Here are three interesting quotes from recent articles on Space.com:
For the first time, satellite imagery reveals thick Martian salt deposits scattered across the planet’s southern surface…Space.com
An ocean seasoned with the chemical ingredients of life may lie hidden beneath the icy surface of Saturn’s moon Titan.Space.com
A sniff test of water vapor spewing from Saturn’s moon Enceladus shows it is gushing with organic molecules…Space.com
The common thread between the three articles? Abiogenesis. Simplified, it’s the idea that life on Earth emerged from chemicals alone. Many of us are familiar with the concept of ‘primordial soup’…the supposed chemical conditions that must have existed on prehistoric Earth for life to have arisen on its own.
We’ve been trying to figure out where life comes from for a long time. Aristotle wanted to know. Darwin and Pasteur wanted to know. Seems like everyone wants to know how life on Earth came to be.
Abiogenesis is an idea only. When I was in school (in the post-disco, pre-computer world) I was taught that Stanley Miller had figured it out. He hadn’t.
There are competing theories, of course…but no facts. I have my own theory. Some of you will scoff when you read it, suggesting that I’m a simpleton or a moron or a zealot. However: if you consider it one among many competing theories, I think it stands up fairly well to the scrutiny it deserves:
God did it.
No, really. That’s what I think. While there’s nothing wrong with wondering whether there’s a mechanistic explanation for the origin of life, there is something wrong with closing one eye in your search for truth. Many scientists are so committed to the idea that life arose on its own that they seem to be looking for evidence to back them up…rather than looking wherever the evidence takes them.