For more than a century, scientists have struggled to reconstruct the key first steps on the road to life. Until recently, the focus has been on how the simple building blocks of life might have been synthesized on the early Earth, or perhaps in space. But because it happened so long ago, all chemical traces have long been obliterated, leaving plenty of scope for speculation and disagreement, says Arizona State University Regents’ Professor Paul Davies.
In a nutshell, the theory is to look beyond the chemical basis of life. “Chemical-based approaches have stalled at a very early stage of chemical complexity – very far from anything we would consider ‘alive.’ More seriously they suffer from conceptual shortcomings in that they fail to distinguish between chemistry and biology.” Walker said. Walker (a post-doctoral fellow at the Beyond Center in Professor Paul Davies’s lab) is affiliated with the NASA Astrobiology Institute in Mountain View, Calif., and the Blue Marble Space Institute, Seattle.
“Emphasis is on the top-down information flow in which the system as a whole gains causal purchase over its components.”
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