On October 26, 2013 the Governing Board of the Origin of Life Science Foundation, Inc. voted to put on hold the Origin of Life Prize Program, and to temporarily suspend the Origin of Life Prize offer. Over the 13 years since The Origin of Life Prize was first announced in NATURE and SCIENCE, no submission has ever made it past the screening judges to higher-level judges. No submission has ever addressed, let alone answered, any of the questions below, for which the Prize offer was instituted. Most of these Prize-offer questions centered on: "How did inanimate, prebiotic nature prescribe or program the first genome?"
Life origin literature continues to circumvent and ignore this problem, if not deliberately sweep it under the rug. The Prize Program did much to raise consciousness and stimulate more consideration of the real problem of life origin - Prescription of future biofunction that was not yet selectable by the environment.
The Fundamental Questions for Life Origin Research -
How did molecular evolution generate metabolic recipe and instructions using a representational symbol system?
How did prebiotic nature set all of the many configurable switch-settings to integrate so many interdependent circuits?
How did inanimate nature sequence nucleotides to spell instructions to the ribosomes on how to sequence amino acids into correctly folding proteins?
How did nature then code these instructions into Hamming block codes to reduce noise pollution in the Shannon channel?
What programmed the error-detection and error-correcting software that keeps life from quickly deteriorating into non-life?
In short, which of the four known forces of physics organized and prescribed life into existence? Was it gravity? Was it the strong or weak nuclear force? Was it the electromagnetic force? How could any combination of these natural forces or force fields program decision nodes to prescribe future utility?
Why and how would a prebiotic environment value, desire or seek to generate utility?
Can chance and/or necessity program or prescribe sophisticated biofunction?
Life is utterly dependent upon the steering of reaction sequences into biochemical pathways and cycles.
Life pursues the goal of staying alive. All known life is cybernetic, meaning controlled. Life's most prominent attribute is programming and tight regulation at every turn. Yet programming, prescription, control and regulation are all formalisms, not mere physicodynamic interactions. The programming of life is what makes life unique [1-3]
Metabolism First models cannot sustain themselves as perpetual motion machines, even in open environments, without heritable formal instructions needed to circumvent locally and temporarily 2nd Law organizational and useful energy deterioration.
Prescription and programming arise only out of Decision Theory, not Stochastic Theory.
How did prebiotic nature program the first decision nodes? Only Choice-Contingent Causation and Control (CCCC) could possibly program a genome and epigenome.
The peer-reviewed literature below provides valuable background information showing why life-origin theorists struggle to generate a model or theory that addresses any of the most important questions of life origin.