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Go live Time : 25 September 2021, 11:33 PM
minerals—were not mentioned (Pasteur 1862; Leduc 1911; Ligon 2002). Yet, Pasteur’s findings did not go unchallenged (Strick 1988). Darwin, for example, had been convinced that “the intimate relation of Life with laws of chemical combination, and the universality of latter render spontaneous generation not improbable” (Peretó et al. 2009). In turn, Darwin continued to distance himself from the view and Pasteur himself was said to have second thoughts towards the end of his life (Strick 1988). It is significant to record, in the context of this article, that the views of Pasteur and his acolytes had a negative effect on mineral-based hypotheses (see Butcher’s Translator’s Preface p.notwithstanding Goldschmidt’s posthumous publication (Goldschmidt 1952), no other significant mineral-based hypothesis was proposed until Graham Cairns-Smith—partly influenced by Bernal’s focus upon the likely significance of clays and mineral surfaces to the emergence of life (Bernal 1949)—published his ‘Genetic takeover: and the mineral origins of life’ (Cairns-Smith 1982). Indeed, Leduc’s lonely plea that: “Without the idea of spontaneous generation and a physical theory of life, the doctrine of evolution is a mutilated hypothesis without unity or cohesion” went largely unheard until the present century when it has been rejuvenated under the rubric of “chemobrionics” (Barge et al. 2015). Last century’s thought was dominatedby the organic soup hypothesis of Haldane, Oparin, Miller, and Orgel, which gave birth to the RNA world hypothesis—a common view to this day, as we discuss later in this article (Nissenbaum 1976; Kurland 2010; Lane et al. 2010).

Thus, ‘How and where did life originate?’ continues to be one of the most fundamental questions for humanity to date. Unfortunately, these enquiries are confronted by the harsh reality that the phenomenon of life has not yet been fully comprehended. One of the best examples to visualize this is the lack of a common definition of life (Cleland and Chyba 2002). The definition most commonly used was proposed by NASA: life is “a self-

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