Origin of Life Questions
(from Andrew E Lyman-Buttler)
What distinguishes scientific explanations apart from non-science?
How can a hypothesis be supported or refuted when a direct experiment is impossible?
If experiments like the Miller-Urey experiment can't prove how life started, what is their value?
How do we evaluate evidence about events in the distant past?
What can evaluating the plausibility of various origin scenarios tell us about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe?
How do theories change as more information becomes available? (e.g. the Miller-Urey scenario has more or less been rejected because of mounting evidence that early Earth's atmosphere was not reducing; now the deep-sea vent hypothesis enjoys the widest support)
How can characteristics of extinct life forms be inferred from characteristics of present ones?