Pesquisas sobre a origem da vida se apoiam em um erro???

sexta-feira, maio 27, 2011

Does Origins of Life Research Rest on a Mistake?


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1. Origins of Life Research

Contemporary scientific research on the origins of life is marked by the following features.

(1) There are a wide variety of suggestions as to how life might first have emerged.

This disagreement extends to the fundamental details of physical and biochemical theories. On the other hand, 

(2) There is almost universal agreement that life did not first come about merely by chance.

This is not to say that all scientists think that life’s existence was inevitable. The common view is that given a fuller understanding of the physical and biological conditions and processes involved, the emergence of life should be seen to be quite likely, or at least not very surprising. The view which is almost universally rejected by researchers in the field is that the numerous and prima facie improbable physical and biological requirements for life all fell together just by a fluke, like so many dice tumbling out of a bag and landing all sixes.

Most importantly, for the purposes of the following discussion,

(3) The conviction that life did not arise largely by chance is treated as epistemically prior to the development of alternative theories.

It is not that theorists deny that life arose by chance because, as it happens, they have a better and more plausible story to offer (although of course many 
theorists do, perhaps rightly, take themselves to have such). Rather, an understanding of what is required for there to be living creatures is what convinces scientists that life didn’t just arise by chance. It is this conviction that is the impetus for the active research program into life’s origins. It appears that if those theorists who do endorse a particular non-chancy explanation of life’s origin had to abandon their view in the light of new evidence, they would typically still retain the conviction that life did not just arise by chance. Given what we know about the requirements for life such as the structure of the DNA/protein machinery required for evolution, too “chancy” an explanation of life’s origin is thought to be theoretically unacceptable.

And lastly,

(4) The suggestion that the origin of life might be due to any kind of purposeful agency is not considered as a serious option, and does not play any explicit role in theorizing.



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