Evolutionists: Not the fathers of their ideas
Since the mid-nineteenth century, Evolution has been reformed and recreated to further the biological evidence of life’s creation. Yet the ideas were not created by Charles Darwin or Aleksandr Oparin; they originated from the ancient Greek philosophers. As the people of Greece did not have the modern methods that we have today, they had to use their own observations of the World and were able to hypothesize the creation of life without modern technology. Evolution is said to have begun with the creation of inorganic molecules such as methane, water vapor, ammonia, and hydrogen (1). Proposed by Aleksandr Oparin in 1950 as ‘the raw materials for evolution’ (2), this liquid form has the ability to bring forth life. And the work of an outside source like volcanoes or lightening,, this access of heat allowed the inorganic molecules were able form amino acids and other organic materials. Oparin then suggested that coacervates, little bits of organic matter that repel water molecules created the first cells from this ‘primeval soup’ that were able to carry out their own chemical reactions and from these heterotrophic cells, autotrophs were created that helped to release oxygen into the air and bring forth other matter of life (2). The liquid substance that created life in the evolution became the ocean from which life first came forth. While Oparin was not able to prove his theory and that life can be created from the inorganic molecules (1), Stanley L. Miller used the concept of inorganic molecules in the liquid form could create amino acids and life with a form of heat. Miller applied electric sparks to the gases that Oparin believed to be the matter that created life (3). As a result, in a week’s time the experiment contained organic molecules as well as many amino acids. Once the autotrophic molecules released their oxygen into the atmosphere, the oxygen from the autotrophs was accumulated where the interaction between the oxygen and the ultraviolet light from the sun helped to create the ozone layer as it is known today. With the ozone layer the UV rays were absorbed and prokaryotic cells (cells without a nucleus) combined to make more effective cell capable of holding more energy (4). Fossil evidence shows that bacteria began about 3.6 billion years ago and once the oxygen level rose to what it is today in the atmosphere, the more complex organisms were able to form (4). Researchers now believe that the first multi-cellular organisms arrived about 1 billion years ago and plants made their may to land and fish formed in the sea (4). From fish life evolved into amphibians, amphibians into reptiles, etc. until life became what it currently is today. The Greek philosopher Anaximander was among the first evolutionary thinkers as he believed that life began in liquid form (4). These organisms were fishlike in nature and had to adapt in ability to be able to survive on land. In today’s medical and scientific research, there has been research done and evidence found to support that life is quite closely related (2). Even as close as the present, researches have found progresses in genetics, using genetic sequencing, which shows strong overlap of the human gene sequences that does resemble a same type of cluster found in chimpanzees and mice (2). Even modern evidence is being discovered currently that shows that there was plenty of merit to the theory suggested by Anaximander. Another Greek scientist named Empedocles created the first theory that animals and plants were closely related to one another and made up of various different parts that helped to create the life that they are in the current World order (4). He also suggested that the creatures that were unable to reproduce their characteristics of life died out and those that were able to reproduce continued to live on. Empedocles also continued his primeval theory of natural selection with the belief that the creatures that survived past on the characteristics that helped them survive. Charles Darwin proposed a similar theory of natural selection in 1848 and he and Alfred Russell Wallace, another British naturalist, helped to set into motion the further belief that life has not always been as it currently is; but instead has evolved over time (4). The actual theory of Natural Selection states that life simply must evolve or die out (1). The organisms that have found a way to survive in the new climate have to pass on the better traits so that their species can continue living. The traits were combined at random. However, neither Empedocles nor Darwin were able to explain how the traits were selected to be the desired characteristics. Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel was able to explain the differences in traits and where and why traits go and are kept in a group of organisms. In the late nineteenth century, Mendel discovered many different patterns in genetics between like organisms and their offspring. When Mendel cross bred the plants, he saw that certain characteristics did not necessarily show up in every generation (4). The traits in the organisms may come through in the offspring or may not. These traits were called dominant or recessive traits, and helped to explain how one generation of an organism could not be the same as its parents and then the third generation would have the skipped trait (1). Through his research, Mendel was able to propose two theories that are now considered ‘Laws’ of science: The Law of Independent Assortment and The Law of Segregation (1). The laws state that the traits on genes separate from one another and then line up in freely from one another (4). Mendel’s laws helped to further the proof of natural selection and the ability of life to evolve by passing on traits that help them survive in a certain climate. Should they not have the desired traits, the organism cannot survive and will die out. Aristotle, another Greek philosopher, also believed in natural selection and proposed the first concept of living things being able to adapt so that they can continue and if they did not adapt, they would die off (4). The organisms had to pass on the traits that made them unique and able to survive to their offspring, but Aristotle did not believe that the reason behind the traits was genetics (having no real concept of the time) but something that he named the ‘perfecting principle’ (4) which was a gift that the creation had that allowed for it to adapt to their surroundings. Even today, we are not sure of the real nature of the universe. While genetics has modernized and our ability to further understanding our past, present, etc, there is still much to learn about our World. Yet it should be no surprise, since humans have been speculating over the beginning of our life on this planet for over a millennium. 1. Pack, Phillip. Cliffs AP: Biology 2nd Edition. Pages 149-164. Wiley Publishing, Inc. New York, New York: 2001. 2. New Scientist: ‘Why doesn’t America believe in Evolution?’ Last updated: August,2006 http://www.newscientist.com/channel/life/evolution3. Aleksandr Oparin: ‘Aleksandr Oparin’ Wikipedia. Last updated: September, 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Oparin 3. Aleksandr Oparin: ‘Aleksandr Oparin’ Wikipedia. Last updated: September, 2006.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Oparin 4. Encarta on Evolution: "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2006 http://encarta.msn.com © 1997-2006 Microsoft Corporation.