Podcast 553 – “The Origin and Future of Life”


Become a patron on PatreonGuest speaker: Bruce Damer

Bruce Damer delivering his 2003 Palenque Norte Lecture

Bruce Damer delivering his 2003 Palenque Norte Lecture


Date this lecture was recorded: August 31, 2017

Today’s podcast features the 2017 Palenque Norte Lecture by Dr. Bruce Damer. As he describes the life-long journey that has led him to search for the origin of life on Earth, you may be surprised at how forthcoming he is about the ways in which he thought about this problem.

“Our common ancestor is a community, not an individual. . . . We did not come from competing individuals, we came from a collaborative network of simple things that were donating innovations and tools to a communal structure.” -Bruce Damer


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Posted in Ayahuasca, Bruce Damer, Burning Man, Consciousness, Creativity, Culture, Evolution, Extraterrestial, Future, Imagination, LSD, Palenque Norte, Psychedelics, Science & Technology, Storytelling.


  1. Jason and everyone thank you for your comments. I apologize for the delay in replying as I have been traveling, literally around the world (starting in the Galapagos where Darwin came ashore in 1835). I am happy to continue the dialogue if you would like to write to me through my site at http://www.damer.com. I can provide you papers, videos and other materials which give the building case for the “Hot Spring Hypothesis”.

  2. Great talk at Palenque Norte. Not only about Bruce’s recent work on the origin of life but also how to deal with fake news or the observation that cooperation is required for successful systems. The generation of life is an inevitable feature of the universe as it is. “Intelligent design” (creationism) is not needed. We have semi-permeable containers where energy permits activities to be different inside the container than outside. As Bruce mentions a next probable step is for humans to provide the containers for moving life into space. As with the first cells that set out into the vast water ocean, human created habitats will set out into the cosmic vastness. In the meantime if the humans were to achieve collective sanity they could be truly beneficial for the biosphere container called Earth.

  3. The reason Damer says he forgave all his future Self’s must be because there was anticipation of a future event that will cause pain. Why he is saying this I have no idea. YouTube Channelf Fractal Youniverse has never before published Terence McKenna material. Go check it out!

  4. While I am not entirely willing to dismiss Damer’s hypothesis and experiment- he does seem to claim that RNA was forming through repetitions of condensation contrary to Quedin’s remark- I also along with Quedin am left wondering about the other structures needed for a self sustaining and reproducing cellular life form.
    I would love to hear Bruce’s response to what seems the reasonable and daunting questions Quedim Saltum is posing.

    For me, there seems implicit also in this question a more general question about the resilience and diversity of life – a resilience that seems an expression of the rather mysterious desire to exist, to eat, to reproduce. Where does such a desire and resilience come from? Is it manifest in physics and chemistry or does entropy prevail? There is a divide here around the question of entropy. Buckminster Fuller said intelligence is anti-entropic.( and I think it is clear he meant the life force-the desire to continue, intelligence stored in DNA and other forms of memory and creativity) .

  5. With respect, Darwinian mythology of “warm little ponds,” the hydrothermal vent scenario and Urey-Miller or Oparin-Haldane are all nonviable origin of life propositions. Why these persist to be presented as viable demonstrates how desperate the naturalist theories of the origin of life remain. Chemical evolution is a myth, there is no primordial soup. None address the intractable issues of the complex structure of the even the simplest first life, specifically, nucleotide coding, cell membranes, homochirality, homopolymerization, ribosome biosynthesis, nucleotide encoding, contamination mitigation, severe environmental effects of salinity and acidity in all water environments, and the problems of coincidence and colocation of critical elements, molecules and biochemical assemblies. Damer’s efforts lack any serious scientific theoretical solutions for these issues. It is simplistic to claim that condensation reactions are sufficient to form RNA or DNA. What supposed origin of life experiments that assemble critical RNA assemblies are intelligent design and precisely managed activities that no way are geochemically relevant. The ambient energy source is as effective at disassembling biomolecules as assembling them.

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