Origin of Life: Has Anybody Solved It?

Blog comment from a reader:

The first living things on Earth, single-celled micro-organisms or microbes lacking a cell nucleus or cell membrane known as prokaryotes, first appeared on Earth almost four billion years ago.

After a hundred thousand years or more of evolution and natural selection, these early forms became more and more complex, eventually developing a rudimentary nucleus, which contained the ‘pattern’ for the creature to pass on. Examples of simple creatures like this would be a protozoa, paramecium, or amoeba.

Life didn’t need a “code” to get started; it simply needed the right conditions. You want more specifics? Read any scientific textbook available on abiogenesis, evolution and natural selection. They’re full of proven, verifiable facts – i.e., that life as we know it has evolved over the past four billion years.

I replied:

I beg to differ.

There is NO part of abiogenesis that is proven, verifiable fact.

Absolutely none.

I suggest the book “Matter to Life” by Paul Davies, Sarah Walker and George Ellis for an up to date treatment of the subject.

I am ALL IN FAVOR of successful abiogenesis experiments.

And in fact if we can ever succeed in that, such a discovery does not in my opinion take anything away from God or from a spiritual view of the world.

I have a $5 million prize (which was announced at Arizona State University at Paul Davies’ invitation) with judges from Harvard, Oxford and MIT. Top scientists endorse my work because they recognize that I am pro-science. And I am pro-abiogenesis if we can ever get it to work. See my contest at


But one thing I am vehemently against is people MAKING UP STORIES about where life came from.

Most of what you said is fiction. Most popular origin of life books are legitimate but thin and unsubstantial real-life experiments… stitched together with a whole bunch of mythology, hope and speculation.

The truth is: we have no idea where life came from. We have some valuable clues, and people like Steve Benner are doing great work.

But life’s origin is a hideously difficult problem.

Furthermore, evolution and natural selection don’t just “happen.” You need code, replicating cells, and an ecosystem before natural selection can even begin to exist. But you need much more than just replication, variation and selection. Because evolution in the experimental sense is always an exquisitely ordered process (as McClintock, Margulis et al showed). I document this thoroughly in Evolution 2.0.

This is why nobody gets to take evolution “for granted.” We only understand about 5% of how evolution actually works, and no company on earth knows how to write software that self-evolves the way bacteria do. Which means evolution itself is mostly still a mystery.

So every time someone comes here and starts making up stories, I’m going to kick them in the head.

Because they show HUGE disrespect for the magnitude and difficulty of the scientific questions.

And most people who make up these stories are atheists pushing their anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, proselytizing agenda.

If you really believe what you just wrote, then you have been conned by people who have no right to be lying to you. And this is your invitation to peel back the curtain and see what the science actually says.

Your assertion that we basically have this figured out is, truth be told, anti-scientific. And I will not allow it. Not on my watch.

One Response

  1. Norris A Harrington says:

    But, the dinosaurs!

    (I kid. I’m a kidder.)

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