I should have said "originated". The idea is that life evolved from
abiotic material at vents about 4 billion years ago, although I think at
least popularized versions have thrown in "maybe it is still going on" with
no supporting evidence.
>Similarly, to state that
>"recent experiments have been able to create biologically important
>molecules under hot vent-like conditions" does not, to me, suggest that life
>is created. Am I missing something here (I'm about as far from life
>sciences as possible)
Again, past tense would have been clearer. The advocates of a hot-vent
origin of life claim that the production of biologically important
molecules such as proteins under vent-like conditions in lab supports the
idea that it could have happened naturally back in the early Precambrian.
Production of proteins started with relatively well-formed starting
materials, so they need to fill a few gaps before the abiotic to protein
connection is convincing, much less an abiotic to life connection.