Joined: May 2002
I think the item is public, but here is the relevant section:
|The Origin of Life. This problem is one of the big ones in science. It begins to place life, and us, in the universe. Most chemists believe, as do I, that life emerged spontaneously from mixtures of molecules in the prebiotic Earth.|
How? I have no idea. Perhaps it was by the spontaneous emergence of "simple" autocatalytic cycles and then by their combination. On the basis of all the chemistry that I know, it seems to me astonishingly improbable. The idea of an RNA world is a good hint, but it is so far removed in its complexity from dilute solutions of mixtures of simple molecules in a hot, reducing ocean under a high pressure of CO2 that I don't know how to connect the two.
We need a really good new idea. That idea would, of course, start us down the path toward systems that evolve autonomously—a revolution indeed.
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."
L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"