Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Transition Metal Catalysts Could Be Key To Origin of Life

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the it-was-just-zirconium-all-along dept.

Earth 145

An anonymous reader writes "One of the big, unsolved problems in explaining how life arose on Earth is a chicken-and-egg paradox: How could the basic biochemicals — such as amino acids and nucleotides — have arisen before the biological catalysts (proteins or ribozymes) existed to carry out their formation? In a paper appearing in the current issue of The Biological Bulletin, scientists propose that a third type of catalyst could have jumpstarted metabolism and life itself, deep in hydrothermal ocean vents."

cancel ×

145 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

ok but how does this explain (0, Flamebait)

ifeelswine (1546221) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484258)

glenn beck?

Re:ok but how does this explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33484288)

His mother and father?

Re:ok but how does this explain (3, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484394)

you wouldn't start with citric acid and some simple metal, like iron or copper, you'd have to use something more serious. I imagine AsO(OH)3 (arsenic acid) mixed in some proportion with Strontium and Tin. I think that's how you get Beck.

Re:ok but how does this explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33484766)

Can I mix arsenic INTO Beck?

Re:ok but how does this explain (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484926)

too late for that, but you can watch the cloud of poisonous gas spreading during his Fox segment

Re:ok but how does this explain (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485504)

I was figuring that most of us wanna-be Cylons are based on silicon (maybe germanium for some that grew up with 8-track tapes), but I figure Beck to be selenium based. The clue is the scent of a failing selenium rectifier, something a hidden few here have been specially trained to spot. Beware of selenium critters among us, their logic can be dangerously fuzzy. Suggested treatment is lithium.

Re:ok but how does this explain (1, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484422)

That's a non sequitur, and you know it! Beck is one of the undead, so you can't apply the same rules to him.

Re:ok but how does this explain (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33485618)

Why hasn't Glen Beck denied being a zombie yet? Why won't Glenn Beck deny these allegations? We're not accusing Glenn Beck of eating brains and feasting on the dead - in fact, we think he didn't! But we can't help but wonder, since he has failed to deny these horrible allegations. Why won't he deny that he is a zombie and that he feasts on human beings?

Re:ok but how does this explain (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485926)

*chuckle* You certainly have THAT meme nailed down tight.

Re:ok but how does this explain (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33484574)

glenn beck?

Beck is the natural reaction to Obamatuerism.

Who but a rank amateur would attribute a quote from Theodore Parker to Martin Luther King: [washingtonpost.com]

A mistake has been made in the Oval Office makeover that goes beyond the beige.

        President Obama’s new presidential rug seemed beyond reproach, with quotations from Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. woven along its curved edge.

        “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” According media reports, this quote keeping Obama company on his wheat-colored carpet is from King.

        Except it’s not a King quote. The words belong to a long-gone Bostonian champion of social progress. His roots in the republic ran so deep that his grandfather commanded the Minutemen at the Battle of Lexington.

        For the record, Theodore Parker is your man, President Obama. Unless you’re fascinated by antebellum American reformers, you may not know of the lyrically gifted Parker, an abolitionist, Unitarian minister and Transcendentalist thinker who foresaw the end of slavery, though he did not live to see emancipation. He died at age 49 in 1860, on the eve of the Civil War.

What kind of rank idiot fucks up something like that?!?!

Re: ok but how does this explain (0, Offtopic)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484602)

What kind of rank idiot fucks up something like that?!?!

Are you supposing that Obama made the rug himself?

There are plenty of substantive issues you could have criticized him for.

Re: ok but how does this explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33484882)

What kind of rank idiot fucks up something like that?!?!

Are you supposing that Obama made the rug himself?

There are plenty of substantive issues you could have criticized him for.

Given that The Annointed One of Hopenchange was attributing Parker's quote to King, and was notified of it back in 2008 [chron.com] by a Unitarian minister, and then changed his speeches:

Fast forward to April 2008, when I heard Barack Obama attribute the quote to Dr. King...I immediately emailed the Obama Campaign the actual citation in the interest of accuracy. Just a point of information.

I have no way of knowing if the Obama Campaign ever attended to my email. I'd like to think so. What I do know is that I cannot find an instance of Barack Obama using "the arc of the moral universe" after April 2008....until the evening of November 4th in his victory speech at Grant Park in Chicago, when he said (referring to the historic election):

        Its the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

Maybe the Obama Campaign did get that email! They changed the arc of the moral universe to the arc of history and bent it toward hope instead of justice.

But then again, the Obamatuer struck again. In June of 2009, right-wing site Hotair noted Obama's misrepresentation of Parker's words as King's [hotair.com] .

So, really, what kind of rank idiot fucks that shit up? And keeps fucking it up. For years. Over and over.

Re: ok but how does this explain (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33485042)

You sound fat. And sort of child-molesty.

Re:ok but how does this explain (0, Offtopic)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484812)

What kind of rank idiot fucks up something like that?!?!

Me, actually. With quotes that get thrown around a lot, it's really easy to misattribute them. Martin Luther King did say it, after all, and sometimes it's hard to trace back to the original source. It is possible Theodore Parker even heard it from somewhere else, you don't know.

Here we go again (-1, Offtopic)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484592)

Beck explained: A guy trying to sell books and get rating for his TV show.

If you think he is anything more, you're as duped as his minions.

Re:ok but how does this explain (1, Flamebait)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484716)

When a country moves too far to the left, demand arises for a populist right wing figure to satisfy all the simple people who rightly feel that there is something wrong but lack the understanding of what exactly, and therefore need it explained in simple language with drawings on a chalk board, just like in school. That's where Glenn Beck comes in.

Re:ok but how does this explain (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33484814)

When a country moves too far to the left, demand arises for a populist right wing figure to satisfy all the simple people who rightly feel that there is something wrong but lack the understanding of what exactly, and therefore need it explained in simple language with drawings on a chalk board, just like in school. That's where Glenn Beck comes in.

your such an idiot, the left is like a spoiled child wanting it's mommy (the government) to wipe it's ass and spoon feed it.

Re:ok but how does this explain (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485562)

You can't punctuate properly and you're calling someone else an idiot? Also, it sounds like the person you responded to you might agree politically too.

Re: ok but how does this explain (-1, Flamebait)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484976)

When a country moves too far to the left, demand arises for a populist right wing figure to satisfy all the simple people who rightly feel that there is something wrong but lack the understanding of what exactly, and therefore need it explained in simple language with drawings on a chalk board, just like in school. That's where Glenn Beck comes in.

Or maybe it's simply that Rupert Murdoch thought he would be a useful tool for his political agenda and gave him a show.

Also, for the most part you can change "need it explained in simple language with drawings on a chalk board" to "want it misrepresented with politicobabble in front of a chalk board, to reinforce their fantasies about reality".

Re:ok but how does this explain (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485412)

Too far to the left or to the right assumes there is an absolute right and absolute left in terms of politics. Besides, in many ways, the US government and policies is considerably farther to the right now than it was in the 70's, we had a lot of price controls and similar regulations even as recently as the 70's that people forget about.

Re:ok but how does this explain (0, Offtopic)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485668)

Glen Beck and his chalk board can be explained by A Beautiful Mind [imdb.com] .

Ah Mercury (2, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484368)

Sweetest of the transition metals.

Re:Ah Mercury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33484404)

Sweet? Maybe you mean sugar of lead [wikipedia.org]

Re:Ah Mercury (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484438)

Sealab 2021 reference [tehphil.com]

Re:Ah Mercury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33484530)

Ah, gotcha. Must've missed that episode.

Re:Ah Mercury (4, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484600)

It's great with fish.

Probably (0)

camcorder (759720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484372)

But that's not science, that's philosophy.

Re:Probably (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484400)

Philosophy is the love (and by implication, study) of wisdom. I think you mean theory, or perhaps supposition.

Re:Probably (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33484486)

No, wack-job. It science. You make educated guesses. Then you formulate theories around them and test them. He not just going to write his ideas down in a book and start a cult.

Re:Probably (1)

PrimordialSoup (1065284) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484616)

do you mean a hypothesis ?

Re: Probably (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484648)

do you mean a hypothesis ?

No, he means that science that doesn't jibe with what he believes should be treated as arbitrary opinions.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33484414)

Battlestar Galactica was right, and we're all really Cylons in origin?

Winner of $1 Million? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33484550)

http://worldview3.50webs.com/rewards.html

The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (-1, Troll)

nido (102070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484572)

Every living organism has an electromagnetic field. See the work of Harold Burr [wikipedia.org] and the L-Field [wikipedia.org] .

Saying that life arose purely from random chemical reactions is like holding that the egg came first. (Ref: The Chicken May Have Come Before the Egg [slashdot.org] ). But materialists have just as much of an agenda as the creationists, which is why we're subjected to this crap about life emerging from a chemical soup. (Stephen Hawking is a materialist tool. Ref: Hawking Picks Physics Over God For Big Bang [slashdot.org] )

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (2, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484638)

But materialists have just as much of an agenda as the creationists, which is why we're subjected to this crap about life emerging from a chemical soup.

If by "materialists" you mean "scientists", then your claim is true.

But the two agendas are very different: scientists are trying to figure out what has happened and how stuff works, and creationists are trying to defend an ancient tradition about what has happened and how stuff works.

As for the L-Field... are you suggesting that electromagnetism has a non-material cause?

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (0, Troll)

nido (102070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484758)

As for the L-Field... are you suggesting that electromagnetism has a non-material cause?

There isn't much to matter - science now knows that even the hardest of atoms is mostly empty space. When you push your hand against the keys on your keyboard, the electrons at the outer edge of the shells of the atoms that make up your fingers don't actually touch the electrons of the atoms of the keys of your keyboard.... The electrons get close, but the electro-magnetic fields repulse one another.

Scientists are still looking for that fundamental material building block, but they haven't found it yet. Why assume that matter is the basis of all that is, when the latest scientific evidence is heavily in favor of Energy being the first cause?

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484778)

Scientists are still looking for that fundamental material building block, but they haven't found it yet. Why assume that matter is the basis of all that is, when the latest scientific evidence is heavily in favor of Energy being the first cause?

Do scientists think matter is more fundamental than energy?

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

Empiric (675968) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485420)

...are trying to figure out what has happened and how stuff works...

...and, sometimes, are defending their pet paradigm, or protecting their tenure, or claiming whatever results will get their company's product past the FDA...

It's dangerous to make such absolute categorical statements regarding anything involving human beings. [plosone.org]

And, I should note, most "creationists" are looking for synthesis of science and their theological views.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484654)

Saying that life arose purely from random chemical reactions is like holding that the egg came first. (Ref: The Chicken May Have Come Before the Egg ). But materialists have just as much of an agenda as the creationists, which is why we're subjected to this crap about life emerging from a chemical soup. (Stephen Hawking is a materialist tool. Ref: Hawking Picks Physics Over God For Big Bang)

Well then what came first, the electromagnetic field or the electrochemical reaction? I'll wager on the chemical reaction and, if the fact that electromagnets cease operating when you turn off the power holds true, I'll be right.

And what's this nonsense about biochemists and physicists having an "agenda" like creationists. Creationists have an agenda that centers around pushing their unscientific beliefs on everyone via force of law, I don't see how anything that is arguably scientific in origin could be in any way equated with that.

Or would you have us believe is some woo-woo science hocus pocus?

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

nido (102070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484714)

And what's this nonsense about biochemists and physicists having an "agenda" like creationists.

I said "materialists". For example, James Randi (the magician) is a materialist with an religious agenda.

I don't see how anything that is arguably scientific in origin could be in any way equated with that.

Sometimes even the best scientists fall in love with their guiding philosophy.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (2, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484830)

And what's this nonsense about biochemists and physicists having an "agenda" like creationists.

I said "materialists". For example, James Randi (the magician) is a materialist with an religious agenda.

So Randi doesn't believe in energy???

You're sending a very confused message.

Sometimes even the best scientists fall in love with their guiding philosophy.

Pray tell, what is scientists' guiding philosophy?

For me, evidence trumps tradition. Is that a philosophy?

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (2, Interesting)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485110)

You need to learn what materialism is. The way you are trying to use the word is nothing like the way any educated person uses it. Talk about sending a confused message. Alternately, you are trying to create a strawman argument. If not, learn to high school physics, learn to freshman college philosophy, or at least read something as modern as Locke or Berkeley. Then spend ten years on Quantum Mechanics and Information Physics, and you might be able to add something constructive to this discussion.

And the answer to your rhetorical question at the end is actually a clear "Yes!". You should also read Sir Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn so you learn why it's a yes and not anything else. Here's a hint, don't waste people's time treating a real question as a mere rhetorical tool. There have been hundreds of thousands of man hours devoted to creating a philosophy of science and dozens of brilliant books written on the subject. Most working scientists took at least one philosophy of science course to get their degree. If you want to insult all of them that took that course seriously and didn't just treat it as a nonsense prerequisite to the subject, go ahead, but claiming that there is no such thing puts the burden of proof squarely in your court.

To any Atheists reading this far, Black Parrot is claiming to be defending your position against religious ones. Unfortunately, following his argument logically means that to justify Atheism, you have to give up all physics post Isaac Newton and all modern philosophy of science. Do you really want to say "I am an Atheist, so Einstein isn't science. I reject all modern science post Newtonian strict materialism to cling to my unreligious non-beliefs." Because, I thought, you know, just as a vague impression up till now, that maybe some of you Atheists actually have a logical argument or two to explain why you support it instead. If Black Parrot is speaking for you, you don't. I could deliberately pick the most stupid sounding religion ever (maybe something with a creation myth involving spaceships like gold colored DC-10s, and a big volcano), secure it wasn't nearly as absurd as the Atheist position as it's being stated above.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (0, Troll)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485190)

You need to learn what materialism is. The way you are trying to use the word is nothing like the way any educated person uses it.

Never mind educated people; I have trouble guessing what apologists for this or that mean by it in on-line forums. Today I've been on the verge of asking several posters what they mean by it.

Regarding the rest of your post, you're a fucking idiot.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1, Flamebait)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485964)

If anyone was hoping for a less hot-headed response to the GP, it might have gone something like this:

a) Popper et al. don't speak for me.

b) Letting evidence guide your beliefs isn't a philosophy; it's the foundation of sanity.

c) Whenever "philosophy" and "materialism" are brought up in an on-line discussion, it's almost always by a creationist or some other flavor of reality-denying kook who wants to paint a veneer of erudition on their rejection of well-established facts.[*]

d) Those same people don't have any problem with the evidence-guided life when it doesn't impinge on their kookery or superstitions. When they come home and find the carpet wet they don't pause for a minute to consider supernatural explanations. And when it turns out to be the toilet tank overflowing, they don't invoke "philosophy" and "materialism" as excuses to deny that all the water running out of the tank is the cause of the wet carpet.

e) I don't speak for atheists. And as far as I know, no one is an atheist because I said they should be, so there's no reason to suppose they're counting on me to defend their lack of belief in your invisible sky man.

[*] I don't consider every creationist a kook; some are merely ignorant, others are misled by con artists. But when someone starts arguing "materialism" and "philosophy" to defend their superstitions, it's a sure sign that they already know they've lost the argument if they try to deal in facts. And to invoke rhetorical dogcrap to defend a position that you know you've lost is the sign - evidence - of kookery.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (3, Informative)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485196)

Ah the classic, "you don't know what this, so you're dumb, but I'm not going to tell you what it is!" rhetorical move. Very nice. According to this [wikipedia.org] , materialism is just that there is no magic "soul" or "spirit" and everything is simply composed of matter and energy. This seems to be in line with general scientific thought: science doesn't need to account for something that isn't observably there.

Philosophy of science classes just teach the ideas behind the scientific method, how it came to be, and how the early scientists worked. I don't see what relevance that class has to anything you're talking about, this is not a philosophy that scientists are pushing on people, it is the history of scientific pursuit and tools to be used for future work. There is no agenda, scientists aren't trying to push the ideology on you. The evidence says that is what happened, so they report it. Because you feel persecuted by it because it doesn't jive with your beliefs doesn't make it wrong. It doesn't make it right either, it is simply the best idea we have given the evidence presented thus far. That is all science is.

Your last paragraph is nonsensical. Why do we have to give up quantum mechanics? There is nothing magical about it. It may not even be how things work, it just makes very good predictions. What argument are we following to its logical conclusion? You are simply making statements without fully explaining them. What do atheists have to reject about quantum mechanics?

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (3, Insightful)

Chrononium (925164) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485744)

The philosophy of science, like any philosophy, impacts how a person understands the subject. You can go really wrong if you try to supplant the philosophy with another (e.g. Creationism), but it is important to understand why science has worked so well. It isn't that science necessarily rejects anything metaphysical (such as causality, at least up to quantum physics), but simply minimizes the metaphysical requirements of any theory, since science is supposed to be experimentally verifiable. This is a good way to work, since no reasonable arguments can arise without some way to resolve them ultimately. It is important, however, to distinguish between the evidence and the interpretation of that evidence (theory!). The evidence never, ever, ever explains itself, since that requires some metaphysical interpolation (e.g., invoking objective reality, objective truth, integrity of the senses, perhaps causality, etc.).

I agree with most of your comments, except that philosophy does not equal history and science is more than a black box model. Indeed, a great temptation in science, especially the venerable physics, is to consider it simply as mathematical modeling. I have found throughout my doctorate the most useful theories are the ones which attempt to give a non-mathematical description of how the universe works in some particular way. In my field, numerical simulations are entirely possible for some complex situations, but one cannot be considered an expert if one simply presses a button to execute a mathematical model. In my opinion (as an engineer), the real test of a scientific theory is whether it can be used for a realistic engineering application. The typical engineering application requires one to assume a vast amount about the problem at hand and therefore becomes a tedious, uninspired exercise if only mathematical models are used to engineer the device. Whether we are ultimately describing epicycles or true orbits can make a really big difference in the difficulty and expense of the engineered device (imagine designing a satellite to keep up with the motions of the planets if they really moved in epicycles!). The closer we are to completely explaining a physical event means that we have a closer mental model of reality, which is the real pursuit of science.

That said, I am unfamiliar with any necessary interpretations which quantum mechanics places on the student that forces a particular metaphysical result on the question of the existence of God. References?

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486112)

Well stated, thank you, I agree wholeheartedly. I also cannot think of what quantum mechanics has to do with religious belief. Apparently, according to him, we have to spend ten years studying quantum mechanics and information physics before we'll get what he's talking about. Because I'm sure he has.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

nido (102070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485828)

According to this [wikipedia.org], materialism is just that there is no magic "soul" or "spirit" and everything is simply composed of matter and energy.

Your link actually says that everything is composed of matter:

In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter;

hth, hand.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486074)

It also says:

"Modern philosophical materialists extend the definition of other scientifically observable entities such as energy, forces, and the curvature of space."

OK, so old materialists had that view. To be fair, when materialism was created, they had no knowledge of energy or forces. Artifakt is using an ancient, outdated definition.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

nido (102070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486206)

Considering that point about "scientifically observable entities"... I suppose materialists hold that science is currently capable of observing all that is, or at least, everything that is important.

If it can't be measured with currently-available tools it doesn't exist, right?

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486260)

Considering that point about "scientifically observable entities"... I suppose materialists hold that science is currently capable of observing all that is, or at least, everything that is important.

If it can't be measured with currently-available tools it doesn't exist, right?

I wonder if anyone actually holds the views that you're so keen on disparaging.

Two hundred years ago no one knew how to measure, or even detect x-rays, but they were as real then as they are now. Neutrinos. Continental drift. Expanding universe. Dark matter. It would be folly to think there isn't anything more that we haven't been able to detect yet.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486388)

Precisely, and it should be added that all science says is "this is the best model that we have at this time with the tools available". It is likely that as our understanding of the universe grows, new phenomena will be discovered.

The point is that we don't know what we'll discover in the future, but we can use our current model to guide us. If the current model turns out to not be accurate, append it or replace it with a better one.

Nido, what it feels like you are driving at is that a supernatural force is required somewhere (if I am wrong with that assumption, please correct me). However, because this force is supernatural, we by definition have no means by which we can understand it, as our observations are limited to the natural world. If, somehow in the future, we were somehow able to detect a supernatural thing by something we could observe, then absolutely science would amend itself appropriately. But until then, we must work with the tools we have, which right now are confined to the universe that we live in. Making baseless assumptions about the universe at best does nothing constructive for our understanding, and at worst would hinder or destroy our progress.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

nido (102070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486430)

It would be folly to think there isn't anything more that we haven't been able to detect yet.

This is exactly my point. I'm not a particularly eloquent proponent of the philosophy of Vitalism, and I wish I could explain how quantum entanglement and other newtonian-universe-breaking observations suggest Vitalism is more accurate than strict- or modified-materialism...

There's an old saying, "ask and you will find, search and the door shall be opened to you." If you can't consider the possibility that maybe the ancient Chinese were on to something with their concept of Qi/Chi/Life Force, you'll never have experiences that support anything besides the modified-materialist philosophy.

And with that, I'm off to bed. HAND

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33485218)

^^^^^

[Enter sock-puppet]

Tee hee, this place gets more like Wikipedia every day!!!

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484838)

Wow, so pretty much every scientist on the planet has fallen for an agenda.

You're a moron. Worse, you don't know just how much of a moron you are. The problem here is that you know goddamned well you don't have a testable hypothesis, but because you're pathetic, and want to feel special, you've glommed on to some charlatane's anti-science bullcrap. You're even worse than the kooks, you're an idiot fooled by kooks.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (2, Interesting)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484676)

Who says that life arose from purely chemical reactions?

Electricity has always been a factor in the more modern plausible origin of life theories. Experiments to generate complex organic molecules from base components by simulating early Earth like environment have always involved some sort of electrical component, namely in the form of simulated lightning.

Though your real gripe is against that the randomness, in your view, could not have given the result of life because the chances are so small. However in order for the chances to be small they have to exist in the first place as small is greater than 0.

You are considering only the improbability of a single event under a single circumstance but not considering how many times that circumstance might occur in the universe, which is vast, old and to any reasonable point of scientific certanty contains a large number of such circumstances. You are focusing only on the single success without taking into account or having any idea of all the other times it almost but didn't happen.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485002)

"Who says that life arose from purely chemical reactions?"

Dr. Jack Szostak [youtube.com]

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485776)

ok. One guy does not the scientific community make. What papers has this guy published?
What journals has he appeared in?
What books has he written?
What research has he done?

Who is this guy other than a name and cheap youtube link?

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485882)

ok. One guy does not the scientific community make. What papers has this guy published?
What journals has he appeared in?
What books has he written?
What research has he done?

Who is this guy other than a name and cheap youtube link?

Uh... quite a lot and quite a bit. He's an accomplished molecular biologist by all accounts. Here's a Google Scholar search for his name [google.com] .

To name some of the journals and publications he's appeared in...
- Nature
- Science
- Cell
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
- Annual Review of Biochemistry

It also appears that he has written a few books on the subject.

HOWEVER, it is important to note that the YouTube videos that have appeared are over-simplified and intended for the layman. But, make no mistake, the man has earned his place and has a good idea of what he is talking about.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#33487068)

ok. One guy does not the scientific community make. What papers has this guy published? What journals has he appeared in? What books has he written? What research has he done?

Who is this guy other than a name and cheap youtube link?

I can understand you have never heard of Szostak but have you never heard of google? Dr. Jack Szostak [wikipedia.org] - Biologist, Nobel Laureate and Harvard proffesor. His CV [harvard.edu] . His lab [harvard.edu]

Now that your argument from authority has blown up in your face, why don't you toddle off and actually watch that "cheap youtube video", you might learn something new.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484686)

Also exactly what about electricity makes it more or less "Godlike" than any other part of the physical universe?

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (2, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484822)

Most everything has an an electromagnetic field of some kind. But if you're insinuating that everythng is animated by the Force, well, then, you're a gullible moron.

Ooh look, I read a book by a guy, and he thinks scientists are a bunch of morons, so I'll go on Slashdot and talk about the evil materialists.

Guess what, guy, science is methodological naturalism. If you have a testable theory, then provide it, otherwise take your book and shove it up your ass.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

vandan (151516) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484858)

I agree with your attack on materialism, and also that Darwinists have an agenda as do Creationists. But instead of focusing on electromagnetic fields, which is itself inside the domain of the material, I think the source of life lies in a domain of organisation and thought ... one which 4-dimensional physics is enfolded in.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (1)

bertok (226922) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485422)

Every living organism has an electromagnetic field. See the work of Harold Burr [wikipedia.org] and the L-Field [wikipedia.org] .

WTF... where did you dig up this ancient quack from? His theories are mix of confusion of correlation with causation, and a fundamental misunderstanding of cause and effect. Living things cause electric fields, electric fields do not cause living things.

Note that Harold Burr was coming up with his theories a good 20 years before the function of DNA in heredity was fully understood. Back then, alternative theories would not have been so outlandish, because the real mechanism wasn't known. It is now.

Everybody knows about the electric fields of living things, that's what EEGs make use of for example. Nothing mysterious there. However, nobody in their right mind would say that "the electric field in your skull makes your brain". It's painfully obvious that your brain makes the electric field.

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (0)

nido (102070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485950)

Living things cause electric fields, electric fields do not cause living things.

Citation? I think the only thing we can say for sure is that living things are associated with electric fields, and that non-living things do not have such fields.

Vitalism [wikipedia.org] holds that a non-material field is what "animates" cold matter. Materialism holds that matter is all there is. You statement, "living things cause electric fields", is a philosophical position...

dueling philosophies, what fun! :)

Re:The electro-dynamic field came first, of course (2, Informative)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486382)

It has nothing to do with philosophy. Vitalism is a tested and disproven theory. Materialism is a tested theory that has not been disproven. If you would like to undisprove vitalism, you must limit it. Vitalists first said that organic chemicals could be synthesized outside of living creatures. Then we synthesised those compounds from rocks, oils and air. Then we synthesised those oils from gases. So vitalists are wrong about the chemistry of life. End of story. You can say that life has a soul, but that will be disproven when a computer becomes sapient.

I can show you that matter causes electric fields. All I need is salt water, copper, and iron. The result is that an electric field will be created from the matter in iron-air battery. The opposite effect would mean that if I produced 0.7 volts, I would have an iron-air battery. Life has an electric field because the material process of evolution choice electric signals as a communication mechanism, because they are fast and readily cause chemical effects. That's also why sapient biological robots (us) used machinery to assemble arrays of semiconductor materials to assemble non-sapient computers. The disproof of this hypothesis will occur when a sapient (or at least self staining) robot is built. If we wanted we could then build a sapient mechanical computer (Babbage style), thus disproving the necessity of electric fields to sapience.

To show that your hypothesis has merit, you must take a set of electric fields, from solar panels or other inorganic sources, and a lot wires, and have organic life pop out. Also, double check to prevent contamination by bacteria. The little critters are everywhere and will clog up the experiment. Now, chemical experiments have not yet have life pop out of them yet. There have been some self-replicating RNA enzymes that came out of nowhere but a pile of individual RNA monomers. Meanwhile, increasing amounts of research (like TFA) is showing where this RNA mixture could have come from. I'm guessing everything, from transition metals, to radio active decay, to rare earth metals and other forms of unobtainium where involved.

The Missing Ingredients! (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484612)

Ah! So now I know what the missing ingredients in my Miller-Urey experiments are! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment [wikipedia.org]

I just need to add a dash of Transition Metal Catalysts.

The stuff has been cooking for the last thirty years, and no life has crawled out yet . . .

Re:The Missing Ingredients! (4, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484764)

The stuff has been cooking for the last thirty years, and no life has crawled out yet . . .

Hardly a surprise, since the real thing took as much as a billion years in a planet-sized beaker.

FWIW, I'm not sure the U-M experiments properly reflect our current understanding of the chemistry of the early earth, either.

Medical Daily (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484622)

Does anyone know who's behind this outfit? I've been seeing their pieces appearing on slashdot pretty frequently, and their pieces all have been short in PR release style, but their website is pretty much devoid of any info on their setup, who they are, etc.

Re:Medical Daily (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485304)

[Begin Outpouring of Righteous Nerd Rage]

How dare you take advantage of people's propensity to not RTFA by casting false aspersions on the authors in this way. In reply

1) The article is more fact-laden and longer than most articles we publish here

2) The well-established authors and institutions names are there for all to see - no PR, just science!

3) You are a Republican sock-puppet and you and your kind have been holding back the whole of humanity since the Enlightenment just so you and your families can make a fast buck!

Let the flames envelop me, this was one shady lie too far!!! There is no truth whatsoever in the parent's post, but I am willing to bet he'll get modded up and I'll be modded into Oblivion for my tendency to fly off the handle over these things! That's OK, it's my favourite place anyway, I especially like Cheydinhal...

Wasn't this answered long ago? (2, Interesting)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484652)

How could the basic biochemicals - such as amino acids and nucleotides - have arisen before the biological catalysts (proteins or ribozymes) existed to carry out their formation

Didn't the Miller-Urey Experiment [wikipedia.org] answer how amino acids could show up?

Re: Wasn't this answered long ago? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484800)

Didn't the Miller-Urey Experiment answer how amino acids could show up?

They have been spotted even in interstellar gas. Seems that they're not so hard to form in our universe.

Re: Wasn't this answered long ago? (1)

fredmeister (1159859) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485062)

From what I've read, there's nothing wrong with the results of the Miller-Urey experiment, only whether its setup was actually similar to conditions on the early Earth. In other words, it is unlikely that Earth's original atmosphere had large amounts of methane, ammonia and hydrogen (e.g. a Jupiter-like atmosphere). More likely it consisted of elemental nitrogen (N2), carbon dioxide, and water vapor. Using a mixture like that, very few organic compounds can be created by electrical discharges.

Re:Wasn't this answered long ago? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484802)

I think the journalist invented the amino acid thing. The rest of the article sounds like it's talking about proteins - how do you turn amino acids into proteins without proteins to do the assembly?

Re:Wasn't this answered long ago? (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485106)

Amino Acids? Yes. Nucleotides? No.

In case you are curious, Amino Acids are the building blocks of proteins. Nucleotides are the building blocks of RNA and DNA. Also ATP (the fuel of life)

So Miller-Urey Experiment was able to make Amino Acids of both chiralities equally (only L is used by all life)

But Nucleotides? No.

Re:Wasn't this answered long ago? (2, Interesting)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485230)

The problem is, the experiments showed that amino acids were much easier to get than was originally thought. But when that result was announced, the general opinion was that getting from there to protein and nucleic acid synthesis was comparatively simpler, and would happen using much the same experimental setup. People confidently predicted the full synthesis of life within a year, or at most a few. Such predictions flew about, in major places such as Life magazine, the New York Times, and official U.S. Government reports. That part didn't happen. instead, the experiment revealed protein folding and other steps in getting to actual life were probably much, much harder than had been supposed.
        Now consider this in light of the 'God of the Gaps' argument so popular among Atheists. (The reason I urge this is that the Miller-Urey experiments actually led directly to a bunch of God of the Gaps remarks in those same articles, and were hailed by Atheist spokespersons such as Sir Bertrand Russell.). The way that argument is usually phrased, the 'gaps' are not just shifting around, rather they are getting smaller with modern science. What happened here was, as one gap got smaller, another grew (as one event turned out to be much more probable than thought, another event in the chain was shown to be much more improbable than was thought by the same theories.).
        Really, Atheists don't have to prove their claim, as it's a simple negative. Even though I'm taking the side of the Theists here, I'll grant that. The thing is, Atheist spokespersons and groups have seized on many scientific discoveries, including the Miller-Urey experiments, as proof of something they don't really carry the burden of proving, and those theories and discoveries have later fallen flat (witness Sir Bertrand Russell, Howard Phillips Lovecraft and others using the Steady State universe model as a proof of Atheism, with the argument being: No moment of first creation = No first creator). A lot of Carl Sagan's rhetoric and some of Richard Dawkins' is still based on these same points, and those two have had to ignore things they knew/know about modern science to cling to their (un)beliefs.
        The Miller-Urey experiments were brilliant and fundamental to much new knowledge, but they are also something that has been widely misinterpreted and need to be groked most carefully.

Re:Wasn't this answered long ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33485542)

I commend you for having the guts to talk about Richard Dawkins in such a manner on a place like Slashdot (where, dare I say, people seem to worship him).

Agnostics have no burden of proof, but Atheists do. This is a common misconception.

If you simply say I do not believe in something that has no evidence of existing, and stop there, then you don't have to prove anything.

If you then go onto say God does not exist and start claiming so to other people, then you need to, at the very least, give supporting evidence for such claims. This is actually an impossible position to be in (you can't prove a negative) therefore most Atheists quickly fall back to the Agnostic position and argue that the burden of proof is on the Theists while trying to argue that God does not exist.

Re:Wasn't this answered long ago? (3, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485732)

Uhm, "God" does not exist. In fact, there's no widely accepted definition of the term that's free of contradictions. It's just a word that's a placeholder for broken thinking.

Re: Wasn't this answered long ago? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486058)

If you then go onto say God does not exist and start claiming so to other people, then you need to, at the very least, give supporting evidence for such claims. This is actually an impossible position to be in (you can't prove a negative) therefore most Atheists quickly fall back to the Agnostic position and argue that the burden of proof is on the Theists while trying to argue that God does not exist.

And the same applies to people who believe in one god but say that the other 9,999 don't exist, right? Or is there some kind of double standard in all this hair-splitting?

Re: Wasn't this answered long ago? (1)

Tony-A (29931) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486744)

Methinks that atheism is effectively just another religion and that overzealousness and exclusiveness in all of them is a problem.

Re: Wasn't this answered long ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33486916)

Youthinks that roses are a kind of dog, because hey, there are dog roses and you're not really into thinking too hard before hitting "Post".

Re:Wasn't this answered long ago? (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485640)

There have been resent experiments that show the self assembly of amino acids into complex chains that are needed to produce neucliotides. The experiments were discussed on an early episode of Futures in BioTech. I believe it is one of the shows that Susan Linquist was on: http://futuresinbiotech.com/display/Search?searchQuery=Lindquist&moduleId=5706204&moduleFilter=&categoryFilter=&startAt=0 [futuresinbiotech.com]

Re:Wasn't this answered long ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33487094)

I read this post three times.

I have been unable to determine if there is a coherent argument in here.

I recommend not drinking before Slashdotting in the future. Do what I do and drink AFTER you read Slashdot. I know that your post certainly made me want to drink...

Stop spreading the lies! (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484684)

Everyone knows that Gil Gerard created life by going back in time and ejaculating into the primordial ooze.

Fe/Ni-S World Hypothesis? (3, Informative)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484698)

Isn't this old news? (pun not entirely intended)... A couple of the more prominent abiogenesis hypotheses have been based on this for most of the decade of not more. Here's a paper from 2003 that, while it has its flaws (some of which have been rectified, some of which have been completely rethought over the last 7 years) offers a fairly complete and very compelling hypothesis for how life may have originated at warm, alkaline thermal vents like those found at the Lost City thermal vent fields:

Martin, W. & Russell, M.J., 2003. On the origins of cells: a hypothesis for the evolutionary transitions from abiotic geochemistry to chemoautotrophic prokaryotes, and from prokaryotes to nucleated cells. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 358(1429), 59-83; discussion 83-5. Available at: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/358/1429/59.abstract [royalsocie...ishing.org] .

And here's a similar but competing hypothesis (still based on Fe/Ni-S, but with a different idea on the origins of membranes and cells):

Wächtershäuser, G., 2006. From volcanic origins of chemoautotrophic life to Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 361(1474), 1787-806; discussion 1806-8. Available at: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/361/1474/1787.abstract [royalsocie...ishing.org]

The latter author has been writing papers about this hypothesis since 1992 (though I haven't read his first paper on the subject).

Point being, this doesn't seem to be a new thing, especially as summarized in the summary here and in the linked article. The original paper on which the article is based [biolbull.org] offers a bit more fundamental chemical details regarding the transition metals involved, and suggests good directions for experimental confirmation or refutation, but the overall idea remains pretty much the same, it seems. Still, it will be interesting to see what, if any, research and experiments result from this.

Re:Fe/Ni-S World Hypothesis? (1)

cpricejones (950353) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485246)

Yes this is old news. Inorganic biochemistry classes and advanced organic classes introduce the subject matter by talking about the levels of metals in the oceans. They go on to teach that common metal ligands and enzymes have affinities for certain metals based on their levels in oceans many years ago. So at least in my experience as a biochemistry and chemistry student, this stuff is old news. But it's interesting!

Urey-Miller (1)

DrHeasley (1059478) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484708)

'nuff said.

May the lord have mercy on us (0)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484756)

You heathens do not understand that any attempt at finding the origin of life is a direct insult to God! The devil made transition elements!

The whole universe is alive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33484784)

When are people going to figure out that there is nothing that can't be called life. The vague distinction we make between what we call life and everything else, is a matter of the degree of complexity it has evolved. The question of "how did life start" is moot, because it's all alive and it always was.

I can argue that the earth is alive and it grew humans on it. You can't separate an organism from its environment, so why distinguish between the two. Some dinosaurs used to have 2 brains, one in the head and one in the tail. Yet we consider such a beast to be one living thing. So why not consider the earth one living thing with many brains? The distinction is arbitrary.

watch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppyF1iQ0-dM

Re:The whole universe is alive (1)

vandan (151516) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485806)

Wooot! Another insightful post on Slashdot. Maybe I should spend more time here? Yeah I agree completely ... the way we call organisms individuals, separate from their surroundings, is completely arbitrary. If you haven't already read them, you may be interested in 'Autopoiesis and Cognition' by HR Maturana, FJ Varela and 'Web of Life' by Fritjof Capra.

Re:The whole universe is alive (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485968)

When are people going to figure out that there is nothing that can't be called life. The vague distinction we make between what we call life and everything else, is a matter of the degree of complexity it has evolved. The question of "how did life start" is moot, because it's all alive and it always was.

I highlighted the part that is the problem. Evolution is not the generation of complexity. It's not the mere passage of time in a physical system. For example, a field of boulders is complex in that it requires a lot of information to describe the boulders and where they're positioned. But we don't expect any of that information to be able to manipulate its environment, say to insure the existence of the field of boulders a million years from now with similar configurations of boulders. However, we do expect that many descendants of the plants which make up a forest now will still be around a million years from now. A tree has ways to manipulate its environment, create and spread similar copies of itself, and otherwise be a pattern which is likely to survive long periods of time in some similar form.

I can't finish my post due to lack of time, but there are characteristics of life which are distinct from just any complex phenomena.

Ribonucleotides & RNA (5, Informative)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484924)

Well, I know everybody's just joking around here, but...

One of the more exciting papers I've read in this area appeared in Nature a little while back (14 May 2009). It shows not only that activated ribonucleotides could have been formed directly from simple molecules that were plausibly present on the early earth, but that the necessary reactions are of high yield, are catalyzed by inorganic phosphates, and take place under mild conditions. Because the ribonucleotides are formed as the phosphates ("activated"), they're suitable for polymerization to RNA under similarly mild conditions.

To me, this seals the deal for RNA the same way that Miller-Urey did for amino acids, and maybe even more so (because the reactions take place under ambient conditions, no lightning bolts needed). It's widely thought that early forms of life were based on RNA rather than DNA, so there you go. Now we just need to figure out how to make a ribosome.

See Powner et.al., "Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions," Nature 459, 239-242 (2009).

Sorry for the geekiness here, but of you know a little organic chemistry you'll find this really cool...

Re:Ribonucleotides & RNA (4, Informative)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485396)

You really shouldn't need to apologize for "geekiness" on Slashdot. If we can't reference and/or link to actual scientific research without apology, then something must be very wrong with this site. ;)

That said, the paper you mentioned looks really interesting. AND, a Google Scholar search [google.com] offers a link to a freely downloadable PDF for those of you, like myself, that don't have access to Nature.

I'm looking forward to reading this. :)

Re:Ribonucleotides & RNA (2, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486690)

It's widely thought that early forms of life were based on RNA rather than DNA, so there you go.

In particular, TFA (at least as characterized by the slashdot article) seems to be hunting for a "missing link" programmable catalyst bridging a perceived gap between DNA/RNA and proteins for chemical synthesis, and proposing transition element complexes to fill this gap. But RNA works just fine as self-folding charge/shape/leverage-based molecular machinery, as well as self-copying genetic information "tapes". So it can be the whole ball of wax for the initial startup. There IS no gap to be filled.

Of course it's less effective than protein for molecular machinery, and less stable than DNA as a data repository, etc. But those can be evolved-on upgrades later.

Now we just need to figure out how to make a ribosome.

Ribosomes are a case in point: They're the bulk of a very complex chemical factory for building proteins. But when you tear them apart you'll find that MOST of the pieces are RNA enzymes. And other parts of the machinery are RNA as well - notably the T-RNA that gets bound to the various amino acids, carries them into the ribosome, and lines them up in the sequence specified by the M-RNA "tape" being transcribed.

Seems to me the logical sequence is for the whole protein synthesis mechanism to initially be built out of RNA, then (once directed protein synthesis is up and running), some pieces of it - such as chunks of the ribosome and aminoacyl tRNA synthetases - would eventually be replaced by proteins that would do the job better.

fails to explain conscience, compassion etc.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33485076)

if we came from metal, maybe that's why we're all (at least the most 'civil'ized of us) acting like weapons now instead of life forms.

meanwhile ( & this is where the metal gets separated from, or 'blended' with the spirit); the corepirate nazi illuminati (see also: we came from monkeys but they didn't) is always hunting that patch of red on almost everyones' neck. if they cannot find yours (greed, fear ego etc...) then you can go starve. that's their (slippery/slimy) 'platform' now. see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

never a better time to consult with/trust in our 'creators' (even if they're 'aliens'?). the lights are coming up rapidly all over now. see you there?

greed, fear & ego (in any order) are unprecedented evile's primary weapons. those, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' life0cidal hired goons' agenda. most of our dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'wars', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid schemes. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & any notion of prosperity for us, or our children. not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one, & the terminal damage to our atmosphere (see also: manufactured 'weather', hot etc...). see you on the other side of it? the lights are coming up all over now. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be your guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. we now have some choices. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on your brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

"The current rate of extinction is around 10 to 100 times the usual background level, and has been elevated above the background level since the Pleistocene. The current extinction rate is more rapid than in any other extinction event in earth history, and 50% of species could be extinct by the end of this century. While the role of humans is unclear in the longer-term extinction pattern, it is clear that factors such as deforestation, habitat destruction, hunting, the introduction of non-native species, pollution and climate change have reduced biodiversity profoundly.' (wiki)

"I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the report. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," added Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."--

"The wealth of the universe is for me. Every thing is explicable and practical for me .... I am defeated all the time; yet to victory I am born." --emerson

no need to confuse 'religion' with being a spiritual being. our soul purpose here is to care for one another. failing that, we're simply passing through (excess baggage) being distracted/consumed by the guaranteed to fail illusionary trappings of man'kind'. & recently (about 10,000 years ago) it was determined that hoarding & excess by a few, resulted in negative consequences for all.

consult with/trust in your creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." )one does not need to agree whois in charge to grasp the notion that there may be some assistance available to us(

boeing, boeing, gone.

My bet is on molybdenum (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33485164)

It is a good choice and happens to be atomic number 42. Google 42 if this number doen't meaning anything special to you.

No need for futher experimentation ... (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486078)

First of, full points for using the term "experimentally testable" in this article. Don't let those physics nerds push you around! I swear, those guys use "experimentally testable" as a pronoun... But I digress.

This was at the very end of TFA, so no one may have read it:

"It's a conjecture at the moment, but it could become a formal scientific core for the emergence of life."

Wha?! Are they kidding? This has been published by an apparently respected research organization. It became 'fact' less than 24 hours after it was published. No need for them to waste their time with bothersome 'empirical research' or the 'scientific method'. In the minds of many, words like 'conjecture' and 'could' in the above statement will be subconsciously replaced with 'wicked awesome fact' and 'suck it Fundies!'.

Problem Solved (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486302)

In fact it has been solved for some time. The basic process involved are well understood. But most people can't or don't think large enough to consider the entire contents of the solar system, or the huge number of different processes and resultants involved. Harold Morowitz has been doing so for years. His Energy Flow In Biology is a deceptively small book describing how life could have arisen (in fact probably had to) from the elements and energy available in this region of the solar system, which became this planet. All the specifics of the physical chemistry involved are in there, formulae and all. Anyone with a serious interest in the subject has either read this or needs to. Anyone who intends to argue the points should be given this book and asked to point out just where it's wrong, because it's far more a collection of known facts than any speculation. As if to prove his point prior to criticism, the back of the book contains a list of biochemicals that should be expected to arise given the conditions and contents.

This is not to say TFA is entirely wrong. A hydrothermal vent could serve as an energy source/sink and chemical environment every bit as well as the entire planet. The complex dynamics could just as easily give rise to compounds and emergent properties just as Morowitz describes. And heavy metals may be involved. But they don't *need* to be. Morowitz's book happens to describe a general principle that applies by its own nature. It can get applied to any similar situation or collection of chemicals capable of ectothermic complexification. It works for this planet, almost certainly does for hydrothermal vents, can be used to project whether of what should happen on any other planet or moon or even deep space itself. When one sees how results can be obtained from such a wide range of environments and can guess from the results what characteristics are likely to apply, one can get a realistic assessment of how narrow our definition of life is and how broad it ought to be when our arbitrary, unnecessary, Earth-centric specifics are removed.

Of all the people who've tried to argue this with me, only 4 have ever taken up the challenge to read the book. Of those, there have been exactly zero to come back with any criticism of the specifics in the book, including the conclusions drawn. One of them then went to study at George Mason, not directly under Morowitz, but in the same department.

Sure, I've seen criticisms of his stuff. I've also seen that he doesn't respond to them, and I know why: they don't understand what he said or the basic science behind it, they pay him lip service in an effort to 'respond' with their own unrelated agenda, or they don't bother to try and simply attack his publication with formulaic restrictions they think are requirements. Morowitz writes books. People make whiny noises about a lack of "peer review". They fail to grasp that this requires peers. Morowitz has a few peers, but mostly in his understanding of complex dynamic systems, not in his erstwhile 'field'. Those peers have little to say, and those with the most to say can't think large enough to enter the same realm. Nor do they seem to notice that the actual science being used is undergrad textbook level so well accepted that few reference the origin (except in historical background) and nobody dare criticize for fear of ridicule. Laws of thermodynamics, ideal gas law, that sort of stuff. They can't, won't or don't read and understand what he wrote. I wouldn't respond to that either.

Get the book and try it. It's not that difficult to follow. Check his material against textbook contents. He's not making up anything except how its put to use, and his one example -- the whole Earth -- is obviously not the only one it can apply to.

Proteins and Ribozymes: Fruits and Cucumbers (1)

piotru (124109) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486688)

Samzenpus wrote:
"biological catalysts (proteins or ribozymes)"
Shorter sentence would be correct: "biological catalysts (enzymes)".
There are protein enzymes or RNA enzymes, and not all proteins are enzymes.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?