In one sense the origin of life problem today remains what it was in the time of Darwin — one of the great unsolved riddles of science. Yet we have made progress. Through theoretical scrutiny and experimental effort since the nineteen-twenties many of the early naive assumptions have fallen or are falling aside — and there now exist alternative theories. In short, while we do not have a solution, we now have an inkling of the magnitude of the problem.
– Carl Woese, microbiologist, and Gunter Wachtershauser, chemist and attorney, “Origin of Life” in Derek E. G. Briggs and Peter R. Crowther, eds., Paleobiology: A Synthesis (Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1990), 9
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