Re: Origin of life, design & thermodynamics

Arthur V. Chadwick (
Thu, 27 Mar 1997 10:32:08 -0800

Pim suggests:

>... the
>protocell is perhaps not life as we know it but it is more than non-life.
>It multiplies, responds to impulses, grows etc. Sort of a chemical
>transitional between life and non-life <g>

I would argue strongly otherwise. Having had Fox for a professor, I have
made "protocells" under Fox's supervision, and have carried on extended
discussions with Fox about "protocells". I also have close friends who
worked on such systems. I find protocells to be completely without
relevance to life ( and there are plenty of evolutionists who agree). The
so-called processes they carry out are nothing more complex than those a
soap bubble can be made to effect in air. But even if they were cell like,
they have no relevance for life until you can produce them in anything like
a primitive earth environment. Take out the scientist and the laboratory
and the purified amino acid starting materials, and you have no
"protocells". By the way, what does "...perhaps not life as we know it..."
mean? There is no living system that is based on even the chemistry of
"protocells" that I am familiar with. Membranes of all the cells I know
consist of lipids with various amounts of embedded or attached specialized
functional membrane proteins. Fox's "protocells" have none of these features.