Dead molecule

Autocatalytic closure
American Stuart Kauffman posits that alone A, B, and C are "dead molecules" or molecular species, but once auto-catalytic closure is achieved, the come alive.
In terminology, dead molecule, “dead molecular species” or dead chemical, as contrasted with a “living molecule” or living molecular species, is a molecule or molecular species not in possession of the hypothetical entity “life”.

In 1995, American biochemist Stuart Kauffman put forward a popular theory of catalytic closure (or auto-catalytic closure) in which, as he argues, at a certain threshold of molecular diversity in the course of the evolution of a system that a collection of molecular species can suddenly become “alive”. In his own words: [1]

“If a sufficiently diverse mix of molecules accumulates somewhere, the chances that an autocatalytic system—a self-maintaining and self-reproducing metabolism—will spring forth becomes a near certainty … life, at its roots, lies in the property of catalytic closure among a collection of molecular species. Alone, each molecular species is dead. Jointly, once catalytic closure among them is achieved, the collective system of molecules is alive.”

In short, what Kauffman argues is that reactions such as:

A → B → C

in which one of the end products C acts as a catalyst to one of the initial reactants A, can be described as being auto-catalyzing or self-catalyzing and are thus the prototypes of life.

This is one of the better "self-term arguments", but is still paramount to a biological perpetual motion reaction or mechanism. Moreover, there is no such thing a an "alive molecule". [2] The so-called "dead molecule" argument is one of several "absurdities", in Karl Pearson's terminology, that one arrives at when one begins to use hardened physical science positions to pry away at olden and cherished religio-mythology based notions and beliefs.

See also
Dead atom
Dead matter

1. Kauffman, Stuart. (1995). At Home in the Universe - the Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity (pg. 50). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2. Thims, Libb. (2009). “Letter: Life a Defunct Scientific Theory”, Journal of Human Thermodynamics, Vol. 5, pgs. 20-21.

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