Non-life

Miller-Urey experiment
A depiction of the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment, wherein chemicals are heated and sparked in an apparatus, over a number of days, after which life-like chemicals are formed, the poster model for the life from non-life conception.
In science, non-life is a difficult to understand umbrella term set to distinguish or characterize those inanimate chemical precursors found in the hypothetical “primeval soup” of the early years of planetary evolution from which life, theoretically, evolved or came into existence.

In the classic 1953 Miller-Urey experiment, for example, non-living chemical entities such as water (H2O), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen (H2) were electrically stimulated, using sparks as simulating lightning, into forming the various precursors to life, such as hydrogen cyanide, amino acids, simple sugars, etc. [1] These, in time, would theoretically form RNA and DNA, the building blocks of life.


Difficulties on term
According to standard molecular evolution tables, however, the conception of non-life falls apart. From a chemical evolution point of view, any animate structure, such as a single unit of water or human being, can be considered as a dynamic molecule, e.g. H20, a DNA molecule, a bacterial molecule, or “human molecule”, etc. Subsequently, the contrast of life versus non life, approximately, is a contrast between a particle animated by a heat source verse a particle not animated by a heat source.

References
1. (a) Miller Stanley L. (1953). "Production of Amino Acids Under Possible Primitive Earth Conditions". Science 117: 528.
(b) Miller S. L., and Urey, H. C (1959). "Organic Compound Synthesis on the Primitive Earth". Science 130: 245.
(c) Lazcano, A. and Bada, J. L. (2004). "The 1953 Stanley L. Miller Experiment: Fifty Years of Prebiotic Organic Chemistry". Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres 33: 235-242.

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