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January 16, 2010

Way back before 'A'

This is a lengthy (and somewhat technical) article at American Scientist that I found very interesting. Think what it means for the Fl factor in the Drake equation.

The Origin of Life

As the frontiers of knowledge have advanced, scientists have resolved one creation question after another. We now have a pretty good understanding of the origin of the Sun and the Earth, and cosmologists can take us to within a fraction of a second of the beginning of the universe itself. [...] Yet one of the most obvious big questions—how did life arise from inorganic matter?—remains a great unknown.

[...]

In this article we present a view gaining attention in the origin-of-life community that takes the question out of the hatchery and places it squarely in the realm of accessible, plausible chemistry. As we see it, the early steps on the way to life are an inevitable, incremental result of the operation of the laws of chemistry and physics operating under the conditions that existed on the early Earth, a result that can be understood in terms of known (or at least knowable) laws of nature. As such, the early stages in the emergence of life are no more surprising, no more accidental, than water flowing downhill.

Posted by joke du jour at January 16, 2010 03:33 PM

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