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#26 Pess

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 12:26 PM

The basic idea goes like this:
i am arguing that life is an open system that is getting energy from the sun.BUT i am also arguing that if you consider life as a WHOLE (without dividing it into species ,organisms, etc) ,you get a sum of just RANDOM chemical reactions.
The natural history of these reactions led to the forms we see today.Through our perspective, while we are studying this history, we see it as evolution. We see everywhere determinism, but its only because we are the results of all these.


I disagree with two of your statements:

"random chemical reactions"-- If I have several hundred alphabet blocks and I dump them on the floor until I get a recognizable word. I then 'dump' the same way to get that same word--it is not random because I am purposely selecting how I dump the blocks so that same word comes up again. Now occasionally I drink and I slightly muff the dumping of the blocks in such a way a new, more complex word, or even a sentence pops up. I say WOW! and I switch to the new method of dumping the blocks so I repeat the result.

This is not 'random' in the traditional sense since I purposely select for the outcome. Outcomes I don't like are not repeated. Same with selection pressures on these various random chemical reactions---selection favors combinations & reactions that can repeat themselves (ie: make sense) and discards what doesn't. Given enough selections over a long enough period of time and you can eventually get enough of the 'spilled block words' to form a coherent novel.

Determinism, by definition, states that given an intial set of circumstances than there is only one possible outcome. I guess this is correct if your outcome is 'life'. But any narrower than that and you off script.

Remember, selection pressures can only work on what spills out of random mistake events.

I would guess that any given mistake potential to be beneficial would be almost vanishingly small yet if you repeat billions of times that is enough to move you forward.

Pesse (Monkeys & typewriters & such) Mist

#27 Joad

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 12:28 PM

Let's get even more basic.

Look at what happens when we try to define a "planet".

Or anything, really.

Classification is the result of a human thought process that works well enough for practical purposes but breaks down when we really get into the details. This is because classification is, as it were, a "digital" process that divides reality into discrete areas. But reality isn't "digital"; it is "analog," as it were, a dynamically complex continuum of interrelationships. (Yes, I know about quantum theory and am not for a second dismissing it: but even the quantum unit is a matter of something in some sort of motion: the "vibration" is integral to the identity of the "particle," so two different categories (mass and motion) are related in such a way as to upset the categorical distinction. Or, to use a simpler example, water ice is, well, a solid at a certain temperature (energy of molecular motion), but it isn't a solid (ice) any longer at a higher energy. So what "is" water ice? A combination of matter and motion, neither one nor the other alone.

There is nothing to be ashamed of in thinking in discrete categories, but let's just say that the definition of what life "is" is not something that we are going to be able to determine.

#28 Jarad

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:16 PM

I think of it like this:
We can define "red" vs. "orange" in the rainbow - let's say that the dividing line between them is at 620 nm. But to our eye, we can barely distinguish 619 vs. 621 nm, even though one is now defined as "orange" and the other "red". If we look at 590 vs 650, we will all clearly agree that 590 is orange and 650 is red, but the border is somewhat arbitrary.

Same for most things we define. They aren't black and white, they are continuum where the dividing lines are up for discussion.

Jarad

#29 minos

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:50 AM

Pess:
How do you define what is correct?
Selection favors combinations and reactions that offers surviving benefit.But when we have random chemical reactions, wont the most unstable and non sustainable reactions disappear or transform into more succesful(not leading to dead end) ones?
So given the perspective into which we judge the phenomenon , doesnt this mean that they are the two different options of the same coin?


Joan:
Of course Nature is the Great Authority.We just try to adjust our definitions to explain some phenomena.Discrepancies between our definitions and reality, are due to various reasons that range between incomplete theories and definitions on one side, and we "got it all totally wrong" on the other...

#30 llanitedave

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:45 PM

How do you define what is correct?


Taking this approach will steer you wrong most of the time. You don't "define" what is correct so much as you "discover" what is correct.

#31 faackanders2

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:57 PM

When they look for evidence of life on Mars, they are looking for past life. If something lived, it did have life.

cell (plant and animal), bacteria, and viruses all live.
Even a waterbear can go dormant for years and come back to life, and that is a celled creature.

#32 Pess

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:55 PM

Pess:
How do you define what is correct?
Selection favors combinations and reactions that offers surviving benefit.But when we have random chemical reactions, wont the most unstable and non sustainable reactions disappear or transform into more succesful(not leading to dead end) ones?
So given the perspective into which we judge the phenomenon , doesnt this mean that they are the two different options of the same coin?


I'm a little shaky on what you mean here.

There really is no right or wrong reaction here. There is only what is repeatable. Repeatability is ultimately what is selected for.

And, yes, errors and none reproducible mistakes probably out number those mistakes that are sustainable by billions to one...but having one endure means it stays around until the next mistake either improves on it or adds to it in a way that makes it even MORE reproducible.

Likely the first cell precursors were simple vacuoles that contained complex organic molecules. Certain configurations of this molecules perhaps help sustain the vacuoles integrity over a wide variety of environmental conditions and, so, these types of vacuoles and their contents were selected for.

Now I understand it is a big leap from a vacuole that is not alive and a simple bag of organic chemicals, but selection pressures work just the same.

In fact selection pressures are all around us. You don't see quill & ink pens around any more because the ball point pen was invented and people 'selected' the better organism. Directed selection, yes. But a selection pressure nonetheless.

viruses probably came about after a bit of RNA got caught inside a bit of protein cell wall. Bacteria growing together constantly exchange genetic material with each other in a similar manner.

Now you get a piece of genetic RNA or DNA that calls for its own replication and then 'bumps' into a healthy cell and, viola, you have a new organism.

Pesse (..and 1 billion flu virus varients this season alone..) Mist

#33 minos

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:25 PM

Llanitedave: What is correct is what you discover, but if you don’t take human perspective into account, then you might make the same mistake as those that believe that earth is flat, or the sun is rotating around earth, just because that is what we observe with our eyes.Just the fact that we abandoned geocentricism , didn’t make us absolutely objective observers for everything yet.I think there is still way to go…..


Pess:To make it simple, you are arguing that vacuoles and the property of repeatability are causes of life.Well, I am saying that they both are the results of it.The natural history of complex chemical reactions, especialy ,when they went organic and complicated, was the creation of forms like vacuols.There is no meaning in isolating parts of life.A vacuole if left alone, will not lead to the creation of life, but it will most probably get destroyed.Life can only exist as an entire entity instead.
As on repeatability, I think its obvious that in a chaos of chemical reactions, only those with some kind of repeatability and periodicity will not lead to a dead end and will be able to continue In the long term.So, generally, these are the ones that survived, and that’s what through our perspective understand as rebirth, reproduction etc etc

p.s. I want to thank you for your useful feedback , that helps me building up a different pattern and analyze it for logical flaws.Someone must be aware of what he has before he seeks specific experiments to check its validity.

#34 Pess

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 05:32 PM

but it will most probably get destroyed.Life can only exist as an entire entity instead.


I totally disagree with this statement. I don't think you can look at the spectrum of organic chemical reactions and say..'at this point there be life'...

If life can be boiled down to a series of organic chemical reactions, then at what point does a series of chemical reactions become the chemistry of life?

Pesse (Life is an arbitrary boundary.) Mist

#35 Jarad

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:39 PM

I don't think you can look at the spectrum of organic chemical reactions and say..'at this point there be life'...



Sure we can. We just have to be aware that there is a certain amount of arbitrariness to where we put the dividing line, and that no matter where we put it, there is going to be very little difference between things are close to the line on either side.

There is no univerally accepted definition of life, but I like this one.

The key is to base the definition on things that make sense. By the current definition, viruses are not alive. They are clearly close, but not quite. We could move the definition to allow them to be alive, but then we'll just have the same issue again with prions, which are a bit further down the scale, etc.

Jarad

#36 llanitedave

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:02 PM

Llanitedave: What is correct is what you discover, but if you don’t take human perspective into account, then you might make the same mistake as those that believe that earth is flat, or the sun is rotating around earth, just because that is what we observe with our eyes.Just the fact that we abandoned geocentricism , didn’t make us absolutely objective observers for everything yet.I think there is still way to go…..


Of course there's a way to go. There always will be. And you're going to make mistakes. Don't fear them. They're part of the discovery process. The biggest mistake is when we enshrine our previous mistakes in dogma and prohibit the continued quest, the questioning of what we think we know, and the freedom to change our views.

The great thing about the scientific method is that it doesn't require objective observers, only broadly curious ones. You may lack objectivity and I may lack objectivity, but as long as our curiosity remains intact, and we remain free to disagree and to expose different sides of a question, then we can continue to drill down towards deeper and broader answers -- and the new questions that follow from them.

#37 Pess

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:30 AM

I don't think you can look at the spectrum of organic chemical reactions and say..'at this point there be life'...



Sure we can. We just have to be aware that there is a certain amount of arbitrariness to where we put the dividing line, and that no matter where we put it, there is going to be very little difference between things are close to the line on either side.

There is no univerally accepted definition of life, but I like this one.

The key is to base the definition on things that make sense. By the current definition, viruses are not alive. They are clearly close, but not quite. We could move the definition to allow them to be alive, but then we'll just have the same issue again with prions, which are a bit further down the scale, etc.

Jarad



I think you made my point: 'There be life here.' is an arbitrary point.

But the disconcerting thing that follows is that, if life is such an arbitrary point in a series of progressively more complex organic chemical reactions, then doesn't it follow that life is no more 'special' than, say, a neat rock?

Does my Pet Rock have the same right to existence as me?

I granite to you that this is a silly argument, but is it a valid one?

And before you dismiss my argument because rocks can't 'think', just reflect on how many people we know that have rocks-for-brains.

Pesse (Just say'n) Mist

#38 Ravenous

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:56 AM

I granite to you that this is a silly argument, but is it a valid one?


That's a Gneiss way of putting it. :)

Isn't life made (partly) of rock anyway? It's the arrangement that's key. (Or part of the key.)

#39 Pess

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:46 AM

I granite to you that this is a silly argument, but is it a valid one?


That's a Gneiss way of putting it. :)

Isn't life made (partly) of rock anyway? It's the arrangement that's key. (Or part of the key.)



I think 'we' are just a planetary infestation that will shortly be sanitized by an AI silicon wafer based lifeform. Just like we came from single celled lifeforms that we 'sanitize' out of existence with ammonia & bleach, they came from us and have their own version of 'Mr. Clean' (in the heavy-duty planetary spray formula).

Pesse (The Fungus among us is us.) Mist :help:

#40 llanitedave

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:29 PM

<moderator>
Now let's don't start in on whether humans are worthy or deserving of existence here, or the moderator will start singing "Desiderata" in your ear non-stop for a week!
</moderator>

#41 Pess

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:11 PM

<moderator>
Now let's don't start in on whether humans are worthy or deserving of existence here, or the moderator will start singing "Desiderata" in your ear non-stop for a week!
</moderator>


Not sure where you got the 'deserving' label as one lifeforms microbe is another's Homo Erectus.

In fact, I think the Drake equation lacks one crucial element: How long does a single species endure before its successor deems it not worth the bother of contacting?

I mean we have some primitive people inhabiting Rain Forests on Earth today that we not only refrain from contacting but go out of our way to prevent contact so their 'societies & culture' can endure.

Let's face it, known human civilization only spans about 5000 years which is laughable short in the Universal scheme of things.

Will we even recognize ourselves in another 500 years? Will some over lifeform supersede us or will we change ourselves into something unrecognizable?

What is the span (in years) in which one civilization thinks it is worth the bother to contact another and establish two-way communications?

Pesse (I need a drink) Mist

#42 scopethis

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:38 PM

yea..looking at the history of "humans", it seems that our main objective is war and combat and endless efforts to exterminate one another...

#43 llanitedave

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:20 PM

Will we even recognize ourselves in another 500 years? Will some over lifeform supersede us or will we change ourselves into something unrecognizable?


If our lineage survives, the second option is inevitable. If the second does happen, then the first will have also occurred by default.

It might take more than 500 years, though.

#44 Pess

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:32 AM

yea..looking at the history of "humans", it seems that our main objective is war and combat and endless efforts to exterminate one another...


You say it like it's a bad thing.

Seriously though, it'll be interesting to see what mankind does when life is extended. At some point genetic manipulation and organ replacement will have the potential to extend life hundreds of years.

Artificial life support systems may extend 'concious' life into the thousand year span.

Talk about your 'Population bomb'

Perhaps War is evolutions way of thinning out the herd.

Pesse (I bet we all become like the The Gamesters of Triskelion) Mist

#45 scopethis

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:22 PM

that's an interesting thought, being able to live a thousand years..yet would one want ruthless dictators to rule for hundreds of years...and could Mama Earth's resources support billions of humans with lifespans that long...just think of the lines at Wal-Mart.....

#46 Jarad

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:31 PM

'There be life here.' is an arbitrary point.



All definitions are arbitrary, to some degree. That doesn't mean they aren't useful. The universe is made of wide spectra in many areas, but is still useful to classify those spectra into segments (alive or not, red vs. orange, species vs. breed, planet vs. dwarf planet, etc.). Where we put the dividing is always a judgement call to some degree or another.

But changing our definition doesn't change the thing we are defining - it stays the same, we just call it a different name. If I decided to divide the visible spectrum into 10 colors instead of 7, any given photon is still the same as it was before. Just because I start calling one with a wavelength midway between red and orange "orand" doesn't actually change the light.

Does my Pet Rock have the same right to existence as me?


What makes you think you have a right to exist? :whistle:

Jarad

#47 ColoHank

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 02:46 PM

Malthus thought that disease, famine, and warfare would serve to limit population growth, but then it appears that wars actually stimulate increases in population. Yeah, a few combatants get killed, but everyone else is making babies. If someone gets testy someday and triggers a massive thermonuclear exchange, however, Malthus may yet prove to be right about the effects of warfare on our species.

And if catastrophic climate change and a superbug or two come along, he may be right about disease and famine, as well.

#48 llanitedave

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:01 PM

What makes you think you have a right to exist? :whistle:


It's self-evident!

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#49 llanitedave

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:08 PM

Malthus thought that disease, famine, and warfare would serve to limit population growth, but then it appears that wars actually stimulate increases in population. Yeah, a few combatants get killed, but everyone else is making babies. If someone gets testy someday and triggers a massive thermonuclear exchange, however, Malthus may yet prove to be right about the effects of warfare on our species.

And if catastrophic climate change and a superbug or two come along, he may be right about disease and famine, as well.


It's situational. Some cultures have engaged in chronic warfare which was a de facto means of population control in environments where disease rates were low and birthrates high. Some of the New Guinea highland populations come to mind.

Among other species, Malthus' ideas about disease and famine, and possibly predation as a proxy to war, have been well-vindicated.

There are, of course, a variety of other means of population-limiting measures that different species engage in depending on their particular lifestyle. But they can all be incorporated into what is essentially a Malthusian theory.

#50 scopethis

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:02 PM

life on Earth requires a life form to kill another life form in order to survive...






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