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Tag Archive: abiogenesis

Aug 15 2011

Abiogenesis, chirality and narrowing down the alternatives

In the great “mythmaking” that is the scientific process, discovering things about events long lost to history is done a little bit differently than the method might suggest in more mundane circumstances. We develop plausible hypotheses regarding events like the abiogenesis event that occurred here on Earth, and then test them rigorously attempting to falsify …

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Aug 08 2011

How we know things in science, and how we can know things about abiogenesis

On this blog post over at Greg Laden’s, I’ve made a damn fine effort (if I do say so myself) at explaining the process of scientific inquiry to a pair of commenters who’ve taken issue with the idea that anyone could know anything about the event of abiogenesis — the “Origin of Life”, when the …

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Aug 03 2011

How we know all life shares a common origin

According to Anthony McCarthy over at Greg’s blog, extrapolating from this information to determine something about how life began on this planet is purely ideological mythmaking. Never mind that every species on the planet shares the same metabolism, by the same enzymes, which must be coded for by the same combinations of chemicals, and these …

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Apr 23 2011

How strawman arguments and shitty authors undermine #atheism

I haven’t read anything by Anthony DeStefano aside from his anti-atheist screeds on various news journals like USA Today, but I have no doubt merely by looking through the title list that he is a man of deep conviction in that which he cannot see. He’s written a book for children called Little Star, all …

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Mar 13 2011

Scientists investigate ammonia meteorites; science media claims we’re all aliens.

This is a story about meteorites. Well, meteorites, and life. WELL, meteorites, life, and totally misleading headlines. I know what you’re thinking. No, this isn’t about the Orgueil meteorite, which in the 19th century caused a ruckus when a conman embedded some grass seeds in it and claimed it proved exobiology. Nor is it about …

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Feb 24 2011

Our first tentative steps onto the shore of the ocean of space

There’s nothing that sparks my imagination with quite the ferocity that space does. And with good reason — in its vastness, we find out so much about ourselves and our origins. It is in space exploration — even if limited to launching more and better probes and building more and better telescopes — that we …

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Dec 02 2010

It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it

NASA is due to announce today that they have discovered a form of bacteria living in the arsenic-rich Mono Lake in California. This is slightly old news (e.g. from 2008) mind you. The bacteria is incredibly novel though — it is apparently capable of thriving by metabolizing arsenate. This is completely unlike any other life …

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Jun 25 2010

Abiogenesis is not spontaneous generation. Period.

During a brief skirmish I had the other day on Twitter with young-Earth creationist Joe Cienkowski (of self-published anti-atheist tract fame), he asserted that the theory of abiogenesis is the same as the now-disproven hypothesis of spontaneous generation. This is, of course, as with pretty well every other assertion about science ever made by Joe, …

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Jun 05 2010

Good evidence for methane-based life on Titan

NASA has released papers based on several readings from Cassini’s recent fly-by of Saturn’s icy moon Titan. Amazingly, there’s strong evidence confirming the hypothesis that there is methane-based, hydrogen-consuming life on the surface, considering the observed chemical makeup matching very closely to several of the necessary conditions for the hypothesis. One key finding comes from …

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Jun 01 2010

DNA replication, sans life!

NewScientist reports on experiments that have shown that it is possible for strands of DNA to replicate, without life, near geothermal vents in deep ocean areas. That’s right — DNA replication without life. This is akin to hand-cranking a motor to get it started, then letting it run on its own power thereafter. In air, …

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