Instigator / Pro

Abiogenesis Is The Best Explanation For The Origin Of Life On Earth


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With 4 votes and 26 points ahead, the winner is ...

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Three days
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Two weeks
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~ 2,309 / 5,000


1. The definitions below are agreed to by accepting the debate.

2. All votes *must* have thorough reasons for voting.

3. Moderators *must* remove inadequate votes that a) fail to address the majority of resolution-impacting points made by both debaters, b) are lies about debater performance, or c) are vendetta votes/overtly biased.

4. No kritiks, counter plans, or semantics, particularly on the term "best" i.e. running the argument,
"A true 'best' explanation for the origin of life would include someone having been there to have verified it, and since that's impossible, no explanation could be the best." Con should argue exclusively against abiogenesis or provide a better explanation.

5. Death23 and his related accounts may not vote on or participate in this debate.

*Full Resolution*
Abiogenesis is the best explanation for the origin of life on Earth.

Has the BoP and 4 rounds of 10,000 characters, with 3 days to post per argument, to AFFIRM that abiogenesis is the best explanation for the origin of life on earth and refute Con.

Has also 4 rounds of 10,000 characters, with 3 days to post per argument, to NEGATE that abiogenesis is the best explanation for the origin of life on earth and refute Pro.

abiogenesis - the concept that organic molecules and subsequent simple life forms first originated from inorganic substances on earth.

the best - that which is the most excellent.

explanation - a statement or account that makes something clear.

origin - the point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived.

life - the condition that distinguishes animals, plants, fungi, protista, archaea, and bacteria, from inorganic matter, including the capacity for metabolism, inheritance, maintaining homeostasis, and reproduction.

earth - the planet on which we live that is third in order from the sun.

the sun - the star around which the earth orbits.

Round 1

Thanks for accepting Con.
This subject is fascinating and explanatory.
It deserves a complete debate.


The resolution has Pro (me) affirming that abiogenesis is the best explanation for the origin of life on earth and I'm attempting to meet that burden by providing an outline, a summary, and an explanation. 
The origins of earthly life are best explained by the natural causes within abiogenesis.

*Outline of Abiogenesis*

1. With an atmosphere, water salinity, inorganic compounds, electricity, volcanic activity, and UV rays representative of a prebiotic (before life) earth, inorganic compounds naturally become organic compounds in the form of amino acids.

2. Amino acids make up proteins, in chains called polypeptides, and the sequence of the amino acid chain causes the polypeptide to fold into a shape that is biologically active.

3. Biologically active amino acid sequences in fact metabolize compounds.

4. Amino acids are catalysts, because they increase the rate of chemical reactions, and in a prebotic network full of catalyzing amino acids and catalyzing hydrothermal vents, RNA emerges due to its auto-catalytic property.

5. RNA is also self-replicating, and because of this is able to thrive in a prebiotic amino acid network by replicating in a template-directed manner.

6. Available phosphorous in this network encapsulates and acts as a barrier for the biologically active, metabolic amino acid chains and auto-catalytic, self-replicating RNA, which, all components combined, is a collectively compartmentalized protocell.

7. These protocells can metabolize with amino acids and replicate with RNA, and this is the origin of genetic polymers.

8. A protocell with a phosphoric membrane and genetic polymers that can metabolize and self replicate is a full blown living cell, and these single cells are life; they're simple life, but they're life.

9. These simple life forms would need to eventually consume more, and the network of amino acids and other compounds in the region were in fact edible.

10. Abiogenesis has the most excellent evidence for the origin of life on Earth.


Inorganic compounds of a prebiotic Earth become organic, metabolic, catalytic amino acid compounds, which themselves become biologically active and, along with hydrothermal vents, catalyze reactions that favor an emergence of auto-catalytic RNA, which can self-replicate and thus allow for a phosphoric, encapsulated cell with a membrane and genetic polymers that replicates, inherits genetic information, maintains homeostasis, and metabolizes available compounds in the prebiotic network.

*Explanation of Abiogenesis*

1. Inorganic Compounds-->Organic Amino Acids

Compounds covalently (sharing electrons) bonded to carbon are organic.
Compounds not covalently bonded to carbon are inorganic.

Inorganic = H N C O (cyanate)
Organic = C 2 H 5 N O 2 (glycine, an amino acid)

You can tell that the difference between inorganic and organic carbon compounds is rather insignificant.
One more carbon atom, four more hydrogen atoms, and one more oxygen atom...that's it; the elements are essentially the same.

The Miller-Urey experiment in the 50's demonstrated that with an atmosphere, water salinity, electricity, and inorganic compounds likely of an earlier earth, inorganic compounds will produce organic amino acid compounds.

The link above has a very informative video of how the experiment is done and how you could plausibly do it too.
That's what abiogenesis is...the idea that inorganic compounds become organic compounds which lead to subsequent life forms.

2. Replication of Inorganic-->Organic Amino Acids

Though people agreed that lightning occurs without life and in atmospheres on other planets, people still complained that the atmosphere of earlier earth had more oxygen than the Miller-Urey experiment accounted for.
The replicated experiments of the Miller-Urey took that into account, and used:

1. H2, CH4, NH3, H2O, H2S and electricity, and yielded the amino acids cysteine, cystine, and methionine.
2. CH4, C2H6, NH3, H2S and UV rays, and yielded alanine, glycine, serine, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and cystine.
3. CH4, H2O, H2S, NH3, N2, and electricity, and yielded methionine.

"When reduced gases, including CH4, H2S and NH3, are emitted from a volcano into a lightning-rich atmosphere, hydrogen cyanide, ethylene, and acetylene can be generated."
So we know that amino acids, organic compounds, come from reactions of inorganic compounds.
But what about genetic replication?

3. Amino Acids-->Biologically Active Network

Amino acid chains (polypeptides) can fold onto themselves and become biologically active.
"The sequence of nucleotides in DNA has now been converted to the sequence of amino acids in a polypeptide chain."
Yes, amino acids fold onto themselves and naturally become biologically active and functional.

So we have biologically active amino do they replicate?
Well amino acids speed up reactions; they're catalysts.
Hydrothermal vents use the heat from the earth to catalyze reactions and supply inorganic compounds.
So before there was life, there were prebiotic catalysts, like amino acids and hydrothermal vents.

"catalysis in a prebiotic network initiated...the emergence of RNA as the dominant macromolecule due to its ability to both catalyze chemical reactions and to be copied in a template-directed manner."
So, from inorganic compounds of earlier earth, we got organic amino acids, which, when folded, become biologically active, and can catalyze reactions, exacerbated by hydrothermal vents, that led to the emergence of RNA, which is necessary for genetic replication.

4. RNA network-->Cells

In this prebiotic network, any available phosphorous encapsulates the amino acids and RNA acting as a membrane, thus sufficing as a protocell, but because this encapsulation concentrates replication, it allows for genetic polymers, which makes it a full blown living cell, the origin of life.

"We have proposed that a simple primitive cell, or protocell, would consist of two key components: a protocell membrane that defines a spatially localized compartment, and an informational polymer that allows for the replication and inheritance of functional information...protocells could take up nutrients from their environment...[allowing for] chemical genome replication and compatibility with membrane encapsulation."

5. Primitive Cellular Life Must Consume

Any primitive organism would be replicating with RNA and metabolizing with amino acids, but what might they be consuming?

"Sixty years after the seminal Miller-Urey experiment that abiotically produced a mixture of racemized amino acids, we provide a definite proof that this primordial soup, when properly cooked, was edible for primitive organisms."


So, I affirm that abiogenesis is the best explanation for the origin of life on earth, because abiogenesis has a) the most demonstrated, replicated, and substantiated evidence, b) the most testable, applicable, and reasonable pragmatism, and c) the most plentiful, accessible, and free resources that further solidify the explanation.

On to Con...

Round 2
Round 3
Ah, gracias para "participar" en este debate, pero tengo que extender mis argumentos, particularmente los de la replicacion de cellulas de la origin de vida.
Abiogenesis. La explicacion mejor para el origen de vida de la tierra.
Round 4
Extend, vote Pro.
Yeah science!