How Life Started

There seems to be some confusion about the way life started on earth. Specifically, everyone seems to think life is a near-impossible miracle.

Life is actually really simple. If something can make a version of itself which is not necessarily identical to it but does necessarily inherit its knack for making copies of itself that can make copies of themselves, that thing is alive. It doesn’t have to be green or furry.

It can all be physical. Suppose I blend a spoonful of molecule A and a spoonful of molecule B together in a pool. The individual molecules don’t bond with each other, for a physical reason: they need a little nudge from a specially shaped horn if they are to fit together. Interestingly, when they are bonded, their parts happen to combine to form just such a horn. Now suppose I drop into this pool a molecule of AB, which I’ve horned together artificially. AB is going to start horning clones of itself into existence, and they’re going to do the same.

AB is now alive and reproducing. It might even evolve, if an AB horns a couple molecules funny and produces an AB with the sort of funny horn that’ll funnyhorn a new generation of funnyhorned ABs. AB is good to go, as long as it’s got the raw materials it needs to reproduce. Just like us. When we run out of food, or our 6000K heatlamp goes out, we’re toast.

Honestly, this AB stuff isn’t life, by most definitions, but who needs definitions? It’s a start. A few more lucky funnyhorns and poor inorganic AB might start looking pretty durn organic.