Physics, Earth & Space Icon Physics, Earth & Space

From CNN, Vapid Science News Headline of the Day: “Ingredients for Life Found” in Space Rocks

David Klinghoffer

ingredients for life

Typical vapid science news headline of the day, from CNN: “Ingredients for life found in meteorites that crashed to Earth.”

Although two 4.5-billion-year-old meteorites crashed to Earth in 1998, it’s taken until now to uncover some of their secrets.

The two meteorites, called Monahans and Zag, are the first discovered to contain the ingredients for life: liquid water, amino acids, hydrocarbons and other organic matter.

A chemical-makeup analysis of blue and purple salt and potassium crystals from the meteorites was published in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday.

Although it’s not exactly proof that life exists beyond Earth, the traces of water in the salt crystals could date to the earliest days of our solar system. The researchers compared it to finding a prehistoric fly preserved in amber.

The meteorites were found in Texas and Morocco.

“Not exactly proof” of extraterrestrial life, they say? It’s not a “proof” at all. It’s nothing like a “fly preserved in amber.” The “ingredients for life” are not the same thing as life, not any more than the English alphabet represents the “ingredients” for the next Great American Novel.

Don’t believe me? Here are those ingredients. You just have to multiply them a bit and get them in the right order:


Now go write the novel. You may submit it for our evaluation here and if you do, I might reconsider the claim that we’re anywhere closer today to understanding the origin of life than we were before these space rocks were closely studied.

Photo: Blue space crystal, note the missing fly; by Queenie Chan/The Open University, U.K., via Berkeley Lab.

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.



alphabetamberBerkeley LabCNNextraterrestrial lifeflyGreat American NovellifemeteoritesMonahansNewsOpen Universityorigin of lifeQueenie ChanscienceScience Advancessolar systemZag