Re: Smalley-Drexler debate

From: Perry E.Metzger (
Date: Mon Dec 01 2003 - 14:53:40 MST

Christian Szegedy <> writes:
> Perry E.Metzger wrote:
>>I suppose the fact that the world is already filled to capacity with
>>them doesn't prove that they're possible, eh?
> I suppose that you did not read the whole correspondence. The emphasis is
> on the word "mechanical".
> Smalley says that chemical replicators are possible, but they are very
> limited in their capabilities.

The "chemical replicators" are mechanical. Peptide synthesis in
ribosomes is mechanosynthetic. The synthesis of ATP in ATP Synthase is
a mechanosynthetic process. Most complex enzyme syntheses are
mechanosynthetic. Smalley makes fun of the idea of mechanosynthesis,
but that is indeed what happens throughout biological systems. If
Smalley believes that mechanosynthesis is impossible, then how does he
explain biology?

The problem, I think, is a continuing belief in vitalism, although I'm
sure Smalley would stringently deny that.

Perry E. Metzger

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