reply to post by jiggerj
Wow, this is a really difficult question to answer because your question is poorly asked (no offense).
First, mold is an actual living organism - and a quite complex organism at that. Molds are actually rapidly growing, asexually reproducing fungi
(which are eukaryotic/nucleated organisms). It is the mold Penicillium chrysogenum
that brought us penicillin. It may interest you to know
that the earliest fungi actually evolved AFTER the earliest animals, which evolved in the water. Fungi, however, are land-based organisms and could
not evolve until after the development of the ozone, which protected land-based organisms from the mutations caused by cosmic rays.
Second, chlorophyll are complex molecules created by biogenesis within various plants (and even some animals and fungi). This biogenesis occurs via
complex protein-protein interactions of enzymes and amino acids and within complex organelles. Because of it's ability to mitigate oxygen radicals
(the result of the splitting of water) and absorb excess energy from UV rays (AKA photodamage), chlorophyll likely evolved as a mechanism to protect
from DNA damaging metabolic byproducts and cosmic rays. So again, chlorophyll actually represents a fairly advanced organism.
I do not mean to put words in your mouth, but perhaps you mean to ask why have we not been able to reproduce life in the lab with mere atoms and
molecules? And with that, I think, perhaps we would still not be speaking the same language.
As my intro college biology textbook (Biology. Campbell, 5th Edition) states: "Life resists a simple, one-sentence definition because it is
associated with numerous emergent properties. Yet almost any child perceives that a dog or a bug or a tree is alive and a rock is not. We recognize
life by what living things do." So, let us define "life" based upon that premise:
(1) Living things are highly organized and complex. This really means that living things tend to be comprised of cells, which are highly organized
and complex. Some cells are more complex than others. Nucleated cells are more complex than non-nucleated cells, yet the latter can still be
considered alive. Some organisms have multiple layers of cell walls, while some have simple lipid bilayers. Some have complex organelles to create
energy, some have simple organelle-like structures. Some organisms are more complex than others: multi-cellular versus uni-cellular. Yet, again,
both can be considered alive.
(2) Living things can grow and reproduce. And, while growth may be essential for the organism prior to reproduction, reproduction is not essential
for the organism but it is essential for the species. And, perhaps more importantly, there heritable information that is passed on during
reproduction. Of course, this reproduction can occur sexually or asexually - both types of organisms can still be considered living. This is
important because enzymes (proteins) can reproduce a multitude of molecules that carry "information" depending on your definition of information.
And believe me, biologists are always trying to push that beyond the dogmatic DNA and RNA in terms of what kinds of molecules can be considered
information. So, even this is constantly being debated in hopes of determining early "life."
(3) Living things must be able to use energy and metabolize. When we speak of metabolism, we are actually describing something incredibly complex
that requires multitudes of already evolved enzymes and organelles. However, simply speaking, we mean the taking in of a "nutrient" and the
expelling of a by-product. Respiration (taking in of oxygen, the release of carbon dioxide and the in-between chemical reaction) is considered
metabolism. This is actually the category that often leads to exclusion from the "living" category (like prions and viruses).
(4) Living things must be able to interact with their environment. Again, to quote Campbell, "Life does not exist in a vacuum. An organism is an
example of what scientists call an open system, an entity that exchanges materials and energy with its surroundings." Included in this category is
homeostasis - this means that if the environment changes, the organism has the ability to perceive that change and then re-correct itself. For
example, when we get hot, a series of molecules and proteins communicate in our bodies to eventually cause us to sweat and thereby cool down.
So the dilemma is that you have asked for the impossible. There is no scientist that can take the atoms or even molecules that existed a couple
billion years ago and recreate "life" as we have defined it because "life" only exists as living organisms, which took a couple billion years to
evolve. Step by step, each category came to occur in different ways. There are theories describing those steps, if that interests you...