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Archive for Thursday 19th September 2002 - The mystery of where we came from

The first-mystery in life is how it began, and how we came into the picture. “What a piece of work is a man!” exclaimed Hamlet. Yes, indeed. But where are we from, and who or what made us?

Scientists have never answered that question. They suppose that at the beginning there was a mixture of chemicals on earth, and that somehow it was animated by lightning. But this has never been done in the laboratory. No one has ever managed to produce life out of matter.

A possible answer is that we came from elsewhere. The astronomer, Fred Hoyle, thought like that. The universe, he said, is full of organic molecules, spread around by comets. He noticed that outbreaks of influenza and other illnesses occur at the same time throughout the world. The virus could not have been spread immediately by infection, but it could have come in on the tail of a comet.

Hoyle applied this explanation to life on earth. He rejected Darwin, because there is no evidence of gradual evolution. Instead, there are sudden changes, when old species are destroyed, like the dinosaurs, and new types appear. These changes, he found, occur when viruses are rained down during ‘genetic storms’.

This suggests that life in the universe is one creature, and when it sneezes we all catch cold.

Another explanation is the religious one. The different stages in the appearance of life are the ‘days’ in which the Creator completed his work. We are his final product, and are charged with the welfare of all other creatures. That is as good a story as anything that science has yet come up with.

John Michell

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John Michell is a prolific author. Below are just two of John's books which might interest you. We have arranged with our friends at The Daily Mirror for website visitors to order books mentioned on this site.

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Unexplained Phenomena, A Rough Guide Special
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Who Wrote Shakespeare?
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