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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Tue Nov 18, 2014, 10:38 AM

18. *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.

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Quixote1818 Nov 2014 OP
VanillaRhapsody Nov 2014 #1
burrowowl Nov 2014 #2
mindwalker_i Nov 2014 #3
TreasonousBastard Nov 2014 #4
2naSalit Nov 2014 #6
starroute Nov 2014 #9
Javaman Nov 2014 #19
mindwalker_i Nov 2014 #20
CoffeeCat Nov 2014 #29
gcomeau Nov 2014 #5
zeemike Nov 2014 #7
robbob Nov 2014 #8
ZombieHorde Nov 2014 #12
Quantess Nov 2014 #10
Spitfire of ATJ Nov 2014 #15
C Moon Nov 2014 #11
imthevicar Nov 2014 #13
Turk 182 Aug 2015 #36
Spitfire of ATJ Nov 2014 #14
maxrandb Nov 2014 #16
n2doc Nov 2014 #17
LineReply *Simple* carbon compounds are widespread, but have nothing to do with life.
eppur_se_muova Nov 2014 #18
AndroBaby Nov 2014 #21
brightone Nov 2014 #22
muriel_volestrangler Nov 2014 #23
FSogol Nov 2014 #24
muriel_volestrangler Nov 2014 #25
Feral Child Nov 2014 #26
mikeysnot Nov 2014 #27
cheapdate Nov 2014 #28
Quixote1818 Nov 2014 #30
Quixote1818 Nov 2014 #31
Quixote1818 Nov 2014 #34
cheapdate Nov 2014 #35
olddots Nov 2014 #32
Monk06 Nov 2014 #33
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