Chemist Marcos Eberlin on a Crisis for Chemical Evolution

On this episode of ID the Future, distinguished Brazilian organic chemist Marcos Eberlin talks about chemical evolution and the origin of life, pivoting off of comments by Rice University synthetic organic chemist James Tour in Science Uprising Episode 5, and off of Eberlin’s own Nobel laureate-endorsed book Foresight: How the Chemistry of Life Reveals Planning and Purpose. The idea of an unguided origin of the first life has been “sold to us,” he says, but its assumptions are “insane … many, many times impossible.”

He illustrates from three essential cell features: the cell membrane, protein folding, and molecular chaperones. We’re “further away than ever” from making life in the lab, he says, and it’s time now to “surrender to the data,” which he argues, points to the works of foresight and planning in the origin of the first life.



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