Disorder to Order, Nonlife to Life: In the Beginning There Was a Mistake Genesis - In The Beginning
edited by: Joseph Seckbach
Living matter is solemnly perceived as an embodiment of ultimate order that neither centuries long studies nor imagination can fully grasp. Yet, disorder is its necessary component in an intricate interplay between life’s actors from the highest level of populations, all the way to molecules. An intriguing thought is that life emerged from disorder. Reasoning around this starting point, the authors, however, come to a rather dialectic picture of never-ending alternations of the order and disorder, all the way from simple molecules to self-reproduction and evolution. A long series of the likely steps is described, from monomers to informational molecules, with reference to hard data enriched by cautious speculations, outlining the likely route from mere chemistry to the magic of life. An uncertainty, almost a principle, emerges in trying to pinpoint when and at which particular moment the magic transition occurred. The uncertainty is aggravated by the lack of a clear definition of what exactly “life is.” At the same time, the authors share the excitement of a strong feeling that the answer is very closely, if not already, explained.