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One Of These Days...... Life


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#1 hazelm

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 05:49 AM

https://www.scienced...p Science News)

 

Sulfite and bisulfite anions. volcanic activity - life?   One of these days we are going to read one of these ideas that will hit the nail on the head.  Chemists, the authors say, have not been asking quite the right question.  So, how much is new here? 

 



#2 exchemist

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 07:13 AM

https://www.scienced...p Science News)

 

Sulfite and bisulfite anions. volcanic activity - life?   One of these days we are going to read one of these ideas that will hit the nail on the head.  Chemists, the authors say, have not been asking quite the right question.  So, how much is new here? 

Hmm. A bit thin, this article. The researchers bang the drum for sulphites and bisulphites in the early Earth's oceans, which is fair enough, but so what? There is a statement that these species can catalyse formation of some molecules important in biology, but no details seems to be given of which molecules or how this catalysis works.

 

I think we all know by now that sulphur seems fairly important, for example the sulphate-reducing bacteria, the life around deep sea hydrothermal vents (which emit sulphur compounds) and so on. 

 

It sounds to me as if we need to give them another few years and wait for their second paper! 



#3 hazelm

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 08:28 AM

Hmm. A bit thin, this article. The researchers bang the drum for sulphites and bisulphites in the early Earth's oceans, which is fair enough, but so what? There is a statement that these species can catalyse formation of some molecules important in biology, but no details seems to be given of which molecules or how this catalysis works.

 

I think we all know by now that sulphur seems fairly important, for example the sulphate-reducing bacteria, the life around deep sea hydrothermal vents (which emit sulphur compounds) and so on. 

 

It sounds to me as if we need to give them another few years and wait for their second paper! 

That's true - more time needed - but isn't that true of all the theories?  Is their main point that we should start from the other end - the environment - and see what we think that can lead to whereas, he says, chemists -  and, I assume, biologists) are starting with the life they know and trying to move backward from what they see there?  Maybe there'll be a meeting of minds mid-course.

 

I did get a lot out of it by way of learning, though.  That's always a benefit for me.  It was rather long and I want to go back to it.  See what I missed.  Part of it seemed like "nothing new".  I'm likely wrong.

 

Thanks for your comments.  A professional perspective always helps.



#4 exchemist

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 12:25 PM

That's true - more time needed - but isn't that true of all the theories?  Is their main point that we should start from the other end - the environment - and see what we think that can lead to whereas, he says, chemists -  and, I assume, biologists) are starting with the life they know and trying to move backward from what they see there?  Maybe there'll be a meeting of minds mid-course.

 

I did get a lot out of it by way of learning, though.  That's always a benefit for me.  It was rather long and I want to go back to it.  See what I missed.  Part of it seemed like "nothing new".  I'm likely wrong.

 

Thanks for your comments.  A professional perspective always helps.

Yes it true of all the conjectures. I would not describe anything we can say today about the origin of life as a "theory". This is one more tiny tile in a mosaic that is still mostly blank - and it seems to me a fairly unremarkable tile at that.     



#5 hazelm

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 12:43 PM

Yes it true of all the conjectures. I would not describe anything we can say today about the origin of life as a "theory". This is one more tiny tile in a mosaic that is still mostly blank - and it seems to me a fairly unremarkable tile at that.     

I think - for me, at least - of all the things scientists are searching for, this is the most exciting.  Maybe the most challenging, also.  There is a mystery to it that keeps one wondering if we have been turning our backs on some facts that we don't want to call science.  I don't know.  Just wondering.  Much more interesting than quantum mechanics. :-)

 

That said, what will really decide what is the actual source of life?  Somebody actually creating sustainable life in a petri dish?  That would shake up the world.



#6 A-wal

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 04:46 PM

We don't even really have a proper definition of life, chemical reactions are alive by some definitions. When we search the galaxy for life we just look for what life on this rock would like like if it were on another rock. We might see life and miss it because because we've got mo idea what we're looking for. Of course it's possible that there are other planets with life and it's life that's basically the same as life here.

 

There is a mystery to it that keeps one wondering if we have been turning our backs on some facts that we don't want to call science.

Yep!