The Stairway To Life: An Origin-Of-Life Reality Check by chemist Change Laura Tan and physicist Rob Stadler, hit the wall over the desk recently and author Rob Stadler writes to offer:
Could natural processes and millions of years have produced the first life?
We know enough to know better.
The Stairway to Life: An Origin-of-Life Reality Check, by Change Tan and Rob Stadler, takes a new approach to addressing the origin of life.
By studying the simplest forms of life and laboratory efforts to synthesize life, we know that the simplest living organisms are extraordinarily complex. Al life contains highly interdependent subsystems and hierarchical layers of information that flows between the subsystems. Tan and Stadler organize this knowledge into a set of minimal requirements for life. The minimal requirements are organized via the convenient metaphor of a stairway: The Stairway to Life.
We also know enough about physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics to understand the creative capacity of natural processes. Tan and Stadler then review the capacity of natural processes to meet the requirements and ascend the Stairway, concluding that none of the required steps can be accomplished by natural processes.
The book then explores why some intelligent people believe that life started naturally. Many believe that science supports a natural origin of life, but this reasoning is shown to be circular because they have constrained the scientific process to only consider natural phenomena. When science is constrained in this manner, it no longer seeks truth; it only seeks the best naturalistic explanation. The Stairway to Life opens inquiry to follow the evidence wherever it leads – notably beyond natural explanations.
See also: What we know and don’t know about the origin of life