Volcanic Lightning May Have Sparked Life on Earth

Excerpts from environment.newscientist.com/art … earth.html.

Pretty interesting stuff…

I’m quite happy with the ‘spontaneous’ arisal of replicator molecules on earth. It’s a big universe, and if something is not impossible, then it’s a certainty.

Yet more unverifiable speculation being dressed up as proper science.

Can you say parareligion?

SIATD. Try this for me.

Phone friend A and ask him if he/she fancies a beer at pub X at time Z.

Now simply pray to God that friend B is visited by an angelic messager and told to randevue with you and friend A at pub X, time Z.

Then, punch yourself in the face.

Don’t blame me for science being happy to whore itself to the point where it becomes like this.

Tell you what, I’ll try your experiment a different way. I’ll pray that my phone works, then use it phone a friend, who I’ll tell to pray that they go to the pub later on to meet me.

Then go to the pub and see if they turn up.

How’s that?

Yeah, yeah, but the wasted time you and your God-fearing ‘I pray for food’ friend invested in bending God’s lughole over near certain events like ‘will my phone work’ I invested more wisely in alcohol consumption and hence got drunker than you slightly earlier, and therefore drummed up courage to go and ask that blonde if she was up for a bit of reproduction.

She was, btw. :banana-dance:

You always were more of a ladies man than me. I think it’s because I tried to chat them up only using words of three or more syllables. Whereas you got in there with your A grade ‘it’s our duty to our genes’ spiel…

is it para-religion? People found amino acids produce themselves under a huge variety of conditions that were apparently common in early earth, if we look at organisms that exist today, we see whole ecosystems of life living around things like geo-thermal energy opposed to sunlight. So why isn’t it legitimate speculation? I don’t think anyone is trying to pass it off as scientific fact.

I can have an interesting conversation about the evolution of flight in birds, that can be based upon evidence, and may be worth talking about, without ever being able to say *I know it happened this way, or whatever. Its speculation, thats actually worth somthing, even if its not forwarded as scientific fact. Which this article hasn’t been.

it seems reasonable to assume that prokaryotes pre-date eucaryotes, and theres plenty of examples of prokaryotes living in situations where they gain energy from all sorts of unlikely sources, like the lithotrophs.

I know thats different from the ultimate origin of a self-replicating molecule, but still.

Science isnt’ whoring itself out, its speculation based on research, which produces more and more research as scientists become interested in that very *speculation.

If I make a speculation that children engage in so and so, than the pressure is on myself to confirm those findings through research, or they *WILL be crushed by other scientists who do the tests, and do find that my speculation was wrong.

Someone will likely engage in tests about this, to either find evidence to support it or to discount it as wrong when other ideas with more evidence comes along. No one is saying, that the research is at the point where we need it to be, to say with certainty: “Life came from so and so elements and so and so way” but the point is that it produces research. Like this research showing that certain amino acids don’t arise in previously suggested conditions for how life came about.

No one is accepting it as fact, no one in the scientific community should, we should speculate and than research on those speculations though, otherwise no discoveries would ever be made period.

Cyrene, you miss the point. Speculation is necessary for an interesting conversation, but building speculation (e.g. dating methods) onto more speculation (e.g. that an experiment in the present provides any sort of answer to what may or may not have happened however many years ago) is precisely the sort of pataphysical crap you find in religions, and other such places.

As such, scientific answers to such a question as is implicitly posed on this thread are no better, nor worse, than religious answers.

Depends on what you mean by ‘speculation’. For example, dating methods produce very reliable and consistent results as long as they are properly applied. I do not think they can be referred to as ‘speculation’ because of that. Or, at the very least, the manner of speculation is considerably better justified.

You’d need to justify that the original context isn’t being applied to the situation in order to call it pataphysical.

Yeah, total religious nuts.

I’m not seeing lightning strike and human pop out.
Granted, I’m being sarcastic and that’s not the theory but come on.

Just because some new form of amino acids is found and reproduces at a faster rate they suddenly want to give it the origin of life??

First it’s microorganisms, then it’s a comet that hit earth, and now it’s volcanoes. Riiight.

Well when you figure it out, let me know.

But that’s the beauty of it: anything could have triggered life, or a combination of things… Don’t you just love it :evilfun:

I’ll admit I haven’t read the actual study myself, but I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate that the press is jazzing it up a little to attract readers. Scientific studies are kind of dry, and they make smashing atoms sound like golf. I’m not going to say always, but most of the time the scientific study is written in a very precise way that doesn’t exaggerate claims. They will often include some speculation in their concluding remarks, suggsesting further research (as Cyrene points out). But that accounts for the minority of the actual science done.
It seems like the anti-science sentiment here is more properly directed at the media, for reporting things in a sensationalistic and 3rd-grade-reading-level way. Or better yet, at the general population, that by and large isn’t engaged enough to demand more informational news, and hasn’t developed enough of a foundation to understand it even if it were given. The speculation in science is what sells, but science is defined not by the way speculation is generated, but how it’s investigated, and that’s the part of science that works.

Actually, my sentiment is directed towards scientists for allowing this to happen.

They are taken as an authority, and abuse that authority. Or let others abuse that authority and sit back and reap the profits and other rewards of them doing so. Show me an ethical scientist and I’ll show you an oxymoron.

Patronising ordinary people by saying they ‘aren’t ready’ to discuss science properly is nothing more than elitism and protectionism.

thats not entirely true. Massive amounts of people get their ‘science’ from news blips, which is run by things like journalists and etc. For example this debate with Sam Harris on the news, the like news-host debating with him just repeated that stem-cells had absolutely no potential medical application, not in research, not ever.

apparently huge amounts of Americans actually hear that stuff and beleive it. It doesn’t matter how much of an idiot Harris is, or how much we both hate him, he was correct about the stem-cell potential and that research had potential as well.

its not elitist to say that at all. Regular people get idiotic ideas about science, because they take the word of a press release about scientific research and never read the research in the actual peer reviewed journal it was presented too.

It is incredibly difficult to talk to non-scientists about science. Day-to-day research is all about very specific bits that require really, really substantial background knowledge. When discussing my work, even small things that I take for granted get blank, blank stares. Is it elitist? Sure, it is elitist because scientists are highly educated and other people don’t have that education.

So when discussing science, scientists do have to dumb it down, considerably. On top of that, it is in the media’s interest to jazz up the story and make it more interesting. What happens is that the message gets lost entirely in transmission. You could blame scientists for having poor communication skills, which is true to a large extent. But given the isolated nature of science as a pursuit and the specialization of it, isn’t that to be expected?

You are looking to pick a fight on this issue for reasons I don’t fully understand, but you are very busy trying to convince yourself of your righteousness as opposed to actually examining the issue.

I used to continously read science-daily and different ‘news’ websites for news on things like biology. Its funny, but once you buy/read a textbook, you find even the longest/best written media-page on biology (at least) is almost nonsense in its simplicity.

I have molecular biology of the cell 3rd edition, its about a thousand pages long, and the detail that they provide for the biochemical reactions in the cells is… almost introductory, almost simplistic beyond measure, its a great book, even for some biologists/scientists, it provides a lot of info, but even this fucking textbook which could be used as a murder weapon (its so heavy… ) is just a tiny fraction of the needed knowledge to properly understand almost *any biology in detail. that needs to be combined with like years of education in other areas of biology.

So yeah, people unwilling to do this kind of annoyingly long research/dedication to understanding, will come to dumb ideas about biology/science in general0, the media will pander to them because theres literally no other way to report on scientific news. They will make it seem more alarmist, more interesting, more simplistic, to get the attention of the average person who doesn’t read textbook after textbook.

Which is whats required to have a full understanding of the work reported in the media.

even the most interesting relationships in biology are missed because of lack of interest in serious study.

most people aren’t even interested in things that are *super interesting because some of it requires very basic study/education. For example, you don’t need to be this hardcore cell biologist to be interested in the predator/prey relationship between Didinium and Paramecium yet, almost no one is, at all.

and I bet thats more about peoples non-knowledge of this cool organism(s) behavior/biology than about me being an odd individual interested in odd subjects/things.

Maybe I am just weird, though.

Don’t worry Cyrene, you’re not alone. :wink: