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Origin of life: Where solving 75% of a problem counts as success

First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began

Friends mention that David Deamer wrote a book, First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began (2009), whitewashing the many conflicting narratives in origin of life studies, to create a general impression of progress. It was preceded by an article, “Calculating The Odds That Life Could Begin By Chance” (Science 2.0, April 30th 2009, claiming that a chance origin of life is statitically probable. It would be smart to read Robert Shapiro’s “A Simpler Origin for Life” (Scientific American Feb. 2007) for balance. Earlier this year, Casey Luskin offered a rebuttal:

The closest Deamer gets to admitting there are problems with prebiotic synthesis comes with his acknowledgement that “amino acids and other soluble compounds required for life have finite life spans in water solutions” and “the half-time of degradation is strongly related to the temperature” and thus “the high temperatures associated with the [hydrothermal] vents (300̊C and higher) would cause amino acids to break down into smaller fragments of little use for the origin of life.” (p. 34)

But then comes the sweetness and light again: he suggests that a cold origin of life could have solved many of these problems. However, Deamer never mentions that this would drastically reduce the number of chemical reactions that could otherwise increase the odds of the origin of life. Deamer instead paints a rosy picture, where Step 1 could occur under natural earth conditions.

Indeed. The difficulty with origin of life studies is somewhat like this: Scenarios A, B, and C are mutually exclusive, and each of them explains about 75% of the problem before stepping off a cliff. Scenario D may come along and solve the entire problem. Maybe. But the tangled pile of litter below the cliff is not clear progress toward Scenario D, as often assumed.

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8 Responses to Origin of life: Where solving 75% of a problem counts as success

  1. 75%? By what accounting method?

    OoL research is focused on the building blocks because OoL researches think that living organisms can be so reduced. Unfortunately there isn’t any data that supports that premise.

  2. 75%? Surely you are being much too generous;

    Stephen Meyer – Proteins by Design – Doing The Math – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6332250/

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4050681

    Homochirality and Darwin: part 2 – Robert Sheldon – May 2010
    Excerpt: With regard to the deniers who think homochirality is not much of a problem, I only ask whether a solution requiring multiple massive magnetized black-hole supernovae doesn’t imply there is at least a small difficulty to overcome? A difficulty, perhaps, that points to the non-random nature of life in the cosmos?
    http://procrustes.blogtownhall.com/page3

    Programming of Life – Probability of a Single Cell Evolving – video
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Pr.....yTUSe99z6o
    Programming of Life – video playlist:
    http://www.youtube.com/playlis.....F11E2FB840

  3. 75% ?!

    Materialist have not found a material source for even a single one of fomalities observed in living systems.

  4. Every time I hear that ubiquitous phrase – ‘the building blocks of life’ – applied to carbon or amino acids, I think of broad, sandy beach. It and the ocean floor are covered several feet deep in the building blocks of computers and flat screen televisions.

  5. Yes and it takes intelligent agencies to take thjose building blocks to make those computers and flat screen TVs.

    Building blocks are used by builders…

  6. Maybe it should have been 0.75%?

    No, let’s not be too generous…

  7. Exactly.

  8. It’s realy simpler than you think if you understand what natural selection is:

    EarthLife [email protected]

    A.
    Purines and pyrimidines are two of the building blocks of nucleic acids. Only two purines and three pyrimidines occur widely in nucleic acids.

    B.
    Pyrimidine is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound similar to benzene and pyridine, containing two nitrogen atoms at positions 1 and 3 of the six-member ring.

    A purine is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound, consisting of a pyrimidine ring fused to an imidazole ring. Purines, including substituted purines and their tautomers, are the most widely distributed kind of nitrogen-containing heterocycle in nature.

    Aromaticity ( Kekule, Loschmidt, Thiele) is essential also for the Krebs Cycle, for energy production.

    (Wikipedia)

    C.
    Natural selection is E (energy) temporarily constrained in an m (mass) format.

    Natural selection is a universal ubiquitous trait of ALL mass spin formats, inanimate and animate.
    Life began/evolved on Earth with the natural selection of inanimate RNA, then of some RNA nucleotides, then arriving at the ultimate mode of natural selection – self replication of RNAs. ALL Earth life is evolved RNAs. The drive and purpose of EarthLife is to enhance RNAs replication, its natural selection.

    Aromaticity enables good constraining of energy and good propensity to hydrogen bonding. The address of EarthLife Genesis, of phasing from inanimate to animate natural selection, is Aromaticity. Hydrogen Bonding.

    Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
    http://universe-life.com/

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