Theoretical origin of life; Chirality needed by nature (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 23, 2020, 16:00 (9 days ago) @ David Turell

Chiral molecules guide electrons' spin and transfer under tight control. These quantum effects are required for efficiency. The latest studies show why left and right handed molecules are needed and used exclusively by living organisms:

"Chirality is the name for the particular kind of symmetry that arises when one object is the mirror image of the other. An example is the human hand. Mirror images require no internal symmetries. Our two hands are called enantiomers of one another. Chiral molecules are referred to as being a right-handed enantiomer or a left-handed enantiomer.

David: Comment: These new finding explain why chirality is necessary. It is to control electron transfer in life's processes. As James Tour expresses in previous entries about synthesizing handedness in the laboratory, maintaining pure handedness of one type is very difficult. Nature does it very easily. Not by chance.

David: A new discussion about origin of life whether we can discover the natural process that produced initial chirality of amino acids so life could start:

"In their paper, published on May 20 in Astrophysical Journal Letters, the researchers detail their argument in favor of cosmic rays as the origin of homochirality. They also discuss potential experiments to test their hypothesis.

"Rob Sheldon responds:


"the chiral interaction between radiation and molecules is at a maximum when they are in resonance–the wavelength of the radiation and the “wavelength” of the helical twist are the same. DNA has a helical twist some 3.5 nm long. This corresponds to a 350 eV photon or soft X-ray energy. Photons of this energy are likely to destroy everything, regardless of resonance. But the muon has a much shorter wavelength, closer to 0.0001 of this length. It can’t be made resonant with chiral molecules no matter how hard you tried.

"Roger, as a typical astrophysicist, leaves everything as a formula and never actually calculates any numbers. Mind you, if the numbers had been favorable, he would have included them in his paper. But when the calculation looked improbable, he didn’t want to waste his effort so he published it as a formula with a plea to experimentalists to search for some effect.


"Sabine Hossenfelder has said that particle physicists are “lost in math,” > trained to play with “beautiful” equations rather than actual physics. Here we have a similar example in astrophysics. Roger makes one unsupported assumption after another, leading to an effect so small as to “need amplification.”

"But the field is enamored of the math, not the physics, and that is what Roger delivers in spades.... The Origin-of-Chirality subproblem of Origin-of-Life looks to be as hard a problem as Origin-of-Consciousness, or Origin-of-Language. 150 years after Darwin’s Origin, and we have only multiplied all the origin problems." (my bold)

Comment: Lots of smoke but no fire. Chirality is a major problem in the origin of life research. All the lab studies assume the presence of left-handed amino acids. Why only left-handed molecules is never solved. To solve the problem we must solve all of it. We see nothing in nature. Only design can account for it.

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