RE: The young age of Earth

Pim van Meurs (entheta@eskimo.com)
Sat, 13 Mar 1999 12:32:25 -0800

> I know you don't agree with this assessment, but so far your only reasons
> have amounted to vague assertions about the difficulty of abiogenetic
> processes and the violence of bolide impacts. What I would like to know is
> if you have any specific, concrete reasons for questioning the adequacy of
> this amount of time? I mean, let's take a page from Neal Roys posts: can
> you propose any testable causal mechanisms that would demonstrate that even
> this length of time is inadequate?

Tyler: Aboigenesis advocates have two problems to address: the origin of a
chemical structure that appears irreducibly complex and the origin of
biological information.

I think that the first problem is already solved to you: A system that _appears_ IC. Since we have seen how irreducibly complex systems can arise gradually this need not be a problem.
The second problem needs some clarification. Do you mean to say with "origin of biological information" the origin of RNA/DNA ?

I think all are agreed that no one has yet proposed a mechanism or mechanisms for solving these problems. In the absence of a mechanism, time is of no value: chemicals settle down to an equilibrium state the longer they are left to stew. This is the basis that I question the adequacy of time.

But that assumes that chemicals are kept at their equilibrium. It is exactly the far equilibrium processes which make this topic so interesting.

However, knowing that many people are seeking mechanisms, I am
interested in clarifying the constraints that models have to satisfy.
Hence my posts on this subject. When viable mechanisms are proposed,
it will be possible to assess whether the time constraints are
satisfied.

Very true, there are time constraints and the mechanisms should allow for these contraints or they should be dismissed unless of course the timeconstraint itself is wrong.

Some recent developments of interest:

Sci/Tech Lab molecules mimic life:

Like DNA, the lab molecules can copy themselves and change

"German scientists have created artificial life in the
laboratory. They have made molecules that are capable
of copying themselves. Although several labs around the
world have done the same, these molecules can evolve
as well."

Self-Reproducing Molecules Reported by MIT Researchers

PRIMITIVE LIFE

Self-Reproducing Molecules

Reported by MIT Researchers

By Eugene F. Mallove

News Office

A significant step toward understanding the origin of life may have been
made by a group of MIT researchers. Led by Professor Julius Rebek, Jr.
of the Department of Chemistry, they have created an extraordinary self-
replicating molecular system that they say might be regarded as a
"primitive sign of life."

It is not life itself, of course, but it is a kind of molecular model of
how self-replicationĄa most fundamental life processĄcan occur.

In work recently reported in the Journal of the American Chemical
Society, Professor Rebek and his coworkers, Tjama Tjivikua, a graduate
student from Namibia, and Pablo Ballester, a visiting scientist from
the University of Palma in Mallorca, Spain, described the creation of an
extraordinary self-replicating molecular system.

On CARM Tim Thompson posted some additional references:

Production of RNA by a Polymerase Protein Encapsulated Within Phospholipid Vesicles
Article (Refs:17)
A.C. Chakrabarti et al.
JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR EVOLUTION; v39(6): pp555-559 (1994 Dec)

The First Living Systems - A Bioenergetic Perspective Review (Refs:168)
D.W. Deamer
MICROBIOLOGY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY REVIEWS; v61(2): pp239-Continues (1997 Jun)

Origin of Biochemical Organization Article (Refs:65)
A.E. Lyubarev & B.I. Kurganov
BIOSYSTEMS; v42(2-3): pp103-110 (1997)

Protocell Metabolism - A Transition from Chemical Evolution to Cellular Metabolism
Article (Refs:54)
A.E. Lyubarev & B.I. Kurganov
BIOCHEMISTRY MOSCOW; v61(5): pp615-620 (1996 May)

The Evolution of Diversity in Ancient Ecosystems - A Review Review (Refs:235)
S.C. Morris
PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON SERIES B BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
v353(1366): pp327-345 (1998 Feb 28)

The Path from the RNA World Review (Refs:121)
A.M Poole et al.
JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR EVOLUTION; v46(1): pp1-17 (1998 Jan)