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Hydrothermal vent models make life inevitable?


From Nathaniel Comfort at Nautilus:

Hydrothermal vent models transform the origins of life from unlikely to near-inevitable.What most goes against our intuition is that complex structures can be better dissipaters of energy than simpler ones.11 Catalysts help you up an energy hill so that you can drop even further down on the other side. Casting our gaze across the entirety of biological evolution, each organism is such an energy hill. It forms only if it is thermodynamically favored—if by pumping energy uphill to create it, even more energy is released. A lizard, for example, requires more energy to make than a lizard’s-worth of E. coli, but it consumes more energy at a greater rate. A world that contains both lizards and bacteria, then, is energetically favored over a world of only bacteria. A world that also includes warm-blooded cows, munching grass and emitting heat, methane, and fertilizer, is an even better entropy engine; one with tigers is better still. It is the ecosystem that is energetically favored: A lush green Earth teeming with life pulls more heat out of the hot center of the planet and out of the sun, releasing it into cold, dark space, than does, say, Mars. Our biosphere is but a sophisticated icepack for the sun. More.

Only in the imagination of Nautilus readers. Once we read “Our biosphere is but a sophisticated icepack for the sun,” we know we have found our way to the science tabloid section. This stuff must serve an emotional need for some. Other tabloid enthusiasts prefer gossip about celebs’ divorces, sex change, and baby bumps.

See also: Hydrothermal vents spout life again, at New Scientist

The volcanic vent is back too


What we know and don’t know about the origin of life

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This is such complete nonsense. Reminds me of the "life is a kinetic state" literature bluff and red herring that Matzke was pushing a while back. Notable, though, that they recognize the thermodynamic issue as a live problem that needs to be explained. That is better than the crowd that denies any thermodynamic issue and roundly criticizes Sewell or anyone else who dares bring it up. Eric Anderson
Yes, and this idea has been around for quite a while. I read papers 10 years ago or more that preached this Great Unification of entropy and evolution, in essence to argue that evolution is just as certain as entropy. See the "Maximum Entropy Production Principle"... EDTA

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