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Hot news: Hydrothermal vents top primordial soup

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From at Arunas Radzvilavicius at RealClearScience:

A study published last month in Nature Microbiology suggests the last common ancestor of all living cells fed on hydrogen gas in a hot iron-rich environment, much like that within the vents. Advocates of the conventional theory have been sceptical that these findings should change our view of the origins of life. But the hydrothermal vent hypothesis, which is often described as exotic and controversial, explains how living cells evolved the ability to obtain energy, in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible in a primordial soup.More.

In short, we have contradictory explanations but the vents are back in the news:

See also: Hydrothermal vents spout life again at New Scientist

Hydrothermal vent models make life inevitable?

and

Origin of life: Could it all have come together in one very special place?

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16 Replies to “Hot news: Hydrothermal vents top primordial soup

  1. 1
    Rationalitys bane says:

    A study published last month in Nature Microbiology suggests the last common ancestor of all living cells fed on hydrogen gas in a hot iron-rich environment, much like that within the vents.”

    That’s a very strange way to phrase it. We always here about the first common ancestor. But the last? Am I missing something here?

  2. 2
    mahuna says:

    The hot vent thing still leaves me cold.

    Some years back, a friend told me that he’d read research that showed that all extremophiles were descended from normal run of the mill critters. That is, life adapts FROM normal heat, pressure, atmosphere TO extremes, not the other way around.

    And that makes more sense. If you have a beastie that THRIVES in what amounts to Hell, how exactly does it edge out into what amounts to a COLD Hell without minerals only a few feet from the vents?

    “Primordial soup” sounds BRILLIANT compared to “It came from a Vent”.

  3. 3
    Rationalitys bane says:

    My education, and dream, was marine biology. It never materialized, but the thermal vent communities still intrigue me. They are full of critters that are familiar, but different enough to cause an eyebrow to rise. Worms with no mouth. I would love one in my fish tank but I don’t think the quarter inch glass will withstand 4000 psi.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    Is that ‘p’ soup spicy?
    BTW, do they have salad too?
    🙂

  5. 5
    Rationalitys bane says:

    Dionisio, “BTW, do they have salad too?”

    If KF pops by you can have some word salad. 🙂

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    RB, personal attack, revealing of unwillingness to address substantial issues. I link on the inescapably self-falsifying failure of evolutionary materialism, which if you are responsible you will address. The need to account for functionally specific complex organisation and associated information in cell based life, i/l/o actual empirical demonstration of capability of proposed mechanisms, is the pivotal and nigh on century long point of failure of all materialistic abiogenesis scenarios. That challenge gets worse and worse and the failure ever more glaring as the years and decades roll by. Dismissive rhetoric and speculation backed up by ideological imposition of utterly and irretrievably failed materialistic ideologies multiplied by domineering behaviour in scientific, education, public policy and media institutions cannot cover for that. KF

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Rationalitys bane says:

    Dionisio, “BTW, do they have salad too?
    :)”

    RB, “If KF pops by you can have some word salad. :)”

    KF, “RB, personal attack, revealing of unwillingness to address substantial issues. I link on the inescapably self-falsifying failure of evolutionary materialism, which if you are responsible you will address. The need to account for functionally specific complex organisation and associated information in cell based life, i/l/o actual empirical demonstration of capability of proposed mechanisms, is the pivotal and nigh on century long point of failure of all materialistic abiogenesis scenarios. That challenge gets worse and worse and the failure ever more glaring as the years and decades roll by. Dismissive rhetoric and speculation backed up by ideological imposition of utterly and irretrievably failed materialistic ideologies multiplied by domineering behaviour in scientific, education, public policy and media institutions cannot cover for that. KF”

    Dionisio, I recommend a nice raspberry vinaigrette dressing with that salad. 🙂

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    RB, clearly you have no intent to seriously address the challenges your evident worldview and cultural agenda faces. Duly noted. KF

  10. 10
    Gordon Davisson says:

    Rationalitys bane @1:

    “A study published last month in Nature Microbiology suggests the last common ancestor of all living cells fed on hydrogen gas in a hot iron-rich environment, much like that within the vents.”

    That’s a very strange way to phrase it. We always here about the first common ancestor. But the last? Am I missing something here?

    The ultimate goal is to find out more about the first ancestor (i.e. the first organism), but unfortunately the methods being used in the study only tell us about the last common ancestor (i.e. the last one before the bacterial and archaeal lineages split). LUCA is much much more closely related to the first organism than anything alive today, so tells us more about the first organism than looking directly at today’s organisms (even apparently “primitive” ones) would. But there’s millions of years of evolution between the first organism and LUCA, so it’s not entirely safe to make assumptions about how similar they were.

    In short: the study results are just being stated in terms of what they actually tell us, not in terms of what we wished they told us.

  11. 11
    Rationalitys bane says:

    GD, thank you. It now makes sense. I just hadn’t seen that term used before. Obviously I need to do more reading.

  12. 12
    Rationalitys bane says:

    KF, “RB, clearly you have no intent to seriously address the challenges your evident worldview and cultural agenda faces. Duly noted. KF”

    When you provide some serious challenges, I will start addressing them. Until then, pass the salad. 🙂

  13. 13
    gpuccio says:

    News (and Rationalitys bane):

    Well, that the “primordial soup” argument is utter nonsense should be now clear to anybody who has a minimal respect for rationality.

    The “hydrothermal vents” scenario is slightly better, because at least it tries to deal with one of the big problem in OOL: the metabolism problem. But still, it is a complete failure.

    Living beings, as I have often said, have a few major features which seem to define them:

    1) A huge quantity of complex functional information, in some digital form which can be duplicated and transmitted. OK, that’s the main argument in ID, so let’s forget it for a moment, just to consider the other aspects.

    2) Metabolism. IOWs, some complex functional way (see first point) to derive energy at a higher level of organization. IOWs, living beings do consume lower form of energy (like sun rays, heat, or gradients in vents) to build up organized, low entropy structures, like proteins or ATP or other basic organic molecules. Living beings are the greatest “circumvention” (not “exception”) of the second laws of thermodinamics, and more in general of the laws of probabilities where really big numbers are implied. That requires some explanation from thinking persons. Maybe some day biologists will choose to think! 🙂

    However, putting one’s faith in vents is only slightly better than putting it in lightning or soups, but at least it is an effort, however misguided, to deal with the metabolism problem. But they are still offering undefined lower forms of energy (high entropy forms) to explain highly organized (low entropy) forms. That will never work.

    3) Another important aspect which is always missed is that living beings are “far from equilibrium” systems. That is the main difference between, say, one living bacterium and the simple collection of its structural components (DNA, membrane, and so on).

    Nobody can put together all the components of a bacterium, even in some highly precise form, and get a living bacterium. Why? Because all living beings exist in some unlikely, far from equilibrium state, and nobody has any idea of how to kick that state from non living matter, however, informationally organized it is.

    This is, in a few words, the old “humpty dunpty” argument, many times offered here by Sal Cordova, if I remember well. It is, indeed, a great argument, and one that is almost never addressed.

    Rationalitys bane, I have no idea if these are “serious challenges” to you. You decide.

  14. 14
    Rationalitys bane says:

    The vent hypothesis has always tweeked my interest. Vents have the double whammy of high energy resources and high pressures. Chemistry acts in a very different fashion at high pressure than at atmospheric pressures. At relatively high pressures (just three atmospheres and more) nitrogen, which makes up the bulk of our atmosphere, acts as a narcotic.

    But why does it have to be primordial soup OR deep vent? Why can’t they have both played a part? Just saying.

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    RB, on fair comment, your first challenge is to rise above the inherent self-referential incoherence and self-falsification of evolutionary materialism. Your dismissive language and failure to provide a cogent answer simply show — predictably — that you think you can get away with irresponsible rhetoric and assuming that your comments (on your premises) rise above meaningless electrochemical noise in your neurons. That is, your evolutionary materialist scientism is self-refuting. Then, you need to address Darwin’s pond or the hydrothermal vent or the moons of a gas giant or a comet core etc . . . whatever “hot news” may pop up day after the next . . . and in so doing, get us from blind physics, thermodynamics and chemistry to a living, informationally controlled, organised cell (remember, in the end — whatever replicator molecules etc one wishes to speculate on — the required components must be functionally organised and programmed with effective code on the scale of 1/1000 of a mm all in one place to do it for a cell that must be in an environment where it can survive and multiply . . . ), then onwards across a tree of life by equally blind chance and mechanical necessity at molecular level — Darwin’s black boxes in the cell are now open for inspection — to account for body plans including our own. This requires cogently explaining our responsible, rational freedom that allows us to comment in this thread. And all of that needs to be shown on good observation of “causes now in operation” demonstrated to be adequate to account for the relevant digital code and information processing systems for D/RNA and for the functionally specific highly complex organised molecular machinery of the living cell. 150 years of rhetorical dances and dodges are enough. Put up substance, or stand exposed as enabling imposition of a priori materialist ideology dressed up in a lab coat. KF

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    GP, very well said, as usual. KF

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