Science: Whence Life?

Give a biologist a pinch of slime mold—primitive but living protoplasm—and he will have no difficulty predicating an evolutionary ascent, from that bit of animate substance, which leads to large, complex and reasoning beings like himself. Yet the prime question remains: How did the first bit of life appear on earth?

To that question there are three possible answers: 1) life was planted on earth by divine power; 2) life emerged from nonliving matter by some pregnant combination of chemical circumstances; 3) life was transported to earth in meteorites or some other carrier, from...

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