The Origin of Life

........and God said let there be light........

Life, according to most of the pop-science I've come across, began in a pond. Further research indicates that it ("life") was galvanised into being by a ferocious bolt of energy more than likely delivered at the tip of an equally ferocious lightning strike. From there things just kind of snowballed - well, compared to the geology of the earth they did - and pretty soon there was Man. Got it? Good. That's theory No 1.

The 2nd theory goes something like this: umpteen millions of years ago God created the Earth. He (or She) then left it for a few more million years before depositing a potpourri of creatures on it, I'm guessing in some kind of 'eco experiment'. Presumably the Supreme Being watched things unfolding before deciding that life on Earth was a tad on the dull side and needed spicing up a bit - enter Man. Ta-da!!

Both theories (and before anyone thinks about trolling me on this, there are more than two, I know) rely on the same thing taking place, however, and that's a leap of faith. And odds, of course. The odds of a bolt of lightning striking a pond where the precise amount of chemicals are in place at that time (a mix that we have as yet failed to discover) in order to successfully create that first life have to be infinitesimally long, because if they were any shorter than infinitesimal then, given the number of lightning strikes a year and the proliferation of chemically-infused ponds, life would be popping up out of puddles every time there was a violent shower. And in the west of Scotland, that's a lot. Equally, what are the odds of a supreme being, with all the implied power they would have, coming up with Man as the answer to animals. Bizarre - they would have taken one look at Man and got rid of everything other than donkeys, of course.

The moral of the tale, though, is clear - just because something is heavingly improbable doesn't mean that it can't happen and it's always better to back more than one horse (or donkey, if you will) if you have the power to do so. Mix the two and you've surely got a winner......

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