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Author Topic:   Transition from chemistry to biology
AshsZ
Member (Idle past 3477 days)
Posts: 35
From: Edgewater, FL USA
Joined: 05-17-2008


Message 61 of 415 (467520)
05-22-2008 4:36 AM
Reply to: Message 60 by Brad McFall
05-21-2008 7:38 PM


Re: back onto the track
I would prefer the Gaia Theory in this case. Something I just stumbled across that seems so fitting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

" The Gaia hypothesis is an ecological hypothesis that proposes that living and nonliving parts of the earth are a complex interacting system that can be thought of as a single organism. Named after the Greek earth goddess, this hypothesis postulates that all living things have a regulatory effect on the Earth's environment that promotes life overall. "


Click to enlarge

Do you think it would be a reasonable statement to say that the earth itself was born into life at the time its mass coalesced and direct interaction of its matter began (prior to the existence of the "life" stuff we are talking about - the point in time where there existed the conditions that could lead to the "life" stuff we are talking about)? OR perhaps the planet came to life some time down the road from there. Look at the conditions on the planet around the time of its formation and through its existence as an entity within the solar system up to the point just before "life" came into the picture - there were huge changes that occurred to all of the matter is is composed of. For all intents and purposes, this could be considered evolution - evolution is simply a word that means change, but in contemporary context infers the change of living things. Would it be fair to say that the planet evolved through time prior to the existence of "life".

Matter changes over time by the exact process of natural selection - forces such as gravitation, electromagnetics, electrostatics, nuclear forces, etc, all interact with each other and with matter in many different ways,and vice-versa. Back in the day before "life", the "rules" the cosmos operated by was a shorter list as is lacked in diversity. Hydrogen was simple and so through the process of fusion which is quite simple in function to understand, matter changed. No mystical forces at work, although highly energetic! :) That was the birth of diversity. (I know it can be argued that there was increasing diversity in the structure of the cosmos prior to stars fusing matter - but you get my point, and even this bit of knowledge further adds to my direction).

Through time, more stars formed, producing more diverse matter, going nova/supernova and spreading that material out into space. As that matter cooled a little more it coalesced and some matter began bonding together to form more diversity through processes that are simple to understand. This was the birth of the molecule, fusion's little brother - once again, another step towards diversity.

And this goes so on and so forth to present day - I'm skipping ahead over many additional examples of events producing increased diversity as I think you follow where I've been going.

So the question is, how can it be refuted that the existence of the matter we observe around us has come about by those very same processes and additional thereafter? I can't tell you exactly what the mechanisms were that led to the incredible diversity in matter today, but each step along the way to add more diversity does become more and more complex to understand. These processes that create increased diversity also decrease in the release of energy in each interationsuccessive interation. Those two initial steps listed earlier showing the affinity of the cosmos towards producing more diversity, adding to that the simple observation of what exists today, there is a pretty solid trend that emerges as well as a connect-the-dots image.

Perhaps others feel the need to refrain from planting both feet into an idea until there is data to absolutely prove that the idea is correct. I respect that. I know the perspective I babbled on above could be picked to pieces in more ways than I can imagine - I know I am amongst some very finely honed cutlery. :) For myself, I've come to realize that there is no such thing as an absolute truth - even on matters far less theoretical/subjective as these but it is just the best idea I can come up with at the moment. Defining "life" is just far too impossible to really accurately define 101%. Taken from Developmental Systems Theory:

" each such structure is ultimately irreducible to any lower (or higher) level of structure, and can be described and explained only on its own terms. "

Let the picking apart begin! ;-)

(For what it is worth I only believe in one thing and one thing only. I do believe there is a conscious entity that put all of this here for a reasons I wont entertain here. But, He spoke, and it went BANG. Everything else like these topics are just ideas, which I love to entertain. :)

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Removed "table" HTML, which was mucking up the format of the message.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by Brad McFall, posted 05-21-2008 7:38 PM Brad McFall has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by Brad McFall, posted 05-22-2008 7:46 PM AshsZ has responded

  
Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3110 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 62 of 415 (467605)
05-22-2008 7:46 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by AshsZ
05-22-2008 4:36 AM


Re:Gaia
Gaia is interesting but one would have to have some idea of what the “organism” as an organization is. When Margulis spoke of this I did not get a sense of what this is. One needs to posses what Kant called an “organon” which contains ‘instructions’. Penrose’s notion of microtubule information seemed to contain the same generality of thought , for me and that is nothing other than simply straight biophysics, if it is really of any use towards opening one’s intuition in the concept.

This turtle named “gaia”


Click to enlarge

was designed from a couple of books on reptiles I supplied, but the organization you suggested, prior, was that which is in the stars. Feynmann has mentioned “double stars” in this regard. I do not know how to think about this as of yet. The notion in this thread however IS NOT one of “reptile design” , to quote Gould, with or without any Gaia down to Earth. The eye was made from a Billard Ball.
quote:
Do you think it would be a reasonable statement to say that the earth itself was born into life at the time its mass coalesced and direct interaction of its matter began (prior to the existence of the "life" stuff we are talking about - the point in time where there existed the conditions that could lead to the "life" stuff we are talking about)? OR perhaps the planet came to life some time down the road from there.

The answer to this depends on if one is serious about leaving open the possibility of "bacterial" or other life off Earth. I dont discount this so sans the "geometry" I mentioned last post I can not say that the conversation 'must' reside before or after this 'road' as you put it.

The whole thing about DNA or RNA "life" is about oxygen. Do we really have a good idea bout changes in atmospheric O2 relative to "life"?

To use the word "evolution" here I would constrict it for sure to the continuum suggested even if one wants to disagree with Darwin on seperated creations which are rife in bariminology etc.

The fusion of physical "force" into biological factors has been seperate in biology as is evidenced in Carter's 100 years of evolution and is part of the warp and theme of Gould's structure of evolutionary theory. Direct imposition of force is not the billard ball as the center piece as much as I would like it to be.

So while I am in some hope that a better biophysics of life can be communicated among educated people as you suggest the amalgam that you present is more of a warm fuzzy than a rough truth without the commonly attached scruples that nonetheless often pass in popular discourse.

Edited by Brad McFall, : No reason given.

Edited by Brad McFall, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by AshsZ, posted 05-22-2008 4:36 AM AshsZ has responded

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AshsZ
Member (Idle past 3477 days)
Posts: 35
From: Edgewater, FL USA
Joined: 05-17-2008


Message 63 of 415 (467660)
05-23-2008 6:00 AM
Reply to: Message 62 by Brad McFall
05-22-2008 7:46 PM


Re: Re:Gaia
I humbly reiterate the fact I lack the ability to hold conversation regarding molecular biology, biophysics, etc. I can only hope that this weakness, per-se, can benefit the converstaion by way of an alternate perspective.

-SO- in response to your post:

An organism is defined as:

1. a form of life composed of mutually interdependent parts that maintain various vital processes.
2. a form of life considered as an entity; an animal, plant, fungus, protistan, or moneran.
3. any organized body or system conceived of as analogous to a living being: the governmental organism.
4. any complex thing or system having properties and functions determined not only by the properties and relations of its individual parts, but by the character of the whole that they compose and by the relations of the parts to the whole.

The "idea" of an organism isn't ambiguous. It is analogous to the word "life". I wouldn't go so far as to demand any requirements - we all pretty much all have an idea of what an organism is - if not, just read the definitions above.

The theory of Gaia doesn't explicitly limit the existence of such a structure to the planet earth. It just states an idea which tries to explain why things are the way they are on this planet. I wouldn't discount the possibility that a similar structure exists elsewhere within the universe. The concept this theory illustrates may very well be a fundamental condition necessary for living structures anywhere in the universe but I also wouldn't confine the existence of living structures to such conditions - neither does Gaia.

Dont get me wrong here - I'm not a Gaia fanatic. That theory presents a perspective that in many ways produces that "warm, fuzzy feeling". I personally would rather feel that than drown within the fact we dont "know it all". I know I am out of my league on this topic - I tend to think that my only reason for publically entertaining it was an attempt to provide a source of clarity for those who appeared to be confounded.

Maybe the reason we lack the ability to piece it all together is due to the rejection in the scientific community to embrace the idea that there is a "God" that made these things happen, LOL.. :) Is it a necessary condition that all events occur in an understandable, logical, predictable manner? I may have to pull out the Heisenberg cannon and fire away if one thinks so.


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Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by Fosdick, posted 06-02-2008 10:31 AM AshsZ has responded

  
SqU1r3
Junior Member (Idle past 3833 days)
Posts: 6
From: Cape Town, South Africa
Joined: 05-31-2008


Message 64 of 415 (468792)
06-01-2008 4:23 PM


Confusion
Living cannot be created from Non-living, it's simple.
IMHO many Evolutionist scientists cannot accept this relatively simple fact and are thus determined to confuse the uneducated public by using incredibly high-level English to create their theorems on this particular topic, trying vainly to steer AWAY from the law, bypassing it so to speak, deluding themselves and others in the process.
There is NO proof that living matter can be made from non-living matter, therefore the theory of Evolution falls rather short here.
d-_-b
Replies to this message:
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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5377
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002


Message 65 of 415 (468798)
06-01-2008 4:42 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by SqU1r3
06-01-2008 4:23 PM


Re: Confusion
Living cannot be created from Non-living, it's simple.

Hmm. No life was on earth 4,200,000,000 years ago.

Life is all over earth now.

Your bare assertion appears to be wrong.


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 Message 64 by SqU1r3, posted 06-01-2008 4:23 PM SqU1r3 has not yet responded

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 1315 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 66 of 415 (468903)
06-02-2008 9:35 AM
Reply to: Message 64 by SqU1r3
06-01-2008 4:23 PM


Re: Confusion
There is NO proof that living matter can be made from non-living matter, therefore the theory of Evolution falls rather short here.

The Theory of Evolution doesn't say where life came from. It only concerns itself with where it went once it was here. You could prove, conclusively, that God created the first lifeform, and Evolution would shrug and say "ok, and then..."


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Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3577 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 67 of 415 (468911)
06-02-2008 10:31 AM
Reply to: Message 63 by AshsZ
05-23-2008 6:00 AM


Living organisms
AshsZ writes:

The "idea" of an organism isn't ambiguous. It is analogous to the word "life".


I don't think so. A virus is a form of life, but it is not a living organism. Living organisms must be able to reproduce without invading and corrupting the DNA/RNA of other living organisms to get the job done.

Regarding the Gaia hypothesis: It is more literary spin than scientific fact. My F-150 might qualify as a "living organism" using Gaia criteria.

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by AshsZ, posted 05-23-2008 6:00 AM AshsZ has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by AshsZ, posted 06-02-2008 10:39 PM Fosdick has responded

  
AshsZ
Member (Idle past 3477 days)
Posts: 35
From: Edgewater, FL USA
Joined: 05-17-2008


Message 68 of 415 (469013)
06-02-2008 10:39 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by Fosdick
06-02-2008 10:31 AM


Re: Living organisms
A virus could be argued as an example of the simplest forms of life. It is a construct of matter which reproduces itself and also experiences diversity within itself (mutations). On that same token, viruses can be argued to be a vital component of life as a whole on the planet as its presence also leads to chemical change and diversity within its hosts by process of immunological system adaptations. These adaptations, or lack thereof, will also contribute to the mechanism of natural selection who's effect plays a major role in genetic outcomes within said species as well as indirect roles upon genetic outcomes within species of life this particular species is tied to within its respective food chain. This "cyclic" characteristic of the relationship between organisms and viruses is an easily observable mechanism that drives change and diversity... an end result that could be considered one definition of the word "life" itself.

"Life" doesn't exist as a single organism within the context it is being looked at by most - therefore it cannot be defined by single metric. The concept that "life" is actually a single organism, that which is contained within the closed system upon this planet, is a far easier perspective to define the word "life" within. That is probably the only way you will get the simple word to actually fit what it is trying to define. For everything else, we will have to look at them for their specifics; i.e. is it a single-cell organism, multi-cellular organism, virus, or simply chemical element such as oxygen, iron, manganese, etc etc.... FWIW, look at the diversity of interaction an oxygen atom can experience on this planet - it could be argued that even the simple atom itself is alive - it certainly behaves in predictable as well as unpredictable ways dependent on circumstance, so, wouldn't it be just as alive as anything else?

The whole conundrum people seem to have about the idea of "life" coming from non-living matter is humorous. It clearly shows that some people lack the ability to understand that the stuff we call life is built from the very same materials that the things they call non-life are also built of. On top of that, you can take any living organism and break it down into its constituent atomic elements that it is made of - those who are burdened by this "conundrum" wouldn't have a leg to stand on when trying to say whether or not the remains of this individual are alive or not, LOL. So, this begs the question, can living matter turn into non-living matter? I think we all can agree on the answer to that - the real pudding lay in whether or not you can see that as a two way street.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by Fosdick, posted 06-02-2008 10:31 AM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by Fosdick, posted 06-03-2008 12:36 PM AshsZ has responded

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3577 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 69 of 415 (469062)
06-03-2008 12:36 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by AshsZ
06-02-2008 10:39 PM


Re: Living organisms
AshsZ writes:

"Life" doesn't exist as a single organism within the context it is being looked at by most - therefore it cannot be defined by single metric. The concept that "life" is actually a single organism, that which is contained within the closed system upon this planet, is a far easier perspective to define the word "life" within. That is probably the only way you will get the simple word to actually fit what it is trying to define. For everything else, we will have to look at them for their specifics; i.e. is it a single-cell organism, multi-cellular organism, virus, or simply chemical element such as oxygen, iron, manganese, etc etc.... FWIW, look at the diversity of interaction an oxygen atom can experience on this planet - it could be argued that even the simple atom itself is alive - it certainly behaves in predictable as well as unpredictable ways dependent on circumstance, so, wouldn't it be just as alive as anything else?


I don't follow this very well. Life is what's alive, isn't it? Can you crush the life out of an ant? And when you look at the smudge on the sidewalk is their still an organism there? Yes, there is; a dead one.

One way to describe "life" is the extant function of genetic code. Without it, an organism would be a blob of uninformed chemicals. And not only does it inform living organisms but it also jumps into their offspring for trans-generational survival. Genes can do that because they're digital.

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by AshsZ, posted 06-02-2008 10:39 PM AshsZ has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by AshsZ, posted 06-04-2008 4:09 AM Fosdick has responded

  
AshsZ
Member (Idle past 3477 days)
Posts: 35
From: Edgewater, FL USA
Joined: 05-17-2008


Message 70 of 415 (469149)
06-04-2008 4:09 AM
Reply to: Message 69 by Fosdick
06-03-2008 12:36 PM


Re: Living organisms
I agree, on all points. :)

Is there a way to categorize what is considered just matter vs. what is something that is living? It is difficult to do because the things that could be considered as living are constructed from matter. Where is the line between matter and life? Is there really some line of demarcation that can be concisely identified or does the definition of "life" get lost within our lack of the ability to entirely define matter?

These exchanges I've entertained on this forum have been quite challenging - I have repeatedly spent questionably "sane" amounts of time working through the thoughts in my mind and composing them into words everyone here is reading. Each iteration I find myself continually coming back around to identifying a "common denominator" for "life", quite the same as you have done in your last paragraph. I can only agree in totality with your statement. :)

There is a group of objects which possess incredibly similar molecular structures. This "double-helix" molecular structure varies amongst these objects only in small ways. However, these objects vary in structure in many big ways but these variations are in accord with the specific small variations within this single molecule. This molecule is the fundamental component these objects all have in common. This perspective is looking at things in a "snap-shot" moment of time.

Setting things in motion to observe action of these objects appears to be irrelevant. We dont necessarily need to define these objects by their actions - there are clear enough distinctions between the material composition of these objects and everything else. There aren't any other known objects which possess this double-helix molecular structure, are there? If this assumption holds true then can we all agree to call objects which possess this particular molecular structure as "living?"

The post subject, "Transition from chemistry to biology" leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to asking an effective question. Biology isn't a thing per-se; it is a science, a concept, a thought. On that same token, "chemistry" isn't a thing either; it too is a science, a concept, a thought. To rephrase the topic, would it be acceptable to pose it as: "Transition from non-living matter to living matter"? The topic, either way you want to state it, insinuates that there really is a difference between the two. The question being begged is whether or not there is a difference rather than what "transition" took place. Not trying to be anti-social in this remark - just pointing out the fallacy in the implied question which has fueled a majority of the exchanges in this topic - exchanges which aren't really discussing the essence of the question.

So, would it be fair to conclude that "living" matter, defined as the molecular structure noted above, is really just matter of particular structure - whether it is living or not is irrelevant and the ability to define something as living or not possesses no real value? Wouldn't real value lay within the knowledge of how this molecular structure works?

Eventually we will discover the chemical mechanisms to create the kind of diversity found in the DNA molecule as well as manipulate it in any way we desire - the capacity to do that infers knowledge, obviously. Do we really need to know exactly what steps matter went through eons ago which led to the structures we see today? Not necessarily - if we know how this structure works and how we can manipulate it to produce desired results then we really have valuable knowledge, right?

Are any of us here really questioning whether or not the composition of matter we see today came to be by mechanisms other than those of which everything in the universe works by? Even the suggestion that there was some extra-terrestrial influence on the early earth which led to what we have agreed on is "living" would still conform to the concept of a "universe" - afterall, how can it be called a "universe" if it isn't universal? Better stated, how can an exception be made? We all agree that probability is equally distributed troughout the universe, right?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by Fosdick, posted 06-03-2008 12:36 PM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by Fosdick, posted 06-04-2008 11:15 AM AshsZ has responded

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3577 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 71 of 415 (469177)
06-04-2008 11:15 AM
Reply to: Message 70 by AshsZ
06-04-2008 4:09 AM


Re: Living organisms and their origin
AshsZ writes:

Even the suggestion that there was some extra-terrestrial influence on the early earth which led to what we have agreed on is "living" would still conform to the concept of a "universe" - afterall, how can it be called a "universe" if it isn't universal? Better stated, how can an exception be made? We all agree that probability is equally distributed troughout the universe, right?


This statement seems to verge toward panspermia—the idea that life originated extraterrestrially and was contagious enough to contaminate Earth (although panspermia would also allow for the extraterrestrial spread of Earth-first life). I happen to prefer panspermia over Earth-first life as a way of explaining life's appearance on Earth. Panspermia does not explain life's origin, of course; it just defers it to the possibility that somewhere else besides Earth was the host of nascent life.

For us to expect that life originated first on Earth is a huge and precarious assumption. It reminds me of the old geocentric-universe model. Humans have a history of being arrogated snobs in that department.

But you are asking good questions. I doubt that either of us will live long to see the definitive answer to the question: How did nature originally turn abiotic matter into the first biotic material? Or, put a simpler way, what where the physicochemical steps to abiogenesis and why were they exclusive to Earth?

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by AshsZ, posted 06-04-2008 4:09 AM AshsZ has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 72 by AshsZ, posted 06-04-2008 12:30 PM Fosdick has responded

  
AshsZ
Member (Idle past 3477 days)
Posts: 35
From: Edgewater, FL USA
Joined: 05-17-2008


Message 72 of 415 (469189)
06-04-2008 12:30 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by Fosdick
06-04-2008 11:15 AM


Re: Living organisms and their origin
This whole thread really is begging a much bigger question...

When I wrote that statement you quoted there was a strong desire to clarify what was meant. In actuality, the word "extra-terrestrial" was meant on the broadest of scales - be it panspermia, little green men, "God" himself, or any other idea.... I was really getting at the point that regardless of the exact mechanism(s) responsible for life on this planet, those processes are a function of the universe - it is part of the construct of the universe, right? Thinking of life as coming from something else is kindof like saying you weren't born from your mother, LOL. ;-)

Admittedly, it is intriguing to think of how life started. It is well understood that matter exists as some 100+ unique variations at an atomic level - thousands if you count isotopes, ions, plasmas, bose-einstein condensates, etc etc. Each of which have unique properties of their own. The mosaic of variation in matter, the sheer quantity of matter, the various forces matter exhibits, and the 3-dimensional space matter can interact with other matter - set that into motion with time and try to answer "what couldn't possibly happen?" The increasing diversity of matter the universe has experienced since its dawn is the answer to the question - life coming onto the scene is analogous to the early universe finally cooling enough for the first atoms to condense, or for those first atoms to start combining to form more complex atoms, or for that variety of atoms to begin combining to form molecules. Just seems to me that there has always been this one single behaviour the universe has expressed since its beginning - life was just the next step in that same direction.

It doesn't appear to me that all of this just happened either - for this one particular observation of what the universe has been doing all this time. Am I being short-sighted to say that the universe, through time from the beginning up to now and on into oblivion, is clearly progressing towards ever increasing diversity of material structure? Even in some instances where some diversity is "lost", doesn't it appear that the push towards greater diversity is prevailing?

I Can't speak for if life exists anywhere else in the universe though - it is likely not to be structured with the same DNA construct as here - the universe is just too diverse. :)

Edited by AshsZ, : Needed to throw in the "mom" comment.

Edited by AshsZ, : ...more questions....


This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by Fosdick, posted 06-04-2008 11:15 AM Fosdick has responded

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 Message 73 by Fosdick, posted 06-07-2008 12:16 PM AshsZ has responded

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3577 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 73 of 415 (469768)
06-07-2008 12:16 PM
Reply to: Message 72 by AshsZ
06-04-2008 12:30 PM


Re: Living organisms and their origin
AshsZ writes:

It doesn't appear to me that all of this just happened either - for this one particular observation of what the universe has been doing all this time.


It is the "just happened" part of your statement that bothers me. I think you are assuming that things that "just happen" are somehow planned by a Cosmic Designer, let us say. This is the core fallacy of the ID movement—that since we don't always understand how nature proceeds from moment to moment then sometimes things "just happen." And, of course, that is attributed to the Cosmic Designer's purpose, whatever It may be.

Once upon a time humans didn't understand nature well enough to know about the galaxy they lived in, and so they reasoned to the best of their ability that some god up there poured milk across the sky.

I Can't speak for if life exists anywhere else in the universe though - it is likely not to be structured with the same DNA construct as here - the universe is just too diverse.

One thing that has always interested me is the fact that there is only one kind of life on Earth—DNA/RNA life. Some people say that DNA/RNA life might have eaten any other nascent kinds into extinction, so that's why there is only one kind left for us to observe. I disagree with that notion because planet Earth seems (to me, at least) to offer a rich enough and diverse enough biosphere that it should have nooks and crannies somewhere to support non-DNA/RNA life. But there is none. This leads me to doubt that "life" in other places of the universe will be anything other than DNA/RNA life.

But it's a great question, and clues are not yet very helpful.

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 72 by AshsZ, posted 06-04-2008 12:30 PM AshsZ has responded

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 Message 74 by AshsZ, posted 06-08-2008 4:40 AM Fosdick has responded

  
AshsZ
Member (Idle past 3477 days)
Posts: 35
From: Edgewater, FL USA
Joined: 05-17-2008


Message 74 of 415 (469866)
06-08-2008 4:40 AM
Reply to: Message 73 by Fosdick
06-07-2008 12:16 PM


Re: Living organisms and their origin
I would rather think of it in terms that the universe itself is intelligent - not that there is an intelligent designer that put it here. I can support that simple theory by sole fact that we, humans, do possess intelligence (at least to the best of our ability to identify as such) and we are made from the very materials that have come to be within the universe. Additionally, this current state we exist in from all the events preceeding before appear to be guided towards the creation of more diverse forms - and I use the word "creation" only within the context that new forms of matter have and will continue to be produced within the universe - not "creation" in the sense of a "god" putting them here.

Perhaps I am using the word "intelligence" too liberally here though. Defining "intelligence" around these parts is, in and of itself, yet another topic I wouldn't be surprised to find being entertained somewhere on this forum covering pages upon pages of dialogue. With that in mind, and for sake of keeping on topic, I think we should omit the word "intelligence" all together within this discussion - I just dont see "intelligence" as an applicable word.

When I say that it doesn't appear that all of this just happened, I only mean to say that I observe how the universe appears to have an affinity towards creation of diversity - the universe isn't getting more simple - it is becoming more complex. Would this be a fair assumption to make?

We are both on the same page when it comes to eluding the concept that there was some sort of intelligent designer that put all of this here - it is an irrelevant concept as it clearly gives no specific insight. On that token though, it could be argued that there exists some goal-seeking element within the cosmos - the apparent goal being diversity.

I specifically use the word "diversity" as it leaves very little ground for debate on what that term means. At the same time, I dont use it as grounds for a challenge - it is simply a word that best illustrates what it is I am trying to express. Is our universe seeking to become a diverse? I'm sure I'm not the first to ponder such an idea. Although the law of entropy states that the universe seeks a state of maximum homogenity, which also insinuates the deterioration of a "living" state, perhaps the concept of entropy is short-sighted in some way? I would presume that living organisms do not violate the laws of thermodynamics, right? Or do they?

In some undescribable way, I get the feeling that trying to understand how "inanimate" matter came to possess "animate" qualities lie within our ability to more clearly understand the laws of physics. It is difficult for me to fully accept the second law of thermodynamics when I observe how the energy associated with a living organism behaves. Granted, I'm not a physicist so it wouldn't surprise me to hear that I'm not seeing the big picture, but from my limited perspective it appears to me that there may exist a conflict between the idea of entropy, that which forces structure towards disorder, and diversity, that which has led to the current material structures we not only call life, but structures which have enabled matter to have awareness, mind, etc - (i.e. although one of many of such structures, one being the thing you and I are both using right now to have this very conversation! :)

Perhaps my observation of the structure of the universe moving towards more diverse structures is entropy itself? The definition of entropy doesn't have explicit context when it comes to how entropy affects diversity - it only speaks in terms of order vs. disorder. So, is the movement towards greater diversity a movement towards more or less order? Or, more specifically, is "order" equivalent to less diversity while "disorder" is equivalent to more diversity?

It would appear to me, just by my means of awareness, that the human brain, that which has given rise to my ability of awareness and which is a product appearing to be resulting from diversity, is a result of the natural tendency for the universe to move towards more "disorder". I could just use the word "disorder" in my dialogue but I am sure the conundrum this presents is visible to all - would it be fair to say that disorder and diversity are just two different words to define the same thing? I'm not very comfortable in thinking that the diversity of matter which I am constructed from was a product of the path towards greater disorder. "Entropy" just appears to fall short as a definition given the terms used to define it are so specifically obscure, if you follow what I mean. Adding to that, "entropy" also appears to lack sufficient "scope" in its definition - like looking at a painting with your nose on the canvas.

Perhaps there is an additional "dimension", for lack of better terms, that exists hand-in-hand with entropy; like a see-saw equilibrium. As entropy (disorder) increases, the capacity for the system to contain more diverse structures increases. Perhaps I have just answered my own question here through deduction - clarification by any reader versed in this would be appreciated. :) I am only working from the diction-definitions of words we are using to have this conversation. It is just difficult to think that the rise of self-awareness we humans possess is actually a result of increased "disorder" within the universe. Was "awareness" actually the next "step" in cosmological diversity? Taking the next step from there, are our abilities to change the universe as said "aware" beings the current step the universe is perched upon? Kindof hard to say "no" to those questions, isn't it? Isn't that exactly what is happening?

As for other life elsewhere in the universe: it could be the case that with the finite diversity within the universe the only possible form of "life" as we would define it can only exist as the structure we are familiar with (DNA/RNA). Unfortunately we dont even know all of the dynamics involved with this local structure to even contemplate some other analogous molecular form. However, my instinct tells me that the probability of a DNA/RNA life form existing elsewhere in the universe is almost certain. That thought, though, is a whole-'nuther topic in and of itself. :)

Edited by AshsZ, : clarification


This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by Fosdick, posted 06-07-2008 12:16 PM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by Fosdick, posted 06-08-2008 11:44 AM AshsZ has responded

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3577 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 75 of 415 (469895)
06-08-2008 11:44 AM
Reply to: Message 74 by AshsZ
06-08-2008 4:40 AM


Re: Living organisms and their origin
AshsZ writes:

Perhaps my observation of the structure of the universe moving towards more diverse structures is entropy itself? The definition of entropy doesn't have explicit context when it comes to how entropy affects diversity - it only speaks in terms of order vs. disorder. So, is the movement towards greater diversity a movement towards more or less order? Or, more specifically, is "order" equivalent to less diversity while "disorder" is equivalent to more diversity?


It's hard to avoid the term "complexity" when discussing these matters. But let me suggest that thermodynamic equilibrium may not rule the universe. There are such things as "dissipative structures," according to Ilya Prigogine, that organize and complexify under conditions "far from equilibrium." And they do this with some heightened state of entropy production. For a clumsy example, take the hula hoop. At thermodynamic equilibrium the hula hoop lays motionless around your feet and produces no kinetic order or entropy dissipation. But if you were to rotate it around your waist it would achieve kinetic order in the form of an oscillating orbit. It takes energy input and entropy production to make that dissipative structure do its orbiting thing. (But there is a flaw in my example: living dissipative structures are not suppose to be reversible back and forth between ordered kinetics and thermodynamic equilibrium. In living organisms that would invoke "death."

I am only working from the diction-definitions of words we are using to have this conversation. It is just difficult to think that the rise of self-awareness we humans possess is actually a result of increased "disorder" within the universe. Was "awareness" actually the next "step" in cosmological diversity? Taking the next step from there, are our abilities to change the universe as said "aware" beings the current step the universe is perched upon? Kindof hard to say "no" to those questions, isn't it? Isn't that exactly what is happening?

It's hard to understand how we have become aware of our awareness. We call it "consciousness," and yet we don't really know what that means. My own worry is that human arrogance clouds the issue. "If you're a hammer the world looks like a nail." Something is too recursive for us manage when we examine the meaning of awareness. It is befuddled partly by the anthropic principle or some other paradox that leaves you reasoning with yourself in the mirror.

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 74 by AshsZ, posted 06-08-2008 4:40 AM AshsZ has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 76 by AshsZ, posted 06-08-2008 4:55 PM Fosdick has not yet responded

  
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