|"On the Other Hand"
Emmett's Blog and Essays
|June 16, 2004
Gift of Life in the Waters
a new theory of origin by Emmett Chapman
I have a straightforward line of thought that starts with water and leads to a profound leap of faith.
Acknowledged fact #1: Earth's oceans were entirely created by the bombardment of giant "slush-balls" from the outer Kuiper Belt of icy planetoids beyond Neptune. This happened in the early formation of our solar system and is evident in the remnant craters on the moon, Mars and Mercury, all of whose atmospheres were of insufficient pressure to retain their seas or form oceans.
Acknowledged fact #2: Life on earth began in the ocean.
Scientific quandary: How could such a complex and self-replicating protein molecule as DNA have assembled itself amid the clay and minerals of an ocean bed, sea floor, or by the rocks along a beach?
Acknowledged fact #3: Single celled life forms can exist frozen in suspended animation for indefinite periods of time. Such conditions are suitable for deep space travel of bacteria and fungal spores.
Acknowledged fact #4: Built into its DNA, all single celled life inherits the potential to morph into more complex life forms as a response to the various ecological niches it encounters. This happens over a truly "God like" span of time in a process we call evolution.
Acknowledged fact #5: Eventually, intelligent and self-aware life evolved on this planet, an inheritance that was built into the very first DNA molecule.
So where does this line of thought lead? Just that it's much more likely, probably billions of times more likely, that DNA came to earth via the conduit of the Kuiper Belt than from any self-formation here on earth.
Critics will argue, "You haven't solved the mystery, you've merely buried it further back in time." This is true. The mystery of DNA's origins remains unsolved no matter how far back in time or far out in space we place its nativity. The theory that life originated elsewhere in the universe is usually rejected as a sloughing off of scientific inquiry by way of infinite regression into the past.
Still, the actual age of DNA need not be the vital question, rather, how did it get here? And does it exist elsewhere, perhaps everywhere, possibly for all time, carried through space in frozen watery wombs?
The leap of faith: Maybe there was no "big bang" and the universe was always in existence. Some cosmologists think so. Maybe DNA was always a part of such a universe, as much a part of the mix as hydrogen. I realize the mental leap involved in placing the simplest element and the most highly complex protein together in the same infinitely regressed time scale. The very notion of DNA having no beginning somehow evokes an eternal God like state of existence and a universe that has always been conscious of itself.
However, DNA may not be the only option in arriving at consciousness and intelligence. DNA could have been a secondary development, engineered by some earlier form of intelligent life not bound by protein tissues and secretions - some fiery or electrical entity, or a living chemical soup as might evolve in Jupiter's middle atmosphere, or a primeval forest thinking and acting out its thoughts in eons instead of minutes, that is, something organized on a complex and self activating level.
Our DNA is a huge protein molecule made up of some three billion nucleotides or bits of amino acids as a sort of a cellular computer code for human life. The simplest DNA strand has all the appearances of an elegantly engineered molecular mini-machine, one that is also adaptable to re-engineering at this critical point in human technology.
1 - Was there ever a time on earth when DNA spontaneously came into being?
2 - Or, did it spontaneously occur somewhere else?
3 - Could it be that DNA based life always existed in the universe?
4 - Or, was there a moment of creation when DNA was designed by a different kind of intelligent life?
5 - If so, why would a non-protein entity create a DNA based form of life that could evolve into a rival intelligence?
Might the answer to this last question be that, besides light (that is, the entire electromagnetic spectrum called "light"), only DNA can travel long distances through space? Creation of DNA's carnal form of life might have been that alien being's only option to disseminate life and intelligence beyond its own locale.
The Kuiper Belt is an extensive ring of icy planetoids including Pluto/Chiron, surrounding our solar system as an interface with the rest of our Milky Way galaxy. If bacterial and fungal life were a form of contagion throughout the galaxy or even the universe, this outer ring would "catch the bug" first and pass it on to interior planets by way of showers of slush-balls and occasional melting watery comets.
The final leap: Such non-protein entities whose engineering technology might have extended to genetics and biology, and who might have created various experimental, alternative life forms, would be regarded by us as superior beings, even as Gods, or a collective God. I like to think of such a God as a designer rather than in the traditional role of creator. I'm a musical instrument designer. "God the Designer" has a nice ring to it.
Christians and Jews agree that according to Genesis Chapter 1, Verses 6 and 7, just after God completed his first act, the creation of light, He then created some sort of a "firmament" to separate the "waters" above from the "waters" below. I always wondered in Sunday School what that firmament could be. Webster's says, "The vault or arch of the sky." I agree insofar as the word denotes structure, as in gravitational pull and centrifugal force that together stabilize and bind our solar system - from the oceans below to the outer ring of icy waters conveying an abundant gift of life.
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