Also, who predicted in 2014 that life would be created in the lab in three years? In five years? Origin of life is thought to be a “low” or “very low” probability event, according to two recent articles (in Life and Nature).*
The first conference, opening June 24 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, is being called “Science of Early Life.” Why the downgrade from origin(s) to early life? Does it signal that the caravan has already moved on?
What would Harry say about the Canadian event being framed as “Early Life”? Lonsdale considered his role in the origin(s) investigation “the second biggest thrill” of his life. With Lonsdale’s death in 2014, the investigation may indeed have lost its most enthusiastic supporter.
The keynote speaker is NASA astrobiologist Lynn Rothschild,
LJ Rothschild is also a biology professor at Boston University as well as at UC-Santa Cruz, and co-founding editor of the journal Astrobiology. Rothschild has recently said on one of NASA’s online sites: “Charles Darwin always inspires me.” Will Rothschild stick to the Darwinian script in her upcoming McMaster talk: “Towards a universal biology”?
It is disappointing to see a reference to Darwinian evolution in the promo for the Munich event: “How can Darwinian evolution emerge?” Disappointing because Dieter Braun told me months ago in our HuffPost interview: “We’re getting a good corps of people now who are reshaping the field in a completely new way.”
I assumed from the HP conversation that meant letting go of Darwinian natural selection. More.
ID theorists think that the origin of life depends on understanding how very complex, interacting levels of information are created. It’s not clear that natural selection creates much information. It’s there but it’s not the answer.
The situation seems rather more like this: OOL researchers assume that natural selection creates such high levels of information because no other explanation seems likely or palatable. But one could say the same for phlogiston and the ether. Default explanations of that sort have a tendency, over time, to circumscribe enquiry. Inquiry tends to revolve around defending and enriching the explanation.
Well, there are and will be other conferences. But guess who predicted in 2014 “‘life in lab’” in three years” And who predicted it in “five” years? Go here (Mazur’s article) and scroll down a bit to find out…
See: Chemist Harry Lonsdale and the secret of life
* Note: Some argue otherwise, saying that life’s origin is inevitable. These include well-known figures such as Jeremy England and Christian de Duve (1917–2013). See: Does nature just “naturally” produce life?
See also: Suzan Mazur on mechanobiology, the next level of understanding of the cell
Molecular biologist: Speculation re the last universal common ancestor is not helping science
The Science Fictions series at your fingertips – origin of life What we do and don’t know about the origin of life.