“How did life begin” Are we alone in the Universe? We are the first generation in history to ask those as scientific rather than philosophical questions says Andrew Knoll, professor of natural history at Harvard. The question: How did life begin on Earth is one of the big unsolved questions humanity has always asked. Biology has been very good at describing how living organisms work, but not very good at answering what life is or how it could emerge from a non-organic, non-living world.
Asking these primary questions leads immediately to a subset of question such as how did the Earth form from cosmic building blocks in a way that could support life? What specific habitat conditions does life require to emerge? How do inorganic molecules morph into living organisms –replicating, organizing into cells, then grow and evolve?
Enter Martin Nowak, professor of mathematics and biology and a member of Harvard’s Origins of Life Initiative, who say that life is an engine propelled by evolution. Most biologists, says Nowak, look at evolution as a process that occurs among organisms that reproduce. Nowak takes an exciting new view, looking at evolution at the molecular level. To Nowak, evolution is a well defined process that can be described as precise mathematical equations. Nowak believes that “the same principals governing complex life forms must have been present at the earliest, simplest molecular levels otherwise the origin of life would depend on an unlikely collection of disparate random events.
Nowak’s thesis that evolution is the driver of life, “not an added feature,” led him to conclude that not only is cooperation among humans and other organisims a fundamental aspect of evolution, but it is also essential at the level of molecules. To Nowak Early Earth’s “prelife was not a primordial soup of chemicals, but an active generative phenomenon in which mutation and selection were already acting on molecules. Only when some of them began reproducing, out competing the others, did life begin.”
SN: So there we are: Another “theory” and no one can Prove Anything. And….they call this “science”?
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