Sunday, September 15, 2013

How did life on Earth get its start?

The most interesting science story this week is about how life began on Earth. If you won't read the linked story, here's the non-scientific summary: non-living molecules started to do stuff.

Here's how the story begins:
Before there was life on Earth, there were molecules. A primordial soup. At some point a few specialized molecules began replicating. This self-replication, scientists agree, kick-started a biochemical process that would lead to the first organisms. But exactly how that happened—how those molecules began replicating—has been one of science's enduring mysteries.
Because of this discovery, we now know the what -- molecular fossils called Urzymes; we just don't know the how. This is very important for moving the question forward. And frankly, I enjoy the fact that some mystery remains. Scientists will figure it out, with no need for god's intervention.

Life is built into the fabric of the universe. Matter (which is equivalent to energy, let us recall) produces life whenever and wherever it can. It is the nature of matter to beget life.