News Origin Of Life

Scientific American wrestles with science’s unsolved mysteries – again

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Cover Image: October 2011 Scientific American Magazine

Here Philip Ball offers us “10 Unsolved Mysteries: Many of the most profound scientific questions—and some of humanity’s most urgent problems—pertain to the science of atoms and molecules” (Scientific American, October 10, 2011): For example, #1:

How Did Life Begin?

The moment when the first living beings arose from inanimate matter almost four billion years ago is still shrouded in mystery. How did relatively simple molecules in the primordial broth give rise to more and more complex compounds? And how did some of those compounds begin to process energy and replicate (two of the defining characteristics of life)? At the molecular level, all of those steps are, of course, chemical reactions, which makes the question of how life began one of chemistry.

You’d think that, having gotten precisely nowhere for well over a century with assuming that how life began is a question of chemistry, people might want to consider alternatives. How about, life isn’t principally chemistry, but information in motion. Now, how did that happen?

Probably easier to just plough the same old furrows fruitlessly.

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3 Replies to “Scientific American wrestles with science’s unsolved mysteries – again

  1. 1
    ScottAndrews says:

    “The moment when…”
    “How did relatively simple molecules in the primordial broth give rise…”
    “And how did some of those compounds begin to process energy…”
    “…which makes the question of how life began one of chemistry.”

    And when did you stop beating your wife?

    This paragraph should be a science lesson unto itself. If students read this without counting and questioning the assumptions then they haven’t learned anything.

  2. 2
    Joseph says:

    Part of the problem can be found on page 16 of the same issue- an article titled “More Than Child’s Play” in which it is said that “Young children thinklike researchers but loose the feel for the scientific method as they age”-

    Well that is because, as the article rightly states, kids are allowed the FREEDOM to explore cause and effect relationships whereas as grownups we are told it is all matter, energy, chance and necessity. IOW it is all counterintuitive to what we learned using the scientific method.

  3. 3
    englishmaninistanbul says:

    Seeing as how we now know that life uses quantum mechanics enough to make it look like it’s been monkeyed with by Einstein and friends, how can you be so sure it was chemical reactions? Or am I being overly pedantic?

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