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Here is the first point regarding Szostak’s article, albeit the lesser issue. As listed, the sugars do not look like sugars. One needs to have the double bond shown to one of the oxygen atoms or they are not sugars. Shown are a diol and a triol. Even Jack, when he and I spoke on the phone, conceded that point. And he blamed the error on a staff artist from Scientific American, and the mistake was transcribed when the article was used by Nature. I have written several times for the News and Views section of Nature and Nature series journals. It is an honor to be so asked. But we are asked as authors to show care to ensure accuracy. And the galley proofs are returned to us for our careful check and documented approval. I reproduce that figure here below:
If one argues that the hydrogens can be left out and the multiple bonds need not be shown, that is simply incorrect. Without the addition of a double bond to the oxygen, then all remaining valance sites are presumed saturated with hydrogens. Likewise, under a standard where one is free to disregard both hydrogen atoms and the pi bonds,the “Cyanide derivatives” would be diaminomethane and 1-aminopropane. But if one argues that he/she could add as many hydrogen atoms as they like without showing the pi bonds, then the latter of the two “Cyanide derivatives” could be cyanoethene (acrylonitrile) or cyanoethyne. The former could be H2N-C=NH or HN=C=NH or H2N-CN (all hydrogen atoms shown immediately tell us that the last of these three listed here is cyanonitrene). Therefore, we cannot have it both ways. Either we fill in the hydrogen atoms or we show the pi bonds. But we cannot omit both. Moreover, the convention is that all heteroatoms should bear the hydrogen atoms. Only carbon can be devoid of hydrogen in the convention. But that is only to fill the valance states. So one needs to see the pi bonds if we are omitting the hydrogen atoms. Therefore, as drawn, the organic starting materials are glycerol(1,2,3-propanetriolor glycerin), ethylene glycol (1,2-ethanediol), diaminomethane (methanediamine), and 1-aminopropane. The latter two are troubling in light of the text which mentions iron cyanide. Iron(III) cyanide complexes are extremely stable; there is little free cyanide expected to be in the solution, so maybe Szostak is speaking of something else.
But all of the above is minor compared to Szostak’s showing that in a single step, heat and light can make a compound that resembles a dehydrated nucleotide (though it is not a nucleotide since it is devoid of any stereochemistry) from “simple sugars” and “cyanide derivatives.”A professor of psychiatry from a Canadian university even wrote to me last week saying that I was wrong in my Dallas lecture since Sutherland has shown that those simple compounds can lead to the nucleotides, and accusing me of not being familiar with a 2012 paper by Sutherland. Little did he know that I had extensively studied Sutherland’s work and critiqued it in 2016:
And that poor psychiatrist had been misled by Szostak to believe that all this chemistry is worked out and simply heat and light can work this magic. How misled even professors can become from these writings in Nature. The academy is led astray. The major issue is that heat and light cannot afford that conversion from ethylene glycol, glycerol, or the sugar products derived thereupon after their oxidation to the aldehydes. To present that heat and UV light can act on these compounds (even if we are to use these 2 and 3 carbon simple sugars rather than glycerol and ethyleneglycol, and to use any simple cyanide derivative) to afford anything like the listed “RNA nucleotide” (albeit not a nucleotide since it shows no stereochemistry) is incorrect and misleading. There are so many steps involved in such a transformation. But to a biologists, like Szostak, explaining to the non-expert, he feels the details are not essential for him to point out. But the details are everything! Stereochemistry is essential. And the reaction details are essential. Just look at the number of steps that Sutherland maps out in his article on “Common origins of RNA...”as he proceeds to the dehydrated RNA nucleotide listed as 10; the same one that Szostak inaccurately captured in his drawing.
I have highlighted for you what Sutherland, one of the greatest synthetic chemists that the world has ever enjoyed, had to do to afford the dehydrated “RNA nucleotide” that Szostak lists in his figure (albeit devoid of stereochemistry in the Szostak article). It took Sutherland 10-12 steps, with multiple more reagents—that is a hard synthesis! And Szostak showed it in just one step with a few simple reagents. That is misleading of Szostak, and I am sure that the professor of psychiatry is not the only one confused by all this—the poor fellow. Sutherland shows the proper relative stereochemistry (although it is racemic in Sutherland’s case, he draws a single enantiomer). And all that was reduced, by Szostak, to a mere “UV light and heat”. Szostak writes, “in the presence of UV light and phosphate, nucleotides were formed.” I find that disingenuous and it betrays the depth of the exacting chemistry involved. Just even that simple little formation of the cyanoethyne (6, and improperly reproduced in the Szostak article) requires the generation of ethyne by addition of water to calcium carbide and bubbling that through HCN and copper(II) chloride. Try that in a puddle somewhere. Try to keep cyanoethyne from decomposing in the presence of his favorite 254 nm UV light source which seems to be abundant in his prebiotic earth. And that is just the simple compound en route to the desired product. A detailed protocol was required by Sutherland, using advanced labs and the best tools and hundreds of years of chemical literature to aid him. So much chemistry is done, which shows the complexity. Yet to a biologist or a psychiatrist, it is as if: Oh well, it was done in the lab, so it is tantamount to accomplishing it on aprebiotic earth. No way! I work with students all the time. This chemistry is exacting and painful in a lab, and even with the experimental protocols in hand, it would be hard for anyone--only well-experienced PhD synthetic chemistry students can reproduce this work. And what if they did not have the protocols in hand? It would be much harder. And what if they did not have the best labs? It would be much harder. And what if they had to do it in a cave or an outdoor puddle of water? It would be much harder. And what if they could not characterize after each step? It would be much harder. ...
The people most likely to disagree with me, or to insufficiently appreciate what I am talking about, are the untrained. The synthetic chemist know precisely what I mean.
But all of the above is minor compared to Szostak’s showing that in a single step, heat and light can make a compound that resembles a dehydrated nucleotide (though it is not a nucleotide since it is devoid of any stereochemistry) from “simple sugars” and “cyanide derivatives.”
Either way...do you think that the Drake Equation might be a useful communication tool for establishing first contact with an extraterrestrial civilization?
You brought up Tour in a thread on the drake equation, LOL!
If that does happen, people like carsforkids will call them demons
originally posted by: carsforkids
a reply to: Jay-morris
If that does happen, people like carsforkids will call them demons
You guys can't refute shlt obviously so I guess trolling and out right
lying are the typical's in your field.
With out a Creator we absolutely do not know and likely never will.
But with a Creator? And if the Bible is his message, as i have no reason
to believe it isn't. Then we have always had the information with us
all along. Right there conveniently in the first three words of the
You say the information has always been with us. So according to 'your' interpretation of the bible how old is the Earth and the universe? That's a straightforward question and one which you should easily be able to answer.
I got you! Yes if we take into account what the Bible says? (Again IF)
And if I only reference the first three words f Genesis ? Then I would
think one would understand the amount of information is limited.
So I can't answer your question out of that context because every
calculation I've ever seen is different.
And I'm just trying to be honest with you.
In the beginning The beginning of what? US!
If this is the beginning of us and the rest of out there is empty?
It's no huge jump to realize that we are meant to fill the universe.
originally posted by: Grenade
a reply to: Barcs
We simply have NO IDEA how Gravity works at a quantum level. Nothing that matches our scientific measurements at least.
: the origin or coming into being of something the genesis of a new political movement. Genesis. noun (2) Definition of Genesis (Entry 2 of 2) : the mainly narrative first book of canonical Jewish and Christian Scriptures — see Bible Table.
useless in regard to determining the chronology of anything.
If you can't answer that question then why say 'we have always had that information with us'?
You can't have it both ways. We either have the information or we don't.
There was no context
originally posted by: Grenade
a reply to: Box of Rain
We sure are pretty lucky, this random universe has been very kind to us with its coincidence.
Also has anyone ever tried to work out the chances of a moon and sun performing a near perfect eclipse? Must be pretty small, another strange astronomical coincidence i'd say.