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Materialists: What Do You Know?

For people who brag about their work, scientists are an odd lot.  At one moment they are touting science as the surest path to knowledge and understanding.  The next moment it seems like they are at square one.  This is particularly true of materialist cosmologies and Darwinian theories for the origin and development of life.  […]

Science News or Tabloid Journalism?

Science news outlets have put out some bizarre headlines recently.  Readers can judge whether they should be blessed with the label “science” or belong instead at supermarket checkouts. Women are evolving fatter:  New Scientist and PhysOrg said that natural selection is making women shorter, plumper and more fertile.  “The take-home message is that humans are […]

Crusty Salt Incubates Raw Ingredients for Life

Science Daily asked, “Could salt crusts be key ingredient in cooking up prebiotic molecules?”  What if the answer is “No”?  Just asking the question must be newsworthy.  It invokes the power of suggestion.     Stefan Fox told members of the European Planetary Science Congress last week that his team cooked up a new idea […]

New Recipe for Life: Zinc & Zap

Two scientists are overturning the Miller icon of the origin of life – you know, the illustration in almost every textbook showing sparks zapping gases and amino acids emerging from the goo.  That doesn’t wash any more, claim Armen Mulkidjanian (University of Osnabrueck) and Michael Galperin (U.S. National Institutes of Health).  Instead, Astrobiology Magazine reported, […]

Milking the Martian Meteorite

One would think everything has been told about ALH 84001, the Martian meteorite that made a splash in 1996 with claims it contained fossils of living organisms.  That claim was essentially discarded in subsequent years.  Its major contribution was giving life to a new science called astrobiology and energizing NASA’s Mars program.  Now, a new […]

Emergence of Genetic Code Touted

Most origin-of-life researchers have acknowledged the extreme improbability of the genetic code arising by chance.  Their approaches to get around this problem have varied considerably since the Miller experiment succeeded in generating a few amino acids.  Despite the celebrations that 1953 experiment generated (05/02/2003), it did not even begin to approach the problem of solving […]

Twitter the ET Bandwidth Wagon

If you have nothing better to do, send a message to an alien.  Leonard David reported on Space.com that a website in Australia is collecting messages to beam up to a planet named Gliese 581d that is 20.3 light-years away.  Even a Senator who is Australia’s Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research got involved.  […]

Comet-Ocean Theory Gets Another Splash

National Geographic News gave some halfway-enthusiastic press to another recurrence of a theory that circulates from time to time – that earth got its ocean water from comets.  They gave air time to work by Uffe Jorgensen and a team from the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark that concludes “comets were the culprits” in the […]

Mars Looks More Hostile to Life

The methane Mars produces gets destroyed rapidly.  This is leading some planetary scientists to get depressed about the possibility of finding life there.     The BBC News, Space.com and New Scientist all reported on the paper in Nature,1 saying this represents bad news for life.  In models by Franck Lefevre and Francois Forget, patterns […]

Lightning Cooks Up Weird Science

Get a charge out of this headline from New Scientist.  A couple of scientists from University of Arizona studied fulgurites, the structures formed in sand by lightning strikes.  They found that they contain phosphites (oxidized phosphate molecules).  They theorized that lightning strikes could have provided phosphites which the primordial soup used to build RNA and […]

Origin-of-Life Researchers Caught Playing With Toys

A “virtual primordial soup” cooks up life in a computer program in a “toy universe,” according to reporter Leslie Mullen at Space.com.  She wrote, “The power of computer processing could one day solve the riddle of life’s origin.”     EvoGrid is “a computer creation concept that would be a digital version of the primordial […]

Salting News with the L Word Life

Small amounts of sodium were detected in ice particles erupting from Saturn’s moon Enceladus.  Deduction: this might lower the melting point of underground ice, forming subsurface pockets of liquid water – perhaps an ocean.  Conclusion: Life!  It doesn’t matter that Enceladus has no other factors conducive to life than water, or that salt is generally […]

We Know Less Than We Think

Strange reports come from science news outlets on occasion that call into question facts we thought we understood.  These raise a question: do we really know what we think we know? Cutting dinosaurs down to size:  Dinosaurs may have been half as heavy as thought, said Science Daily.  Some paleontologists are claiming that widely-used methods […]

This Place Really Has Atmosphere

Of all the bodies in the solar system, only eight have a substantial atmosphere.  If you add in those with tenuous atmospheres, you can add in Triton and Mercury, and maybe a few others, till it becomes pedantic to call it an atmosphere if there are only a few short-lived molecules hovering over a moon.  […]

Key Step in Origin of Life Declared

The popular “RNA World” scenario for the origin of life has long suffered from a big hurdle: the implausibility of getting the key components of RNA building blocks, called nucleotides, from joining together.  Each nucleotide requires a ribose sugar, a pyrimidine base, and a phosphate group.  Now, a team publishing in Nature tried a new […]
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