Hold your breath …
Tim Gowers proposes a polymath project to answer the question about the origin of life scientifically (mathematically).
… and please start to breathe again.
That is incredibly ambitious and fits perfectly into the scope of this blog. Go there and contribute!
I am way to pessimistic to do it myself. Is the axiomatic ideology we follow able to lead to insights concerning this question? I really doubt that. So far mathematicians were remarkably unsuccessful to even define notions like ‘life’ and ‘intellligence’. We were so unsuccessful, that it might be allowed to ask whether a definition is actually possible.
Mathematicians introduce notions by description (like set and element) or by definition (like function and number). ‘Life’, like many other notions, does not fit into this approach. It is so hard to grasp the meaning of ‘life’ by definitions and descriptions that one is lead to the idea that there are probably other ways to introduce notions in a precise sense.
Indeed you can think of processes to introduce notions which are not definitions and descriptions. Unfortunately, once you start to do that, you have to give up a lot of what makes us feel comfortable with contemporary mathematics. That sounds vague, but I have a feeling that I catch up writing this stuff here in the blog maybe even years before Tim finishes the above project.
… just kidding …
The plan now is to elaborate a bit further on scientific laws and then I explain how to ’emerge’ new notions from old ones.