Why Life Originated (And Why it Continues)

Dec 09, 2008 By Lisa Zyga feature
One of the earliest known forms of life on Earth is stromatolites, which consist of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Fossil records of stromatolites date back 3.5 billion years. This photo shows modern stromatolites in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Image credit: Paul Harrison.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Today, scientists understand pretty well how life evolves, by mechanisms based on Darwin’s theory of natural selection for survival of the fittest. However, Darwin’s 1859 classic, On the Origin of Species, somewhat ironically doesn’t answer that very question – how species actually originated. And to this day, how that first tiny pool of chemicals twitched to life remains a puzzle.

In a recent study called “Why did life emerge?”, two scientists, son and father Arto Annila of the University of Helsinki and Erkki Annila of the Finnish Forest Research Institute, offer some insight into the general driving force of life’s origins in terms of thermodynamics. As they explain, all organisms are composed of molecules that assemble together via numerous chemical reactions. Just as heat flows from hot to cold, these molecules obey the universal tendency to diminish energy differences, so that the most likely chemical reactions are those in which energy flows “downhill” toward a stationary state, or chemical equilibrium.

Although the researchers don’t speculate on the specific chemical reactions that created life, they explain that the molecules involved most likely underwent a series of more and more complex reactions to minimize mutual energy differences between matter on Earth and with respect to high-energy radiation from Sun. The process eventually advanced so far that it cumulated into such sophisticated functional structures that could be called living.

“The most important idea in our study is that there is no distinction between animate and inanimate,” Arto Annila told PhysOrg.com. “Processes of life are, in their principles, no different from any other natural processes.”

In their study, which is published in the International Journal of Astrobiology, the researchers considered a primordial pool that contained some basic compounds. By reacting with one another and coupling with an external energy source such as the Sun, the compounds formed a chemical system. The compounds continually engaged in chemical reactions, thriving the most when capturing and distributing more and more of the Sun’s energy in the quest for a steady state. The evolutionary process was and still is non-deterministic, even chaotic, since the energy flows create energy differences that in turn affect the flows.

Due to random variations stemming from the chemical reactions, some novel compounds may have emerged in the primordial system. Some of these compounds (such as those involving carbon) might have been exceptionally good at creating energy flow, enabling the system to diminish energy differences very efficiently and reach a higher level of entropy. Compounds with these advantages would have gained ground during this period of primitive chemical evolution. But the scientists emphasize that identifying which exact compounds were key players during this period would be very difficult to determine.

“Today we may have only very little evidence left from the courses in the very distant past to deduce which chemical species went extinct, while others, more viable in energy transduction, emerged,” Arto Annila explained. In other words, this study focuses on why life emerged, not how.

What is more relevant, the scientists note, is the fact that the physical tendency to diminish energy differences makes no distinction between systems that are inanimate or animate. As the researchers explain, the order and complexity that characterize modern biological systems have no value in and of themselves, but structure and hierarchical organization emerged and developed because they provided paths for increasing energy flows.

The scientists give several examples of mechanisms associated with life that increase entropy. For instance, when systems (e.g. molecules) become entities of larger systems (e.g. cells) that participate in larger ranges of interactions to consume more free energy, entropy increases. Genetic code might have served as another primordial mechanism, acting as a catalyst that could increase energy flow toward greater entropy. Today, complex organisms have cellular metabolism, which is another mechanism that increases entropy, as it disperses energy throughout the organism and into the environment. The food chain in an ecosystem is another example of a mechanism for transferring energy on a larger scale.

In this sense, life is a very natural thing, which emerged simply to satisfy basic physical laws. Our “purpose,” so to speak, is to redistribute energy on the Earth, which is in between a huge potential energy difference caused by the hot Sun and cold space. Organisms evolve via natural selection, but at the most basic level, natural selection is driven by the same thermodynamic principle: increasing entropy and decreasing energy differences. The natural processes from which life emerged, then, are the same processes that keep life going – and they operate on all timescales.

“According to thermodynamics, there was no striking moment or no single specific locus for life to originate, but the natural process has been advancing by a long sequence of steps via numerous mechanisms so far reaching a specific meaning – life,” the researchers explained.

And because thermodynamics recognizes no specific moment, particular place, compound or reaction that would distinguish animate from inanimate, a search for ‘the birth of life’ seems like an ill-posed project, Arto Annila explained.

“Indeed, the quest for the origin of life seems a futile endeavor because life in its entirety is a natural process that has, according to the second law of thermodynamics, no definite beginning,” he said. “To ask how life started would be the same as to ask when and where did the first wind blow that quivered the surface of a warm pond.”

More information: Annila, Arto and Annila, Erkki. “Why did life emerge?” International Journal of Astrobiology 7 (3 & 4 ): 293-300 (2008).

Copyright 2008 PhysOrg.com.
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com.

Explore further: Battling superbugs with gene-editing system

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Future of energy storage

Sep 16, 2014

MIT professor Fikile Brushett is in the process of taking the power generated by wind and solar, chemically lashing it to molecules derived from flora and fauna, and storing it in liquids until it's needed ...

Mars Curiosity Rover Arrives at Martian Mountain

Sep 11, 2014

(Phys.org) —NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has reached the Red Planet's Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission's long-term prime destination.

Recommended for you

22 elephants poached in Mozambique in two weeks

10 hours ago

Poachers slaughtered 22 elephants in Mozambique in the first two weeks of September, environmentalists said Monday, warning that killing for ivory by organised syndicates was being carried out on an "industrialised" ...

User comments : 106

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

mvg
1.8 / 5 (30) Dec 09, 2008
Is it even possible for an article like this to be written WITHOUT phrases like:

May have
Might have
Must have
Could have
?????????

'Our purpose is to redistribute energy'...Oh please, give us a break!

theophys
4 / 5 (25) Dec 09, 2008
It makes sense, actually. All it's saying is that the reason why the complex molecules required for basic life developed in the first place was to obey physical laws that we have already established. Good way to apply knowlege of one field to another. This could potentialy lead to interesting ways of finding life elsewhwere in the universe.
superhuman
2.3 / 5 (23) Dec 09, 2008
The most important idea in our study is that there is no distinction between animate and inanimate


There is a *huge* distinction between animate and inanimate - complexity.

According to thermodynamics, there was no striking moment or no single specific locus for life to originate, but the natural process has been advancing by a long sequence of steps via numerous mechanisms so far reaching a specific meaning %u2013 life


Yes, there was no striking moment or specific locus according to thermodynamics, but that's only because thermodynamics is a very limited model of our complex reality which while very useful for some problems is completely useless for others. The beginning of life happens to be in this second category, that's why we have biology and according to biology there was an incredibly striking moment - a moment when first polymeric molecule capable of both storing information and self replication was born on Earth. This is the moment we are after, the beginning of life on Earth.
LariAnn
Dec 09, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
itistoday
1.5 / 5 (17) Dec 09, 2008
It's amusing to note that these scientists are "discovering" what has been said by great Taoists, Buddhists, Hindus, and various other mystics and philosophers for ages, but nonetheless, congrats to them for seeing that the notion of "living thing" is but an arbitrary concept invented by "scientists" that ironically fails to hold any water when brought in contact with reality!

However, there are several flaws in this article (and perhaps therefore, the research as well):

* The title is poor as it presupposes that life had an origination, whereas the article itself argues starkly in contrast.

* The explanation that it provides is inadequate to say the least, saying that complex organisms exist because the system tries to "maximize energy flow" and "minimize energy differences", that *doesn't say anything!* In fact it sounds like gobble-dee-gook!

* No explanation is given as to why "maximizing energy flow" is important, or why it would mandate this particular set of events and organisms, or how "maximizing energy flow" is compatible with the notion of "minimizing energy difference"!
OregonWind
1.4 / 5 (13) Dec 09, 2008
%u201CThe most important idea in our study is that there is no distinction between animate and inanimate,%u201D Arto Annila told PhysOrg.com. %u201CProcesses of life are, in their principles, no different from any other natural processes.%u201D

I do not agree with the statement. The environment condition in which life could be originated is not trivially found. So far, nobody found life in other planets or moons in our solar system besides earth. Even if we could find what would be the ideal conditions for life to appear it is not certain that complex enough molecules once present would assemble to form what we call life. Bioscientists had tried that on their labs with no successful. I am not saying here that ID is the answer however.
itistoday
2.4 / 5 (14) Dec 09, 2008
So far, nobody found life in other planets or moons in our solar system besides earth


Correction: Life has been found on other planets, on other moons, on other stars, in other dust, rock, and dirt. That is the point of their statement.

They are merely pointing out that the word "life" and the standard definition given for it are imaginary concepts and do not exist in reality, and therefore they're trying to give it a realistic definition, or perhaps explain why the existing definition is flawed.
OregonWind
1.8 / 5 (11) Dec 09, 2008
Correction: Life has been found on other planets, on other moons, on other stars, in other dust, rock, and dirt. That is the point of their statement.


I do not agree also with this statement. That would be a very poor definition of "Life"
theophys
4.5 / 5 (21) Dec 09, 2008
I think there's a lot of misunderstanding here due to the poor quality of the article. I think what they were trying to say is that there is no distinction between inanimate and animate objects as far as the laws of thermodynamics are concerned. And they would be correct. The laws of physics do in fact apply to living organizims just as much as they apply to rocks. I don't think they're really attacking the value of life, redifining the concept of life, or any other nonsense like that. They are merely stating that they think the reason why the complex molecules neccesary for life as we know it were formed on Earth had something to due with thermodynamics.
itistoday
2.2 / 5 (10) Dec 09, 2008
theophys:

See this quote:
%u201CThe most important idea in our study is that there is no distinction between animate and inanimate,%u201D Arto Annila told PhysOrg.com. %u201CProcesses of life are, in their principles, no different from any other natural processes.%u201D


To say, as you said:

They are merely stating that they think the reason why the complex molecules neccesary for life as we know it were formed on Earth had something to due with thermodynamics.


Would be patently obvious. Of course it has something to do with thermodynamics, everything in life has "something to do with thermodynamics", as thermodynamics is merely a method of describing "systems" (re: everything), it's pretty much a tautology.

"Life" is a poorly defined concept that breaks when you actually try to test it, this is a fact. Viruses are a simple example of this, they fit some of the categories but not others. Many "problems" and "questions" that people have, as pointed out by the article, like "when did life begin", turn out to be problems of poor definition. If you have a flawed concept, you're bound to ask stupid questions.

As I read it, this is exactly what the researchers are trying to point out.
tigger
3 / 5 (25) Dec 09, 2008
Brilliant article... finally finally someone gets it... WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT LIFE IS A COLLECTION OF ATOMS... JUST LIKE ROCKS AND RIVERS.

How disgusting that someone above states that thinking in this way leads to Hitler-type tyrants... reminds me of the religious nutters who say "but if we didn't have heaven or hell then what incentive is there to be good? why wouldn't everyone run around killing each other?".
lbyron
2.5 / 5 (11) Dec 09, 2008
What this article seems to be saying is that the laws of thermodynamics, in order to maximize energy flow from high energy output of a star to total dissipation and diffusion of energy into the void, which is maximum entropy, is driven to create these pockets of exponentially increased energy and seemingly infinitely decreased entropy to allow the most efficient flow of energy (but so far only here on Earth of the about 3-400 planets and large moons around around 250 stars we know so far). Simple diffusion and dissipation aren't efficient enough, so although we know these other places where simple diffusion and dissipation seem to be enough, it wasn't enough here.

And so there is no difference between conscious animate life that responds in complex and intricate patterns to its environment in order to maintain existence and sodium chloride dissolving in water. Except it is more complex so as to increase the energy flow to maximize entropy.

Even simple dissolution and random distribution of sodium chloride into water is too inefficient, no, the laws of thermodynamics demanded, if that's not too much metaphor and personification, that there be semi-permeable membranes with ion channels, ATP'se pumps and other incredibly complex proteins that would keep the sodium from the sodium chloride on the inside of little balloons and the potassium from potassium chloride on the outside consuming 1/3 of the energy that the little balloon can find or generate in any given moment to do so, simply because simple dissolution and dissipation were too inefficient to maximize entropy.

Consciousness itself is then only a false construct that from the proper frame of reference must only be seen as the interaction of matter in these absolute laws of thermodynamics. Of course, the phrase "proper frame of reference" implies a conscious observer. Oh, Darwin, my head hurts.

Since consciousness is an artifactual illusion, there is no such thing as good or evil and therefore no purpose in Tigger's disgust, for there was no freedom of the Nazi's to choose a different path, no freedom for Tigger to choose to be disgusted or not, and no freedom for LariAnn to choose whether or not to interpret the article the way she does.

Works for me, how's it work for you? Does it help you live a better more self-directed life now?

Reminds me of Ben Stein's friend who said that he didn't believe in free will or absolute morality and that's why he was going to CHOOSE to blow his brains out if his brain tumor comes back, unlike his brother who couldn't make that choice and just suffered to die without dignity from ALS.

Which brings us all back around to the young Woody Allen character in Annie Hall. Why had he suddenly become depressed? asked his therapist. Answer: What's the point? The whole universe is expanding.

And that must be why he had to cheat on his wife with their adopted daughter and then divorce her to marry his adopoted daughter. What's the point and who are you to judge anyway? It was all just matter and energy tending toward maximum entropy.
lbyron
2 / 5 (4) Dec 09, 2008
Oops, that's sodium on the outside and potassium on the inside.
itistoday
3.5 / 5 (13) Dec 09, 2008
@lbyron: nothing in the article suggests that "consciousness is an illusion", nor is there anything in the article that implies the loss of "free will".
TheRogue
2.2 / 5 (12) Dec 09, 2008
What caused "origination"? What was before the Big Bang? This whole area reminds me of the Einstein quote: "We don't know one millionth part of anything." And for all of us, it's fun "guessing" which is all this article is. LOL
lbyron
1.8 / 5 (11) Dec 09, 2008
@lbyron: nothing in the article suggests that "consciousness is an illusion", nor is there anything in the article that implies the loss of "free will".


The idea that there is no line between life and non-life, implies there is no difference between conscious and non-conscious. The fact that all life is governed simply and solely by the laws of cause and effect (thermodynamics as described here is derivative of Newtonian physics is it not?) of necessity implies the loss of free will. Free will must be an artifactual illusion. If you have a way out of that quandary, I would be interested to know.

Personally, I am not a materialist, so it's not a problem. I believe I have free will. But for a true materialist, I think the logic is inescapable.
deatopmg
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 09, 2008
It makes sense, actually. All it's saying is that the reason why the complex molecules required for basic life developed in the first place was to obey physical laws that we have already established. Good way to apply knowlege of one field to another. This could potentialy lead to interesting ways of finding life elsewhwere in the universe.


Like Mars???
theophys
3.5 / 5 (8) Dec 09, 2008
The idea that there is no line between life and non-life, implies there is no difference between conscious and non-conscious.


Yeah, I don't really see the implication that just because there is no difference between aninimate and inanimate, there must be no difference between life and non-life. There is a difference. It has to do with complexity. The thing is that the bits and pieces of that complex thing we call a living creature all act according to thesame principles as the material in things that are not alive. This doesn't mean that we have no freewill. It just means that there is a reason we choose to do things. If you are saying that freewill involves the ability to do things for absolutely no reason at all, then I guess you're right and we don't have freewill. Big deal.
Personaly, I am a materialist, I belive I do have enough free will to make decisions and act independently of others, and I have absolutly no problems a complete lack of control over the universe and therefor will not be killing myself or others anytime soon.
Oh, and to deatopmg, no, not on Mars. Mars lacks the proper tempuratures, chemicals, atmospheric protections, and a whole list of other things to be condusive to the evolution of life. I would be highly surprised, if a little pleased, if any evidense of life were found on the red planet.
NeilFarbstein
3.4 / 5 (13) Dec 09, 2008
What caused "origination"? What was before the Big Bang? This whole area reminds me of the Einstein quote: "We don't know one millionth part of anything." And for all of us, it's fun "guessing" which is all this article is. LOL

Einstein never said that.
tigger
1.4 / 5 (11) Dec 09, 2008
There is no rational basis for "Free Will"... it's on par with religion... and in fact deeply intertwined.
E_L_Earnhardt
1 / 5 (7) Dec 09, 2008
GREAT! now the choir is preaching to the pulpit!

NOW! What court passed the physical laws? Of What? All matter is "Energy"! "I THINK", THEREFORE I AM!"
itistoday
2.3 / 5 (6) Dec 09, 2008
@lbyron:

The fact that all life is governed simply and solely by the laws of cause and effect


That's not a fact, but an opinion, and a hotly contested one at that, with little support to help it. "Cause and effect" is a concept that has been shown to have many flaws in it, just look at the wiki page on it. It is by no means a "fact of life", particularly when it has so many unexplainable holes. Here's a simple one: what's the first cause? You can't find one; it doesn't exist.

(thermodynamics as described here is derivative of Newtonian physics is it not?)


Thermodynamics, like any sort of physics, builds on top of lower-level understanding. The lowest level of known physics is quantum electrodynamics, and everyone knows that ain't at all easy to wrap in a nice box and stamp "cause and effect" on top of it. In fact the idea of quantum randomness denies the concept of cause and effect (which, as I mentioned before, has many flaws, including this one as well).

Honestly, I intentionally don't do a very good job of arguing my position on this board because I don't really care enough to convince you people (it would take too much of my time), but as someone once said, "don't take my word for it! try it!" err... google/wiki it.

* Prepares ego for another low rating. :-p
Weatherman
1 / 5 (6) Dec 09, 2008
What caused "origination"? What was before the Big Bang? This whole area reminds me of the Einstein quote: "We don't know one millionth part of anything."

Einstein never said that.


... Thomas Alva Edison actually said something similar "We don`t know a millionth of one percent about anything."
itistoday
2 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2008
@theophys

There is a difference. It has to do with complexity.


It's very simple to show you where the problem begins: read the definition of "life". Oh wait, you can't, there isn't one:

There is no universal definition of life. To define life in unequivocal terms is still a challenge for scientists.

http://en.wikiped...iki/Life


Of course, you, and many others, are more than welcome to try. So I'm eagerly listening, obviously we have some real Einstein's here.

So it "has to do with complexity", eh? My ears are open, please, continue.

:-D
brant
2.3 / 5 (6) Dec 10, 2008
Actually most of the life in the universe was designed by the company Butterflies and Flowers, a genetic design firm. They were hired to make the universe livable, or to design the life chain...

The purpose of the universe, to keep from getting bored!!!
itistoday
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2008
The purpose of the universe, to keep from getting bored!!!


My guess is that you'd be correct on that one.
lbyron
1 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2008
@lbyron:

The fact that all life is governed simply and solely by the laws of cause and effect


That's not a fact, but an opinion, and a hotly contested one at that, with little support to help it. "Cause and effect" is a concept that has been shown to have many flaws in it, just look at the wiki page on it. It is by no means a "fact of life", particularly when it has so many unexplainable holes. Here's a simple one: what's the first cause? You can't find one; it doesn't exist.

Actually, I agree with you. I was playing DA, arguing the other side. To confirm that the other side is real and adamant, see tigger's response:

>There is no rational basis for "Free Will"... it's on par with religion... and in fact deeply intertwined.<

This kind of response is an emotional antagonism against religion, much like one sees from more famous proponents of the view like Richard Dawkins.

(thermodynamics as described here is derivative of Newtonian physics is it not?)


Thermodynamics, like any sort of physics, builds on top of lower-level understanding. The lowest level of known physics is quantum electrodynamics, and everyone knows that ain't at all easy to wrap in a nice box and stamp "cause and effect" on top of it. In fact the idea of quantum randomness denies the concept of cause and effect (which, as I mentioned before, has many flaws, including this one as well).

Newtonian mechanics was the common underpinning of physics at the time of the development of the common concepts of thermodynamics. It is very much cause and effect.

I agree that 'quantum randomness' provides a philosophical wedge for the concept of free will, but haven't seen anyone develop that well yet. I am probably not the one to attempt that.

tigger
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2008
GREAT! now the choir is preaching to the pulpit!

NOW! What court passed the physical laws? Of What? All matter is "Energy"! "I THINK", THEREFORE I AM!"


I think the term "Law" is misconstrued... in a similar way that the intelligent design mob misconstrue "Theory".

"I THINK, THEREFORE I AM" isn't an insight into anything except awareness. The foundation of that awareness can be, and is, a structured physical process.
x646d63
2.7 / 5 (7) Dec 10, 2008
"Processes of life are, in their principles, no different from any other natural processes."

It's nice to see Western science finally catching up with Eastern philosophy. :)

"Life" is an arbitrary boundary created by humans to create a category for study. In the greater reality, we are simply a part of the universe like any other part.

The myth that human beings are "special" or "unique" or somehow more important has been perpetuated by religion's power structure, and has outlived its usefulness. Hopefully we can come to realize that if we wish to persist as a species we must recognize that we are part of our environment--not apart from it--and learn to coexist with our environment--especially other humans. If we don't, we'll be a footnote in the history of "life" on Earth.
tigger
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 10, 2008
Lbyron... actually, free will is a cornerstone of many religions... though they do get themselves in a bit of a knot with that when you look at the mechanics of how a God determines everything at the same time as human beings having the capacity for choice.

Again, seeing ourselves as something intrinsically special is flawed.

As you say, quantum mechanics opened the door again away from the cause and effect world of Newtonian mechanics... this cannot be understated, the philosophical aftermath is immense... and we have seen all sorts of quirky pseudo religions pop up because of it... most recently "The Secret".

The fact is we are all part of the same system, so cause and effect merge... a many body problem on a vast scale.
paulthebassguy
1.2 / 5 (6) Dec 10, 2008
heh well I thought that this was all interesting. I'm surprised there aren't any bitter rants on here by religious people haha.
gwargh
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2008
Well, there are quite a few bitter rants by disgruntled free will advocates.

The research itself, though is kind of awkward. How is the storage of energy by plants, for example, its redistribution? And it seems they haven't done any experimentation to test this. I.e. it's all a hypothesis.

Interesting though.
billfarty
3 / 5 (2) Dec 10, 2008
since everything we do does not increase entropy of the system, then it cannot be tied directly to our consciousness. maybe the reason we eat at mcdonalds is to take all that energy bundled up in that nice juicy burger and spread it around the innards of our body as fat....thermodynamics in ACTION!
magpies
1 / 5 (2) Dec 10, 2008
This universe has alot of energy and its not getting less energy anytime soon so I guess we gota do something with it. Might as well toss an intergalatic kegger on earth :)
JerryPark
1 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2008
Perhaps the purpose of life is the amplification and redistribution of stupidity?

Meaningless sophistry.
MrFred
2.7 / 5 (7) Dec 10, 2008
"Today, scientists understand pretty well how life evolves..."

Hey, at least these guys have a sense of humor!
blengi
1.3 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2008
Is pretty self evident. In fact is much more general paradigm than just the notion that life is some thermodynamic inevitability. I wrote a program which simulated abiogenesis along these lines - thermocyclic selection over variation - but quickly discover is even more general nigh axiomatic evolutionary impetus...

http://lh4.ggpht....ultisetr old.jpg

http://lh5.ggpht....s800/GEI sim multiset 2small.jpg
Aeronomer
3.3 / 5 (7) Dec 10, 2008
I'm still looking for the science.

"Although the researchers don't speculate on the specific chemical reactions that created life..."
Uh...because they don't know.

"...they explain that the molecules involved most likely underwent a series of more and more complex reactions to minimize mutual energy differences between matter on Earth and with respect to high-energy radiation from Sun."
Explain??...most likely...Where I come from, this is called speculation.

"The process eventually advanced so far that it cumulated into such sophisticated functional structures that could be called living"
Yeah? How did they determine this? Even speculation based on established scientific principles is still...speculation.
lengould100
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2008
Processes of life are, in their principles, no different from any other natural processes.

I do not agree with the statement. The environment condition in which life could be originated is not trivially found. So far, nobody found life in other planets or moons in our solar system besides earth. Even if we could find what would be the ideal conditions for life to appear it is not certain that complex enough molecules once present would assemble to form what we call life. Bioscientists had tried that on their labs with no successful. I am not saying here that ID is the answer however.


That's the crux, isn't it? This very valid conceptual leap has creationists and ID'ers in a froth. Fun to watch.
MGraser
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2008
Free will is an illusion. We are shaped by our experiences (as the cliche goes). Toss into the mix imperfect memory recall and you have "free will".

If we could always recall all pertinent details with clarity and were capable of making correctly balanced judgments of advantage vs disadvantage, we'd all make the same choices and be very boring. Because we do not, we are "unique" and have the illusion of free will.

What does anyone think of that idea?
Velanarris
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 10, 2008
Free will is an illusion. We are shaped by our experiences (as the cliche goes). Toss into the mix imperfect memory recall and you have "free will".

If we could always recall all pertinent details with clarity and were capable of making correctly balanced judgments of advantage vs disadvantage, we'd all make the same choices and be very boring. Because we do not, we are "unique" and have the illusion of free will.

What does anyone think of that idea?
It's about as accurate as it gets.

Free will is an illusion created by the sum of chemical processes creating the mind and self.
Now don't get me wrong, although we're jsut a machine, we're an incredibly complex one at that. However, without these chemical processes we cease being "alive" or having "free will."

That's why psychological drugs work. They interact with the chemical processes to create a new baseline for the "free will/mind" mechanism and in turn affect the way the machine will work much like adding sugar to a fuel system affects the way the machine works.

There is no difference between animate and inanimate objects.
maynard
2 / 5 (7) Dec 10, 2008
Pathetic article, but even more pathetic comments.
itistoday
3.5 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2008
@maynard, you're only adding to their quality. :-)
superhuman
2.1 / 5 (7) Dec 10, 2008
I think there's a lot of misunderstanding here due to the poor quality of the article. I think what they were trying to say is that there is no distinction between inanimate and animate objects as far as the laws of thermodynamics are concerned. And they would be correct. The laws of physics do in fact apply to living organizims just as much as they apply to rocks. I don't think they're really attacking the value of life, redifining the concept of life, or any other nonsense like that. They are merely stating that they think the reason why the complex molecules neccesary for life as we know it were formed on Earth had something to due with thermodynamics.


But that is obvious it has been accepted for the last 50 years if not 100 that life and everything else obeys thermodynamics.

The article is a mix of obvious stuff like "physics applies to life" and completely ridiculous statements like "there was no beginning of life cause everything is life" which is obviously wrong as while there might be some gray area with viruses there is no doubt that *not* everything is life.
itistoday
1 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2008
The article is a mix of obvious stuff like "physics applies to life" and completely ridiculous statements like "there was no beginning of life cause everything is life" which is obviously wrong as while there might be some gray area with viruses there is no doubt that *not* everything is life.


It's quite simple, this argument, really. "Life" as you understand it is a pattern in your brain that strikes "YES" for some things and "NO" for other things.

In that sense, as you've been socialized for your entire life, it's quite "obvious" to you what life "is" and "isn't."

But that's as far as it goes. In other words, "life", to you, is just a long list of pattern/attributes. We could almost say it's simply a list of things you rubber-stamp as "life".

Do you understand? I hope I'm being clear enough. In other words, you haven't reached a concrete definition for life.

And the amusing news is, neither has anyone else (as I pointed out above in a comment). What *is* universally accepted is that there *isn't* a universally accepted definition of life.

Why?

Because the only thing we have to go on is arbitrary rubber-stamps! :-p

We don't have a definition for life because there is *no such thing*.

If you disagree with me, the only recourse you have, Mr. "superhuman", is to provide us with a definition that works in all scenarios, such that you can actually clearly point out why object A in reality constitutes "life" and object B does not.

Warning: You're gonna have a hard time if you actually try, however, if you do, you'll probably see why "there was no beginning of life cause everything is life" is not "obviously wrong". Good luck!
itistoday
3 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2008
Let me add to that, perhaps this will help you see my point better: How is it that a non-living thing like a solid chunk of rock suddenly sprouted intelligent living things? How does something not living become something living?

Lol. XD
theophys
1 / 5 (2) Dec 10, 2008
Defenition of life, definition of life, hmmm, let me see. Oh, I just happen to have a high school education, so I happen to know this one.
Anything that reproduces, grows,has at least one cell, has DNA or some other weird unknown genetic indicator, has some way of obtaining energy, has the ability to react to its environment, and carries out homeostasis. Tadah!
As for how something nonliving becomes living, millions of years of molecular evolution resulting in the previous specifications. How and why do these molecules evolve? That is exactly what this research attempted to figure out. It looks to me like they did a pretty good job.
Velanarris
3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 10, 2008
Let me add to that, perhaps this will help you see my point better: How is it that a non-living thing like a solid chunk of rock suddenly sprouted intelligent living things? How does something not living become something living?

Lol. XD
To even further your caveat consider that when scientists did try to hammer out a hard line set of rules as to what life is they ran into a major problem.

This anecdote is otherwise known as the 7 signs of life, or 5 signs of life issue.

Depending on who you talk to there are a few rules that something must follow in order to be considered life.

To be alive the subject must: reproduce, respirate, consume, excrete, and show intelligent reaction.

Under the tests they found that bacteria and viruses didn't work because viruses technically don't consume or excrete. Bacteria don't always respirate, namely the anaerobic bacteria. (This is an old anecdote, at the time respiration was considered to be breathes oxygen exclusively).

Under the rules at the time Plants were not considered alive due to the failure to "react intelligently."

But aside from eliminating objects that we knew were alive we also added objects and processes that we knew were not because they fit the criteria.

For example: fire was considered to loosely be alive. It respirates (oxygen reduction reactions), it certainly reproduces. It also certainly consumes and excretes(fuel and smoke/ash). The big one was "show intelligent reaction". Scientists of the time determined that certain stimuli proved that fire showed intelligent reaction.

Later this entire system was tossed aside because it was considered utterly foolish to classify plants as non-living and fire as living, but it brings up the point and reinforces that there is no definition of life. There really can't be one. Since life is so good at existing under any imaginable condition on the planet there really isn't a methodology to determine life.

Outside of religious context, life really isn't anything more than a marker of whether chemical processes are currently working or not.

If you're alive then the chemicals in your body are acting and reacting driving the physical entity.

If you're dead then the chemicals and chemical processes that run the machine are no longer running.

That's about the only way to quantify it, that is until we find that life doesn't necessarily have to be physical, (if such a day comes along).
itistoday
1 / 5 (2) Dec 10, 2008
@theophys, sure you can choose the classic characteristics that are attributed to "life", those are the rubber-stamps I'm referring to.

What do you say to things that fit into some of those categories and not others, like viruses? You say, "oh, it's 'partially living'", heh, like a zombie eh?

As you said, this is what the researchers tried to figure out, and look what they discovered:

The most important idea in our study is that there is no distinction between animate and inanimate


In other words, there is no difference between the living and the non-living. I would agree with you that that statement is perhaps too strong, there are differences, as others have said, and those differences can be loosely described as "complexity" (re: the rubber-stamps you provided), BUT, these are not material differences.

This is what the researchers are saying (I as gather from the article), that "life" is a collection of characteristics defined by humans, and that if you look at what's really going on with these things, you'll see that what they're made of, how they function, it's all the same stuff.

This is really a profound idea, it means that you and the rock next to you are made of the same thing, you are the same processes occurring. It means that that rock has the capability of thought, of consciousness, etc. (just move its parts around a bit).

When you think of "life" as referring to a *distinct thing*, then you will ask the question: "Where did it come from?", "How did it originate?"

Again, this is what the researchers tried to find out, and they discovered, the thing that has been known in the east for quite some time, that this is a silly question to ask, because it's all the same stuff out there.
OregonWind
1.8 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2008
"Let me add to that, perhaps this will help you see my point better: How is it that a non-living thing like a solid chunk of rock suddenly sprouted intelligent living things? How does something not living become something living?"

That is a good point and a very valid scientific question.
boredWithScience
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 10, 2008
Science cannot answer the question of why life originated. The level of slippery slope speculation in these "scientific" articles must not go unchecked. It's psuedoscience.
itistoday
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2008
@theophys, allow me another response to your statements, particularly this one:

As for how something nonliving becomes living, millions of years of molecular evolution resulting in the previous specifications.


I believe we are in agreement then! :-)

Because in saying that you allow that a non-living thing has the capability of becoming alive. That's all I, and these researchers, are saying! If a non-living thing has the potential to have the attributes of a living thing, then they are not mutually-exclusive things then. It's simply human-assigned attributes that distinguish the two. :-)
itistoday
1 / 5 (2) Dec 10, 2008
*that distinguish the two in the minds of humans, might I add. :-D
Velanarris
3 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2008
In regards to the complexity argument, complexity can't be considered the determining factor of whether something is alive or not.

An amoeba is an incredibly simple set of chemical reactions, yet it is alive, meanwhile a desktop computer is an incredibly complex set of switches and interops, arguably far more complex than an amoeba when you look at the paths of interaction and energy transfer.

What makes the amoeba animate and your desktop inanimate. The answer is nothing. These are simple categories into which we place objects to classify them to fit a frame of reference we've developed.

Complexity does not suit the conditional statement without a radical rework of what we consider "alive."
superhuman
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2008
It's quite simple, this argument, really. "Life" as you understand it is a pattern in your brain that strikes "YES" for some things and "NO" for other things.

In that sense, as you've been socialized for your entire life, it's quite "obvious" to you what life "is" and "isn't."

But that's as far as it goes. In other words, "life", to you, is just a long list of pattern/attributes. We could almost say it's simply a list of things you rubber-stamp as "life".

Do you understand? I hope I'm being clear enough. In other words, you haven't reached a concrete definition for life.

And the amusing news is, neither has anyone else (as I pointed out above in a comment). What *is* universally accepted is that there *isn't* a universally accepted definition of life.

Why?

Because the only thing we have to go on is arbitrary rubber-stamps! :-p

We don't have a definition for life because there is *no such thing*.

If you disagree with me, the only recourse you have, Mr. "superhuman", is to provide us with a definition that works in all scenarios, such that you can actually clearly point out why object A in reality constitutes "life" and object B does not.

Warning: You're gonna have a hard time if you actually try, however, if you do, you'll probably see why "there was no beginning of life cause everything is life" is not "obviously wrong". Good luck!


There is a problem with your logic.
Nothing can be precisely defined, not just life, nothing, that's how language works, when you want to define something you can either use other words or point at something but neither method is "precise".
That's why the same argument can be used to object everything and I mean *EVERYTHING*.
While it might be interesting from philosophical POV it is not from scientific one as such argumentation doesn't lead anywhere.

That's why from scientific POV life is very well defined, yes, the definition is not strictly precise, there is some gray area, there is even more then one accepted definition, but in the overwhelming majority of cases all definitions are equivalent and there is no problem whatsoever with defining what is and what isn't life in practice.

Here is my definition of life which can be used to detect when non-living mater gives birth to life:

A molecule or set of molecules which under favorable conditions is capable of:
1. storing at least 1Mb of information in 1 millimeter^3;
2. producing physical copies of itself which than also satisfy this definition;
is alive.

(The 1Mb and 1mm3 are arbitrary numbers, most others values could do, their role is to cut off trivial cases like simple self-catalytic reactions which while able to self replicate are way too simple to be considered life)

Now, with the above definition, we can easily say what is and what isn't life, it is also possible to say how life could have emerged from non-living mater.

For example if the primordial soup present on Earth contained nucleotides and random reactions lead to creation of 2 molecules of RNA both capable of using the other as a matrix on which to assemble a complementary string of nucleotides then those two molecules together constitute life which emerged out of non-living matter. They are enough to start evolution which under favorable conditions can lead to creation of all life that we know today.
OregonWind
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2008
"An amoeba is an incredibly simple set of chemical reactions..."

Is the Amoeba really incredibly simpler than a computer? I am a physicist but my friends from the biosciences would strongly disagree with you.
itistoday
1 / 5 (2) Dec 10, 2008
@superhuman, see my reply to theophys above, the one that has this quote:

I believe we are in agreement then! :-)

Because in saying that you allow that a non-living thing has the capability of becoming alive. That's all I, and these researchers, are saying! If a non-living thing has the potential to have the attributes of a living thing, then they are not mutually-exclusive things then. It's simply human-assigned attributes that distinguish the two in the minds of humans. :-)


And uh, I'll stop rating you a 1 if you stop rating me a 1. :-p
Velanarris
2.7 / 5 (6) Dec 10, 2008
"An amoeba is an incredibly simple set of chemical reactions..."

Is the Amoeba really incredibly simpler than a computer? I am a physicist but my friends from the biosciences would strongly disagree with you.
Well look at it this way. If we could freeze the state of both an amoeba and a computer during normal operation and play follow the reaction the amoeba would probably have somewhere in the area of hundreds of thousands of chemical interactions occuring simultaneously.
The computer would have somewhere in the area of millions of electrical interactions occuring simultaneously.

That would infer that the computer is more complex than the amoeba, also making the complexity argument moot, or at least introducing a violation of the rule.
theophys
4 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2008
Actualy, computers are just complicated systems of very simple actions. An amoeba is a complicated system of simple reactions. That's all I'm saying with the complexity argument. Living beings are complicated systems of simple chemical reactions and physical proccesses. The difference between living and nonliving, or at least animate and inanimate, could be seen as a difference in complexity. My chair is undergoing little to no chemical reactions and balance of physical forces on it are very simple. Me, I have a whole lot of chemical reactions going on, electrical signals, heat transfers, applied forces, all sorts of fun stuff.
As far as the "rubberstamp" classifications of life, I'm going to go ahead and stick with those as my absolute definition of life. Is a virus alive? No. Is fire alive? Only if you're high. Does this mean that life and nonlife are the exact same thing? No. They are merely made up of the same things. Corvettes and Hummers are made up of the same general materials and are subject to the same physical laws, but in no way are they equivical. The same thing applies to life and nonlife.
itistoday
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2008
@theophys: you're more than welcome to stick to your rubberstamps to discern what constitutes an "animate" and "inanimate" thing, I was just pointing out that they are, in fact, rubberstamps. :-p
superhuman
3.7 / 5 (12) Dec 10, 2008
"An amoeba is an incredibly simple set of chemical reactions..."

Is the Amoeba really incredibly simpler than a computer? I am a physicist but my friends from the biosciences would strongly disagree with you.
Well look at it this way. If we could freeze the state of both an amoeba and a computer during normal operation and play follow the reaction the amoeba would probably have somewhere in the area of hundreds of thousands of chemical interactions occuring simultaneously.
The computer would have somewhere in the area of millions of electrical interactions occuring simultaneously.

That would infer that the computer is more complex than the amoeba, also making the complexity argument moot, or at least introducing a violation of the rule.


Amoeba is incredibly more complex.

We can easily understand and make computers, while we struggle to understanding interactions between just 2 carbon atoms, of which amoeba has trillions! We can't even tell how a simple protein will fold and there are millions of them in amoeba, building intricate molecular structures which are constantly in motion, constantly changing.

You simply have no clue what amoeba really is if you think its simpler then computer. The complexity is way beyond human grasp, try to imagine trillions of atoms forming intricate molecules constantly in motion, violently crushing into each other, interfering, scattering, speeding up, slowing down, sticking together, falling apart, constantly exchanging protons, electrons, and photons, at small scales it seems like a complete chaos but as you zoom out the order slowly emerges until finally all those zillions of movements combine together to form an amoeba.
superhuman
1.8 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2008
@theophys: you're more than welcome to stick to your rubberstamps to discern what constitutes an "animate" and "inanimate" thing, I was just pointing out that they are, in fact, rubberstamps. :-p

And what is not rubberstamps?
itistoday
1 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2008
And what is not rubberstamps?


Every thing.

You know, what's "out there", "in there", and what can't be fully described with words, e.g. concrete "objects". The problems that people have with understanding what "life" is, is really a problem we've invented for ourselves by asserting that concepts are real.
jeffsaunders
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 11, 2008
Brilliant article. Finally someone gets it.

Life is just an example of a slightly more complex chemical reaction.

Trying to define that borderline region of animate and inanimate is a wast of time, and is purely an arbitrary boundary of no significance.

We are all just doing what comes naturally people and that is just as described in this article.

Good to see some basic research that tells it the way it is for a change.

There are far too many vested interest groups trying to justify there existence or justifying the existence of old superstitions. Lets us now at last forget about superstitions and get on with life.

That is to say we are here so we might as well enjoy ourselves.
Velanarris
3 / 5 (7) Dec 11, 2008
Well look at it this way. If we could freeze the state of both an amoeba and a computer during normal operation and play follow the reaction the amoeba would probably have somewhere in the area of hundreds of thousands of chemical interactions occuring simultaneously.
The computer would have somewhere in the area of millions of electrical interactions occuring simultaneously.

That would infer that the computer is more complex than the amoeba, also making the complexity argument moot, or at least introducing a violation of the rule.


Amoeba is incredibly more complex.

We can easily understand and make computers, while we struggle to understanding interactions between just 2 carbon atoms, of which amoeba has trillions! We can't even tell how a simple protein will fold and there are millions of them in amoeba, building intricate molecular structures which are constantly in motion, constantly changing.

You simply have no clue what amoeba really is if you think its simpler then computer. The complexity is way beyond human grasp, try to imagine trillions of atoms forming intricate molecules constantly in motion, violently crushing into each other, interfering, scattering, speeding up, slowing down, sticking together, falling apart, constantly exchanging protons, electrons, and photons, at small scales it seems like a complete chaos but as you zoom out the order slowly emerges until finally all those zillions of movements combine together to form an amoeba.
This comming from a guy who insists he has a comp sci degree. Have you spent any time in an engineering department? We make machines that are as complex and in some cases more so than basic life. You want to tell me that complexity is the basis of the determination of life. Look at the model of any network. The complex interactions that are performed (albeit one at a time due to em noise) are phenominal.

Complexity is not a sufficient demarcation of what is life and what isn't.
Velanarris
3 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2008
Secondly, those same atomic reactions you speak of in an amoeba occur in all matter. Meaning by your definition everything is alive.
OregonWind
1 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2008
I think that he meant to say that the definition on a living thing compared to a non-living thing is based on the type of interactions that exist between molecules. Living things are very complex and so is a computer.

In my opinion however, computers are not %u201Cautonomous%u201D and living things are. An amoeba, for example, is in a process of self-regenerating, self-procreating, etc, until, of courses, the system degenerates or faces competition from outside. You may argue that when we finally create a machine capable of doing that without outside intervention then we would have created an artificial life. I would agree with that. Once created, the machine should be able to self-propagate, self-regenerate, exist and evolve autonomously, limited, of courses, by the laws of thermodynamics.

System complexity, autonomy, and reproduction are ingredients of what we call life. A rock, for example, is not alive and the difference between and amoeba and a rock is absolutely huge, systemically speaking.
Velanarris
2 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2008
Once created, the machine should be able to self-propagate, self-regenerate, exist and evolve autonomously, limited, of courses, by the laws of thermodynamics.
Sorry to be argumentative but there are already examples of this as well.

Computer viruses, albeit they are poor examples as they can only evolve within their programming and are not self aware.

I'd still have to agree with the author's ideaology that inanimate and animate items don't have characteristics that seperate from one another other than which bucket we put them in.
superhuman
2.3 / 5 (6) Dec 11, 2008
This comming from a guy who insists he has a comp sci degree.

I've never said anything about my degrees, in fact it was you who claimed to have a degree in physics while having no clue about it.

Have you spent any time in an engineering department?

Plenty.

We make machines that are as complex and in some cases more so than basic life.

They sure seem complex when you don't understand them, but once you do their complexity is quite manageable and compared to life they are trivial.

Most complexity in machines/computers stems from the fact that they are build from a multitude of various modules, but each such module can be analyzed separately and even further broken into functional subelements, so once you have proper skills its really not that hard to understand whats going on.

Making too complex machines simply makes no sense, they need to be efficiently debugged, tested, have to admit modifications, repairs, and all that should be possible for people who are not their creators.
Finally the very fact that they are created by humans imposes severe limits on their complexity.

You want to tell me that complexity is the basis of the determination of life. Look at the model of any network. The complex interactions that are performed (albeit one at a time due to em noise) are phenominal.


What are you talking about? Network diagrams are quite easy to understand at least if they are done properly. What networks do you find so complex and why? Give some examples.

And what the hell are you talking about with that noise? Which networks do "interactions" one at a time due to EM noise? I think you either confused something here or it's just one of those made up arguments of yours which you produce to sound like you know what you are talking about. I've already told you it won't work.

Complexity is not a sufficient demarcation of what is life and what isn't.

It is but the problem with you is that you neither understand life nor computers so they both seem equally complex to you.
superhuman
1 / 5 (5) Dec 11, 2008
Secondly, those same atomic reactions you speak of in an amoeba occur in all matter. Meaning by your definition everything is alive.


I've talked about those reactions to show that amoeba is way more complex then a computer.
I never said that they alone define what life is, in fact I provided my exact definition of life above and it certainly doesn't admit all matter.
Velanarris
3.5 / 5 (8) Dec 11, 2008
This comming from a guy who insists he has a comp sci degree.

I've never said anything about my degrees, in fact it was you who claimed to have a degree in physics while having no clue about it.
I'm sorry, what was your area of expertise that you touted in the article about climate modeling?

They sure seem complex when you don't understand them, but once you do their complexity is quite manageable and compared to life they are trivial.

Most complexity in machines/computers stems from the fact that they are build from a multitude of various modules, but each such module can be analyzed separately and even further broken into functional subelements, so once you have proper skills its really not that hard to understand whats going on.
You mean like how we can autopsy a person and remove their modular organs, then study them individually.

Making too complex machines simply makes no sense, they need to be efficiently debugged, tested, have to admit modifications, repairs, and all that should be possible for people who are not their creators.
Unfortunately if that was the case it'd be pretty hard for people to get jobs in service industries wouldn't it.

Finally the very fact that they are created by humans imposes severe limits on their complexity.
And why is that?
What are you talking about?
Network diagrams are quite easy to understand at least if they are done properly. What networks do you find so complex and why? Give some examples.
Now you're being argumentative. See below.

And what the hell are you talking about with that noise? Which networks do "interactions" one at a time due to EM noise? I think you either confused something here or it's just one of those made up arguments of yours which you produce to sound like you know what you are talking about. I've already told you it won't work.
It's called multiple carrier access collision. Two computers on the same network can't talk at the same time because it's a broadcast technology. Two computers talking at the same time generates noise, making all of the transferred data unreadable. Only one computer at a time can talk on a network segment.

It is but the problem with you is that you neither understand life nor computers so they both seem equally complex to you.
Sorry SH, now you're just casting insults and claiming intellectual superiority. I suggest, with proper understanding, no system is complex.

As a matter of fact, "complex" is a relative term. So to state that a relative dividing line between living and not living, relies on another subjective term tosses your definition out the window.

Complexity is not a sufficient demarcation line. Sorry, you're wrong.
theophys
3 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2008
As a matter of fact, "complex" is a relative term. So to state that a relative dividing line between living and not living, relies on another subjective term tosses your definition out the window.

Complexity is not a sufficient demarcation line. Sorry, you're wrong.


Complex can be a relative word, but isn't neccesarily a relative word. It means "intracate." To go further, because syntax seems to be an issue, intracate means that a bunch of stuff is happening all at once to form a multi-layered proccess or pattern. I think that describes life perfectly. We do a bunch of stuff at once, we are complex.

Making too complex machines simply makes no sense, they need to be efficiently debugged, tested, have to admit modifications, repairs, and all that should be possible for people who are not their creators.

Unfortunately if that was the case it'd be pretty hard for people to get jobs in service industries wouldn't it.


I beleive he is correct. I'm not an engineer, but all the engineering profs I've ever had have said that good engineering comes down to building things that are so simple that any idiot can figure out how they work.
Velanarris
2 / 5 (4) Dec 12, 2008
I beleive he is correct. I'm not an engineer, but all the engineering profs I've ever had have said that good engineering comes down to building things that are so simple that any idiot can figure out how they work.
If that was the truth there would be no need for auto mechnics, technical support personell, information technology departments, electricians, plumbers, etc. I'm not saying that any of those fields are particularly easy or difficult, but they must not be easy enough for any idiot to figure out if they employ so many people.
superhuman
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 12, 2008
I've never said anything about my degrees, in fact it was you who claimed to have a degree in physics while having no clue about it.
I'm sorry, what was your area of expertise that you touted in the article about climate modeling?

Huh? Either you confused me with someone or you are just plain lying, produce a link. I never make any references to my private life as a rule.

Most complexity in machines/computers stems from the fact that they are build from a multitude of various modules, but each such module can be analyzed separately and even further broken into functional subelements, so once you have proper skills its really not that hard to understand whats going on.
You mean like how we can autopsy a person and remove their modular organs, then study them individually.

No, with machines we can go down all the way to basic concepts as everything is known. With organs we get to cellular level and hit a wall as we only have a very general idea of how cells work and it's even worse on molecular level with zillions of atoms governed by quantum mechanics.

Making too complex machines simply makes no sense, they need to be efficiently debugged, tested, have to admit modifications, repairs, and all that should be possible for people who are not their creators.
Unfortunately if that was the case it'd be pretty hard for people to get jobs in service industries wouldn't it.

Lol, so you are saying engineers make complicated and confusing machines on purpose to have more work? It's all a giant conspiracy right? Are aliens also involved?

Finally the very fact that they are created by humans imposes severe limits on their complexity.
And why is that?
What are you talking about?

Human capabilities are limited. Engineers have to understand their creations to make them so those creations are limited by human capabilities.
Life on the other hand is not created by humans and is not limited by our capabilities.

Also there are plenty of people who understand machines yet no one is able to come even close to understanding living organisms, that also shows that life is more complex then machines.

Network diagrams are quite easy to understand at least if they are done properly. What networks do you find so complex and why? Give some examples.
Now you're being argumentative. See below.


Haha, yes I looked below, there is nothing there, it is exactly as I said you have no idea what you are talking about, you can't even produce one example of those "networks with phenomenally complex interactions"! It was just another argument made up on the spot.

And what the hell are you talking about with that noise? Which networks do "interactions" one at a time due to EM noise? I think you either confused something here or it's just one of those made up arguments of yours which you produce to sound like you know what you are talking about. I've already told you it won't work.
It's called multiple carrier access collision. Two computers on the same network can't talk at the same time because it's a broadcast technology. Two computers talking at the same time generates noise, making all of the transferred data unreadable. Only one computer at a time can talk on a network segment.

If anything it's "carrier access collision" not "multiple carrier access collision".
Broadcasting is only used on *very* small network segments (for obvious reasons) and they completely fail as examples of "phenomenally complex networks" which you were talking about. Besides a network is build of many segments so two computers can easily "talk" at the same time.
Internet for example has millions of segments working simultaneously. There are also plenty of networks which are full duplex and allow nodes to send and receive data at the same time, cellular phone networks for example.
Your idea that networks can only perform one operation at a time is a perfect example of your ignorance.

Finally even in network segments which only do one "network operation" at a time it's NOT due to EM noise as you said but due to the way physical transport layer of the network is implemented. There is simply one data channel that can be driven by a computer and if two or more try to do it at the same time they corrupt the data.

So I was right, as usual you have no clue what you are talking about but you keep on arguing and your tactics is to produce arguments with random buzzwords to imply expertise in hopes others won't call your bluff. I don't know where you've learned that tactics (job? school?) but I tell you one more time it won't get you anywhere here. I never argue about stuff I have no idea about so I will always be able to verify your claims. You will only make a bigger fool of yourself if you keep going that way.

It is but the problem with you is that you neither understand life nor computers so they both seem equally complex to you.
Sorry SH, now you're just casting insults and claiming intellectual superiority.

If you find the truth insulting thats your problem. Based on your comments I certainly have to conclude that your knowledge about both biology and engineering is *minimal* yet for some strange reason you feel an urge to argue here.

I suggest, with proper understanding, no system is complex.

This suggestion is meaningless unless you can define "proper understanding".

As a matter of fact, "complex" is a relative term. So to state that a relative dividing line between living and not living, relies on another subjective term tosses your definition out the window.

Lol, my definition (which is included a few posts above) doesn't even include the term complex or any reference to it!
No one here claims "complex" is not relative so stop making dumb strawman arguments.
All the complexity talk was due to your ridiculous statement that computer is more complex then amoeba.

Sorry, you're wrong.

You have to try harder.
Velanarris
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 12, 2008
SH: You've shown your ignorance on how networks work. How do you think the packet finds the IP address of it's target? And yes it is multiple carrier access collision.

And further, if you want to drop to anything smaller than sub cellular you leave the realm of animate and inanimate as all objects consist of the same matter, and the same interactions between said matter and the rules of QM would apply to all things equally.

You have to try harder, you're the one with the flawed definition.

You have no frame of reference in your general statement which is par for the course with you, as well as tracking people down and giving all of their posts 1's, which shows your excellence at debating.

Velanarris
2 / 5 (4) Dec 12, 2008
And by the way:

There is a *huge* distinction between animate and inanimate - complexity.

Lol, my definition (which is included a few posts above) doesn't even include the term complex or any reference to it!
No one here claims "complex" is not relative so stop making dumb strawman arguments.


Ok buddy.
superhuman
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 13, 2008
SH: You've shown your ignorance on how networks work. How do you think the packet finds the IP address of it's target? And yes it is multiple carrier access collision.

No, i proved yours. I wouldn't understand it anyway. No it's not you just don't know what those terms mean.

And by the way:
There is a *huge* distinction between animate and inanimate - complexity.

Lol, my definition (which is included a few posts above) doesn't even include the term complex or any reference to it!
No one here claims "complex" is not relative so stop making dumb strawman arguments.

Ok buddy.


I see you got overwhelmed to the point where you decided to resort to misquoting to try to save face. Here is my definition of life taken from the post above:

Here is my definition of life which can be used to detect when non-living mater gives birth to life:
A molecule or set of molecules which under favorable conditions is capable of:
1. storing at least 1Mb of information in 1 millimeter^3;
2. producing physical copies of itself which than also satisfy this definition;
is alive.

As I said it doesn't even mention complexity.

Hey V how old are you? I'am starting to feel a bit uneasy here, judging by your post I am either arguing with a child or...
itistoday
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2008
Hey V how old are you? I'am starting to feel a bit uneasy here, judging by your post I am either arguing with a child or...


The indirect adhominem: what happens when experienced debaters get ticked off and begin to lose their composure. :-D
MongHTanPhD
5 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2008
RE: Point of observation: Velanarris vs. Superhuman

Hey V how old are you? I'am starting to feel a bit uneasy here, judging by your post I am either arguing with a child or...


The indirect adhominem: what happens when experienced debaters get ticked off and begin to lose their composure. :-D


And
I never argue about stuff I have no idea about so I will always be able to verify your claims. You will only make a bigger fool of yourself if you keep going that way.


Versus
And by the way:

There is a *huge* distinction between animate and inanimate - complexity.


Lol, my definition (which is included a few posts above) doesn't even include the term complex or any reference to it!
No one here claims "complex" is not relative so stop making dumb strawman arguments.


Ok buddy.


Good catches; I also found a similar catch here: http://www.physor...212.html where Superhuman was caught trying to bite too big a piece of "scientific knowledge" that he could chew on:

RE: Point of clarification: Dawkinsism vs. Darwinism

Did Darwin research and/or write about "aging" and "death" in his lifetime?


No, I did, but my views are based on Darwin's brilliant Theory of Evolution so I am happy to give him credit, its one of the most powerful frameworks ever developed by humans.

Are you a gerontologist or geriatrist in training?

How could Darwinism of the 19th century be related to Gerontology of the 20th century?

Aren't your statements about Aging and Death self-contradictory to those raised by D666 (and also commented by me) before?

We have no clue how aging works, just some very vague leads.


Versus
RE: How to catch a Dawkinsian nihilist par excellence!?

Aging is not some deregulation it is a deliberate process with a precise goal - death.

Like it or not, after you had your chance to produce offspring your role is to die and make room for the next generation.


Sez who?

I am not telling you to die, I am telling you that your organism *is programmed* to die.

Aging is not just some malfunction which can be easily fixed it is a complex developmental program which works exactly as intended by evolution.


Again, sez who? This article seems to directly contradict you. So the question becomes: what is your source of authority to make this declaration with such certainty? Because you say so? Not good enough.


Good catches; my scientific and critical erudition suggests that it may come from a "blind reader" of Richard Dawkins' works -- works of pure Evolutionism, a neo-Darwinist rhetorical reductionism -- the Dawkinsian Scientism of the 20th century par excellence originated from the Oxford University (since the publication of his first book "The Selfish Gene" in 1976)!?


Best wishes, Mong 12/13/8usct2:48p; author "Decoding Scientism" and "Consciousness & the Subconscious" (works in progress since July 2007), "Gods, Genes, Conscience" (2006: www.iuniverse.com...95379907 ) and "Gods, Genes, Conscience: Global Dialogues Now" (blogging avidly since 2006: http://www2.blogg...50569778 ).
IAMZERG
1 / 5 (1) Dec 13, 2008
Science answering ontological questions... I am surprised no one has made an attempt at a reductio ad absurdum with this type of logic, but maybe I missed it.

Anyway, I can see where he is coming from, but it just doesn't quite fit. I'm certain the scientists themselves backed up their argument better than this article does, but citing a few examples of where entropy increases in biological systems sounds like glossing over the subject. I'm terrible at thermodynamics, so unless it was spelled out for me, I'd have a hard time telling which of two systems had more entropy.

It seems like multiple photons traveling in space, a carbon molecule from carbon dioxide, and hydrogen bonded with oxygen forming water has more entropy than one of the pre-glucose molecules involved in photosynthesis. Am I wrong?
bmcghie
3 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2008
Look at it this way: We (as a species) have created computers, and understand how they function. We (as a species) have NOT created biological life. Yes, we have done some pretty neat things with genetics recently (re: Craig Venter's bacteria cobbled together from various genome fragments) but we are far, far removed from actually creating a biological organism from the ground up. I would suggest that this implies that biological life (as it is loosely defined --> cellular organisms) is MORE complex than computer systems. I don't want to pick sides, as both superhuman and Velnarris made some good points, but to call a computer system more complex than a biological cell seems false. My reasoning is this: We are only fiddling at the genetic/epigenetic level. We still have no idea why/how many cellular processes occur, complex protein/protein interactions and cellular localization of macromolecules for example. Now I will also say that this may be simply due to scale. The fact is that being able to pick up a computer, and manipulate individual components in real time, and having that godlike ability to stop/run/debug all in real time makes for substantially faster development of understanding. Perhaps if we were able to study cells as big as houses we might have a better understanding of them.

As it stands though, the biological cell is certainly more complex, as we understand it today. What this means to defining the minimal constitution of 'life,' I don't know. Still, I would say the computer network is easily capable of attaining this level of complexity. Indeed, does anyone remember those researchers that ran the computer simulation of 'bugs' that 'ate' numbers and 'metabolized' them into different numbers? It was run at very high speed, and they set up a reward based system to drive the virtual evolution of these virtual organisms. It was neat, because in a relatively short time they had learned/evolved to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication etc... All without the system having that knowledge. You could then isolate that organism and 'feed' it numbers and receive the sum or whatever in return. It was an incredible example of evolutionary systems. Shame, I can't remember anything that would let me link to the paper.
Alizee
Dec 13, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Adam
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2008
Computationally even relatively simple biological molecules can't be emulated exhaustively - they exceed the computational power of the entire Universe (if it were a computer that is), thus purely first principles descriptions of any complex system are a nonsense. "Determinism" assumes infinite computational ability - Laplace's Demon - but such just doesn't obtain in the physical Universe.

So where has free-will vanished to, when even simple biomolecules are beyond deterministic prediction? It's not free-will that's threatened, but simplistic Determinism. Everything derived from "no free-will" is just cant and tendentious posturing. Human behaviour can't be predicted in an absolute deterministic sense, even if we were just classical computers in essence. So give up the whole line of "there's no free-will" - it's meaningless from a scientific and human-level point of view. Only a God's eye-view can make an utterly deterministic computation... and guess what? He's not sharing the results with us!
itistoday
Dec 13, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Dec 13, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Dec 13, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Dec 13, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Dec 13, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Dec 13, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Dec 13, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
awalker
4.5 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2008
there are some very interesting things in this article.

arto and erikki annila did not trace life back to its origin to show "how" life came into existence, if one accepts their unstated but reasonable assumption for the existance a 'flash point' for life at a point in a continuum of increasing complexity, they, using well understood science and starting before life existed, come forward towards life showing "why" life *had* to come into existence.

for them evolution isn't only a biological process, its also a molecular process, and its enabling mechanism didn't notice when it crossed the threshold from molecular evolution into biological evolution. it still hasn't.

if they are right, it isn't that every planet in the universe having liquid water *may* have life, its that after sufficient time passes such a planet *has* to have life.

this is a likeable thing.


regards,
runninglate
3 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2008
somebody needs to disable comments on this article. too many =D
smiffy
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 15, 2008
"According to thermodynamics, there was no striking moment or no single specific locus for life to originate, but the natural process has been advancing by a long sequence of steps via numerous mechanisms so far reaching a specific meaning %u2013 life,%u201D the researchers explained.

If there is no special defining moment and animate matter seamlessly 'evolves' from inanimate matter in a natural way then why with all our telescopes and listening devices haven't we discovered a single extraterrestrial instance of life in the entire cosmos?

Why shouldn't the inanimate advance to the animate on Mars? on Neptune? in stars? in the gas clouds in interstellar space?
VOR
not rated yet Dec 15, 2008
hmm lots of comments on this one. I would only say that I appreciate the article's implied classification of life as a result of the tendecies of non-life. I wish I'll live long enough to know if that's true, but I already almost assume it is. I dont think life is some super-rare thing that has to be imported etc.

The most logical answer is that life is a natural result of non-life, due to some unknown aspects of non-life. You dont need an ET to tell you this.
Life is no more miraculous or mysterious than the non-living universe (which is plenty amazing itself). As for arguments and discussions about complexity, themodynamics, etc, well I dont think you really need to go there to get it.
Alizee
Dec 15, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
itistoday
3 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2008
@smiffy:

If there is no special defining moment and animate matter seamlessly 'evolves' from inanimate matter in a natural way then why with all our telescopes and listening devices haven't we discovered a single extraterrestrial instance of life in the entire cosmos?


It's important to note that we haven't searched the entire cosmos.

The answer to your question appears to simply be that complex life (as we know it), cannot evolve in just any circumstance. We have found hundreds of planets out there, but they are very big and have harsh environments that aren't suitable for carrying Earth-like life (because they are not like Earth). This is no coincidence, it's simply because finding the smaller ones with our technology is very difficult.

Whether we find life out there in your lifetime is up in the air, but you can rest assured that the probability of "complex life" existing in the cosmos is very high. After all, we exist, and we're nothing special, just highly evolved space-dust. :-)
smiffy
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 17, 2008
It's important to note that we haven't searched the entire cosmos.


OK so I may have been a bit over dramatic with the cosmos reference, but the point I made is still valid if you replace cosmos with 'observed galaxy'. It's also worth pointing out that failure to find life is not just a case of *our* incomplete searching, but the lack of any contact 'they' have made with us. We're already beaming our presence out.

Of course I know that life is very demanding in its prerequisites - that's the point. If, as the authors of the report say, that the inanimate flows so naturally into the animate then why isn't life or a similar degree of complexity popping up all over the place? Why at the level of self-replication does the vast expanse of matter in all the observed galaxy come to a chicane the size of a minuscule multi-coloured bubble 8000 miles across and 10 miles thick? And why does it stay in this very tight chicane for 4 billion years?

After all, we exist, and we're nothing special, just highly evolved space-dust

I think we are very special - as all the evidence (especially lack of evidence) shows.

If we are highly-evolved space dust then we're unique highly-evolved space dust. And therefore special.
itistoday
3 / 5 (2) Dec 17, 2008
OK so I may have been a bit over dramatic with the cosmos reference, but the point I made is still valid if you replace cosmos with 'observed galaxy'. It's also worth pointing out that failure to find life is not just a case of *our* incomplete searching, but the lack of any contact 'they' have made with us. We're already beaming our presence out.


I believe this has been calculated already by someone. Just a point of interest, we've only been "beaming out" our presence for a few decades. That's a *TINY TINY* amount of time! Our presence hasn't traveled very far in other words.

Secondly, in terms of our "observed galaxy", we haven't even begun to fully observe it. I don't know what the percentage is, but I'd be confident enough to put money on the table that we haven't even searched 25% of it. And our galaxy is one out of potentially hundreds of millions or more! We've searched less than 1% of 1% of 1% of ... of the cosmos. You could probably compare it to searching for life on earth by looking at the tip of a pencil in your hand. :-p

Granted, I'll readily admit that I'm making these numbers up, but I doubt they're far from the truth.

So, considering that we haven't been searching long, or far, at all, I don't think there's any room to complain or draw any conclusions about the existence of life outside Earth. The most reasonable thing would be to assume that there is. That's why people are pouring money into projects like SETI.

I think we are very special


This is a matter of opinion. I think we're silly monkeys. :-p

- as all the evidence (especially lack of evidence) shows.


As I tried to point out above, we don't really have very much evidence, certainly not enough to make any conclusions off of. *shrugs*
Muadgib
5 / 5 (1) Dec 17, 2008
Sorry to go back on a long discussion, but a note to the good Lisa Zyga - in your opening paragraph, you state that "...Darwin's 1859 classic, On the Origin of Species, somewhat ironically doesn't answer that very question - how species actually originated."

Actually, I think the title is irony-free: Darwin discussed how *species* originate as distinct from how *life* originated, a question that the theory of evolution doesn't speak to.

A pedantic point maybe, but I've always found something very satisfying in the precision with which that title was chosen. :)
VOR
not rated yet Dec 17, 2008
I think SETI is noble but a bit pointless. I think it quite possible for intelligent, industrialized life to exist that would never, ever be detected this way. EM waves weaken, mix, and reverberate as they travel. I think its like trying to hear someone wispering to us from across the ocean. Even if we build the ultimate listening device, perfectly focused, its plausible that energy is just too dilute at the distances envolved and immensely dominant background. And perhaps there is even an alternate or better energy than EM for communicating that we have yet to discover that is being used by ET. Controlling gravitational energy for example? I dunno. Logically there's little doubt evolved life is out there, but the dimensions of space and time (coincidence) are stacked heavily against us finding it soon.
GaryB
3 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2008
I don't see any obvious reason why complexity arises in the reaction to defuse energy. Just the opposite, complexity seems to gum up and slow down/hold onto the diffusion of energy.

It seems to me that there is a missing component here of self-organization, the math of why things complexity. Stuart Kauffman's book, At Home in the Universe has some interesting discussion of this.
Yogaman
5 / 5 (2) Dec 20, 2008
I think Daniel Dennett does a much better job of discussing free will than the comments above. Try the Wikipedia entry for Elbow Room if Freedom Evolves or Elbow Room itself are more than you're looking for.

Quoting the final paragraph of Freedom Evolves,

"Far from being an enemy, the evolutionary perspective is an indispensable ally. I have not sought to replace the voluminous work on ethics with some Darwinian alternative [emphasis in original], but rather to place that work on the foundation it deserves: a realistic, naturalistic, potentially unified vision of our place in nature. Recognizing our uniqueness as reflective, communicating animals does not require any human 'exceptionalism' that must shake a defiant fist at Darwin and shun the insights to be harvested from that beautifully articulated and empirically anchored system of thought. We can understand how our freedom is greater than that of other creatures, and see how this heightened capacity carries moral implications: noblesse oblige. We are in the best position to decide what to do next, because we have the broadest knowledge and hence the best perspective on the future. What that future holds in store for our planet is up to all of us, reasoning together."

smiffy
1 / 5 (2) Dec 21, 2008
Anyone for a new topic?

Why This Thread Originated(And Why It Continues).

First ever self-replicating thread?
Going
5 / 5 (1) Dec 23, 2008
The article summarized here seems quite profound. It seems to say that just as there were no major steps in the evolution of life forms there was also no major jump in the origin of life between non living and living. The moment at which the spark of life entered matter is a myth. There is a steady gradation between the mineral and the biological. This is really exciting stuff.
smiffy
2.9 / 5 (8) Dec 26, 2008
Exciting it may be. Science it isn't.

If the article is a fair synopsis of the paper (which isn't available without subscription) then all the researchers are doing is floating an idea - and not even a particularly scientific idea.

The evidence that the article summons up are that there are processes in living things that obey the 2nd Law of thermodyamics just as there are processes in the inanimate world that also obey this law, and that therefore these are really the same thing, just different parts of an animate/inanimate spectrum. Since everything in nature obeys the 2nd law this is really saying nothing.

Ironically, what the 'researchers' are doing is professing an article of faith. Their's is effectively a theistic position, a veiled form of Pantheism, prevalent in 18th century Romantic poetry, where God pervades all things. All they've done is to replace God with a pseudo-Scientific principle of their own invention, spuriously based on the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

This goes a long way toward explaining why this thread has attracted so much debate for so long. It's about religious belief and that always excites more reaction than the science of animate/inanimate. The dispute between Superhuman and Velanarris shows how difficult that science is. Much easier and more interesting is what people believe rather than what they know.

The clue lay in the very title of the article. The use of the word 'Why' which usually invokes a teleological reply. If the article had been tagged with the more scientific term 'How', its shortcomings would have been highlighted straightaway.
Mercury_01
1 / 5 (1) Dec 28, 2008
balls.
bob_bc
3 / 5 (3) Jan 02, 2009
Some of these comments are interesting. Some require
little attention. Some attitudes are strange, unlearned as they are judgmental, a trait which denotes lack of scientific training, (and/or common sense).

The purpose of the article is to explore our reason for being, which in my book has great merit by itself.

It also gives a possible reason for the "use it, or lose it" phenomenon. "To use it" is to utilize energy, something the article says strengthens the "flow" of energy. mmmmmmmm

Well.....that would explain why muscles get bigger when you use them, and smaller when you don't.

Something to think about.

Bob
raron
2 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2009
Wow, lots of comments on this one!

---------------------------------------------------
'Our "purpose," so to speak, is to redistribute energy on the Earth'
---------------------------------------------------

I'm no expert in thermodynamics, but I got the impression that we humans do the opposite? We -give- (well maybe that is redistribute) matter enery.

Say a car for example, its of more use to us if the metal in it, stays a metal, and dont fall into the lower energy state of rust. Same goes for basically everything we do, we organize and keep things from falling apart. Well hopefully.

But, that might be the redistribute-part, it's just it seems opposite of that second law of thermodynamics, where everything in the end ends up with the same energy and maximum entropy.

Interesting article!

So now the big question of whats our purpose here on earth finally answered :-)
quarkspace
4 / 5 (2) Jan 05, 2009
Everyone here is using pathetic human language which actually limits your ability to see reality. The term 'LIFE' is just a catagory we invented because we could see a difference between a rock and a seagull. But it doesnt help when you have to decide what a virus is. "entropy' is another problomatic word. Just because the entropy of the universe as a whole is increasing doesnt mean that you cant have pockets of decreasing entropy(increased organisation). Just as the water in a river is on average heading for the ocean ,there are places behind rocks that the water is flowing the other way just in isolation as we are. Water is disordered, untill you change one condition, reduce temperature, then it will spontaniously and without gods help order itself into a perfectly structured ice crystal purely because of its collective individual identical attributes. Just pour a pile of same sized oranges into a box "VOILA" a crystal structure and all without GOD just mathmatics. Our language has caused us to limit our thinking and religion restricts it even further. "PURPOSE" another useless word, just because someone conjures it up doesnt make it real, it just requires you to hang around it like a moth around a candle, the moth never evolved to handle such a close light scource because the moon and sun are at optical infinity, so it used them to fly in a straight line, then we come along and stuff it up.
billydude
1 / 5 (2) Jan 10, 2009
Life is a form of material existence that actually reverses the expanding of entropy, not amplifying it. How does life do that? By the formation of complex chemical systems. Why does life do that? Because the universe does NOT want to die? Like all things in life, we want to slow down the process of entropy expansion as much as possible. In fact, that is the spirit of life for all!!!

Nature has proven to us that although the entropy of the universe is ever expanding, meaning that the universe is expanding, the existence of life is nature's way of telling us that the complexity of nature is not just a simple expansion of entropy. Otherwise, why is there a big bang and how it all started???
Austriak
1 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2009
It is great we have Physorg.com where laymen like myself can learn the expertise%u2019s critical thought through the comments about such article!

Follow my questions and opinions for discussion:

1) Arto and Erkky: %u201CWhy life originated and why continues%u201D?
I think the question is wrong and wrong questions leads to wrong experiments and interpretations. If they see no distinction between animate and inanimate
there was no %u201Corigins%u201D and makes no sense saying %u201Clife%u201D%u2026 that%u2019s right? By the way, the right question should be:
%u201CWhy biological systems originated and why continues?%u201D
I think there is a big mistake with the authors and some posters here: they are making comparisons between life and rocks. No way! Comparisons must be made between %u201CSYSTEMS%u201D, because every living thing is a whole system. And rocks are not systems. With rocks, we can make comparisons with a cut finger, or a falling branch from a tree. Inanimate here must be atom systems, stellar systems, galaxies systems, and maybe, the Universe. And the molecules observed by the authors are under the laws from hierarchy of systems. So, the movement of energy among molecules are not driven only by the second principle of thermodynamics, but by a macro system process.

Now, the Matrix has an answer: %u201C Biological systems are merely evolution from semi-mechanical/semi-biological proto-systems like LUCA (see model at my website, in articles), which is merely evolution from mechanicals Newtonian systems. And after the development of the new system called %u201Ccounciousness%u201D, biological systems continues by the same cause the fishes, reptiles, stellar and galaxies system continues: they gives support to the survival of the evolutionary top, like the trunk in a tree gives support to the fruit.

2) Arto and Erkkin: %u201CThe process eventually advanced so far that it cumulated into such sophisticated functional structures that could be called living.
It seems to me a statement of faith. The reductionist method leads people to focuses over molecules, thinking about molecular level, inside the lab, and they forget taking a break and going outside the lab for to focuses on the system where these things are happening. The internal systemic transference of a hot star to cold planets, dust, etc., must leads the whole system to disorganization, to become a mass without form. It should destroy every atomic system also. The problem, as Matrix%u2019s Theory suggests, is that the whole human knowledge about thermodynamics is based only over opened systems. Only over pieces and parts of opened systems. Humanity never has seen a natural and perfect closed system, where the laws and principles of thermodynamics known today should be multiplied by two.
This simple process could leads molecules to the novelty of replication? Creating a complex and operative code of instructions? It seems a statement of faith like any religion. I believe that thermodynamics is at the foundations of biological life, but, like the Matrix points out, the state of the world at 4 billions years ago, the level of complexity reached by matter when organized as LUCA, and which is unknown yet, made the process of biogenesis a lot more complex than that.

3) Arto and Erkkin: %u201CThe evolutionary process was and still is non-deterministic, even chaotic, since the energy flows create energy differences that in turn affect the flows.%u201D
In Darwinian Theory, the species flows create species differences, which in turn affect the flows. But%u2026 here, the energy has a permanent source - the Sun %u2013 which should correct the flow again. Or not?
By the way, they are saying almost the same matrix Theory suggests. The difference is that the energy coming from the sun is bringing %u201Cinformation from LUCA%u201D, which drives the combinations among molecules, and those energy/information changes as the matter in nuclear fusion of the sun change.

4) Arto and Erkkin: %u201C This study focuses on why life emerged, not how.%u201D
Matrix: %u201C Biological systems (not life) emerged the same cause you emerged from your parents: reproduction. Reproduction of LUCA, a proto-system semi-mechanical/semi-biological, reproduced here under chaos due stellar system entropy, creating the novelty of liquid state of matter, chemistry, and with different materials than those solid and gaseous materials that LUCA emerged, from mechanical systems. How? Macro-Evolutionary genetic process described at my website%u201D

5) Arto and Erkkin: %u201C%u2026 the order and complexity that characterize modern biological systems have no value in and of themselves, but structure and hierarchical organization emerged and developed because they provided paths for increasing energy flows.%u201D
Matrix: %u201C Ok, let%u2019s see it with an analogy: %u201C In the blastula inside a womb a new system was being organized and searching for systemic hierarchy developed the brain. The brain (and even the next shape of fetus) emerged because they provided paths for increasing energy flows?! Ok, here the energy we are talking about is the information in shape of genes. So, the whole purpose is the gene flow%u2026 which is the modern tendency of biologists thought: everything is about perpetuation and diffusion of genes. Seems that the Biologists want to believe that genes, merely a simple compound of atoms, are the supreme creator. And Arto and Erkkin are Biologists bringing a new idea: it is not gene, stupid, it is energy. I am wrong here?
(continues next post)
Austriak
1 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2009
6) Arto and Erkkin says

For instance, when systems (e.g. molecules) become entities of larger systems (e.g. cells) that participate in larger ranges of interactions to consume more free energy, entropy increases. Genetic code might have served as another primordial mechanism, acting as a catalyst that could increase energy flow toward greater entropy.

Matrix answer: They are right. Increasing entropy is the supreme target of LUCA. The most larger ranges of interactions and increasing speed of these interactions is good for LUCA: it is the biospherical counterpart of friction in an sexual intercourse giving better orgasms. Since that the whole biosphere is the fetus reproducing LUCA, it means that the fetus inherited the addictions of LUCA. But, merely increasing friction by increasing entropy does not create complexity and does not generates the evolutionary process. Indeed, increasing entropy in biosphere increases evolution because more fast are transferred the genes information from LUCA to biosphere. But this is not physical tendency it is a secondary effect
Austriak
1 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2009
Itstoday

The purpose of the universe, to keep from getting bored!!!

Deep thought! Congratulations!

But, just now, when Matrix Theory is coming to say that LUCA was discovered and showing the model of its anatomy, we will not get bored anymore. The intellectual world will be agitated.

Austriak
1 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2009
Alizee



AWT is a good job, I think. Congratulations!



About your blog issue



CP invariance violation and chirality of life



This is about thermodynamics influences over biological systems also.

My models are suggesting a new interesting approach. Chirality is not about right or left-handed. It is about energy up and energy down. Left and right is merely a conceit created by humans as projection from their anatomy over the world. There is no superimposition of mirrors images because one image is about the first half of vital or systemic cycle, when energy is up, growing, and the other image is the second half of a life cycle of a systemic circuit, when energy is down, decaying which is measured by entropy. It is right that, from human perspective, the first half is always at the left in the spherical systemic and matricial circuit, and the second half is always at right. But, since that makes no sense saying right and left about spheres, it is merely a secondary optical effect.

Austriak
1 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2009
GaryB



I don't see any obvious reason why complexity arises in the reaction to defuse energy. Just the opposite, complexity seems to gum up and slow down/hold onto the diffusion of energy. It seems to me that there is a missing component here of self-organization, the math of why things complexity. Stuart Kauffman's book, At Home in the Universe has some interesting discussion of this.

Answer from Matrix Theory

Gary, complexity can arises from the defusion of energy because the defusion creates chaos, in the chaos the elements are fragmented and mixed up again, when occurs mutations. Chaos is the place and opportunity for occurring complexity. Some of these mutations are selected and lift as a new ordered state, then, a new order of complexity is established. But does not believe in it, this is what is suggesting my theoretical models and it was not tested yet. I am saying it only because there is a rational process when complexity can arises from entropy.



And you are right. It is missing here a component key in self-organization. It is about the matrix natural software.

HenisDov
1 / 5 (3) May 06, 2009
Animate And Inanimate Matter Have Something In Common!
Read All About It! Unbelievable!
The Wheel Is Invented!
Living And Non-living Matter Follow Same Rules?


A. Can Living And Non-living Follow Same Rules? Unifying The Animate And Inanimate Designs Of Nature
http://www.scienc...3104.htm


B. "22nd Century Conception Of Unified Field Theory And Evolution"

1. EVOLUTION Beyond Darwin 200
http://www.physfo...ic=14988&st=405&#entry396201
http://www.the-sc...age#1407

2. The following brief essays present the 22nd century comprehension of evolution. They preserve Darwin's name in reference to Life Evolution in respect and appreciation of Darwin's promotion of the concept of evolution in life.

Life's Manifest
http://www.the-sc...112.page#578]http://www.the-sc...page#578[/url]

Culture, A Ubiquitous Biological Entity
http://www.the-sc.../98.page

Life And Darwinian Evolution, 21st Century Comprehension
http://www.the-sc...112.page

Rethink Unified Field Theory And Evolution
http://www.the-sc...page#982


C. On Cosmic Energy And Mass Evolutions
http://www.physfo...ic=25398&st=15&#entry408520
http://www.physfo...ic=25437&st=0&#entry408242

As mass is just another face of energy it is commonsensible to regard not only life, but mass in general, as a format of temporarily constrained energy.

It therefore ensues that whereas the expanding cosmic constructs, the galaxies clusters, are - overall - continuously converting "their share" of original pre-inflation mass back to energy, the overall evolution WITHIN them, within the clusters, is in the opposite direction, temporarily constrained energy packages such as black holes, biospheres and other energy-storing-mass-formats are precariuosly forming and "doing best" to survive as long as "possible"...


Respectfully yours,

Dov Henis
(Comments From The 22nd Century)