If we discover life on Mars and it turns out to be a lot like life on Earth, as Davies suggests, will that be experienced as an achievement or a disappointment? It certainly won’t prove anything like what some have hoped. Heck, it won’t even prove that We Are NOT Alone…
Note: “ The hypothetical RNA World does not furnish an adequate basis for explaining how this system came into being, principles of self-organisation that transcend Darwinian natural selection furnish an unexpectedly robust basis for a rapid, concerted transition to genetic coding from a peptide·RNA world.”
From the paper: “… these analyses offer no support for the homology of sponge choanocytes and choanoflagellates, nor for the view that the first multicellular animals were simple balls of cells with limited capacity to differentiate.”
In a world where some believe that consciousness must be a material thing, perhaps it’s not surprising that others seek to see information as a physical quantity. Computer scientist Robert J. Marks would ask, what is the weight difference between a full CD and an empty one? Could we start there?
A Nobelist (1967), he was among other things an origin-of-life chemist and in that capacity he authored Eigen’s paradox
What’s shocking is the hype. Essentially, the team created some amino acids and “Some researchers believe these could combine (like Legos) and create further complex molecules which could then be a precursor to life.”
Georgia Tech biochemist Loren Williams was recently named co-leader of NASA’s new consortium to tackle origin of life: Did life on Earth originate in Darwin’s warm little pond, on a sunbaked shore, or where hot waters vent into the deep ocean? And could a similar emergence have played out on other bodies in our solar […]
The meeting focuses on origin of life.
We’ve often heard that there were billions of boring years in the history of life (the Boring Billion). Maybe not so boring.
The microbes that metabolized practically anything back then just to stay alive didn’t appear to want to do much else. Yes, it’s an old question why they didn’t (couldn’t?) Or maybe they even did. But based on the history of the last half-billion years, there should be an answer.
The more we know, the more insights we can have, sure. But it’s not always clear what specific things truly extreme life forms can tell us about the more common ones. Maybe the message is more general, that life forms try their hardest to survive every circumstance. But what is it they have that rocks don’t?
Sheldon: If Davies believes that a hierarchy of information can pack more information in, and possibly explain the incredible information content of biology, then there must be something “outside” or “above” the biology that is responsible for the compression algorithm. The only thing Davies hasn’t done is name this attribute. Should we suggest a name? How about … intelligent design?
Davies, author of The Demon in the Machine: How Hidden Webs of Information Are Finally Solving the Mystery of Life thinks we overlook the difficulty and offers a solution: Nature got there first.
Philip Cunningham’s vid on calculations of a single protein forming by chance was picked up recently: Origin: Probability of a Single Protein Forming by Chance: “For a protein made from scratch in a prebiotic soup, the odds of finding such globally optimal solutions are infinitesimally small- somewhere between 1 in 10exp140 and 1 in 10exp164 […]
Information is the key? Wait till they discover the Law of Conservation of Information and try applying it to the hapless popular Darwinism that dominates biology today.