Niles LehmanIn hmolscience, Niles Lehman (c.1962-) (DN=6/10) is an American chemist noted for his 2012 “The Chemical Origin of Behavior is Rooted in Abiogenesis”, co-authored by Brian Larson and Paul Jensen, reviewed by Christopher Southgate, Andrew Robinson, and Mark Ditzler, wherein they attempt to grapple with free will, the origin of life problem (aka the great problem of natural philosophy), and animal behavior in terms of chemistry, or rather “behavioral chemistry” as they call it, namely the argument that RNA polymers of a sufficient length have the ability of “making a choice”. [1]

On the topic of “abiogenesis”, after being directed to the following articles: life does not exist, defunct theory of life, and life terminology upgrades, Lehman had the following to say: [2]

“’Life’ exists, if only as a useful human perception. That’s good enough for me to spend my academic career focused on its origin.”

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On the question of his Dawkins number, Lehman has the following to say:

“Dawkins Number. I hadn’t seen that. Off hand: oscillating between being exactly on 6 and exactly on 10, depending on mood. It’s probably one of those things that could be quantized, but shouldn’t be.”

Lehman completed his BS in chemistry in 1984 and MA in comparative biochemistry in 1986, both at the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD in biology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Since 2001, he has been a chemistry professor at Portland State University, where he teaches courses on the chemistry of the origins of life (Chem 360), prebiotic chemistry (Chem 460/560), along with general chemistry and biochemistry, and also is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Molecular Evolution.

1. Larson, Brian C., Jensen, R. Paul, and Lehman, Niles. (2012). “The Chemical Origin of Behavior is Rooted in Abiogenesis” (Ѻ), Life, 2:313-322.
2. Lehman, Niels. (2014). “Email communication with Libb Thims”, Dec 16.

Further reading
● Lehman, Niles, Berghard, Tess, Larson, Brian C., Robinson, Andrew J.N., and Southgate, Christopher C.B. (2014). “Empirical Demonstration of Environmental Sensing in Catalytic RNA: Evolution of Interpretive Behavior at the Origins of Life” (pdf), BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14:248.

External links
Niles Lehman (faculty) – Portland State University.

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