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 analogy that comes to mind is a golfer, who having played a ball through an 18-hole course, assumed the ball could also play the course in his absence.”
The paper by Tompa and Rose casts a shadow for us, and we need to trace its outline and derive the theory behind the shadow.
According to Halsmer, engineering involves “the creative use of resources and ingenuity to accomplish a purpose or solve a problem.” It does so by creating “affordances.”