Monday, 20 July 2015

Building Blocks of Life Can Form In a Puddle

Ester-Mediated Amide Bond Formation Driven by Wet–Dry Cycles: A Possible Path to Polypeptides on the Prebiotic Earth - Forsythe - 2015 - Angewandte Chemie International Edition - Wiley Online Library

How will the Creation Industry handle this one?

Although it is generally accepted that amino acids were present on the prebiotic Earth, the mechanism by which α-amino acids were condensed into polypeptides before the emergence of enzymes remains unsolved. Here, we demonstrate a prebiotically plausible mechanism for peptide (amide) bond formation that is enabled by α-hydroxy acids, which were likely present along with amino acids on the early Earth. Together, α-hydroxy acids and α-amino acids form depsipeptides—oligomers with a combination of ester and amide linkages—in model prebiotic reactions that are driven by wet–cool/dry–hot cycles. Through a combination of ester–amide bond exchange and ester bond hydrolysis, depsipeptides are enriched with amino acids over time. These results support a long-standing hypothesis that peptides might have arisen from ester-based precursors.

The options are considerable and include most of their traditional responses to inconvenient science.

The simplicity of using hydration-dehydration cycles to drive the kind of chemistry you need for life is really appealing. It looks like dry land would have provided a very favorable environment for getting the chemistry necessary for life started.

Professor Nicholas Hud, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology and Director of the NSF Center for Chemical Evolution
  • They could not read it because they don't read science and what they don't know about isn't true. (The delusional response).
  • They could simply ignore it and carry on as though this paper has never been published. (The universal creationist response).
  • They could dismiss it as lies.(The Facebook creationist response).
  • They could attack a strawman and say it doesn't prove a bacterium changed into a human or a dog changed into a cat, or something equally ridiculous. (The Ham/Hovind response).
  • They could misrepresent it by claiming it proves complex cells don't spontaneously arise from nothing.(The Behe/Discovery Institute response).
  • They could attack the scientists and claim they are all Atheists who hate God.(The Lane Craig/Ham response).
  • They could dismiss it as materialism or 'scientism' or whatever the currently fashionable dismissive 'ism' is. (The Ham/Gish response).
  • They could produce some rigged mathematics showing how the possibility of this all happening spontaneously is so unlikely as to be impossible, ignoring the fact that there is no suggestion that it all happened spontaneously. (The Behe/Dembski response).
  • They could point out that it isn't in the Bible and is therefore wrong. (The Ham/Discovery Institute response).

The ester linkages that we are making in the polyester can serve as an activating agent formed within the solution. Over the course of a very simple chemical evolution, the polymers progress from having hydroxy acids with ester linkages to amino acids with peptide linkages. The hydroxy acids are gradually replaced through the wet and dry cycles because the ester bonds holding them together are not as stable as the peptide bonds.

Professor Nicholas Hud
What they can't do is to accept it for what it is - peer-reviewed and repeatable experimentation showing that some of the basic components of life can and do form in the simplest of environments found practically anywhere on the surface of Earth soon after its formation, with no magic involved and all according to basic and inevitable chemical and physical processes.

Creationism is having to use one or other of the above rationalisations or some equally fatuous bad science or misrepresentation to dismiss hundreds of thousands of well-researched, peer-reviewed, repeatable and evidenced scientific findings every year that show creationism and the claims of creationists are, not to put too fine a point on it, delusional nonsense believed by those who imagine ignorant superstition is a shortcut to knowledge, those who make a living selling disinformation on demand, and those with an extremist political agenda disguised as sanctimonious piety.

What you will almost never see, is a creationist changing his or her mind in view of new information or evidence that their beliefs are wrong or ill-founded or on the sudden realisation that they have been duped by people with a vested interest in duping them. Admittedly, we see a few of those joining the ranks of scientific rationalism but sadly, all too few.

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