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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