Overview of a recent Scientific American article on the origin of life. Do they then consider that the supernatural or miraculous (that is, creation) could have been involved?
A recent Scientific American summary article on the
origin of life admits that:
- The classic ‘chicken and egg’ problem of ‘which
came first, protein or DNA’ (since both need each other
to reproduce) has not been solved by the 1980s idea of
‘self-reproducing’ RNA, as many textbooks imply. This
is because the laboratory simulations are highly artificial
with a ‘great deal of help from the scientists’.
- Stanley Miller’s classic 1953 synthesis of life’s
‘building blocks’ in the test tube, as well as Sydney Fox’s
‘proteinoids’ (which produced circular blobs claimed to
be ‘protocells’) are now largely regarded as dead ends.
- Cleverly designed artificial self-reproducing molecules
have no relevance to the origin of life.
- Highly speculative ideas about life’s beginning on
clay, floating in from outer space, forming on the surface
of fool’s gold, in mid-ocean vents, and so forth, are just
that. Stanley Miller, who is now a chemistry professor
still leading in this area, himself says, ‘I come up with a
dozen ideas a day, and I usually discard the whole dozen.’
- The chairman of a recent National Academy of Sciences
committee reviewing all origin-of-life research
(which concluded that ‘much more research is needed’),
stated that ‘the simplest bacterium is so [expletive] complicated
from the point of view of a chemist that it is
almost impossible to imagine how it happened.’
Do they then consider that the supernatural or miraculous
(that is, creation) could have been involved? Not at
all, says Stanley Miller. ‘I think we just haven’t learnt the
right tricks yet.’
John Horgan, ‘Trends in Evolution: In the Beginning…’, Scientific American,
February 1991, p. 100-109.