And once more: Life can arise naturally from chemistry!
|December 31, 2016||Posted by News under Naturalism, News, Origin Of Life, Philosophy|
Yet it isn’t happening, and we have no idea how it happened even once…
From science writer Michael Gross at Cell:
Rapid progress in several research fields relating to the origin of life bring us closer to the point where it may become feasible to recreate coherent and plausible models of early life in the laboratory. (paywall)
It’s a survey article, and it concludes:
on our own planet and on many others.
“One of the main new aspects of origins research is the growing effort to connect chemistry to geology,” Jack Szostak notes. “Finding reasonable geological settings for the origin of life
is a critical aspect of understanding the whole pathway. We’ve moved beyond thinking that life emerged from the oceans or at deep sea hydrothermal vents. New ideas for surface environments that could allow organic materials to accumulate over time, so that prebiotic chemistry could happen in very concentrated solutions, are a big advance.”
We can conclude from all of this that the emergence of life in a universe that provides a suitable set of conditions, like ours does, is an entirely natural process and does not require the
postulate of a miracle birth. (Current Biology 26, R1247–R1271, December 19, 2016 R1247–49)More.
Okay. “Moved beyond” is a way of saying that hydrothermal vents are not the answer after all.
Coherent and plausible models in the lab are not the same thing as knowing what happened. And the more of them there are, the more necessary it would become to explain why life isn’t coming into existence all over the place all the time.
And at times, we are not even sure what we mean. Do some viruses meet the criterion of being alive?
A friend writes to ask: “Imagine how it would sound if a study on any other topic had the words “does not require the postulate of a miracle” in the conclusion. Somehow they seem to think that it is perfectly appropriate and natural when discussing the origin of life.”
Aw, let’s be generous, it’s New Year’s Eve: When people really haven’t got very far in a discipline for the better part of two centuries, they tend to think in terms of zero or miracle. That’s just what they do.
Another friend writes to say that the thesis seems to be: Given enough time, anything can happen. If so, the proposition does not really depend on evidence. In 1954, mid-20th century Harvard biochemist George Wald wrote,
Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the “impossible” becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles. (From TalkOrigins, Wald, Scientific American, p. 48).
Really? Physicist Rob Sheldon has doubts:
In physics, we discuss reversible and irreversible reactions. If entropy (or information) is unchanged, then the system is reversible. If entropy increases (loss of information), then the reaction cannot be reversed. Outside of Darwin’s theory of evolution, there are no irreversible reactions in which entropy decreases (information is gained), because that would enable a perpetual motion machine.
Thus time is of no benefit for evolution, since a perpetual motion machine is no more possible if it runs slowly than if it runs quickly. And while errors may persist in biology because it may be too complicated to be sure of the entropy, the same cannot be said of chemistry. So the biggest boondoggle of all is attributing to precise and exact chemistry the magical anti-entropy properties of inexact and imprecise biology simply because one is a materialist reductionist who thinks life is a substance. I’m not picking on chemists or biologists, because I’ve even heard physicists say that evolution causes the multiverse to spawn us. Evidently this anti-entropy magic is just too powerful to keep it bottled up in biology alone, the world needs more perpetual motion salesmen, they spontaneously generate.
Oh well, happy New Year.
See also: Researchers: Bacteria fossils predate the origin of oxygen
Rob Sheldon: Why the sulfur-based life forms never amounted to much
Welcome to “RNA world,” the five-star hotel of origin-of-life theories
What we know and don’t know about the origin of life
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