“How Did Life Begin on Earth?” –A New Theory Embraces the Cosmic through Geological, Chemical, and Biological Stages

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“When the Earth formed some 4.5 billion years ago, it was a sterile planet inhospitable to living organisms,” said Sankar Chatterjee, Horn Professor of Geosciences and curator of paleontology at the Museum of Texas Tech University. “It was a seething cauldron of erupting volcanoes, raining meteors and hot, noxious gasses. One billion years later, it was a placid, watery planet teeming with microbial life – the ancestors to all living things.”

 

“For may years, the debate on the origins of life centered on the chemical evolution of living cells from organic molecules by natural processes. Chatterjee said life began in four steps of increasing complexity – cosmic, geological, chemical and biological. By studying three sites containing the world’s oldest fossils, he believes he knows how the first single-celled organisms formed in hydrothermal crater basins.
 

 

Written By: The Daily Galaxy
continue to source article at dailygalaxy.com

36 COMMENTS

  1. It is interesting. It is not a theory. It is a hypothesis. And, the “cosmic import of biomolecules” would (IMO) have had to be of such huge quantity that it perhaps should have left a footprint of some type. We see the craters on other planets, to be sure, but to claim that one know’s their age and then to compare the kt boundary (65 million years ago) to 3.6 billion years ago is too much of a stretch fo me to be comfortable with.

    Also, those biomolecules that were of cosmic origin would have to have a demonstrable way of influencing the inorganic molecules in Earth’s primordial soup into becoming organic molecules themselves. There has to be a provable mechanism for the cosmic biomolecules driving the second stage. Not just a sentence saying that somehow they did it. Certainly all the biomolecules that “landed” here are NOT represented by the total biomass of TODAY’S biosphere? They would have had to catalyze the conversion of inorganic substances into the fatty acids, glycerol, amino acids, nucleotides, and monosaccharides that we know polymerize into our organic molecules. SHOW ME THAT IT OCCURS.

    • In reply to #1 by crookedshoes:

      It is interesting. It is not a theory. It is a hypothesis. And, the “cosmic import of biomolecules” would (IMO) have had to be of such huge quantity that it perhaps should have left a footprint of some type. We see the craters on other planets, to be sure, but to claim that one know’s their age and then to compare the kt boundary (65 million years ago) to 3.6 billion years ago is too much of a stretch fo me to be comfortable with.

      Hi Crooks!
      Actually we think we know the age of some of them, and it is the spread of the “Late Heavy Bombardment” which spread over a period centred most intensively around 3.9 billion years ago. This has been dated from Apollo samples of Moon rock taken from Lunar craters.

      http://www.universetoday.com/95386/a-new-look-at-apollo-samples-supports-ancient-impact-theory/
      The Lunar Cataclysm Hypothesis suggests that there was a period of extremely active bombardment of the Moon’s surface by meteorite impacts around 3.9 billion years ago. Because very few large impact events — based on melt rock samples — seem to have taken place more than 3.85 billion years ago, scientists suspect such an event heated the Moon’s surface enough prior to that period to eradicate any older impact features — a literal resurfacing of the young Moon.

      Curiously enough, it was at just about that time that we find the first fossil evidence of life on Earth. If there’s indeed a correlation, then whatever happened to wipe out the Moon’s oldest craters may also have cleared the slate for life here — either by removing any initial biological development that may have occurred or by delivering organic materials necessary for life in large amounts… or perhaps a combination of both.

      The new findings from the Apollo samples provide unambiguous evidence that a large-scale impact event was taking place during this period on the Moon — and most likely on Earth too.

      There is also a graph – Timeline for the Lunar Cataclysm Hypothesis (LPI) on the link.

      There are some challenges to this hypothesis from other scientists, who think the impacts were spread over a longer period.

      http://www.astrobio.net/pressrelease/4435/new-research-casts-doubt-on-late-heavy-bombardment
      It’s actually quite a heated debate, one that has polarized the science community for quite some time. In one camp are those that believe the Solar System experienced a cataclysm of large impacts about 3.8 billion years ago. In the other camp are those that think such impacts were spread more evenly over the time of the early Solar System from approximately 4.3 to 3.8 billion years ago.

      There is a nice school-level explanation of the formation of the Solar-System here: – http://astroclock2010.wordpress.com/cosmic-timeline-17/
      It includes:- a theory called “the nebular hypothesis”, which explains planetary interactions as the cause of the cometary bombardment: – It is an interesting example of Newtonian physics!

  2. Life in vents is so different from ocean life, it seems odd the niche would be rich enough to bother with evolving an entirely different biochemistry. Vents are isolated. You would expect every vent to have local species. It seems vents seeding oceans should be more likely than oceans seeding vents.

  3. ‘Cosmic biomolecules’ almost sounds like Tinkerbell’s ‘fairy dust’. Such a concept could so easily be hijacked by those of a religious bent.
    I often think the real question is one to do with thermodynamics. How is it possible for molecules to ‘evolve’ into more complex molecules (‘biomolecules’) when thermodynamics teaches us that inorganic nature tries to dissipate energy, to lower the energy of any system into a more stable state. The building of larger and larger molecules into those with a potential to replicate, and thus become ‘living’, would appear to be crawling up an energy gradient to a higher energy level, not down an energy gradient to a more stable state. Thus living systems appear to transgress a fundamental idea in thermodynamics – which.of course, makes Tinkerbell’s magic fairy dust even more plausible!

    • In reply to #3 by Dr Watson:

      I often think the real question is one to do with thermodynamics. How is it possible for molecules to ‘evolve’ into more complex molecules (‘biomolecules’) when thermodynamics teaches us that inorganic nature tries to dissipate energy, to lower the energy of any system into a more stable state.

      The mechanism is the local input of radiation energy from Solar/stellar radiation causing molecules to “go against the flow of entropy”! Precursors of Life-Enabling Organic Molecules in Orion Nebula Unveiled by Herschel Space Observatory http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100304102320.htm

      The building of larger and larger molecules into those with a potential to replicate, and thus become ‘living’, would appear to be crawling up an energy gradient to a higher energy level, not down an energy gradient to a more stable state. Thus living systems appear to transgress a fundamental idea in thermodynamics

      Indeed so! – Living systems need energy inputs from chemistry, or from Solar radiation via photo synthesis, to power the food-chains. They are, as you say “crawling up an energy gradient to a higher energy level” at the expense of the Sun sliding down it to a lower one!

      • In reply to #6 by Alan4discussion:

        IIndeed so! – Living systems need energy inputs from chemistry, or from Solar radiation via photo synthesis, to power the food-chains. They are, as you say “crawling up an energy gradient to a higher energy level” at the expense of the Sun sliding down it to a lower one!

        Absolutely! The old creationist chestnut of “evolution goes against the Second Law of Thermodynamics” ignores the evidence before our eyes. All humans begin as a fertilised single cell and become progressively more complex over nine months (and all other organisms achieve something similar). And it all “appear[s] to transgress a fundamental idea in thermodynamics”, too.

        • In reply to #7 by Pabmusic:

          Absolutely! The old creationist chestnut of “evolution goes against the Second Law of Thermodynamics” ignores the evidence before our eyes. All humans begin as a fertilised single cell and become progressively more complex over nine months (and all other organisms achieve something similar). And it all “appear[s] to transgress a fundamental idea in thermodynamics”, too.

          This is a misrepresentation of the Creationist viewpoint, as if Creationists were too stupid to recognize growth surrounding them.

          Living systems have a plan encoded in their DNA. All forms of reverse entropy that we know of involve a PLAN. You can add as much energy as you want to any batch of chemicals, but without a plan all you will end up with is a gooey sticky mess.

          Competition among living forms may provide a mechanism for “climbing mount Improbable”, but molecules don’t compete. They tend to degrade the more energy you put in, in fact.

          The shortest form of a life sequence one can imagine would still involve the equivalent of 10,000 base pairs. As far as I know, no one has postulated a mechanism for climbing that Mt. Improbable. If there was a way to turn batches of chemicals into life by adding energy, shouldn’t we be able to re-create the process in the laboratory?

          Mark

          • In reply to #13 by Markqz:

            In reply to #7 by Pabmusic:

            Absolutely! The old creationist chestnut of “evolution goes against the Second Law of Thermodynamics” ignores the evidence before our eyes.

            This is a misrepresentation of the Creationist viewpoint,

            Nope! It is quoting one version of it!

            Do some research! There is not “A” creationist viewpoint”. That is the feature of faith-thinking which believes without evidence. There are numerous contradictory creationist viewpoints – most conflicting with scientific evidence, or simply based on ignorance.

            as if Creationists were too stupid to recognize growth surrounding them.

            Have a look at the “Answers in Genesis” website! Some of them are too stupid!

            Some are even stupid enough to try to pose as pseudo-experts in genetics when participating in discussions with geneticist scientists.

            Living systems have a plan encoded in their DNA.

            Living systems have evolved plans encoded in their DNA which have been selected from billions of mutant variations by ecosystems.

            All forms of reverse entropy that we know of involve a PLAN. You can add as much energy as you want to any batch of chemicals, but without a plan all you will end up with is a gooey sticky mess.

            I take it you did not look at, or understand, my link @6 which shows this claim is wrong.

            Competition among living forms may provide a mechanism for “climbing mount Improbable”, but molecules don’t compete. They tend to degrade the more energy you put in, in fact.

            You haven’t studied chemistry or physics??

            The shortest form of a life sequence one can imagine would still involve the equivalent of 10,000 base pairs. As far as I know, no one has postulated a mechanism for climbing that Mt. Improbable.

            Perhaps you should actually read the book- and discover it is talking about the mechanism of biological evolution! Personal ignorance and incredulity proves nothing.

            If there was a way to turn batches of chemicals into life by adding energy, shouldn’t we be able to re-create the process in the laboratory?

            It is only a matter of time. It has been, since the Miller–Urey experiment in 1953.

            Markqz: @16 – If you were creating actually novel, complex forms without imposing some sort of order then you should be applying for a Nobel prize.

            The work on abiogenesis is part way there already.

            This has been CONFIRMED in Dr. Jack Szostak’s LAB. 2009 Nobel Laurette in medicine for his work on telomerase.

            It’s been 55 years since the Miller-Urey Experiment, and science has made enormous progress on solving the origin of life. This video summarizes one of the best leading models. Yes there are others. Science may never know exactly how life DID start, but we will know many ways how life COULD start. Don’t be fooled by creationist arguments as even a minimal understanding of biology and chemistry is enough to realize they have no clue what they are talking about.

          • If there was a way to turn batches of chemicals into life by adding energy, shouldn’t we be able to re-create the process in the laboratory?

            It is only a matter of time. It has been, since the Miller–Urey experiment in 1953.

            All those experiments did was demonstrate that some short amino acids could be produced if you zap them and percolate them under conditions which are no longer thought to have been present at the time of the earth’s formation. Most modern books on Evolution (including Dawkins) down plays the Miller experiments for just that reason. Hey! Maybe you should read a book!

            The actual brew cooked up would be poisonous to any actual life form. Among other things, the chirality of the acids were random.

            So, after 60 years, no one has been able to accomplish in the lab under controlled circumstances what is alleged to have occurred spontaneously in nature. Go figure.

            I think I’ll stop posting. People here are rude and often profane. Perhaps there’s something to that other old Creationist chestnut that people without God are mean & nasty. You can prove me wrong by replying POLITELY without challenging my intelligence or resorting to middle-school swear words.

          • In reply to #19 by Markqz:

            So, after 60 years, no one has been able to accomplish in the lab under controlled circumstances what is alleged to have occurred spontaneously in nature. Go figure.

            Well, to be fair, nature had a couple of billions of years of experimentation to get it right before life “spontaneously” appeared…

            Perhaps there’s something to that other old Creationist chestnut that people without God are mean & nasty.

            Perhaps. And perhaps there’s something to that old Atheist chestnut that Creationists always claim to be offended and leave the argument on that pretense whenever they get to the point where they can no longer rationally defend their beliefs.

          • In reply to #20 by godzillatemple:
            >

            Perhaps there’s something to that other old Creationist chestnut that people without God are mean & nasty.

            Perhaps. And perhaps there’s something to that old Atheist chestnut that Creationists always claim to be offended and leave the argument on that pretense whenever they get to the point where they can no longer rationally defend their beliefs.

            Or briefly – when it finally dawns on them just how far they are out of their depth in the study of the science being discussed!

          • In reply to #19 by Markqz:

            It is only a matter of time. It has been, since the Miller–Urey experiment in 1953.

            All those experiments did was demonstrate that some short amino acids could be produced if you zap them

            You seem to have ignored the references to more recent work.

            and percolate them under conditions which are no longer thought to have been present at the time of the earth’s formation.

            Are you proposing some “uniformity of chemical conditions all over Earth” for millions of years. There is a huge diversity of chemistry in specialist niches on Earth even today!

            Most modern books on Evolution (including Dawkins) down plays the Miller experiments for just that reason.

            Miller-Urey just demonstrated a starting point.

            Hey! Maybe you should read a book!

            Hey! Maybe you should read a RECENT book! – or even the links provided.

            The actual brew cooked up would be poisonous to any actual life form.

            That is a pretty sweeping statement! – Given the range of modern life-forms which exist in toxic environments. Lots of them live in that toxic oxygen stuff that wiped out much of early life over two billion years ago.

            So, after 60 years, no one has been able to accomplish in the lab under controlled circumstances what is alleged to have occurred spontaneously in nature.

            Nature took millions of years selecting from millions of chemical niches.

            Go figure.

            Go figure the video by the Nobel winning scientist I linked @17. – Then some more recent research.

            I think I’ll stop posting. People here are rude and often profane. Perhaps there’s something to that other old Creationist chestnut that people without God are mean & nasty.

            OOOooh those “nasty people” have told you, you were wrong and ignorant. If you don’t want to be shot down, don’t come to a science site and start posing with ignorant assertions. Creationists often play the “offended card” when their whimsical assertions are properly demolished or ridiculed by scientists.

            You can prove me wrong by replying POLITELY without challenging my intelligence

            I think several people have already done so on a range of points, where they were actually challenging your ignorance!
            (Ignorance of science – is a lack of knowledge – not an insult.)

      • In reply to #6 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #3 by Dr Watson:

        I often think the real question is one to do with thermodynamics. How is it possible for molecules to ‘evolve’ into more complex molecules (‘biomolecules’) when thermodynamics teaches us that inorganic nature tries to dissipate energy, to lower the energy of any system…

        Hi Alan and thanks for your consistent and informative data….At the risk of biting off more than I can chew ……I have two questions for you – maybe you can help me to understand these complex subjects a bit more…..

        If hot ice can be formed under high pressure – it isn’t bound by the temperature constraints of normal ice, it melts at much higher temperature. Temperature seems to be secondary to hot ice…. does that mean that pressure is somehow operating outside the second law of thermodynamics ? and

        What about superfluid – isn’t that a kind of energy …….fast at freezing temps and gravity defying while exerting force in a infinite forward momentum ?

        • In reply to #10 by Light Wave:
          >

          If hot ice can be formed under high pressure – it isn’t bound by the temperature constraints of normal ice, it melts at much higher temperature. Temperature seems to be secondary to hot ice…. does that mean that pressure is somehow operating outside the second law of thermodynamics ?

          No. Nothing gets away from the second law. It is just a matter of extreme pressure.

          http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11864-strange-alien-world-made-of-hot-ice.html#.UnKPZCcUtPY
          >

          But the high pressures in the planet’s interior would compress the water so much that it would stay solid even at hundreds of degrees Celsius – the expected temperatures inside the planet. There are a variety of exotic ‘hot ice’ states possible in such conditions, with names like ‘Ice VII’ and ‘Ice X’.

          Ocean worlds

          “Water has more than a dozen solid states, only one of which is our familiar ice,” says team member Frederic Pont of Geneva University. “Under very high pressure, water turns into other solid states denser than both ice and liquid water, just as carbon transforms into diamond under extreme pressures.”

          Liquid water can also exceed its NTP boiling point at great pressure, and does so on Earth in deep ocean hydrothermal vents, where it can remain liquid at 300°c to 400°c.

          http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/eoi/nemo/explorer/concepts/hydrothermal.html

          Hot springs on the ocean floor are called hydrothermal vents. The most numerous and spectacular hydrothermal vents are found along world’s mid-ocean ridges. The heat source for these springs is the magma (molten rock) beneath the volcanic ridge system. Geothermal activity beneath 2000 to 5000 meters of seawater is markedly different than on land because of the high pressure at the bottom of the ocean. As seawater descends into the region of partly molten rock beneath the mid-ocean ridge, it heats up to 300-400°C and becomes extremely corrosive. This hot fluid is capable of dissolving the surrounding basaltic rock and leaching out metals and other elements.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superfluidity

          @Light Wave – What about superfluid – isn’t that a kind of energy …….fast at freezing temps and gravity defying while exerting force in a infinite forward momentum ?

          I think you will need to ask a quantum physicist about that. All sorts of strange things happen near 0°K.

      • Alan4,
        Great stuff. I learned today! I also did an experiment today! The life of a High school biology teacher is rife with reading and wonder and talking, and more than anything else, lab exercises. Not experiments, but exercises. These exercises have the kids follow procedures and reinforce concepts from the text or from lessons. The thing is, I KNOW what the outcome should be before the “lab” is performed. These exercises give the kids important skills, like titrating to find end point or gram staining or using CO2 probes and such.

        But, this year we have decided to go completely investigative. We teach the kids photosynthesis and then they DESIGN and PERFORM an experiment based on what they WANT to to know! It is exhilarating!!!! Just like learning new stuff.
        Thanks Man!

        In reply to #6 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #3 by Dr Watson:

        I often think the real question is one to do with thermodynamics. How is it possible for molecules to ‘evolve’ into more complex molecules (‘biomolecules’) when thermodynamics teaches us that inorganic nature tries to dissipate energy, to lower the energy of any system…

  4. An interesting speculation: not quite sure what it’s doing on this site. It has no more evidence to support it than any other posterior-extracted hypothesis on abiogenesis (see other comments). Maybe it would be fun to have a whole sub-section of this site devoted to the many hypotheses on abiogenesis, since most creator-believers seem to confuse it with evolution.

  5. Abiogenesis is the next stratospheric discovery hopefully to be made ,however long it takes?
    Yes it is a hypothesis ; but it’s something that should be investigated.
    The laugh would be: that if science worked it out; then religion would go down the toilet!

  6. we recreate in in the lab all the time. I did it today with a group of tenth graders. The plan is SELF ASSEMBLY. Try to prove a PLAN. YOU ARE ASSERTING A PLAN. PROVE IT. GTFO, with this bullshit about a PLAN. Show me ONE thing ONE thing that self assembles other than life and I’ll shut up.

    All forms of reverse entropy that we know of involve a PLAN.

    Interesting, provide EVIDENCE. or you are full of shit. Because all forms of “reverse entropy” I have encountered involve living systems using energy to swim against the current of entropy in an open system. Your assertion is horseshit.

    Your post is a study in ignorance. You should publish it. Oh, wait that has already been done. Not only do molecules compete, but nuclei compete, quarks compete. Study the idea of generation of heavier elements in the cores of stars. It is competition that determines that Carbon and Nitrogen et al will be the product of those interstellar collisions. Then, it is selection that decides that carbon (tetravalent, stable, forms chains, forms rings, ……) is selected instead of silicon. Christ, it is sitting right there in front of you and you are obviously smart enough to grasp it. Go ahead, READ, STUDY, LEARN.

    Most creationists are too stupid. YOU, however, are not. Your excuse sucks more than “stupid” you are ignorant ON PURPOSE. That is worse than stupid. Wake up. You are wasting your intellect.

    God is gonna be mad at you when you greet him because you are pissing away the reality he has decided to surround you with. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAH

    • In reply to #14 by crookedshoes:

      we recreate in in the lab all the time. I did it today with a group of tenth graders. The plan is SELF ASSEMBLY. Try to prove a PLAN. YOU ARE ASSERTING A PLAN. PROVE IT. GTFO, with this bullshit about a PLAN. Show me ONE thing ONE thing that self assembles other than life and I’ll shut up.

      Al…

      [Removed by moderator to bring within Terms of Use]

      You can recreate molecules in the lab because you pick certain molecules and treat them in a certain way. This is in effect imposing a PLAN. If you were creating actually novel, complex forms without imposing some sort of order then you should be applying for a Nobel prize.

      You can not show a single case where complexity arises spontaneously without a PLAN.

      Mark

      • The molecules in the lab are the molecules that were/are here on the planet. There is meticulous research that goes into….. you know what? This is silly. After reading your drivel in the back and forth with Alan4 and seeing that the mods had to censor you post because it was probably insulting, I am going to leave you to sit in your ignorance (it’s like a dirty diaper — some one else needs to change it for you). Maybe I am tired or old or grumpy; but life is too short, and unlike you, I only get one. I am off to do something of import.

        In reply to #16 by Markqz:

        In reply to #14 by crookedshoes:

        we recreate in in the lab all the time. I did it today with a group of tenth graders. The plan is SELF ASSEMBLY. Try to prove a PLAN. YOU ARE ASSERTING A PLAN. PROVE IT. GTFO, with this bullshit about a PLAN. Show me ONE thing ONE thing that self assembles oth…

  7. If there was a way to turn batches of chemicals into life by adding energy, shouldn’t we be able to re-create the process in the laboratory?

    See “Martin Hanczyc” and be humbled. It will be accomplished inside of two years. Then what bullshit will you trot out? And, when we do, will you see the truth? Or cling to more dumb bullshit?

  8. AAAAWWWWWWW, did I offend the poor little guy? I said “poopy words” and was a big old meanie? The Miller Urey experiment was not mentioned by me. I was referring to Martin Hanczyc and work done in labs similar to his. As for reading a book, well, I guess I’ll take your advice. Next on my reading list……The Happy Atheist by PZ Meyers.

    • In reply to #22 by crookedshoes:

      The Miller Urey experiment was not mentioned by me. I was referring to Martin Hanczyc and work done in labs similar to his.

      The Miller Urey experiment was mentioned by me, and interestingly, it used water (H2O), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), and hydrogen (H2)

      Some evidence suggests that Earth’s original atmosphere might have contained fewer of the reducing molecules than was thought at the time of the Miller–Urey experiment . There is abundant evidence of major volcanic eruptions 4 billion years ago, which would have released carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) into the atmosphere. Experiments using these gases in addition to the ones in the original Miller–Urey experiment have produced more diverse molecules.

      Some of these volcanic gases would be coming into oceans locally through hydrothermal vents.

      If we look at the cometary bombardment:

      General Astronomy/Comets
      Comets were previously thought of as a “dirty snowball” but due to the fact that a comet’s has more dust than ice, they are now referred to as an “icy dirtball”. The nucleus is mainly made up of H2O (water), with some parts NH3 (ammonia), CH4 (methane), and CO2 (carbon dioxide).

      The hot very early Earth probably had all its atmosphere blasted and boiled off it, so the oceans and atmosphere look like they came from volcanism and cometary bombardments. This stuff was literally falling from the sky for millions of years.

      While I think abiogenesis has moved on since Miller-Urey, there were plenty of these molecules, dissolved iron, and no oxygen in the early oceans.

      Observations were made at millimeter/sub-millimeter wavelengths with the IRAM 30-m, JCMT, CSO and SEST radio telescopes. Six Jupiter-family, three Halley-family, and fifteen long-period comets were observed from 1986 to 2001. The eight molecular species were HCN, HNC, CH3CN, CH3OH, H2CO, CO, CS, and H2S. HCN were detected in all comets, while at least two types of molecules were detected in nineteen comets (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment)

      • Alan4, absolutely. I was not disparaging the miller urey, i was just pointing out to markqz that I was talking about current research. I think the miller urey and it’s spin offs give us a great jump off point. Have you ever seen read or hear that the resultant chemical stew would be poisonous to all life forms?

        I routinely draw the miller urey system and go through the paces and results and possibilities. I love that Stanley Miller was a grad student and was all about testing Urey’s idea. His experiment is typical brilliant scientist, brilliant science. Simple simple simple and the BAM eloquent demonstration of the world of possibilities.

        In reply to #24 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #22 by crookedshoes:

        The Miller Urey experiment was not mentioned by me. I was referring to Martin Hanczyc and work done in labs similar to his.

        The Miller Urey experiment was mentioned by me, and interestingly, it used water (H2O), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), and hydrogen (H2)

        So…

        • In reply to #25 by crookedshoes:

          Alan4, absolutely. I was not disparaging the miller urey, i was just pointing out to markqz that I was talking about current research. I think the miller urey and it’s spin offs give us a great jump off point.
          Have you ever seen read or heard that the resultant chemical stew would be poisonous to all life forms?

          I have not, and would be very sceptical of such a claim. “All” is a very big claim! Life-forms seem to adapt to the most unusual chemical brews, ranging from volcanic springs to industrial waste.

          http://www.accepta.com/environmental-water-wastewater-knowledge/pollution-control-waste-minimisation-knowledge/285-microbes-and-toxic-waste-removal-vinyl-chloride-and-dichloroethene

          http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Mining-bacteria-s-appetite-for-toxic-waste-2565549.php

          • Agreed. I do not rule it out, but have never seen this claim before. As I was trying to explain to markqz…. “ALL”? Wow, what a bold statement.

            In reply to #26 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #25 by crookedshoes:

            Alan4, absolutely. I was not disparaging the miller urey, i was just pointing out to markqz that I was talking about current research. I think the miller urey and it’s spin offs give us a great jump off point.
            Have you ever seen read or heard that the result…

          • In reply to #27 by crookedshoes:

            Agreed. I do not rule it out, but have never seen this claim before. As I was trying to explain to markqz…. “ALL”? Wow, what a bold statement.

            I was watching a video of some biologist divers transiting a stratified cenote through Purple Sulphur Bacteria. The photosynthesis was intercepting so much energy, that the purple layer was several degrees warmer than the water above it. It was also absorbing so much light that it was black-dark below it.

            The H2S was diffusing into their blood through their skin and through their masks (despite wearing dry suits) so they had to surface soon after entering the water. They found the brass/metal fittings on their equipment had been corroded and blackened with sulphides.

            http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/572728/sulfur-bacterium

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anoxygenic-photosynthesis

            Anoxygenic photosynthesis is the phototrophic process where light energy is captured and converted to ATP, without the production of oxygen. Water is therefore not used as an electron donor. There are several groups of bacteria that undergo anoxygenic photosynthesis: Green sulfur bacteria, green and red filamentous anoxygenic phototrophs (FAPs), phototrophic purple bacteria, phototrophic Acidobacteria, and phototrophic heliobacteria.[1][2]

            Anoxygenic phototrophs have photosynthetic pigments called bacteriochlorophylls (similar to chlorophyll found in eukaryotes). Bacteriochlorophyll a and b have wavelengths of maximum absorption at 775 nm and 790 nm, respectively in ether. In vivo however, due to shared extended resonance structures, these pigments were found to maximally absorb wavelengths out further into the near-infrared. Bacteriochlorophylls c-g have the corresponding “peak” absorbance at more blue wavelengths when dissolved in an organic solvent, but are similarly red-shifted within their natural environment

            One bacteria’s nutrient is another man’s poison!

        • In reply to #25 by crookedshoes:

          I think the miller urey and it’s spin offs give us a great jump off point. Have you ever seen read or hear that the resultant chemical stew would be poisonous to all life forms?

          I have looked further into this claim to see where Mark is coming from.

          I have found this article on pre-biotic chemistry, but it will not cut and paste. It has a lot of detail – but the conclusions are straightforward.

          Prebiotic Chemistry – Conclusions: (At the very end of the paper)
          http://www.scripps.edu/baran/images/grpmtgpdf/Maimone-March-08.pdf
          2 We have discussed the origins or chirality and shown that nearly racemic organic mixtures can become nearly enantiopure under certain conditions (autocataylsis).
          3 We have shown that simple chiral compounds can transfer there chirality to other simple compounds.

          In Googling the subject for links, there was an overwhelming preponderance of creationist, chirality “irreducible incredulity claims” posing as “science disproving Miller-Urey”. -
          Many on the sites of the usual suspects.

          Markqz @19 The actual brew cooked up would be poisonous to any actual life form. Among other things, the chirality of the acids were random.

          • I smelled it, and I decided to ask about levatorotatory enantiomers to see if markqz used chirality because he knew what it meant or that he used it because he thought it was a “fancy thinking word”…. I got no response, which is what I expected. Like Sarah Palin looking at the notes on her hand. Typical silliness.

            In reply to #31 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #25 by crookedshoes:

            I think the miller urey and it’s spin offs give us a great jump off point. Have you ever seen read or hear that the resultant chemical stew would be poisonous to all life forms?

            I have looked further into this claim to see where Mark is coming from.

            I have found t…

          • In reply to #32 by crookedshoes:

            I smelled it, and I decided to ask about levatorotatory enantiomers to see if markqz used chirality because he knew what it meant or that he used it because he thought it was a “fancy thinking word”…. I got no response, which is what I expected. Like Sarah Palin looking at the notes on her hand….

            They’re making up their own words now, as well as their own ‘evidence’.

          • In reply to #33 by Nitya:

            They’re making up their own words now, as well as their own ‘evidence’.

            They have been playing that game for a while – Hence the cretinist pseudo-classification of life-forms, which can be fed to the gullible so that they can Google “citations” from cretinists without the risk of finding real science:

            Baraminology is a simplistic creationist taxonomic system that classifies animals into groups called “created kinds” or “baramins” according to the account of creation in the book of Genesis and other parts of the Bible. …

            It groups life-forms according to lists from Noah’s Ark, in an attempt to reduce the number of species and fit in 2 of each “KIND”.

            (All the world’s “atheist” zoologists, botanists, and microbiologists etc. have obviously conspired to write the International Rules of Nomenclature! – which need “creationsts’ correction” to be proper pseudo-science!)

            crookedshoes@32 I got no response, which is what I expected.

            It looks like just another quote from an incredulous-cretinist, “Science cannot answer- show stopper list”!
            With no idea about the science behind the failed “show-stopper”, or how to reply to a real scientist, those quoting from such lists, only have the “offended card” left as a denial response to explanations at a level they cannot understand, or to the call of bullshit!

          • With no idea about the science behind the failed “show-stopper”, or how to reply to a real scientist, those quoting from such lists, only have the “offended card” left as a denial response to explanations at a level they cannot understand, or to the call of bullshit!

            I love that each one thinks that they are “doing their own thing” and then they say the same stuff and follow the same pattern until they walk away angry. How many times have we seen this? My poopy mouth and your intellect (and the intellects of the other excellent posters) seem to be really all that is necessary to (at least) chase these people away. I just really wonder what their preconceptions are about how it is going to unfold here on Dawkins.

            In reply to #34 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #33 by Nitya:

            They’re making up their own words now, as well as their own ‘evidence’.

            They have been playing that game for a while – Hence the cretinist pseudo-classification of life-forms, which can be fed to the gullible so that they can Google “citations” from cretinists without the…

  9. @ markqz,

    Oh, and just for the record, I praised markqz’s intelligence and let him know that he was wasting it. I can tell he is bright. He is just wrong. Sorry, charlie!

    As for the chirality of the amino acids produced in Miller’s experiment, could you explain a process that would select only levatorotatory enantiomer as the one’s that are incorporated into living tissue? (I can)

    And, as for the brew being poisonous to any life form, I am not sure that this is correct. I have never heard of the brew being poisonous, you may be correct but I am not sure. The other thing is, the living things that may have evolved first are most certainly not here now, so, what are you basing your “poisonous to all life forms” claim on? Are you saying that you know every life form that has ever been on the planet and their requirements?

    BTW, the Miller Urey has been repeated with differing concentrations of starting chemicals and even differing chemicals and the results were pretty cool. Under the right starting conditions, the simple glassware cycle of Miller and Urey can yield fatty acids, glycerol, amino acids (as you pointed out), sugars, even nucleotides! Couple that with the observation that phospholipids spontaneously self assemble into micelles and coacervates and can incorporate proteins, move, grow, even divide, and you are arguing a point that is pretty thin.

    Again, I see that you are very bright. Get more info. Do more reading and thinking and visit some of the sites (including Hanczyc on TED.com)…. I suggest looking at The Ancestor’s Tale, especially the last quarter of the book or so.

    Don’t shut down because I am an asshole. Don’t shut down because of profanity and guys like me who jump on your neck. You are welcome here, but you have to have thick skin.

    I hope to hear from you.

  10. I spent some time researching an organism called Halomonas elongata. The prof I studied under was the guy who found the critter and named it. It could live in salt solutions up to 32% salt! You should have seen the agar we had to make. My job was to try to knock out genes and see if we could figure out what biomolecules were giving this bacteria it’s insane toughness. Mind you, it was in the 1980′s… We have come so far since then! I should look that Prof up and drop in on him. Extremophiles are just so fascinating!

    I also became enamored with Vibrio parahaemolyticus around the same time and did some work with it. Like you say, one living thing’s poison is another’s food. i also had a student a few years back who did a project in my class room using bioremediation products. They eat OIL and die when the oil is gone. Yep, this is the world I want to live and learn in.

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