There was a revealing article recently on ScienceDaily concerning a novel approach to determining how life originated. Up until now most scientists have been trying to chemically synthesize the organic compounds integral to the structures of life in hopes of determining how life might have originated through natural processes. To say the least this has been an abysmal failure. There is in fact no evidence that living organisms originated through unguided natural processes. One of the reasons it has been a failure is because scientists have attempted to reconstruct the chemical structures of life, while ignoring the fact that life at its core is an information processing system – something I have been pointing out for years. Now it seems that some scientists are finally coming to the same conclusion:
Now, a novel approach to the question of life’s origin, proposed by two Arizona State University scientists, attempts to dramatically redefine the problem. The researchers — Paul Davies, an ASU Regents’ Professor and director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, and Sara Walker, a NASA post-doctoral fellow at the Beyond Center — published their theory in the Dec. 12 issue of the Royal Society journal Interface.
In a nutshell, the authors shift attention from the “hardware” — the chemical basis of life — to the “software” — its information content. To use a computer analogy, chemistry explains the material substance of the machine, but it won’t function without a program and data. Davies and Walker suggest that the crucial distinction between non-life and life is the way that living organisms manage the information flowing through the system.
I for one applaud this change of strategy because at least it acknowledges the right problem. That being said, I am certain they will face the same frustrations those focused on the chemical origin of life have because information systems simply can’t originate apart from the intention of a mind.
Perhaps it will take a few more decades of failure for science to realize this obvious fact.