How life on our planet started and where it is going is an uncertainty that continuously plagues scientists. Even as science moves forward, the topic is ripe for exploration and discussion. Divine intervention, the luck of the draw, or a chain of repeatable chemical reactions? What are the forces that established life on Earth? What are the forces that drive it today and where can we expect it to go from here? The topic clearly lends itself to more questions than answers.
Nobel Prize winner Christian de Duve attempts to answer these questions, “I don’t think something as complex as a living cell, even the simplest living cell, doesn’t simply arise by the throw of a die. It’s not a question of getting the lucky number at a Monte Carlo or even the lottery, or whatever, because it’s too complex. To make a cell, you need a very large number of chemical processes building something that is increasingly complex. That doesn’t depend on chance. That depends on the operation of chemical reactions, and chemical reactions are very highly deterministic reproducible laws. Otherwise, there would be no chemistry. There would be no chemical factories. When you mix A & B in chemistry under given conditions, you always get C. It’s not a question of luck.”
Listen to the discussion between de Duve and legendary broadcaster Hugh Downs as they explore these complex questions in the latest episode of the Free To Choose Media Podcast, Origins of Life.