No part of the universal evolutionary scenario gets more overhauls than the origin of life.  Some say it began in the sea, some on the land.  Some say it began at the bottom of the sea; others say that is the worst place for life to get going.  The latest idea favors freshwater hot springs on land.

Since Oparin and Miller, the majority of evolutionists have suggested life began in the ocean.  Some of the most vocal evolutionists, in fact, place the incubator at the bottom of the sea in volcanic vents.  Here’s the latest reversal.  “New evidence challenges the widespread view that it all kicked off in the oceans, around deep-sea hydrothermal vents, New Scientist said, regarding a new paper by Mulkidjanian et al. on PNAS.1  “Instead, hot springs on land, similar to the ‘warm little pond’ favoured by Charles Darwin, may be a better fit for the cradle of life.”  The new notion would have a detrimental affect on astrobiology: “The controversial new theory suggests the search for extraterrestrial life must go beyond a hunt for alien oceans.”  So “While Darwin’s warm little ponds appear to be coming back in vogue,” landlubber reporter Colin Barras spoke of “endless speculation” and “conventional wisdom” in the origin-of-life (OOL) field.  He also mentioned the serious problems of ocean-first theories, such as salt, but corresponding difficulties of land-first theories, such as UV radiation.

One of the proponents of land-first OOL is Nobelist Jack Szostak of Harvard.  PhysOrg reported him speaking to a packed crowd at Harvard in a series called, “Evolution Matters.”  Regarding the origin of life (his own field), Szostak clearly bluffed over major difficulties by alleging they have “simple, even elegant solutions.”  For instance, he pointed to RNA enzymes his lab designed, saying that their “sloppiness” was a virtue – it even solved two “intractable” problems at once (their tendency to cling, and their structural difference from RNA’s in cells.   “Among other findings, Szostak and colleagues have shown that cell-like vesicles are relatively easy to create from fatty acid molecules suspended in water,” Barras stated warmly.  “He has also shown that vesicles divide naturally when passed through a smaller pore, and explored other possible methods of early cell division.”….

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