Home » Intelligent Design, Origin Of Life » Win $50,000 for best proposal to prove origin of life

Win $50,000 for best proposal to prove origin of life

Harry Lonsdale

Over at Telic Thoughts, chunkdz alerts us to American chemist turned politician Harry Lonsdale’s offer:

The sponsor named below is offering an award of $50,000 for the best original proposal pertaining to the study of the origin of life on Earth, including an outline of work to be performed in support of the proposal. Multiple awards may be made. “Life” is defined here as a self-sustained chemical system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution. The proposal should take into account the conditions, materials, and energy sources believed to have existed on the prebiotic Earth. Submissions should provide a cogent hypothesis for how life first arose, including its plausible chemistry, and for how primitive life could have evolved to modern biological cells, including the present genetic material and metabolism. Submitters are encouraged to offer unconventional hypotheses that nonetheless can be subject to experimental validation. Specific questions to be addressed include:

More than one award may be made, and other funds may follow. Lonsdale explains,

My goal in supporting Origin of Life research is to help scientists solve one of the great remaining problems in biology. A solution will give every science teacher in the world, from high school to college, a fundamental understanding of how life probably began on the Earth. In time, the world will learn that the laws of chemistry and physics, and the principle of evolution by natural selection, are sufficient to explain life’s origin.

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13 Responses to Win $50,000 for best proposal to prove origin of life

  1. 1

    “In time, the world will learn that the laws of chemistry and physics, and the principle of evolution by natural selection, are sufficient to explain life’s origin.”

    Yes, by all means, let us assume our conclusions against intractible evidence to the contrary – the modern cornerstone of empirical science.

  2. so, let’s say some new natural laws are discovered, and they actually do drive an origin of life, who here wouldn’t suspect those laws were the product of design?

  3. “My goal in supporting Origin of Life research is to help scientists solve one of the great remaining problems in biology. A solution will give every science teacher in the world, from high school to college, a fundamental understanding of how life probably began on the Earth. In time, the world will learn that the laws of chemistry and physics, and the principle of evolution by natural selection, are sufficient to explain life’s origin.”

    ha ha ha ha ha ha …. ha ha ha ha ha

    ONE of the great remaining problems?? As if neo-darwinian theory has solved anything.

    Gimme a break. I think the brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen would have had a better shot… Let’s call this what it is, a fool’s errand. Any proposal could also be called a fairy tale.

    In time the world will learn that the Logos is sufficient to explain life’s origin. Don’t be late for that one.

  4. They scoffed at the million dollars already on the table as if it wasn’t legit,,, yet,,,

    “The Origin-of-Life Prize” ®
    Excerpt: The ability of the Foundation to underwrite these payments and to administer the Project is monitored by the well-known accounting firm of Young, Brophy & Duncan, PC, Certified Public Accountants.
    http://lifeorigin.info/

    Moreover there is another problem that needs solving that is worth a million dollars. A problem that is semi-directly related to the Origin of Life ‘problem’:

    Here is Scott Aaronson’s blog in which refutes recent claims that P=NP (Of note: if P were found to equal NP, then a million dollar prize would be awarded to the mathematician who provided the proof that NP problems could be solved in polynomial time):

    Shtetl-Optimized
    Excerpt: Quantum computers are not known to be able to solve NP-complete problems in polynomial time.
    http://scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=456

    Protein folding is found to be a ‘intractable NP-complete problem’ by several different methods. Thus protein folding will not be able to take advantage of any advances in speed that quantum computation may offer to any other problems of computation that may be solved in polynomial time:

    Combinatorial Algorithms for Protein Folding in Lattice
    Models: A Survey of Mathematical Results – 2009
    Excerpt: Protein Folding: Computational Complexity
    4.1
    NP-completeness: from 10^300 to 2 Amino Acid Types
    4.2
    NP-completeness: Protein Folding in Ad-Hoc Models
    4.3
    NP-completeness: Protein Folding in the HP-Model
    http://www.cs.brown.edu/~sorin.....survey.pdf

    ========================

    Let’s not forget the minor problem facing Origin of Life research, in trying to implement Quantum Entanglement/Coherence on a massive scale on the molecular level, far past what man has achieved in his most advanced Quantum computer research,,,,

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA & Protein Folding – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    It is very interesting to point out that ‘transcendent’ quantum computation/information is found in molecular biology, on a massive scale, when they are having such a extremely difficult time achieving even the first tiny steps of quantum computation in machines, even though the payoff, and investment, is huge!;

    Scientists take another step towards quantum computing using flawed diamonds – March 2011
    Excerpt: Scientists have for years been intrigued by the idea of a quantum computer,,, Such a machine would dwarf the capabilities of modern computers,
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....monds.html

    14 quantum bits: Physicists go beyond the limits of what is currently possible in quantum computation – April 2011
    Excerpt: They confined 14 calcium atoms in an ion trap, which, similar to a quantum computer, they then manipulated with laser light. The internal states of each atom formed single qubits and a quantum register of 14 qubits was produced. This register represents the core of a future quantum computer.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....imits.html

    ,,, not to mention the minor problem of trying to get material particles to write far more advanced programs than what man has achieved in his most ambitious concerted efforts;

    Three Subsets of Sequence Complexity and Their Relevance to Biopolymeric Information – David L. Abel and Jack T. Trevors – Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling, Vol. 2, 11 August 2005, page 8
    “No man-made program comes close to the technical brilliance of even Mycoplasmal genetic algorithms. Mycoplasmas are the simplest known organism with the smallest known genome, to date. How was its genome and other living organisms’ genomes programmed?”
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/c.....2-2-29.pdf

    First-Ever Blueprint of ‘Minimal Cell’ Is More Complex Than Expected – Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: A network of research groups,, approached the bacterium at three different levels. One team of scientists described M. pneumoniae’s transcriptome, identifying all the RNA molecules, or transcripts, produced from its DNA, under various environmental conditions. Another defined all the metabolic reactions that occurred in it, collectively known as its metabolome, under the same conditions. A third team identified every multi-protein complex the bacterium produced, thus characterising its proteome organisation.
    “At all three levels, we found M. pneumoniae was more complex than we expected,”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....173027.htm

    There’s No Such Thing as a ‘Simple’ Organism – November 2009
    Excerpt: In short, there was a lot going on in lowly, supposedly simple M. pneumoniae, and much of it is beyond the grasp of what’s now known about cell function.
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscie.....s-of-life/

  5. Forget origin of life, I would just like to see somebody evolve this, bacterial ‘radio communication’, from scratch;

    Paramecium caudatum can communicate with neighbors using a non-molecular method, probably photons. The cell populations were separated either with glass allowing photon transmission from 340 nm to longer waves, or quartz being transmittable from 150 nm, i.e. from UVlight to longer waves. Energy uptake, cell division rate and growth correlation were influenced.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramecium_caudatum

    If radio communication is too hard for them, perhaps just a molecular machine from scratch:

    Bacterial Flagellum – A Sheer Wonder Of Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994630

    Molecular Biology Animations – Demo Reel
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5915291/

    Evolution vs ATP Synthase – Molecular Machine – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4012706

    etc.. etc..
    https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AYmaSrBPNEmGZGM4ejY3d3pfMzlkNjYydmRkZw&hl=en_US

  6. Sounds like a great opportunity for an ID theorist.

  7. “In time, the world will learn that the laws of chemistry and physics, and the principle of evolution by natural selection, are sufficient to explain life’s origin”

    What? 150 years hasn’t been long enough?

    ““Life” is defined here as a self-sustained chemical system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution. ”

    This guy obviously has not read Meyer’s book “Signature In The Cell”

  8. 8

    When law enforcement puts out a reward it is generally recognized amongst law enforcement that they are desperate and have nothing.

    This reward reeks of a desperate ideological craving from an old atheist getting the unwanted pop-in by our old friend mortality.

    -Any model that does not address the energy issue is dead before it starts. The “soup” is known to have an insufficient energy source. The heat that the thermal vents produce is unstable and creates problematic decay rates.

  9. $50,000 isn’t much when talking about a task of this magnitude. That money wouldn’t even cover the start-up of a lab to conduct such testing.

  10. Kinda cheap to offer only 50K, but at least he can’t be denied tenure.

  11. $50,000 isn’t much when talking about a task of this magnitude.

    Not that difficult really. Elizabeth was going to make one on her computer. She should enter.

  12. what about the Harvard project that was going to solve it in a year or 2 (how long has it been now)? Also, I’ve heard that Jack Shostak at Harvard has just about got this problem solved. Anyone know otherwise?

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