[ExI] Panbiogenesis news

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Fri Mar 6 14:29:57 UTC 2015

About ten years ago, I discussed on this list the possibility that  
life started *everywhere* in the universe in the epoch following the  
big bang. My reasoning was that shortly after the big bang, the  
universe was too hot and dense for life, while now the universe is too  
cold and diffuse for life. Therefore it stands to reason that to get  
from then to now, at some point the universe would have had to pass  
through a "goldilocks epoch". During this time the entire universe  
should have had liquid water in abundance at about 310 K, the perfect  
temperature for carbon-based life. This temperature would be  
independent of stars because it would have been the background  
temperature of what is now the CMB. Thus even interstellar water  
nebulae could harbor life.

Well now it looks like a professional astrobiologist at Harvard has  
caught onto the idea:


"The Habitable Epoch of the Early Universe
Abraham Loeb

In the redshift range 100 . (1 + z) . 137, the cosmic microwave
background (CMB) had a temperature of 273–373 K (0-100◦C), al-
lowing early rocky planets (if any existed) to have liquid water chem-
istry on their surface and be habitable, irrespective of their distance
from a star. In the standard CDM cosmology, the first star-forming
halos within our Hubble volume started collapsing at these redshifts,
allowing the chemistry of life to possibly begin when the Universe
was merely 10–17 million years old. The possibility of life starting
when the average matter density was a million times bigger than it
is today argues against the anthropic explanation for the low value
of the cosmological constant."

Then I also came across this interesting article:


An extrapolation of the genetic complexity of organisms to earlier  
times suggests that life began before the Earth was formed. Life may  
have started from systems with single heritable elements that are  
functionally equivalent to a nucleotide. The genetic complexity,  
roughly measured by the number of non-redundant functional  
nucleotides, is expected to have grown exponentially due to several  
positive feedback factors: gene cooperation, duplication of genes with  
their subsequent specialization, and emergence of novel functional  
niches associated with existing genes. Linear regression of genetic  
complexity on a log scale extrapolated back to just one base pair  
suggests the time of the origin of life 9.7 billion years ago. This  
cosmic time scale for the evolution of life has important  
consequences: life took ca. 5 billion years to reach the complexity of  
bacteria; the environments in which life originated and evolved to the  
prokaryote stage may have been quite different from those envisaged on  
Earth; there was no intelligent life in our universe prior to the  
origin of Earth, thus Earth could not have been deliberately seeded  
with life by intelligent aliens; Earth was seeded by panspermia;  
experimental replication of the origin of life from scratch may have  
to emulate many cumulative rare events; and the Drake equation for  
guesstimating the number of civilizations in the universe is likely  
wrong, as intelligent life has just begun appearing in our universe.  
Evolution of advanced organisms has accelerated via development of  
additional information-processing systems: epigenetic memory,  
primitive mind, multicellular brain, language, books, computers, and  
Internet. As a result the doubling time of complexity has reached ca.  
20 years. Finally, we discuss the issue of the predicted technological  
singularity and give a biosemiotics perspective on the increase of  

Stuart LaForge

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