RE: The young age of Earth

David J. Tyler (
Mon, 15 Mar 1999 13:21:00 GMT

David Tyler responding to Pim van Meurs' post of Sat, 13 Mar 1999.

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

Pim: " 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."

For me, systems appear to be IC until unguided mechanisms are
found to demonstrate that the term is a misnomer. To date, this has
not been done. The cell is irreducibly complex IMO. Also the
protein-DNA system.

Pim: "The second problem needs some clarification. Do you mean to
say with "origin of biological information" the origin of RNA/DNA ?"

NO - because DNA/RNA is the chemical carrier of information. The
analogy has long been made between the paper and the printing on it:
the paper is merely the carrier for information. So also DNA/RNA.

I had written:
"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

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

I happen to agree with you. Can we throw out Darwin's "warm little
pond" as having no relevance to abiogenesis?

I had written: " When viable mechanisms are proposed, it will be
possible to assess whether the time constraints are satisfied."

Pim: "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."

Hey, this looks like agreement! Thanks!

> Some recent developments of interest:

Thanks for these. I am not denying that this is a very active field,
nor that people are not excited at their findings. I sent a
selection of media reports to Kevin - indicating that people are
looking in different directions for solutions.

Best wishes,
David J. Tyler.