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eppur_se_muova

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Hometown: Alabama
Member since: Fri Sep 9, 2005, 06:39 PM
Number of posts: 30,321

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*Simple* carbon compounds are widespread, but have nothing to do with life.

This is rather like finding sand and calling it "the rudiments of semiconductor manufacture". It might be, but chances are overwhelmingly against it.

Carbon is not a particularly rare element. It is a reactive element, so it's usually found in combination with other elements, and **ALMOST ANY COMPOUND CONTAINING CARBON IS LABELED AN 'ORGANIC COMPOUND'*** by convention. "Organic" in colloquial usage means "associated with a living organism"; in scientific usage it means "contains carbon", with only very simple compounds like CO2, CO, and metal carbides being excluded. Simple organic compounds like methane, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, even methanol, are not evidence of life or even the probability of life. It just means that carbon reacted with whatever was present, and that usually includes hydrogen (the most abundant element in the universe) and oxygen (which forms particularly strong bonds with carbon).

I've never understood the attraction of the hypothesis that life originated elsewhere. If such a thing had occurred, it would be fundamentally impossible to prove. And it only "begs the question" -- if you ask "where did life come from ?" and the answer is "somewhere else", then you have to ask, "well, how did it originate *there*?" and you can't answer that, because you can't investigate "there". Frankly, it seems like more of a hopelessly romantic -- even magical -- notion than a testable scientific hypothesis, but for some reason, it's become en vogue (again -- *sigh*) among so-called science journalists and won't go away, despite a paucity of evidence and a complete absence of even remotely unambiguous evidence. Frankly, it just seems to pander to a public appetite for romance over reason.
Posted by eppur_se_muova | Tue Nov 18, 2014, 09:38 AM (1 replies)
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