Does Life's Rapid Appearance Imply a Martian Origin?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
The hypothesis that life’s rapid appearance on Earth justifies the belief that life is widespread in the universe has been investigated mathematically by Lineweaver and Davis (Astrobiol- ogy 2002;2:293–304). However, a rapid appearance could also be interpreted as evidence for a nonterrestrial origin. I attempt to quantify the relative probabilities for a non-indigenous ver- sus indigenous origin, on the assumption that biogenesis involves one or more highly im- probable steps, using a generalization of Carter’s well-known observer-selection argument. The analysis is specifically applied to a Martian origin of life, with subsequent transfer to Earth within impact ejecta. My main result is that the relatively greater probability of a Mar- tian origin rises sharply as a function of the number of difficult steps involved in biogene- sis. The actual numerical factor depends on what is assumed about conditions on early Mars, but for a wide range of assumptions a Martian origin of life is decisively favored. By con- trast, an extrasolar origin seems unlikely using the same analysis. These results complement those of Lineweaver and Davis. Key Words: Origin of life—Mars—Probability theory— Carter—Transpermia. Astrobiology 3, 673–679.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Gerard Jagers op Akkerhuis (2011). Explaining the Origin of Life is Not Enough for a Definition of Life. Foundations of Science 16 (4):327-329.
Constance M. Bertka (ed.) (2009). Exploring the Origin, Extent, and Future of Life: Philosophical, Ethical, and Theological Perspectives. Cambridge University Press.
Iris Fry (2009). Philosophical Aspects of the Origin-of-Life Problem : The Emergence of Life and the Nature of Science. In Constance M. Bertka (ed.), Exploring the Origin, Extent, and Future of Life: Philosophical, Ethical, and Theological Perspectives. Cambridge University Press.
Antoine Danchin (2007). Archives or Palimpsests? Bacterial Genomes Unveil a Scenario for the Origin of Life. Biological Theory 2 (1):52-61.
Christophe Malaterre (2009). Can Synthetic Biology Shed Light on the Origin of Life? Biological Theory 4 (4):357-367.
Robert M. Hazen (2009). Emergence and the Experimental Pursuit of the Origin of Life. In Constance M. Bertka (ed.), Exploring the Origin, Extent, and Future of Life: Philosophical, Ethical, and Theological Perspectives. Cambridge University Press.
Ernan McMullin (2009). The Origin of Terrestrial Life : A Christian Perspective. In Constance M. Bertka (ed.), Exploring the Origin, Extent, and Future of Life: Philosophical, Ethical, and Theological Perspectives. Cambridge University Press.
R. C. Carrier (2004). The Argument From Biogenesis: Probabilities Against a Natural Origin of Life. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 19 (5):739-764.
Hilde S. Hein (1971). On the Nature and Origin of Life. New York,Mcgraw-Hill.
Sahotra Sarkar (1988). Natural Selection, Hypercycles and the Origin of Life. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:197 - 206.
Addy Pross (2012). What is Life?: How Chemistry Becomes Biology. Oxford University Press.
Celia Deane-Drummond (2009). The Alpha and the Omega : Reflections on the Origin and Future of Life From the Perspective of Christian Theology and Ethics. In Constance M. Bertka (ed.), Exploring the Origin, Extent, and Future of Life: Philosophical, Ethical, and Theological Perspectives. Cambridge University Press.
Iris Fry (1995). Are the Different Hypotheses on the Emergence of Life as Different as They Seem? Biology and Philosophy 10 (4):389-417.
Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.
Added to index2010-12-22
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?