Chemical Big Bang? New Study Says Life “Emerged Fully Formed”

"...now an old idea has been revived and refined: maybe there was a 'chemical big bang,' and life arose spontaneously in a river, with all the major components in place all at once." - AiG

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Bert Perry's picture

What this means is that at a microbiological/nanobiological level, biologists are admitting Michael Behe's thesis of irreducible complexity and adapting Steven Jay Gould's doctrine of punctuated equilibrium (originally used to explain the fossil record) to micro/nanobiology.

Statistically speaking, it's akin to rolling sixes....with millions of dice.  Now they'll never admit they're in effect agreeing with Behe, but that's precisely what they're doing here.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Some biologists, yes. It is a really interesting development. Maybe we'll get another book out of Behe sooner rather than later, as a result? To me, it's an encouraging thing to see some attention on the chemical-level problems with evolutionary theory.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Mark_Smith's picture

I object to the assertion that the "big bang" was somehow "fully formed" like they are trying to compare. At the second the universe came into existence, there was energy, entropy, and space. That's pretty much it. Everything else formed later.

What there was not:

particles

stars

galaxies

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I think they're oversimplifying a bit to try to media-ize the concept. It would be interesting to read the original article. I'd love to see Behe's take on it as well, since he does a pretty good job of making these technical issues understandable to the rest of us.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Bert Perry's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

I object to the assertion that the "big bang" was somehow "fully formed" like they are trying to compare. At the second the universe came into existence, there was energy, entropy, and space. That's pretty much it. Everything else formed later.

What there was not:

particles

stars

galaxies

Mark, keep in mind that what they're claiming is not the astronomical theory, but a chemical analogy.  In my mind, while perhaps imprecise--and let's keep in mind that the phrase apparently goes back to at least the "New Scientist" article that AIG cites, if not a peer reviewed article in the technical journals--I think it does communicate what they're trying to say; that instead of a gradual accumulation of the ingredients for life, you had a sudden onset that got things going.

Note as well, besides the obvious analogies to punctuated equilibrium, that the strongest evidence for the theory appears to be "the old theory doesn't work."  That is akin to putting a new justification for a car loan out there to your bank because the standard explanation--your income and assets and such--did not work.  Yes, there's a point where science really does progress by conceding that the old explanations did not work, but if the evidence does not come through for a chemical explosion, the science won't progress beyond that point.

Thinking it through, since regressions backwards in time tend to be mathematically unstable, I'm wondering precisely how you would prove this.  The chemicals in question have long since diffused away, so it's strongly unlikely you could take layer A of sedimentary rock and compare it with layer B and say "in the short time of 100 million years, we have a transition in available chemicals", or some such thing.  You would be left, really, at the same place advocates of the "primordial soup" have been for decades--explaining how the materials could have existed in the likely environment, dealing with issues like "UV light destroys these chemicals" and the like.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

Mainstream geology tells us that the earth is, plus or minus, five billion years old, but the earth's core is apparently only about a billion years old.  In related news, I'm 51, but my liver and spine are actually only ten to thirteen.

Not quite sure how that one works.....

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.