Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Life, Origin of
One of the questions that has troubled humankind ever since it began to think about its position in the universe concerns its own origin and the origin of life in general. There are two basic alternatives for answering this question. Either we believe that life has a supernatural origin (such as being created by a transcendental God), or we think that the origin of life can be explained in a scientific way. This means that we try to describe an empirical scenario in which life originated through the workings of natural mechanisms. Here we are interested in the second alternative, but we must also say some words about the first one because the origin of life still is a problem about which religious, metaphysical, and scientific positions quarrel with each other. Regarding the first alternative, speculating on a supernatural origin of life can be traced back to prephilosophical thought that ...