This is not a question of scale — even if the “chemist’s flask” were the entire Earth.
In the time of the early Earth, Airgas, the supplier from which the researchers obtained their materials, was not around.
The highly valued optical properties of pearls come from sophisticated processes of biomineralization involving proteins and crystals.
Another of Michael Behe’s molecular machines gets an update. The details are even more fascinating than originally described.
According to Erika DeBenedictis, “one of the big limitations of biology are the basic building blocks themselves.”