Leading Origin of Life Researcher: “Genetic Information More or Less Came out of Nowhere”

Earlier this summer we highlighted Susan Mazur’s reporting about the Altenberg 16 conference, in which Mazur wrote that there are “hundreds of other evolutionary scientists (non-Creationists) who contend that natural selection is politics, not science, and that we are in a quagmire because of staggering commercial investment in a Darwinian industry built on an inadequate theory.” Many Darwinists, needless to say, did not like Mazur’s reporting, and they attacked her harshly. They probably are also not going to like Mazur’s latest article, where she interviews University of California, Santa Cruz origin of life researcher David Deamer. When asking Deamer about the “origin of the gene,” he replied, “I think genetic information more or less came out of nowhere by chance Read More ›

Leslie Orgel: Metabolic Origin of Life “Unlikely”; Complexity Requires “A Skilled Synthetic Chemist” (Part 2)

In Part 1 I discussed the eminent and late origin of life theorist Leslie Orgel’s criticisms of theories that self-sustaining metabolic pathways could spontaneously come into existence on the early earth and evolve into life. Orgel’s was skeptical that this could occur because “the chance of a full set of such catalysts occurring at a single locality on the primitive Earth in the absence of catalysts for disruptive side reactions seems remote in the extreme.” Indeed, according to Orgel, the type of complexity we normally find in the metabolic pathways of life require “a skilled synthetic chemist.” But what if we assume that such pathways could come into existence? Even if such pathways existed, they would still be far from Read More ›

Leslie Orgel: Metabolic Origin of Life “Unlikely”; Complexity Requires “A Skilled Synthetic Chemist” (Part 1) (Updated)

Last year I blogged about Robert Shapiro’s excellent article in Scientific American that gave cogent critiques of many standard models of the chemical origin of life. Shapiro critiqued the view that a primordial soup existed on the early earth that ultimately gave birth to a self-replicating molecule, which eventually evolved into RNA and then DNA. After critiquing this standard model, Shapiro gave his alternative explanation, proposing that life evolved from metabolic pathways that naturally occurred on the early earth. As I wrote at that time, Shapiro “gives scant explanation for how these life-like metabolic networks can come into existence naturally, and he gives no details as to how these thermodynamic states produce real life–life as we know it today.” Now Read More ›

Darwin’s Failed Predictions, Slide 12: “The origin of life remains a mystery” (from JudgingPBS.com)

[Editor’s Note: This is slide 12 in a series of 14 slides available at JudgingPBS.com, a new website featuring “Darwin’s Failed Predictions,” a response to PBS-NOVA’s online materials for their “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” documentary.] If, as Slide 11 suggests, human origins are a mystery to Darwinian scientists, the chemical origin of life presents a far greater challenge. As Gregg Easterbrook recently wrote in Wired Magazine, “What creates life out of the inanimate compounds that make up living things? No one knows. How were the first organisms assembled? Nature hasn’t given us the slightest hint. If anything, the mystery has deepened over time.”1 Origin of life theorists have struggled simply to account for the origin of pre-biological organic Read More ›

The Origin of Life: Not so Simple (Part III)

This post will provide a final discussion of an article in Scientific American entitled “A Simpler Origin for Life” by Robert Shapiro. Part I explained why the Miller-Urey experiment and the DNA-first hypothesis is deficient. In Part II, I explained Shapiro’s apt criticisms of the RNA-world hypothesis. Those who have abandoned the RNA-world hypothesis still seek a self-replicating molecule to qualify as the climax of chemical-origin of life scenarios–the “pre-RNA world.” However, Shapiro observes not only that “no trace of this hypothetical primal replicator and catalyst has been recognized so far in modern biology,” but also that “the spontaneous appearance of any such replicator without the assistance of a chemist faces implausibilities that dwarf those involved in the preparation of Read More ›