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(36,568 posts)
18. *Simple* carbon compounds are widespread, but have nothing to do with life.
Tue Nov 18, 2014, 10:38 AM
Nov 2014

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.

they may be on the cusp of discovering how we got here.... VanillaRhapsody Nov 2014 #1
Yeah Comet Hopper! burrowowl Nov 2014 #2
I just hope this pisses off the religious right mindwalker_i Nov 2014 #3
That was my thought... TreasonousBastard Nov 2014 #4
*snort!* 2naSalit Nov 2014 #6
Though actually ... starroute Nov 2014 #9
naaa, they have an excuse for everything... Javaman Nov 2014 #19
Oh yeah, I forgot about that mindwalker_i Nov 2014 #20
hahahha! CoffeeCat Nov 2014 #29
While it is cool.. gcomeau Nov 2014 #5
I think the greatest discovery is yet to come. zeemike Nov 2014 #7
It's the Green Slime!!!! robbob Nov 2014 #8
Yes! ZombieHorde Nov 2014 #12
Great, let's send the Koch bros there Quantess Nov 2014 #10
They'd hear "carbon", think "coal" and think it was great. Spitfire of ATJ Nov 2014 #15
This was so great to read. Thanks! C Moon Nov 2014 #11
Origin of Life 1. Life Came From Other Planets. Myth of the Organic Soup & Abiogenesis imthevicar Nov 2014 #13
Life only comes from Life? Really? Turk 182 Aug 2015 #36
This could prove life is plentiful throughout the universe. Spitfire of ATJ Nov 2014 #14
They found Spock? n/t maxrandb Nov 2014 #16
It's great, but not entirely unexpected n2doc Nov 2014 #17
*Simple* carbon compounds are widespread, but have nothing to do with life. eppur_se_muova Nov 2014 #18
100% AndroBaby Nov 2014 #21
Amazing they were able to land on it brightone Nov 2014 #22
Another discovery: the comet is so hard, their hammer broke when they used the "desperate mode" muriel_volestrangler Nov 2014 #23
I've been on glaciers that were so cold and hard that my titanium ice axe bounced off. FSogol Nov 2014 #24
The 'approaching sandstone' strength claim may be a bit misleading muriel_volestrangler Nov 2014 #25
Have to admit Feral Child Nov 2014 #26
This whole mission mikeysnot Nov 2014 #27
Carbonaceous meteorites have been known for centuries. cheapdate Nov 2014 #28
Holy Shit! Quixote1818 Nov 2014 #30
Just fround this Quixote1818 Nov 2014 #31
Looks like that paper was torn to bits buy the scientific community Quixote1818 Nov 2014 #34
The Journal of Cosmology is not "mainstream", cheapdate Nov 2014 #35
big deal olddots Nov 2014 #32
So we are made of star stuff. Carl Sagan was right. Monk06 Nov 2014 #33
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