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Origin of Life: The Problem of Cell Membranes

David Klinghoffer
Image source: Discovery Institute.

Wow, the new Long Story Short video is out now, and I think it’s the best one yet — it’s amazingly clear and quite funny. You’ll want to share it with friends. Some past entries in the series have considered the problems associated with chemical evolution, or abiogenesis, how life could have emerged from non-life on the early Earth without guidance or design. The new video examines cell membranes, which some might imagine as little more than a soap bubble or an elastic balloon. This is VERY far from the case.

To keep the cell alive, there’s an astonishing number of complex and contradictory things a cell membrane needs to do. If unassisted by intelligent design, how did the very first cell manage these tricks? It’s a puzzle, since “The membrane had to be extremely complex from the very BEGINNING, or life could never begin.” Some materialists have an answer: protocells, a simpler version of the simplest cells we know of today. But, asks Long Story, could a necessarily fragile, simpler cell survive without assistance from its environment, something like a hospital ICU? It seems not. If so, that makes any unguided scenario of abiogenesis a non-starter. We’ll have more to say in coming days about the science behind this.

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.

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abiogenesisballooncell membraneschemical evolutionevolutionfirst cellintelligent designLong Story Shortmaterialistsorigin of lifeprotocellssoap bubble