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New Scientist: Origin of life more likely if we weight the dice

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Sure. Lots of chances are improved that way. By design. Oh, wait …

From New Scientist (“Chances of first life improved by weighted dice”), the latest buzz is Christoph Adami’s recent claims. He got rid of live organisms and just used information theory:

Adami calculates that if you start with an equal number of each type of monomer, the odds of getting a self-replicating molecule are very low. But if you adjust the distribution of monomers in the environment to match the distribution within a potential self-replicator, the chances improve by many orders of magnitude ( It’s a bit like hammering randomly on a keyboard on which the most frequently used letters are proportionally larger – your odds of accidentally typing a word are much better than the famous infinite monkeys banging on typewriters.

Once a self-replicator emerges at random, evolution can start improving its abilities. “You only have to make this very first step, where you are getting some crappy replicator,” says Adami. “The moment evolution can actually work with it, you’re done.”

So “evolution” is now a workman who needs materials to be finished to a certain point? Or magic? Instead of the “”crappy replicator just stopping, it builds cells like supercomputers?

He relies on the fact that meteorites show different compositions: “It is not impossible that basic self-replicators cooked up on some meteor and ended up contaminating Earth.”

“Not impossible” is not an outlier, it is the standard for science in origin of life research today.

See, for example, Can all the numbers for life’s origin just happen to fall into place?


Maybe if we throw enough models at the origin of life… some of them will stick?

For ID theorist Bill Dembski’s comment on the claim, go here.

More “Adami’s”: Evolution Professor: Origin of Life “Not Impossible”

Evolution, we are now told, punishes the selfish and mean …

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4 Replies to “New Scientist: Origin of life more likely if we weight the dice

  1. 1
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Sort of like Martha Stewart does everything better than me, except I never get to see her army of frazzled assistants. For all I know, maybe she doesn’t either.

    You can do things a lot faster than Martha when you watch one of her DVDs at 2x and then just pretend that she is you.

  2. 2
    Dionisio says:

    Can we try assuming all the basic bio components, RNA, polypeptides, whatever, are available, so that we can skip all the initial phases and move on to describe the possible steps to build the first cell. Then continue to describing the steps to build the first multicellular biological entity. That should have been done by now. Where is it? Can someone point to the literature where those detailed steps are described in? Thank you.

  3. 3
    Dionisio says:

    #2 follow-up

    That’s not ‘random’ build up steps, but guided steps, to make it a little simpler. But keep in mind we need to have all the pathways and networks fully functional at the end of the buildup simulation. Shouldn’t that have been done by now? Is it written somewhere?

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    The more moon-shaped cheese we make here on earth the more likely it becomes that the moon is made of cheese.

    But then no one would need to go to the moon to get cheese.

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