The Mystery of Life's Origin

the continuing controversy, Discovery Institute Press, 2020

Contains the complete text of the original "The Mystery of Life's Origin" by Thaxton, Bradley, Olsen, Pub by Lewis&Stanley, 1984

Thaxton, Charles; Bradley, Walter; Olsen, Roger; Tour, James; Meyer, Stephen; Wells, Jonathan; Gonzalez, Guillermo; Miller, Brian; Klinghoffer, David

The Mystery of Life's Origin

p37 Foreward

II. The State of the Debate

p323 13. We're Still Clueless About the Origin of Life, James M. Tour

p359 14. Thermodynamic Challenges to the Origin of Life, Brian Miller


  • Spontaneous natural processes always tend toward states of greater entropy, lower energy, or both.
    • The change of entropy and energy are often combined into the change of Gibbs free energy, G.
    • All spontaneous processes move toward lower G.
    • Generation of a minimally functional cell on the ancient Earth required a transition to both lower entropy and higher energy.
  • Discusses several "self-organizing" proposals to get around the above realities, including "fluctuation theories", but nothing looks convincing.
  • p362 Modern cells use complex molecular machinery and finely tuned chemical networks to convert one form of energy in the environment to high energy molecules (like ATP) but no such machinery could be synthesized until after life originated.
  • p363 Compares hydrothermal vents with simplest known cell at 1 watt/g and finds none close.
  • p364 Enzymes required to provide enough speed of reaction.
  • p365 Discusses the chirality problem
  • p366 Building proteins requires a large amount of information.
    • p367 Requirements for a self-replicating machine

p375 15. What Astrobiology Teaches about the Origin of Life, Guillermo Gonzalez

p393 16. Textbooks Still Misrepresent the Origin of Life, Jonathan Wells

p415 17. Evidence of Intelligent Design in the Origin of Life, Stephen D. Meyer

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