How could life emerge on a previously lifeless planet? Is life’s origin a chance event, or a stepwise process? Is it likely that worlds other than Earth have also come up with life; and if so, which ones?
After many frustrations and false starts, developing lines of research are finally offering answers to these questions.
A recent paper in the scientific journal Astrobiology concludes — subject to further testing — that life could be produced via a step-by-step process in and around hot springs on a volcanic island about four billion years ago.
Like earlier theories of life’s origin, the…
Since the global protests of September 2019, I’ve been looking for words to describe what is happening in climate campaigning and policy formation, and for historical precedents which may help us understand where we’re going.
Calls for action are getting stronger, and they’re coming from many directions: scientists, politicians, the UN, and the emerging generation.
You've used the phrases "deregulated capitalism" and "unfettered capitalism" several times. Do you think a regulated capitalism might bring better outcomes or not?
Quantum physics has been very successful at developing mathematical formulae that not only fit with past experimental results, but also predict the results of new experiments. Yet serious questions remain unresolved.
A major enigma is the way two particles with shared history, but now remote from one another, manage to instantaneously coordinate their responses to measurements — the phenomenon which Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”.
So there are theorists who see the need for a next step, possibly involving the concept that events in the past can be influenced by events in the present or the future. …
"Many Christians love to say 'Jesus is for everyone.' But I’ve discovered what they usually mean is Jesus is for everyone as long as you believe like us." I understand your point... But unless he was misquoted in the NT, Jesus himself denounced people who believed differently. "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." Matthew 7:15 What is your take on that one, Kyle?
"Part of the horror of the crucifixion was the denial of the proper rites of burial. " Suetonius mentions an incident where Julius Caesar granted a group of pirates the clemency of a swift death, but afterwards crucified their dead bodies. He respected them enough that he didn't want to torture them, but he did want to make them into a spectacle of utter defeat.
Yes, scientific revolutions happen. Half a century ago, mainstream science said the entire family of dinosaurs died out without leaving any descendants. Today it is mainstream science that birds belong to the dinosaur family... But we don't have to choose between thinking that "science is real" and "science is fiction". A third option is to think of science as a map, and nature as the territory the map is about. The map is not the territory, but the territory itself is a reality, to which the map corresponds imperfectly. Scientific revolutions are about revising the map when more information about the territory has been found..
But for most of those 2.5 billion years there was almost no free oxygen (O2) in Earth's atmosphere. (See the page "Geological history of oxygen" in Wikipedia.) This oxygen-less Earth was an environment where many forms of microbial life could emerge and flourish, but not mitochondria which are adapted to process O2.
Unlike other evolutionary adaptations, there is no selective pressure that would place these two compatible cells — among 0.3 nonillion others on the planet — close enough to each other for such a miracle to occur. It was a pure chance event after eons of evolution that changed the course of life on Ear…
Have you heard of the “outside-in” hypothesis of eucaryote origin proposed by David Baum and Buzz Baum? In this model, the ancestors of mitochondria originally lived just outside another, larger species of cell, with which they already had a mutually beneficial relationship. In which case there was selective pressure to keep the two species of cell close to one another. And the eventual incorporation of the mitochondria into the larger cell was not a miracle of pure chance after all.
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