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Rob Stadler

What about the idea that cells were once much simpler? But how much simpler?

Introducing the third vid in the Long Story Short series (on cell membranes) Rob Stadler comments: First, scientists have been working for decades to simplify existing life, trying to arrive at a minimal viable life form by jettisoning anything that is not essential from the simplest extant cells. The success of Craig Venter’s group is well known. Building on their efforts to produce synthetic life (“Synthia” or “Mycoplasma labritorium”) in 2010,1,2 in 2016 they introduced the current record holder for the simplest autonomously reproducing cell (JVCI Syn3.0).3 With a genome of only 473 genes and 520,000 base pairs of DNA, JVCI Syn3.0 can reproduce autonomously, but it certainly isn’t robust. Keeping it alive requires a coddling environment — essentially a Read More ›

New animated short on the origin of life is a lot of fun

At ENST: Stadler and Anderson explore how origin-of-life papers and popular media reports have misled the public, evidenced by a survey underscored by Rice University synthetic organic chemist James Tour. Read More ›

Tan and Stadler’s recent book tackles claims of life from the lab

Royal Truman: "The hype which accompanied the publication in 2010 of what they dubbed Synthia overlooked how nothing of relevance to support evolution was accomplished. In a nutshell, the DNA sequence of a living bacterium was duplicated synthetically, and then transferred into a living cell. This would be comparable to copying a program from one computer to a different one, and then giving the impression the entire system, including hardware and operating system, could have originated on its own." Read More ›

Origin of life theories discount the problem of degradation

Stadler and Tan: Hundreds of millions of years of “deep time” is frequently cited as the saving feature for the profound improbability of each step of the Stairway [to Life]. Yet time is only an ally of a slow constructive process if degradation is ignored. Read More ›

An utterly serious look at origin of life claims

Well adapted to the believability of mainstream claims. The thing to see here is that origin of life is history, not science. That point is often missed. Science is about how laws act in nature; history is about the details of what actually happened. If you want to know how life originated, you want to know history. It may or may not be accessible. We might never know how life originated for the same reasons as we may never know whether Neanderthal man had a religion. Anything anyone says on the subject is conjecture or ideology, not evidence. Read More ›

Minimal synthetic cell turns out to be an argument against naturalist origin of life, says biomedical engineer

Rob Stadler: Abiogenesis [random origin of life] advocates claim that life started with "protocells" because extant life is far too complex to have started by natural processes. But, all of our efforts to simplify extant life to produce a "protocell" have shown us that extant life is about as simple as it can be. Read More ›

Some thoughts from a reader on Behe’s vindication at Lehigh

Remember, these same authors wrote a scathing review of Darwin Devolves in the journal Evolution. Now, somehow, they must hold their position of opposing Darwin Devolves, while presenting compelling evidence to support Darwin Devolves. Quite a conundrum! Read More ›

There is a limit to how messy origin of life can be

Rob Stadler:Origin-of-life chemists have the nasty habit of including only a few pure reagents in their solutions, then claiming victory when they produce something biotic. I'd like to see them place 36603 types of interfering molecules in their flask along with 82 desired biotic molecules, and then hope that the reaction produces something closer to life! Read More ›

Claim: Self-replicating molecules show signs of “metabolism”

Rob Stadler: (puncturing the balloon) The fact that it is recognized as a meaningful contribution is a testimony to the desperation to show progress—it stands out only because no meaningful progress can be made in any direction that is actually relevant to life. Read More ›

New origin of life book argues, even the simplest life forms are extraordinarily complex

Rob Stadler: By studying the simplest forms of life and laboratory efforts to synthesize life, we know that the simplest living organisms are extraordinarily complex. Al life contains highly interdependent subsystems and hierarchical layers of information that flows between the subsystems. Read More ›

Darwinism flunks science criteria, says biomedical engineer

Rob Stadler: When high-confidence evidence is appropriately prioritized over low-confidence evidence, the result is a profound new view of evolution – one that they did not teach you in biology. Read More ›