Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Experts pan quantum mechanical replication of Miller-Urey experiment


Simon Hadlington of Chemistry World reports that quantum mechanical simulations of the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment, which used an electrical discharge to generate amino acids from simple organic molecules, suggest that formic acid and formamide may have acted as short-lived chemical intermediates in the reactions that gave rise to life on Earth. However, some experts are not convinced.

Nir Goldman, from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, notes: “One criticism is that the authors chose to use a somewhat reduced or hydrogen-rich mixture in their study, whereas the atmosphere on early Earth is thought to have been carbon dioxide rich, which could entail very different chemistry in the presence of an electric field.” Jeffrey Bada, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was not enthusiastic either: “This paper … does not in my opinion advance the field of prebiotic chemistry in a major way. At best the synthesis pathway proposed in this paper would be only a minor contributor to the overall amino acid yield.”

There are twenty-one amino acids found in eukaryotes. The amino acids generated by the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment contained about two dozen atoms. By contrast, the number of atoms in a humble E. coli bacterium is around 7,000,000,000. I hope readers can see why I’m not exactly holding my breath when I read reports like this one.

Thoughts, anyone?

The origin of life problem is certainly far more difficult than is often portrayed in popular media:
Top Five Problems with Current Origin-of-Life Theories - Casey Luskin - December 12, 2012 Overview: Problem 1: No Viable Mechanism to Generate a Primordial Soup Problem 2: Forming Polymers Requires Dehydration Synthesis Problem 3: RNA World Hypothesis Lacks Confirming Evidence Problem 4: Unguided Chemical Processes Cannot Explain the Origin of the Genetic Code Problem 5: No Workable Model for the Origin of Life http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/12/top_five_probl067431.html Suzan Mazur: Origin of life shifting to “nonmaterial events”? - December 15, 2013 Excerpt: The first paradox is the tendency of organic matter to devolve and to give tar. If you can avoid that, you can start to try to assemble things that are not tarry, but then you encounter the water problem, which is related to the fact that every interesting bond that you want to make is unstable, thermodynamically, with respect to water. If you can solve that problem, you have the problem of entropy, that any of the building blocks are going to be present in a low concentration; therefore, to assemble a large number of those building blocks, you get a gene-like RNA — 100 nucleotides long — that fights entropy. And the fourth problem is that even if you can solve the entropy problem, you have a paradox that RNA enzymes, which are maybe catalytically active, are more likely to be active in the sense that destroys RNA rather than creates RNA. https://uncommondescent.com/origin-of-life/origin-of-life-shifting-to-nonmaterial-events/ Chemistry by Chance: A Formula for Non-Life by Charles McCombs, Ph.D. Excerpt: The following eight obstacles in chemistry ensure that life by chance is untenable. 1. The Problem of Unreactivity 2. The Problem of Ionization 3. The Problem of Mass Action 4. The Problem of Reactivity 5. The Problem of Selectivity 6. The Problem of Solubility 7. The Problem of Sugar 8. The Problem of Chirality The chemical control needed for the formation of a specific sequence in a polymer chain is just not possible through random chance. The synthesis of proteins and DNA/RNA in the laboratory requires the chemist to control the reaction conditions, to thoroughly understand the reactivity and selectivity of each component, and to carefully control the order of addition of the components as the chain is building in size. http://www.icr.org/article/chemistry-by-chance-formula-for-non-life/ RNA world: Chemists Propose a Seemingly Unlikely Environment for the Origin of Life - February 27, 2013 Excerpt: Benner and his colleagues consider three major problems with the RNA-world model: *The "asphalt problem": Organic reactions often produce unreactive byproducts. These byproducts are a mixture of pieces of the product or polymerization of the product, but are chemically insignificant and otherwise unpromising. Hence the metaphor of "asphalt." Typically, avoiding the production of such byproducts requires very specific and controlled conditions, or post-reaction purification steps. *The "water problem": Many of the bonds in RNA will undergo hydrolysis. This occurs when water reacts with the bond, causing it to break apart. In a lab, the problem is easily addressed by using a different solvent. However, the environment of the early Earth could not draw on the resource of various organic solvents. *The "impossible bond problem": The authors refer here to the difficulty in forming certain bonds in RNA. Usually this follows from thermodynamic issues that prohibit bonds from spontaneously forming. Conspicuously missing from the authors' list of critiques are the "chirality problem" and the "information problem." Later in the paper, however, they concede that their model does not solve the enigma of chirality, and they allude to a potential "fatal flaw" in their proposition, namely that the kinds of RNA molecules that catalyze the destruction of RNA are more likely to emerge than RNA molecules that catalyze the synthesis of RNA. - http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/02/death_valley_da068661.html Abiogenesis: The Faith and the Facts - Dr. Edward Peltzer - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xj4UH0RwcM Dr. Edward Peltzer explores the possibilities that 1. Life is the result of unguided chemical reactions and random processes 2. Life is the result of purposeful physical laws and initial conditions 3. The laws of nature and fine-tuning of the initial conditions are sufficient to account for the origin of life 4. natural processes alone prohibit the origin of life After reviewing the evidence for each option Dr. Peltzer comes to the conclusion that chemical cross-reactions, including the Maillard reaction, would have prevented a purely naturalistic origin of life. His research thus supports the Law of Biogenesis, that life proceeds only from pre-existing life.
Verse and Music:
John 1:4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. Word Of God Speak - MercyMe http://myktis.com/songs/word-god-speak/
September 19, 2014
03:37 AM

Leave a Reply