October 29, 2010 | David F. Coppedge

The Blue and Red States of OOL

When it comes to the origin of life (OOL), some scientists color it blue; some color it red.  New Scientist votes for the blue state.  “LIFE may really have been created by a spark, one that came as a bolt from the deep blue.”  Inspired by visions sent from Ryuhei Nakamura at the University of Tokyo, reporter Jon Evans looked deep into the deep blue ocean and envisioned electrical currents down in dark, hydrothermal vents.  “The team thinks that the chimney walls catalyse the conversion of sulphides into elemental sulphur as the hot vent fluid travels through them,” Evans wrote.  “The reaction releases electrons which pass through the wall to the salt water outside, where they convert dissolved oxygen into hydrogen peroxide.  Nakamura postulates that this electrical current could provide a source of energy for bacteria.”
    Unfortunately for this notion, even Nick Lane, who makes OOL sound simple, points out that there was hardly any oxygen at the time.  Nakamura quickly substituted carbon dioxide.  “If this was the case, then the CO2 would have been converted directly into carbon-based molecules, making complex organic molecules on the early Earth’s sea floors – perhaps the chemical precursors of life.”
    Others find a red state in the deep of space.  Space.com opined, “Icy Red Objects at Solar System’s Edge May Point to Life’s Building Blocks.”  Indeed, “The reddish hue of many objects in our solar system’s frigid outer reaches may be evidence of complex organic molecules, perhaps even the building blocks of life, new research suggests.”  John Cooper (NASA) quickly backpedaled, “We’re not saying that life is produced in the Kuiper Belt,” just that “the basic chemistry may start there, as could also happen in similar Kuiper Belt environments elsewhere in the universe, and that is a natural path which could lead toward the chemical evolution of life.”  Cooking by radiation could produce delicious morsels like formaldehyde, acetylene and ethane.  Cooper hoped for more: “In some cases you may be able to produce the components of life – not just organic materials, but biological molecules such as amino acids.”  In this, he failed to clarify that amino acids have no meaning without ribosomes and a genetic code.
    The second article tried to be patriotic.  “About 1,000 Kuiper Belt objects have been directly imaged so far, and these bodies appear to be a wide range of colors, from red to blue to white, researchers said.”

OOL fools are like politicians.  They wave the colors and deceive the gullible with the building blocks of lie (03/19/2008).

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