Life Origin

A Scientific Approach

Edited for the Non-Scientist

How did life get organized out of disorganized matter?  

Can non-living matter or sun energy organize?

Has anything other than already-existing life ever been observed to organize anything? 1, 2

What does it mean to organize?

To organize means to group or categorize things according to traits or function.   We can also organize by arranging functional parts into larger associations that cooperatively produce valued function.   When “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” it’s a pretty good bet that bona fide organization made it possible.    

To organize is also to combine programming choices at true decision nodes into sequences that can be processed into successful computation.  This includes configurable switch-settings that create integrated circuits.  But, a program is worthless without a processor.  To design and engineer the processing equipment needed to process any program also requires a great deal of intent and goal.  Non-living (inanimate) nature knows nothing of intent or goal. 

To categorize, compute, integrate circuits, and design/engineer sophisticated processing machinery invariably requires purposeful choices.  Inanimate nature cannot make purposeful choices. 3

Could non-living nature have organized the first living cell? 4

For even the first simplest cell to come to life spontaneously would have required incredible organization.   A cell is not just a blob of protoplasm. 5, 6

Hundreds of integrated circuits, biochemical pathways, feedback cycles, and cooperative orchestration would have been required for the simplest life to generate spontaneously. 7-10

Sophisticated organization and function have to be prescribed (programmed) 11-13 and processed, the same as in computer science. 14-17

Cells actually “compute” using processing units (nanocomputers). Nonliving nature has never been observed to generate computation or processing machinery.

Organization, integrated circuits, and highly conceptual coordinated function doesn’t just “self-organize” by chance and/or necessity (law). 18-20   Mass and energy cannot generate formalisms like mathematics, logic theory, value, esthetics, ethics, design, and engineering.  Organization is a formalism, the same as mathematics, logic theory, and language. Formalisms are nonphysical, abstract and conceptual.



  1.          Abel DL, Trevors JT. Self-Organization vs. Self-Ordering events in life-origin models. Physics of Life Reviews. 2006;3:211-228 Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

  2.          Trevors JT, Abel DL. Chance and necessity do not explain the origin of life. Cell Biol Int. 2004;28(11):729-739.

  3.          Abel DL. Primordial Prescription:  The Most Plaguing Problem of Life Origin Science   New York, N. Y.: LongView Press Academic; 2015.

  4.          Abel DL, ed The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: Longview Press Academic; 2011.

  5.          Meyer SC. Darwin's Doubt. New York, NY: Harper Collins; 2013.

  6.          Meyer SC. Signature in the Cell. Harper One; Reprint edition (June 22, 2010).

  7.          Abel DL. Life origin: The role of complexity at the edge of chaos.  Lecture given at the Headquarters of the National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA, Jerry Chandler and Kay Peg, Chairmen. 2006; http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel   Power Point slides and speaker notes downloadable.

  8.          Abel DL. Complexity, self-organization, and emergence at the edge of chaos in life-origin models. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences. 2007;93(4):1-20 http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel [Last accessed: March, 2015].

  9.          Abel DL. The capabilities of chaos and complexity. Society for Chaos Theory: Society for Complexity in Psychology and the Life Sciences; Aug 8-10, 2008; International Conference at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.

10.          Abel DL. The Cybernetic Cut [Scirus SciTopic Page]. 2008; http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel [Last accessed: July, 2016].

11          Johnson DE. What might be a protocell’s minimal “genome”? In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press--Academic,Biol. Res. Div.; 2011:287-303.

12.          Johnson DE. Biocybernetics and Biosemiosis. In: Marks II RJ, Behe MJ, Dembski WA, Gordon BL, Sanford JC, eds. Biological Information:  New Perspectives. Cornell University Proceedings: World Scientific; 2013:402-414.

13.          Johnson DE. Programming of Life. 2013; http://www.programmingoflife.info/pol-video.html   [Last accessed January, 2015].

14.          Abel DL. The biosemiosis of prescriptive information. Semiotica. 2009;2009(174):1-19  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

15.          Abel DL. Prescriptive Information (PI) [Scirus SciTopic Page]. 2009; http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel [Last accessed: March, 2015].

16.          Abel DL. The Formalism > Physicality (F > P) Principle. In: Abel DL, ed. In the First Gene: The birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, New York: Ed. LongView Press-Academic, 2011: Biological Research Division; 2011:447-492   Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

17.          Abel DL. What is ProtoBioCybernetics? In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press-Academic: Biolog. Res. Div.; 2011:1-18  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

18.          Abel DL. The three fundamental categories of reality. In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press-Academic: Biolog. Res. Div.; 2011:19-54  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

19.          Abel DL. The Cybernetic Cut and Configurable Switch (CS) Bridge. In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press--Academic, Biol. Res. Div.; 2011:55-74  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

20.          Abel DL. The Birth of Protocells. In: Abel DL,ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press--Academic, Biol. Res. Div.; 2011:189-230  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.