 6000 years old or so, from a relativistic perspective, for a sparse few particles throughout the universe. ;)

Even money, far more particles *really* close to an event horizon as well.

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Re: So...

I remember cricket. I sprayed the corner it was chirping from, it stopped. ;)

I'll not even go into US-foreigner nonsense. So short a life, shorter for being a US citizen within the US, so much to rail against...

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Re: So...

"which is correct of course, just think of sharks, no wait, think of tigers, um, no... lions."

Ever been bitten by a rabbit?

Oh, wrong TYPE of teeth. ;)

Besides, the last good evidence I saw, T-Rex wasn't a carnivore, it was a scavenger.

Seriously, I *am* entirely certain that T-Rex *ate*. What is open for interpretation. ;)

But, sharp teeth is relative. Snakes have sharp teeth, as do mice, rabbits, lions, tigers and bears.

Oh, my!

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Re: So...

"Yep, crazy people tend to respond to the world around them in a crazy manner. This includes making crazy religions (not all of us think the Bible is a science textbook)."

Well, if one changes water to fluid, the interpretation changes entirely. ;)

In the beginning, there was nothing. The hyperfluid was separated from the solid... ;)

Hey, one can take any silly and run with it in a ludicrous way to make it almost reach reality.

In the beginning, there was nothingness.

Then, I farted. So, I declared, let there be a light upon the fart and it was so.

The light changed the fart into water and other gases and I noticed the STAIN, which I called land.

Water, land. It was good.

Eventually, I got fatigued and created man.

Man was loathsome, evil, corrupt, mass-extinction driving, so I gave man fire to burn himself to death with.

Damn! Man didn't.

So, I gave Man iron, to stab himself to death with.

Bugger! He was and remains too prolific!

So, I gave Man nuclear fire.

The jury is still out...

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It takes guts to say Jesus

This Jesus fellow was a troublemaker from the West Bank, wasn't he? Probably Palestinian. They are like that, you know.

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Joke

Re: So...

Ever been bitten by a rabbit?

Rabbit? Is this the killer Rabbit of Caerbannog?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

That'll be a struggle.

Which six days of creation order are you going to use?

The one at the start of genesis which goes Heaven and Earth, Light, Sky, Plants, Sun moon and stars, Fish and birds, Land animals, Man and woman at the same time.

Or the one a little bit later that goes Man, Plants, Birds and land animals, Woman.

I think "Innerrency" may be town in Wisconsin.

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Re: So... (difficult if you actually are a geologist)

Well there is a Kurt Wise, B.A. (Chicago), Ph.D. (Harvard) that is infamous for the following...

"Although there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young-age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate. Here I must stand."

As Richard Dawkings so rightly sums this up "he volunteers that, even if all the evidence in the universe flatly contradicted Scripture, and even if he had reached the point of admitting this to himself, he would still take his stand on Scripture and deny the evidence."

With so many in the US blind to rational thought they are in serious trouble in the long run.

http://scepsis.net/eng/articles/id_2.php

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Re: So...

... Panda Bears. Pandas have sharp teeth and are vegetarian.

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Re: So...

So if Jesus was a foreigner from which country?

Where can we find his birth certificate?

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Re: So...

Science have proved the first humans came from Africa. So as a African born, let me correct you. Jesus made the first version 1.0 in the Magaliesberg mountains. You see the perfect clay for human conception only exist here. The holy tabernacel with enough clay hidden inside can be found here by truly religious people. If your faith is not strong enough you will not be able to see it. You can buy a chart worth $10,000,000 from me.

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SCIENCE and RELIGION AGREE! LIFE and mankind ARE from CLAY

< pedant>I think it's more likely that they're MADE from CLAY. I'm assuming that's a typo. </ pedant>

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Re: SCIENCE and RELIGION AGREE! LIFE and mankind ARE from CLAY

I'd say from clay is more accurate than made from clay in this context.

Humans are manifestly not made from various alumina or silicates, but are largely made of water and carbon and squidgy bits (technical term).

Like a farmer may be of the land but not made from actual cow shit (whether they talk it is a per farmer decision), life may be of clay but not made of it.

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Re: SCIENCE and RELIGION AGREE! LIFE and mankind ARE from CLAY

I knew I shouldn't have posted what I perceived to be a smart arsed comment when I'd been down the gym and needed a sugar fix. I take it back and I'm having a Mars bar.

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Re: SCIENCE and RELIGION AGREE! LIFE and mankind ARE from CLAY

Then you're fully equipped to work, rest, and dare I say it even play.

I want a mars bar now. Or a Marathon/Snickers.

(Oddly I can't remember a single snickers advert, but that marathon one where all the runners appear and run over his car is still stuck in my head)

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Re: SCIENCE and RELIGION AGREE! LIFE and mankind ARE from CLAY

So men are from Mars...

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Re: SCIENCE and RELIGION AGREE! LIFE and mankind ARE from CLAY

Probably shouldn't try to be a "pendant" when you're wrong.

"Are made from clay" would mean you could chop them up and you'd have pieces of clay.

"Are from clay" means there was some kind of process that started with clay and ended up with people.

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Re: SCIENCE and RELIGION AGREE! LIFE and mankind ARE from CLAY

Of course God made us from clay; the 3D printer hadn't been invented, otherwise he'd have used one.

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Anonymous Coward

Louis Pasteur, in 1859, disproved spontaneous generation.

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Pasteur disproved spontaneous generation in glass jars of modest size, which were subject to limited physical influences (tides, hot/cycling etc), over a finite period of time.

Had Pasteur's test apparatus been a geologically active planet and he had a few billion years to spare, he may have observed something different. Even if you attribute life on Earth to the Panspermia theory, that in turn must have originated somewhere.

Some clays are crystalline, and like many crystals their form can be influenced by the seed crystal from which they grew... the theory that there was an inorganic precursor to RNA has been around for a while (how could a complex mechanism such as the ribosome boot-strap itself); I think Dawkins mentions it in The Blind Watchmaker, along with the wry observation that carbon-based life might eventually prove to be a mere blip between silica and silicon, should intelligent machines ever supplant us meatbags.

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Anonymous Coward

@Dave 126

In fact, as one of our lecturers commented, Pasteur was lucky. Some bacterial spores can survive 125C and it was only by chance that none of them made it through the initial treatment in his apparatus.

"how could a complex mechanism such as the ribosome boot-strap itself?"

I agree, now I'm over 60 I have considerable difficulty getting my boots on some mornings.

Feeble joking aside, the precursor to RNA could have been one of a number of carbon chain molecules that are "organic" from the point of view of chemists. The idea that some clays would have surface hydrogen bonds in an orientation which encouraged precursors to line up and eventually form chains isn't that far fetched.

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FAIL

Louis Pasteur, in 1859, disproved spontaneous generation.

There is so much wrong with that statement that P is actually NP!

You need to return to the back of the line!

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However

God was actually trying to make a bowl

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Re: However

To put spare ribs into? And look what happened....

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Re: However

FAT AMERICANS! FEASTING ON SPARE RIBS!

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Life formed in clay?

If that happened at the beginning of life, shouldn't we be able to observe that nowadays as well? Is clay (and all other things) already too much "polluted" with life?

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Re: Life formed in clay?

I'd guess that it might happen, but some enterprising microbe would sense some delicious organic compounds and ingest them.

Amoebae, destroyers of nacent civilisations. (And incidentally protector of Rome at various points in time).

Conclusion, amoeba speak Latin.

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DJO
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Re: Life formed in clay?

Not polluted with life as such, more polluted with one of the most toxic and reactive elements known: Oxygen. Those pre-biotic reactions cannot happen now as the conditions are significantly different.

If you have access to BBC TV and don't mind being patronised rigid and having to watch a load of stupid CGI there's an hour long Richard Hammond program with about 5 minutes of useful info (and 55 minutes of pointless fluff) which might help a bit here.

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Re: Life formed in clay?

Not a new idea. From wikipedia Abiogenesis: A clay model for the origin of life was suggested by A. Graham Cairns-Smith. Clay theory postulates that complex organic molecules arose gradually on a pre-existing non-organic platform, namely, silicate crystals in solution. That was in 1985.

This idea is to explain how complex organic molecules like RNA which is primary to all terrestrial life might have been naturally synthesized. It seems impossible that these could ever have happened from their precursor molecules in solution. Looks like this new work carries clay world work a bit further.

Suggestion: hear The Teaching Company lectures Origins of Life by Prof. Hazen. Very listenable, interesting and exciting, if you're interested in this subject. Much more engaging then reading text books for overview, general coverage. Audio version is fine, all you need, IMO. Great for long car trips. Can often get TTC lectures on ebay for a song.

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Pint

Re: Life formed in clay?

"shouldn't we be able to observe that nowadays as well?". No we are not good at observing nowadays or anyodays for the simple reason we as individuals are too short living. Consider the age of our planet, say 5bn years, then considers a ruler 5km long from now to then. On that scale 2000 years is 2mm. 1M years is one meter. And that one meter is perhaps when we started to speak, one meter out of 5000 meter. And now we have mostly Americans who find it difficult to understand that the chimpanzee they saw 50 years ago has not produced a Batman or Bill during all those years. The damned thing is that it seems to work too well in the opposite direction. Then again if we study viruses and stuff like that we can actually observe things changing within our lifespan, and looking back in time we have archaeology which sounds more important than what it is, digging in the junk left behind, and there is a hell of a lot of that. What do they teach you at school.

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Re: Life formed in clay?

It could happen today, but mutations involve a terrible amount of luck and the correct environment to survive.

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Re: Life formed in clay?

"Shouldn't we be able to observe that nowadays as well?"

We can indeed observe more and more details of plausible processes. Using your favourite search engine look for something like ["Jack Szostak" "origin of life" clay] and take a look at the research he and others have been doing during the past decade or so and the progress that has been made.

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Re: Life formed in clay?

Although it''s not a new idea this paper does provide a little more evidence in favour of it. Moreover, it suggests that things more probably kicked off (as popularly suspected) with strings of nucleotides, rather than, say, strings of amino acids, or life-forms from other stars. Whether it's worth taking an interest in the subject is a different question, given it's far too late to do anything about it now. But each to their own.

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Interesting thought

If God exists then why would he bother with something as universally insignificant as mankind.

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DJO
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Re: Interesting thought

If God does exist then it would be because he like a good laugh as much as the next entity.

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Re: Interesting thought

This idea about clay shows it wasn't some science-hating[*] god that got life going here: it was Aliens From Outer Space who, being fearsomely scientific, knew all about the generative properties of clay and started the process running before blasting off for some place else that already had bright lights, booze and barmaids

[*] This is self-evident: all True Believers know that they are Made In God's Image, so if they hate science, then obviously He hated science. QED

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting thought

"If God does exist then it would be because he like a good laugh"

God is female, and we all know that (some) women have an affinity towards small, helpless and not terribly bright creatures (such as men and cats).

She likes to have a small planet to mother. But remember that mothers are not always terribly nice people.

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Coat

Re: Interesting thought

"If God exists then why would he bother with something as universally insignificant as mankind."

We all make mistakes, he created himself in the image of us, too late now, nothing doing. Sometimes I think, seriously, that M.Ali had more sense wanting to stay more anonymous as to his appearance, now in trouble, though, as he refuses to show his passport picture. Father Christmas is a dear friend since childhood, (not as well dressed as the pope but with better transportation and gifts not bills), but the Tooth Fairy is a damned disappointment as he has taketh more than he has giveth lately.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting thought

>all True Believers know that they are Made In God's Image

As Zappa observed, "God says we are made in his image So if we are dumb then God is dumb- and a little ugly on the side".

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Misunderstanding Peer Review

You write:

"Meanwhile the scientific community has also endorsed Luo and his colleagues' general gist, as the boffins' paper (pdf) outlining the role of clay in the appearance of life is published tomorrow in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports."

Nope. The fact that it is appearing in a peer review journal means that two or possibly three referees, and the journal editor, think the work is of such merit as to be published. This is a long way from endorsement by the scientific community. That will only come after the research has been scrutinised much more widely. Publication in a peer review journal is the first step towards wider endorsement but it is a big mistake to assume the former means the latter.

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