Is the Origin of Life in Hot Water?

Is origin of life chemistry in hot water? So it seems according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors address the conundrum of origin of life chemists between the rate of (un-catalyzed) organic reactions and the lack of time available for these reactions to occur. From the article (note: an enzyme is a biological catalyst): Whereas enzyme reactions ordinarily occur in a matter of milliseconds, the same reactions proceed with half-lives of hundreds, thousands, or millions of years in the absence of a catalyst. Yet life is believed to have taken hold within the first 25% of Earth’s history. How could cellular chemistry and the enzymes that make life possible, have arisen Read More ›

Michael Behe’s Quarterly Review of Biology Paper Critiques Richard Lenski’s E. Coli Evolution Experiments

In a previous post, I discussed Michael Behe’s recent paper in Quarterly Review of Biology, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” which reviews much recent work in the field of bacterial evolution. He devotes particular space, however, to the research of Richard Lenski, who has now grown over 50,000 generations of E coli in the lab to study its evolution. Lenski’s work was cited by Richard Dawkins most recent book (The Greatest Show on Earth) as the ultimate refutation of irreducible complexity. Dawkins’ book, however, made a straw man argument by discussing a misguided attack on Lenski’s work by Conservapedia editor Andrew Schalfly, completely ignoring critiques of Lenski’s research by Behe in The Edge of Read More ›