The origin of life is one of the hardest problems in all of science, but it is also one of the most important. Origin-of-live research has evolved into a lively, interdisciplinary field, but other scientists often view it with skepticism and even derision. This attitude is understandable and, in a sense, perhaps justified, given the “dirty” rarely mentioned secret: Despite many interesting results to its credit, when judged by the straightforward criterion of reaching (or even approaching) the ultimate goal, the origin of life field is a failure – we still do not have even a plausible coherent model, let alone a validated scenario, for the emergence of life on Earth. Certainly, this is due not to a lack of experimental and theoretical effort, but to the extraordinary intrinsic difficulty and complexity of the problem. A succession of exceedingly unlikely steps is essential for the origin of life, from the synthesis and accumulation of nucleotides to the origin of translation; through the multiplication of probabilities, these make the final outcome seem almost like a miracle.
– Eugene V. Koonin, molecular biologist, The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution (Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press, 2011), 391
Koonin bought some peace by wavering toward the multiverse:
The Many Worlds in One version of the cosmological model of eternal inflation might suggest a way out of the origin of life conundrum because, in an infinite multiverse with a finite number of macroscopic histories (each repeated an infinite number of times), the emergence of even highly complex systems by chance is not just possible, but inevitable. (p. 392)
Yeah. Multiverse = Magical Neverneverland Machine He’ll smarten up.
See also: Here’s his recent book again, The Logic of Chance.