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By looking at information stored in chemistry, says former NASA fellow, life from non-life can be explained

An outstanding question in the field of evolutionary biology and biochemistry is how the complex, fragile biochemicals that made up life arose and transformed biomaterial in the early Earth from non-living to the earliest "living" organisms.  Some researchers have looked for quasi-alive constructs like prions or viruses for clues.

But a new paper by Paul Davies, an Arizona State University Regents' Professor and director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, and Sara Walker, a NASA post-doctoral fellow at the Beyond Center, published in the journal Interface suggests that researchers are approaching the problem in the wrong way.

They suggest that rather looking at the "hardware" (biochemicals), they look at the "software" (chemically encoding information).  The authors suggest that the defining line between the living and non-living is the ability to manage encoded information, thus the key question is how this information handling arose.

Spark of Life
Could the clue to how life arose lie in how it encodes information?

Comments Prof. Walker, "When we describe biological processes we typically use informational narratives -- cells send out signals, developmental programs are run, coded instructions are read, genomic data are transmitted between generations and so forth.  So identifying life's origin in the way information is processed and managed can open up new avenues for research."

"Chemical based approaches have stalled at a very early stage of chemical complexity -- very far from anything we would consider 'alive.' More seriously they suffer from conceptual shortcomings in that they fail to distinguish between chemistry and biology."

"We propose that the transition from non-life to life is unique and definable," Prof. Davies adds, "We suggest that life may be characterized by its distinctive and active use of information, thus providing a roadmap to identify rigorous criteria for the emergence of life. This is in sharp contrast to a century of thought in which the transition to life has been cast as a problem of chemistry, with the goal of identifying a plausible reaction pathway from chemical mixtures to a living entity."

"To a physicist or chemist life seems like 'magic matter.  It behaves in extraordinary ways that are unmatched in any other complex physical or chemical system. Such lifelike properties include autonomy, adaptability and goal-oriented behavior -- the ability to harness chemical reactions to enact a pre-programmed agenda, rather than being a slave to those reactions."

"We believe the transition in the informational architecture of chemical networks is akin to a phase transition in physics, and we place special emphasis on the top-down information flow in which the system as a whole gains causal purchase over its components.  This approach will reveal how the logical organization of biological replicators differs crucially from trivial replication associated with crystals (non-life). By addressing the causal role of information directly, many of the baffling qualities of life are explained."

Crystals
Crystals are also self-replicating, but they lack the flexibility of life.
[Image Source:  Giovanni Dall'Orto]

If that all sounds a bit abstract, it is.

But basically it seems that the pair are arguing that by looking at differences between the self-replicating information in biochemicals (e.g. RNA) verus self-replication information in inorganic/non-living constructs (e.g. crystals), researchers may be able to retrace the process of how life arose on Earth more easily than if they merely focus on painstakingly mixing chemical constituents, hoping something arises.

Sources: Interface [via Arvix], Arizona State Univ.



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RE: Pathetic Evolution
By unsprung on 12/14/2012 4:13:48 AM , Rating: 5
7.5/10 . Best troll post I've seen today at least.

At least I hope so. If not, we're listening with open ears for you to "explain why is evolution impossible scientifically clear as day and rock solid as the ground everyone stands on"


RE: Pathetic Evolution
By retrospooty on 12/14/2012 9:08:37 AM , Rating: 2
This is the guy who in 1491 could have "proved" the world is flat using obviously flawed logic.

Fortunately the majority of the world has moved beyond such ignorance.

Heerohawah, if you want to say god created the universe and therefore the laws of it that allowed evolution to happen you could make that case because there is no proof it didnt happen. It's been proven time and time again. Its been proven in the 100's of thousands of fossils found all over the earth, its been proven in our DNA, its been proven via geological evidence as well as archaeological evidence. It has also been witnessed as strains of germs develop resistances antibiotics. It is also proven in human skin color. The difference between black and white people is simply that white people skins lightened as they moved to less sunny environments to allow the body to get more vitamin D. The UV rays of the sun kill it and dark skin is a mutation to protect it. Skin color evolved to maintain the correct levels. There is no debate that evolution happened. We may not know how it started, and/or who started it or possibly created the laws of the universe that enabled it but we know it happened.

If you want to have a religious debate, it can be said that a god or whatever created the universe and the laws of physics that allowed evolution to happen. You could even debate that a god created evolution with humans in mind as the end result, but you CANNOT say that evolution didnt happen... It is absolutely 100% proven. IF you think it isnt you need to go back to school, because your bible college has lied to you and given you false talking points to try and discredit proven science.


RE: Pathetic Evolution
By heerohawwah on 12/14/2012 6:04:35 PM , Rating: 2
I'm afraid retrospooty and unsprung, you two have no idea what you're talking about. (retrospooty, you did try but your 'science' is acutally over 100 years old, and the evidence you refer to doesn't actually exist, you are actually the one who believes a lie)
I will explain very simply why evolution is impossible and give you a couple tech related examples. First and foremost we need to go back to basics...
We know that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, a scientific fact. Now this fact, includes un-avoidable losses, things like friction, heat/energy loss. Everything in the existence operates at a loss, and this is what science describes in the Laws of Thermodynamics. These principles also apply directly to systems of information, complexity, language, data, etc...Take a book for example and its contents, a very basic paper and ink, a one dimensional data storage device. A book cannot write itself and cannot come into being by chance or by any random means. It would be un-scientific to say it could because that would violate the laws of thermodynamics. The SETI project is another example, searching space for signs of intelligence by looking for radiation signals that contain information or intelligent data. The entire premise of the project rests on the correct assumption; that random background radiation cannot and will not produce radiation signals which contain information. (due to the laws of thermodynamics) Ironically evolutionists claim the exact opposite that random chaos can create life, and literally move from a state of low energy to high energy (or complexity). This has no scientific basis. Another example, Folding@Home, protein folding, an extraordinarily complicated process. The simplest single cell organism alive requires thousands of proteins to live. An average protein molecule has around 400 amino acids and must be folded correctly or it will not serve its purpose. This again is prevented by the laws of thermodynamics...and on top of it are other issues like the fact the amino acids are not attracted to one another. Have you ever done the math to see what the statistical odds are of a single protein being formed by random chance? If we attempt to calculate the probability of an average-sized protein consisting of 400 amino acids being selected only from left-handed amino acids, we come up with a probability of 1 in 2^400, or 10^120. Just for a comparison, the number of electrons in the universe is estimated at 10^79, which although vast, is a much smaller number. 1 divided by a number so vast, is effectively ZERO. And that's just for 1 single protein not thousands and ignoring all the other complex devices that are needed as well.
Retrospooty, I will say that your remarks are actually very ignorant and prejudice, and shows a lack of knowledge and understanding. You completely ignore facts and seem to thinks that evolution is somehow immune to the laws of physics. What you are actually saying is that you have blind faith, and any person who is authentic, honest and open about religion will tell you that. Evolution simply did not happen because there is no scientific way for it to happen. You mentioned fossils, I'm afraid you've been lied to, no fossils exist which support evolution, a blatant lie by evolutionists which they've even admitted too. Even the infamous 'Lucy' is know if be made up of over a dozen different animals. Geology again nothing, and DNA well...DNA is a 3 dimensional data storage medium, its encrypted, has error checking and redundancy, it is a technological marvel, DNA is literally the information storage and manufacturing facility needed for keep life going. Take the protein math and apply it to DNA, the system the creates the proteins, what is 1 divided by infinity? You also mention mutations, I'm sorry mutations are a Destruction of DNA not creation, this is a scientific fact and has been for decades... Again also this comes right back to the laws of thermodynamics. Corruption and chaos do not create systems of intelligence, complexity. Evolutionists have created a huge construct, filled with tons of pictures, charts, tree diagrams, all designed to fit their religious beliefs. It's not science and there is no proof, let alone evidence, just lies, deceit and a whole shit load of manipulation. At the end of the day, their whole system comes crashing down whenever simple and straight forward rational thought and scientific methods are applied.


RE: Pathetic Evolution
By unsprung on 12/14/2012 8:32:58 PM , Rating: 2
I'll give you some credit; there are some real actual science facts in your post. Unfortunately sticking together some loosely related facts and calling it fact by extension it is no way scientific.

Of course, I have as much chance of convincing you otherwise as you do me, specially a probability of 1 in 10^120.


RE: Pathetic Evolution
By retrospooty on 12/14/2012 9:16:41 PM , Rating: 2
You are seriously delusional. Please don't breed.


RE: Pathetic Evolution
By heerohawwah on 12/16/2012 2:53:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm afraid evolutionists already tried that, its called Eugenics. In the 1920s and 1930 American doctors and nurses sterlized over 50,000 people for being 'less evolved' than other people. What made them less evolved? They were people with visable disabilties, deaf or mute, or just plain poor. Becuase of course poor people wouldn't be poor if they were more evolved. The Nazi's took this evolutionary thinking to the next level... It appears as though you are infact one of them.


RE: Pathetic Evolution
By retrospooty on 12/16/2012 6:41:19 PM , Rating: 2
this is your second ridiculous rant of a post and its also completely irrelevant to the topic at hand.I do not I stand for anything like that, I just don't want you to bread because you're a complete idiot and you would undoubtably teach your kids to be complete idiots and to believe the ridiculous nonsense you posted here.

Like I said the debate is over, and the intellectual side won it. You can live in denial all you want but evolution happened, the world is not flat and it is not the center of the universe. you can say God created evolution and you might even be right, but you can't say it didn't happen.


RE: Pathetic Evolution
By elderwilson on 12/15/2012 8:43:50 AM , Rating: 2
It’s nice that you at least try to use some science in your explanation, but your grasp of physics and biochemistry is tenuous at best. Your basic description of entropy is technically correct, but you are really reaching when you try to apply it to biological systems. You conveniently ignore the fact that Earth is orbiting a massive fusion reactor that has been providing energy for over 4 billion years. Eventually thermodynamics predicts the “Heat Death” of the universe, but that is trillions of years away and as long as there are concentrations of energy in stars life will most likely exist.

Your math concerning protein folding is nice, but also pointless. Most proteins form their tertiary structure on their own, thanks to your friend thermodynamics. As the polypeptide exits the ribosome, intermolecular forces immediately begin to shape the protein. Polypeptides achieve the lowest energy state possible in the given conditions. If the lowest energy state is nonfunctional then the gene that codes the protein will be at a disadvantage and be selected against. Primitive, even pre-cellular life was most likely RNA based which consisted of small, self-replicating molecules. Peptide chains evolved later as they provided advantages to systems that developed them. What works best is what propagates.
From experience I will safely assume that the core of you objection to evolution is based in religion. You cling to the fallacy that evolution and faith are at odds and mutually exclusive. Science doesn't undermine faith (unless the faith is weak to begin with), for the open-minded it reaffirms it.


RE: Pathetic Evolution
By heerohawwah on 12/16/2012 3:58:27 PM , Rating: 2
Just some brief comments regarding yours, simply adding energy/heat like the sun to the earth may indeed 'add' energy to the system but can not increase its complexity. Plants are highly complex organisms which convert sun light into chemical energy, highly efficent but not nearly 100%. (thermodynamics) So the question we end up at is, which came first, the plant or the chemical energy? The plant would have to exist first, fully complete and fully functional. Even the simplest living cell, living bascially on solar power, needs to have all the 'tech' in place to not only convert energy into different and usable forms, but also have the tech to consume it.
Also my math is straight forward and conclusive, protiens don't form on their own. They are put together by living organisms. Again, which came first?

You will find a good article regarding RNA here.

http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?cat...


RE: Pathetic Evolution
By gladiatorua on 12/15/2012 9:47:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
We know that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, a scientific fact.
No it's not. It's Newton's third law of motion.
quote:
Now this fact, includes un-avoidable losses, things like friction, heat/energy loss.
No, it doesn't.
This is the third law:
quote:
When a first body exerts a force F1 on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force F2 = -F1 on the first body. This means that F1 and F2 are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.

That's it.
quote:
Everything in the existence operates at a loss, and this is what science describes in the Laws of Thermodynamics.
Huh? Are you talking about Newtons mechanics or Thermodynamics? And no, that's not what the Laws of thermodynamics describe. 0th law defines temperature; 1st law is the law of conservation; 2nd law - the entropy of any isolated system not in thermal equilibrium almost always increases; and the 3rd law states that entropy of a perfect crystal(a system with a temperature of absolute zero) is zero.
So what are you talking about? I assume you mean the second law. But it only works for ISOLATED systems.
quote:
These principles also apply directly to systems of information, complexity, language, data, etc...
Huh? How?
quote:
Take a book for example and its contents, a very basic paper and ink, a one dimensional data storage device. A book cannot write itself and cannot come into being by chance or by any random means. It would be un-scientific to say it could because that would violate the laws of thermodynamics.
This is a bunch of un-scientific BS that has nothing to do with laws of thermodynamics.
quote:
The SETI project is another example, searching space for signs of intelligence by looking for radiation signals that contain information or intelligent data. The entire premise of the project rests on the correct assumption; that random background radiation cannot and will not produce radiation signals which contain information.
As long as there is someone to perceive them as a pattern, it can contain "information".
quote:
Ironically evolutionists claim the exact opposite that random chaos can create life, and literally move from a state of low energy to high energy (or complexity).
No they don't. No random chaos. And what does it have to do with low or high energy?
quote:
If we attempt to calculate the probability of an average-sized protein consisting of 400 amino acids being selected only from left-handed amino acids, we come up with a probability of 1 in 2^400, or 10^120. Just for a comparison, the number of electrons in the universe is estimated at 10^79, which although vast, is a much smaller number.
And 10^300 is the number of outcomes if you flip a coin 1000 times. So?
quote:
Even the infamous 'Lucy' is know if be made up of over a dozen different animals.
How is Lucy infamous?

So, your wall of text mostly contains BS. Or idiotic conclusions. In our age of freely distributed information, ignorance is not an excuse.


RE: Pathetic Evolution
By retrospooty on 12/15/2012 3:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
LOL...

I know, the guy dismisses mountains of evidence from 4 different scientific disciplines that all colloborate with each other that proves evolution happened. Not to mention every scientist on the planet. All dismissed over a ridiculous Christian pre-scripted talking point fabricated to meet their own agenda. Yes, the worlds scientists are all wrong and all that evidence is faked. LOL. Its a global conspiracy going back 100's of years involving 100's of 1000's of scientists all over the planet. LOL.

I was raised Christian, my name is Chris, my mother and grandmother are extremely into the whole Jesus thing, Grandma is as evangelical as Tebow (and then some) and even they know evolution happened... The religious "debate" is that if intelligent design vs. purely organic evolution. Anyone that thinks that evolution didnt happen is a complete uneducated moron. The debate is over and its been over a long time. He may as well be arguing that the world is flat and that the Earth is the center of the universe. Its that ridiculous at this point.


RE: Pathetic Evolution
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/16/2012 10:35:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Evolution simply did not happen because there is no scientific way for it to happen.
Yes it did... and it's still happening.


RE: Pathetic Evolution
By tng on 12/17/2012 1:46:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
and it's still happening.
He should know about evolution intimately, since it probably has been pretty hard for him to get a date and hence, promote his genes.


RE: Pathetic Evolution
By Magnus909 on 12/17/2012 10:32:09 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If we attempt to calculate the probability of an average-sized protein consisting of 400 amino acids being selected only from left-handed amino acids, we come up with a probability of 1 in 2^400, or 10^120. Just for a comparison, the number of electrons in the universe is estimated at 10^79, which although vast, is a much smaller number. 1 divided by a number so vast, is effectively ZERO. And that's just for 1 single protein not thousands and ignoring all the other complex devices that are needed as well.


This is assuming that everything is happening at once, like in intelligent design.
In evolution this happens in small steps, where each step takes is further one bit and it wouldn't be like combining 400 different amino acids.

You could just as well take the example further with a human and how the individual amino acids combine to form a human.
Hell, just can just take it further by trying to combine atoms to make a human being. After all in the beginning there were only some basic atoms and no molecules in the early universe. (and even further back just hydrogene and before that just plasma and.....)

You just take an arbitrary point to serve as an example, making the wrong assumption that all the parts have to be combined at the same point in time, getting the extremely high number for the number of permutations.


"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke














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