Mathematics, simple or otherwise, has never been my forte, but one thing I understand from those who eat, live and sleep numbers is that odds, or chance, can be measured, as in probabilities.
That means the probability of the proper alignment in the right proportion under the correct environmental conditions for the creation of the first living cell can be expressed as numbers. But we aren’t talking about numbers like 2+2.
Molecular biologist Douglas Axe put it this way some years ago:
“For a protein made from scratch in a prebiotic soup, the odds of finding such globally optimal solutions are infinitesimally small- somewhere between 1 in 10exp140 and 1 in 10exp164 for a 150 amino acid long sequence if we factor in the probabilities of forming peptide bonds and of incorporating only left handed amino acids.”
Axe is among the science types involved with a fascinating video entitled “Origin: Probability of a Single Protein Forming by Chance.” It’s just over nine minutes long, but beautifully produced and imminently accessible for those who aren’t already cosmologists, physics profs or other super-high grade brains.
So enjoy. And after you do, tell me what you think — good, bad, otherwise — in the comments.
Also, check out my post about a journey I begin tomorrow, February 2, that will take me and 16 colleagues to Puebla, Mexico, on a week-long mission. I’ll be posting about our experiences from Puebla during the week.