生命的起源

地球上无数有生命的有机组织很久以来就被认为是因为上帝的介入而创造来的,就像《圣经》中所描述的那样。抛开那些相信对于《圣经》的字面解释,并且,不幸的是其人数要比人们预想的要多得多的绝对的信仰神创论者,没有哪个了解证据的理性的人会支持这种对于《圣经》的创造论严格的字面解释。但是关于上帝介入的说法还是受到一些宗教和其他团体,包括很少一些科学团体的支持,他们提出的理论是“智慧设计”(ID)。这种理论宣称人类起源和进化过程中的某些事件无法用纯自然的说法来解释。绝大多数科学家不接受这种理论,认为它没有可信的证据来支持并且就其本质而言也是不科学的。

现代科学对于创世纪的解释没有《圣经》上的故事那么精彩,但绝对不缺乏神奇。根据科学解释,地球是在大约45亿年前,即大爆炸大约90亿年后,在一片大气和尘沙的旋风中与太阳及其他行星一起诞生的。5亿年后,我们的行星已经完全从它剧烈的诞生的震动中恢复过来在物质基础上已经可以孕育生命了。又过了不到5亿年时间,它真的孕育了生命。这个被称为宇宙最终的共同祖先(LUCA)的存在体通过进化带来了所有已知的活的生命,包括各种微生物,植物,真菌,动物和人。

最初的有机组织从也许是滚烫、含硫、充满金属成分的岩浆水里的非生命物质中生成出来。这种味道难闻的混合物就好象是被“添加”进了丰富的小有机分子,如氯基酸、糖、含氮碱基,以及其他生物学成分典型的组成成分。过去几十年间对空间、近太空物质,尤其是坠落到地球上的陨石的探索所得出的一个最最令人震惊的发现是许多生命的化学基本成分是在整个宇宙间自发形成的。有机化学反应,因为其被认为是有生命的有机组织的一个特点而得名,实际上是最最广泛和平凡的化学反应,即碳的化学反应。

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