Sticks In The Air / Pino ? Quadrophenia etc

Alan McKendree amck at
Sun Jun 20 23:32:05 CDT 2004

> From: Marcus Surrealius <bushchoked at>
>> Problem is, [complicated amino acids] *don't* form randomly
> Alan:
> It’s either random or guided.

I'm not sure those are the only two alternatives.  But since it's not 
random, you could say it's guided in the same sense that water is 
"guided" to flow downhill and air is "guided" to create a clap of 
thunder after lightning shoots through it.  Early amino acids, 
blue-green algae, penguins, etc. are formed by natural processes 
operating under laws of nature.  Since "guided" frequently implies a 
sentient guider, I think using the word in this context only clouds the 

> And you’re ignoring the fact that a single isolated incident is one 
> thing to have it happening all over the planet at the same time is 
> beyond any odds. And that would have had to have happened.
> Put it all together and it spells “mother.” Or, at
> least, the odds are that it does.

I try not to ignore any facts, and I hadn't heard that amino acids 
appeared "all over the planet at the same time" (3:00 p.m. Tuesday?); 
but I think it's much more likely that a set of circumstances gave rise 
to amino acids forming in multiple places at fairly widely spaced 
intervals (say, a few hundred thousand years) that were so close 
together that the difference fades to insignificance at the distance 
from which we're viewing, over 3.5 billion years later.

A quick Google yields the following informative page -- -- from the faculty of the department of 
Geography and Earth Sciences at U North Carolina at Charlotte, which 
among other interesting facts mentions that Stanley Miller won the 
Nobel Prize in 1952 for showing that a mixture of methane, ammonia, and 
water, when given some energy input such as simulated lightning, will 
reliably produce amino acids within a WEEK.  I quote further:

> Same experiment has been repeated with different mixtures of starting 
> materials and different energy sources (e.g. UV light) and results are 
> the same amino acids and nucleotides.
>  - No special conditions required except time to produce enough amino 
> acids and nucleotides to constitute a broth with the nutritive value 
> of chicken soup."

Time is one thing the Earth has plenty of.  Given these facts of nature 
as to how primitive, simple molecules behave, and a few hundred million 
years, it would be more surprising if amino acids, and hence living 
organisms, did NOT form.  Naturally.

"the average Texan...carries not just a gun but a SHOTGUN."  --Pete 
Townshend, 1967

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