In “Origin of life: How to bring the naturalistic pseudoscience to an end, I suggested that trying to create life in the lab would at least bring some science discipline to a field that has had an unhinged model-of-the-month feel to it for decades. And if you think I’m unkind, you should hear well-known science writer John Horgan on the same subject!
Anyway, just recently, I got a review copy of Engineering and the Ultimate, and it offers, in Part IV, “Developing a Functional Model for the Simplest Self-Replicator” (SSR), by Arminius Mignea, which enumerates in an orderly fashion what functions are required in a self-replicating system.
Can such a system be produced in a lab? That is a question like “Is the Mars Rover feasible?” rather than an answer like
It seems likely that the earliest cells were rickety assemblies whose parts were constantly malfunctioning and breaking down. … How can any metabolism be sustained with such shaky support? The key is concurrent and constant redundancy.
Let alone this from the Berkeley Evolution Web site:
Although several lines of evidence are consistent with the hypothesis that life began near deep sea vents, it is far from certain: the investigation continues and may eventually point towards a different site for the origin of life.
In short, they don’t know anything and are not likely to learn much.
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (origin of life)
– O’Leary for News
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