It's very simple and pretty, with some great diagrams.
I'm still waiting for the "Children's Bedtime Evolutionary Biology" books to be written though :p
ABE: Also, if you want to ask questions (a method of learning which I consider to be the most effective), feel free to stop by this forum's chatroom when you see myself or any of the other 'science-oriented' members of this forum.
Edited by Doddy, : edited in comment
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What accounts for life on Earth? I think panspermia is a good bet. To explain the occurrence of life on Earth, an interesting study would be to compare the probability of an Earthly abiogenesis against life arriving here via panspermia from an extraterrestrial abiogenesis. But I'm not sure how to perform the study, other than conducting an opinion survey of credible scientists. Flattering myself here, if I were surveyed I'd vote for panspermia. More of a hunch than anything.
Excellent website Doddy, evolution.berkeley. Yes it is simple but logically laid out and excellent for the beginner. It suits my style of learning too with lots of diagrams. I find books with diagrams much easier to understand. They produce lesson plans too which, as a teacher, I may well be able to use in the future. thanks, ogon
The questions of Origin are pretty much independent of where the first life originated. Even if Panspermia is either the origin of life on Earth or involved in spreading life, the questions of how life began from non-life remain.
Panspermia as a distribution method may turn out to be important. Space, as a point of origin may turn out to be important.
But the process or more likely processes that let stuff combine into living things will remain the question. Panspermia is no magic bullet that we can point to and say "There is the answer".
compare the probability of an Earthly abiogenesis against life arriving here via panspermia from an extraterrestrial abiogenesis
That would be interesting. Let me posit a maybe answer.
Unless we’re talking about some Johnny Appleseed society spreading spores throughout the galaxy then it’s beginning to look like abiogenesis is likely on any relatively warm, relatively wet planet given enough time. The problem is finding a relatively warm, relatively wet planet. We happen to be living on one that is and was.
So the probability of an abiogenic event on this and/or some other relatively warm, relatively wet planet in the galaxy is appearing to be (roughly) quite similar. The real hard stuff comes in when some “foreign” abiogenic event occurs and then the resulting “seed” has to make its way across the vastness of open space to luckily land here. Not such a high probability.
It is certainly possible, of course, but you were asking about the probabilities. The probabilities of abiogenic events would be roughly similar. The probability of some seed reaching here is less so. But, it appears we may never know.