A Chilling Origin of Life Scenario

The most popular of the Origin of Life (OOL) models is the RNA-first world. RNA can have catalytic properties similar to proteins (enzymes) and are thus called ribozymes. RNA or some form of pre-RNA is an attractive early earth molecule and possible progenitor to early life because, unlike the chicken-and-egg problem with proteins and DNA, theoretically, RNA replication can be completely self-contained. In fact, in January 2009 Nature reported on the synthesis of a self-replicating RNA molecule capable of catalyzing its own replication. See Casey Luskin’s report here. There are several problems with the RNA-first model (See here for a short discussion on some problems with RNA, and see Chapter 14 in Signature in the Cell) not the least of Read More ›

The Language of Technology

It is difficult to escape the use of technological language in discussing cellular functions. Stephen Meyer has a section on information theory in Signature in the Cell and basically uses technological language or metaphors to describe DNA. The best language for describing DNA uses analogies to writing, copying and pasting, and software. Another example of this is in Behe’s book, Darwin’s Black Box, where he uses a rotary motor to describe the function of a bacterial flagellum. This brings to mind an interesting question: what is the relationship between the development of technology and the discovery of the inner workings of the cell? They seem to go hand-in-hand.