Swimming in A Sea of Questions

By Carl Zimmer | January 10, 2009 10:52 am

More thoughts on the origin of life, over at the Year of Science web site.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Evolution, Writing Elsewhere

Comments (9)

  1. RNA is a poor vehicle upon which to base genetic information storage. The extra oxygen by which its sugar differs from DNA’s deoxyribose dissects the molecule by cyclic nucleophlic attack upon the adjacent phosphate, breaking the polymer chain with inconveniently good kinetics.

    Don’t buy anything with a low serial number.

  2. You make the assumption that life arose “ex nihilo” on a barren earth.

    But you would be wrong.

    Life comes from space because life comes from life.

    From Panspermia to Bioastronomy, the evolution of the hypothesis of universal life.
    Raulin-Cerceau F, Maurel MC, Schneider J.

    Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. raulin@mnhn.fr

    During the 19th and early 20th centuries, ideas related to the possible origin in space of bioorganic molecules, or seeds, or even germs and organisms (and how they reached the Earth) included the Panspermia theory. Based on the idea of the eternity of life proposed by eminent physicists – such as Arrhenius and Kelvin – ‘Panspermia’ is mainly divided into two branches: lithopanspermia (transport of germs inside stones traveling in space) and radiopanspermia (transport of spores by radiative pressure of stellar light). We point out some arguments to help to understand whether ‘Panspermia’ could exist nowadays as the same theory defined one century ago. And we wonder about the kind of evolution ‘Panspermia’ could have undergone during only a few decades. This possible evolution of the ‘Panspermia’ concept takes place in the framework of the emergence of a new field, Bioastronomy. We present how this discipline has emerged during a few decades and how it has evolved. We consider its relationship with the progression of other scientific fields, and finally we examine how it is now included in different projects of space agencies. Bioastronomy researches having become more and more robust during the last few years, we emphasize several questions about new ideas and their consequences for the current hypothesis of ‘Panspermia’ and of universal life.

    PMID: 11536892 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE

    Carl: Starwalker=yet another sock-puppet for Charlie Wagner. I grow weary.

  3. “Carl: Starwalker=yet another sock-puppet for Charlie Wagner. I grow weary.”

    Anyone who clicked on my URL link would have known that immediately.

    Am I not allowed to post here?

    “a NY Times article claims that “sock-puppeting” is defined as “the act of creating a fake online identity to praise, defend or create the illusion of support for one’s self, allies or company.”[2]”

    I plead NOT GUILTY.

    [Carl: A better definition of sock puppets can be found on Wikipedia--"A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception within an online community." If you use a name here, you keep using it. My rules. If you don't like them, you don't have to leave comments here.]

  4. [Carl: A better definition of sock puppets can be found on Wikipedia–”A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception within an online community.” If you use a name here, you keep using it. My rules. If you don’t like them, you don’t have to leave comments here.]

    Nothing would please me more than to use my own name.

  5. John A. Davison

    Anonymity is little more than license for abuse. A man who cannot use his real name is beneath contempt, at least beneath my contempt. Imagine a scientific or any other kind of literature with anonymous authors.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  6. Alexandra

    “Anonymity is little more than license for abuse.”

    Tell that to Kathy Sierra.

  7. John A. Davison

    Here is what Leo Berg had to offer on the origin of life -

    “Organisms have developed from tens of thousands of primary forms, i.e, polyphyletically.”
    Nomogenesis, page 406.

    There is nothing in the fossil record in conflict with this view and much in support of it. It is only within the taxonomic level of the Order that we have proof of reproductive continuity. As an example, all the members of the Order Primates to which we belong, share a common original chromosome morphology which has been altered primarily by species specific rearrangements of an original karyotype. This leave no doubt that we had animal, ape like, ancestors. When one compares any of the higher taxa one encounters enormous gaps which still remain unexplained and may remain so for all time.

    In other words, there may prove to be an element of truth in the Genesis account.

    Oh my, wouldn’t that be just awful? We can’t have that don’t you know. If you don’t believe me, just watch!

    I love it so!

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

  8. John is getting ready to argue against Darwinian evolution and in favor of his own pet theory again, it appears…

    John A. Davison wrote, “I am now convinced that the unfolding of pre-existing rudiments is the SOLE cause of evolution, a phenomenon no longer in progress.”
    http://pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/001019.html#c29693

  9. SkasasParadigm

    Professor is getting ready to argue against Darwinian evolution and in favor of his own pet theory again, it appears…

    He’s not getting ready to argue against it, he getting ready not annihilate it. What does that make him? A hell of allot smarter than you! Your Darwinian evolution model is a dismal failure!

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    J. Davison remember his name! Darwin’s worst nightmare!

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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