I read the suggested article. Great stuff for later.
Clearly there are no assumed mechanisms in my argument.
Unchanging facts of protein “creation”:
Proteins are chains of amino acids.
Some 500 amino acids are known but only 20 amino acids are used in life’s proteins.
The implicit ordering of the 20 amino acids endows the protein chain with remarkable physical and chemical properties and ultimately the function of the protein.
So, given the odds of 1 in 20 for the implicit ordering of each link, a small protein chain of 100 amino acid links has 1 chance in 20^100 (1 chance in 10^130) of emerging functional on its own.
Of course one functional protein is not alive. Modern biochemistry has shown that any “cooperative self-replicating system” (including any hypothetical protobiont) is (or would have been) operated by teams of proteins. The simplest known self-reproducing organism (H39 strain of Mycoplasma) has 625 proteins averaging 400 amino acids each. However, some contend that, theoretically, one might get by with 124 such proteins. The chances of spontaneously forming 124 such proteins, are 1 in 10^79,360.
Doltologist, most textbooks focus on the chemistry of life—which molecules do what inside the cell. Obviously, life is a chemical phenomenon, but it's distinctiveness lies not in the chemistry as such but something even more profound.