Origin of life: How are we doing?
|October 23, 2013||Posted by News under Origin Of Life, News|
According to well-known origin of life researcher Eugene Koonin (2012),
However, the origin of life—or, to be more precise, the origin of the first replicator systems and the origin of translation-remains a huge enigma, and progress in solving these problems has been very modest — in the case of translation, nearly negligible. Some potentially fruitful observations and ideas exist, such as the discovery of plausible hatcheries for life, the networks of inorganic compartments at hydrothermal vents, and the chemical versatility of ribozymes that fuels the RNA World hypothesis. However, these advances remain only preliminaries, even if important ones, because they do not even come close to a coherent scenario for prebiological evolution, from the first organic molecules to the first replicator systems, and from these to bona fide biological entities in which information storage and function are partitioned between distinct classes of molecules (nucleic acids and proteins, respectively).
In my view, all advances notwithstanding, evolutionary biology is and will remain woefully incomplete until there is at least a plausible, even if not compelling, origin of life scenario. The search for such a solution to the ultimate enigma may take us in unexpected (and deeply counterintuitive for biologists) directions, particularly toward a complete reassessment of the relevant concepts of randomness, probability, and the possible contribution of extremely rare events, as exemplified by the cosmological perspective given in Chapter 12. Koonin, Eugene V. (2012). The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution. , Pearson Education, Inc., Publishing as FT Press Science, New Jersey, page 417. [colour emphasis added]
He’ll settle for something “plausible, even if not compelling,” and he can’t even get that.
Koonin has advocated multiverses as a solution. Sure. Export the problem to an infinite number of entities for which there is no evidence and it pretty well disappears. It’s the other losses (reason, logic, respect for evidence) that concern some of us. See also: In a multiverse, Koonin could be both right and wrong any number of times. Also here.
Another fine, productive day in the world of methodological naturalism.