Jacque Monod wrote about self-organizing chemical reactions in the 1960s. The key to these systems is that, through the consumption of lots of low-level energy, they create a bit of high-level energy. The net effect is fully consistent with the laws of entropy, but -- viola! -- you have a beautiful self-organized reaction underway as long as the low-level energy remains available.

This is not what anyone would call "life", but it provides the solid foundation for life. Once the self-organized reaction stumbles upon a capacity to improve the odds of coming across into the low-energy inputs it needs, we get closer. The really big leap is when the reaction break up into two parts with each part then making on its own until it, too, divides. Throw in a capacity to survive most disruptions (mutations) and evolution is on its way.

Conceptually, it's not really so complicated, but the reality of it is indeed miraculous.




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