Talk:Iron–sulfur world theory

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Untitled[edit]

The article seems to have inconsistency, e.g. referring to it first as hypothesis (correct) and then as theory (incorrect). Also implicit NPOV violation with "claims" and poor tone with "recipe for life"

Also has NO REFERENCES. Have no clue where article authors got their material from.

What's wrong with calling it a "theory"? You're not one of these god-bothering creationists are you? LOL --feline1 15:56, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

References and dates[edit]

Besides lacking references, the article lacks any reference to when the theory was developed. The only date cited is 1997, so all we can infer is that was a period of a lifetime more or less "anchored" at that point. --Extremophile 03:51, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

New metabolic pathway discovered[edit]

In this article from Astrobiliogy Magazine:

http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1961&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

James G. Ferry and Christopher House discovered that the microbe (archeum) Methanosarcina acetivorans uses a previously unknown metabolic pathway to metabolize carbon monoxide into methane and acetate (vinegar) using the well known enzymes phosphotransacetylase (PTS) and acetate kinase (ACK). This pathway is surprisingly simple, and has been proposed by Ferry and House as perhaps the first metabolic pathway used by primordial microbes. They further hypothosize that in the presence of minerals containing iron sulfides, as might have be found in sediments in a primordial enviornment, acetate would be catalytically converted into acetate thioester, a sulfur-containing derivative. Primitive microbes could obtain biochemical energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) by converting acetate thioester back into acetate using PTS and ACK, which would then be converted back into acetate thioester to complete the process. In such an environment, a primitve "protocell" could easily produce energy through this metabolic pathway, excreting acetate as waste. Furthermore, ACK catalyzes the synthesis of ATP directly. Other pathways generate energy from ATP only through complex multi-enzyme reactions invloving protein pumps and osmotic imbalances across a membrane.

I think this is relevant to this dubious "Iron-sulfide" world theory for the origin of life. However, Ferry and House have not yet published there results. I'd like to add areference to M. acetivorans here, any comments? Rich.lewis 05:19, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

One more thing, it seems to me that the discovery of this new simple metabolic pathway used by M. acetivorans would support this theory. And, why is "hypothesis" correct and "theory" is not correct in this case? Rich.lewis 05:24, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

wbat's "dubious" about it? And I've no idea why someone ranted about "theory" vs. "hypothesis".--feline1 10:16, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
To the scientific community, a theory and a hypothesis are two completely different things. A hypothesis is a possible explanation put forth to explain a phenomenon. A hypothesis can use previous theories and experiments to support it, but a hypothesis is not considered to be rigorously supported by evidence. A theory is an explanation or a model that is supported so heavily and so extensively by experimentation that for all intents and purposes it is presumed to be true. As this is an article on a scientific topic, it is important that the proper terminology be used. Tynpeddler (talk) 22:38, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
huh? Theories get disproved all the time. Don't be silly.--feline1 (talk) 09:25, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
First of all, theories are not disproven all the time. Secondly, even if they were, that would not change the fact that hypothesis are conjectures suggested by evidence that warrant further investigation while theories are explanations of natural phenomenon that are rigorously supported by experimentation. There is a difference between the terms. For further information, read the theory and hypothesis articles on wikipedia. Tynpeddler (talk) 22:37, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
An hypothesis is a conjecture based upon observations. It should be framed so as to be subject to falsification (in the scientific sense), ie testable experimentally or in some other way to see if it can be shown to be false. If found valid, then it's tentatively accepted pending further confirmation or possible subsequent falsification. A theory is a body of so far valid hypotheses, but even theories are subject to revision & improvement. Examples of well-established models describing or explaining observed phenomena through entirely natural means are the Copernican theory, theory of gravitation (by Newton, revised by Einstein), atomic theory of matter, germ theory of disease, theories of evolution, relativity, quantum mechanics & the Big Bang. Muleshoe (talk) 16:05, 7 August 2008 (UTC)Muleshoe

Weaknesses?[edit]

Are there any weaknesss of the hypothesis/theory? Those should be included in the article. -Pgan002 07:29, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

This is one of several alternative abiogenesis theories and there is no clear consensus over which one is right. It would therefore make sense to list the referenced arguments for and against this theory that have been given by its supporters and its critics. --82.71.43.37 (talk) 18:50, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

"In 1997, Wächtershäuser and Claudia Huber mixed carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, nickel sulfide, and iron sulfide particles at 100°C and demonstrated that amino acids could form." This statement is not correct chemically. Amino acids contain nitrogen, however there is nothing containing nitrogen listed in the reaction. Therefore ammonia or some other nitrogen source must have been used, or else it was not amino acids that were obtained. Someone with knowledge of this experiment should correct this.

Something isn't right[edit]

"electrochemically link reactions separated in space, if not in time" What in the world does this mean? linking reactions through time? where did this come from? Grock2 03:15, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

"In 1997, Wächtershäuser and Claudia Huber mixed carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, nickel sulfide, and iron sulfide particles at 100°C and demonstrated that amino acids could form.[2]" There is no nitrogen source in this experiment so citation isn't completed or misinterpereted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.84.156.127 (talk) 08:53, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes I agree and the 1997 cite does not claim what the article stated, so I adjusted it (amino acids converted to peptides, not generated from those ingredients). I could not check the 2000 paper as it requires payment but other papers do cite the 2000 paper as establishing all the reactions from CO to peptides. I added a 2006 paper that shows KCN was used as a nitrogen source. Some one with full AAAS access could check the 2000 paper (confusingly mentioned as "the following year" in our article) to see what source of nitrogen was used.-84user (talk) 15:19, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

The article is verging on OR or synthesis[edit]

This area is one filled with speculation. It is indeed a fun theme for arm-chair chemists, which is a sport many of us enjoy (My results are always superior when the reactions are on paper). My main point, IMHO the article, is over line in terms of synthesis (drawing conclusions from one publication for another) and the theme is approaching, again IMHO, fringe science. Arguing about this area is difficult and editing is also very difficult because one ends up arguing about what Wächtershäuser said or meant or whether he cited appropriately. So in a way, this article could grow without bounds. --Smokefoot (talk) 19:45, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

This article should be split[edit]

Three articles should be made from this : [1] Origin of life in Hydrothermal vents [2] Günter Wächtershäuser's Black smoker hypothesis [3] Russell's Alkali hypothesis This article is not OR but it is taking 2 separate ideas and merging them. Nor is this fringe science Wächtershäuser is not a fringe figure by any means. Russell's hypothesis is the mainstream view. However Russell has himself said / admitted that because origin of life research is unfalsifiable it is conjecture.