General Question

Steve_A's avatar

The big bang theory and first cell?

Asked by Steve_A (5120points) April 3rd, 2010 from iPhone

How do you think the first living organism or cell was made , when the big bang happened life as we know was not possible.

But if matter can not be created or destroyed then the cell or life as we know was made from around us.

Is it possible there was a single chemical reaction that gave spawn to life and began evolution at that very moment.

I have heard there are things living in very extreme conditions once thought nothing could live.

What do you think?

These are just things and ideals forming in my head so in what ways is my thinking wrong,flawed, etc…. What things do I need to consider besides that it is a very big theory and is not proven but still makes me curious.

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80 Answers

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dpworkin's avatar

4.5 billion years or so passed before the first form of cellular life emerged. Why conflate the Big Bang with life? They are separate phenomena. Life emerged haphazardly and by accident. There just happened to be enough space, enough time and enough material for the accident to have occurred.

XOIIO's avatar

@dpworkin A quote from my favorite guy ever:

Life is just nature’s trick to keep meat fresh
-The Doctor

ShiningToast's avatar

Check out Abiogenesis, the modern origin of life theory.

More specifically the Miller-Urey Experiment, which demonstrates that amino acids (“the building blocks of life”) can be formed through natural chemical reactions.

Shuttle128's avatar

Oh brother….here we go. ;-)

mrrich724's avatar

@XOIIO

Ill, that just sounds gross.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

While it is to your benefit to be familiar with common Origins theories such as Abiogenesis, perhaps you would also benefit from knowledge of less popular, yet altogether valid alternative hypotheses.

The Inorganic Incubator theory has a strong, yet silent following.
“Professor Martin and Dr Russell have long had problems with the existing hypotheses of cell evolution and their theory turns traditional views upside down. They claim that cells came first. The first cells were not living cells but inorganic ones made of iron sulphide and were formed not at the earth’s surface but in total darkness at the bottom of the oceans.”

And as far as I’m concerned, Intelligent Evolution has pretty much falsified any and all tenets of Abiogenesis. I’ve personally researched I.E. for nearly a decade and cannot find one problem with it. The short version simply asks for one documented mechanism that can demonstrate a predictable, repeatable, testable, falsifiable method for code to arise from random chaotic processes alone. Thus far, no mechanism has been demonstrated, and so Abiogenesis is more fantasy than theory.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Shuttle128 uh no… I’m not going there. We have hundreds of pages on this discussion between the two of us already. If the questioner really wants to know, they can search it out. I’m not getting dragged into a debate on this one. Just passing along some alternative info for the reader to pursue on their own. I don’t even buy the Inorganic Incubator theory. But in fairness, thought it would be an interesting option.

Pick your religion.

davidbetterman's avatar

Oh sure…life just happened by accident and all the symmetry and all of our incredible body functions (heart, lungs, brain, liver, islets of Langerhans etc…) are all just accidental random occurrences and we happened to come forth out of the ooze. LOL…Imagine believing that kind of tripe all of your life!

dpworkin's avatar

Yeah. You should try to imagine what accepting the stark truths of ontology feels like.

davidbetterman's avatar

LOL…It is fun to only quote the ideas of others, rather than having ideas of your own…Are you now attempting to quote Aristotle? Why not just come out and say what you mean?

dpworkin's avatar

What did Aristotle ever say that sounded anything like that?

davidbetterman's avatar

“Students of the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) first used the word ‘metaphysica’ (literally “beyond the physical”) to refer to what their teacher described as “the science of beings qua beings” – later known as ontology. ‘Qua’ means ‘in the capacity of’. Hence, ontology is inquiry into a being in so much as it is a being, or into beings insofar as they exist, and not insofar as, for instance, particular facts obtained about them or particular properties relating to them. More specifically, ontology concerns determining whether some categories of being are fundamental, and asks in what sense the items in those categories can be said to “be”. For Aristotle there are four different ontological dimensions: i) according to the various categories or ways of addressing a being as such, ii) according to its truth or falsity (e.g. fake gold, counterfeit money), iii) whether it exists in and of itself or simply ‘comes along’ by accident, and iv) according to its potency, movement (energy) or finished presence (Metaphysics Book Theta).”

dpworkin's avatar

Oh, so I said the word “ontology”? Do you know what it means? It has nothing to do with Aristotle in the context in which I used it. You are really fighting way out of your weight class, pal. You barely read what is being said to you. Just enough to misunderstand it.

Bugabear's avatar

Awww someone already got to the Miller-Urey Experiment. @ShiningToast . Essentially Big bang. Rocks made planets. Water formed. Clouds came. Made lightning. Zapped some amino acids into action. Boom. Life.

davidbetterman's avatar

LOL…so now you think you are fighting! What a joke…

squidcake's avatar

Morgan Freeman created the first cell out of one of his freckles on the same day he created the universe with his voice.

I mean, come on, everyone knows that.

dpworkin's avatar

@davidbetterman You haven’t addressed the issue. Re-Google the terms in my original sentence that you didn’t understand, and try again.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Bugabear You can’t be serious… are you? The Miller Urey has been soundly proven to not be indicative of the conditions on earth at the time life arose. And building blocks do not a code make. Miller Urey does not account for where the information came from. Nothing Abiogenesis does.

davidbetterman's avatar

@dpworkin There is nothing to address. You are wrong, and neither you nor I will be able to prove to the satisfaction of the other.

You say life happened by accident. I say it happened on purpose and with purpose.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Though I agree with you about life, because life requires code, and all codes are purposeful, what does @davidbetterman claim about the cosmos being purposeful? There has been no code found in the cosmos to illustrate purpose of any sort.

davidbetterman's avatar

There are plenty of codes…There are zip codes, area codes, and morse codes…

dpworkin's avatar

Wait I am wrong that what? That a man in the sky with a beard made a man out of mud 6,000 years ago? Or I used the word “ontology” wrong? I can’t criticize you for your religious beliefs – they can’t be settled by science. They are a matter of belief, and I respect your beliefs. I do not respect your style of discussion which relies upon unprovable or sometimes even just plain wrong declarative statements.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Non answer @davidbetterman.

No code has been revealed to explain the existence of the cosmos. No purpose can be determined unless there is a code to communicate that purpose upon. No code = No purpose.

@dpworkin I promise not to debate. No desire. But I’m very interested in your earlier comment, ”...accepting the stark truths of ontology…”.

Would it be easy enough to share your perspective on this? I’m interested.

dpworkin's avatar

I believe in a random, contingent, temporal ontology. That offers no hope of design intelligence in evolution, or dualism, or life after death, or any of the other comforting fairy tales some others appear to need.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Well yes I gathered that a long time ago about your beliefs. Are those the stark truths you spoke of?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

How long ago did you come to these realizations?

dpworkin's avatar

I don’t believe it is possible to prove any of these things, so my views are still evolving. So far nothing has convinced me that I am wrong, but I am willing to be convinced. I require empirical evidence from the sensorium as proof.

davidbetterman's avatar

That a man in the sky with a beard made a man out of mud 6,000 years ago?”

Now you are just talking plain crazy. What bearded man are you referencing? Moses? Abraham? George Carlin?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@dpworkin Yes I’d like empirical evidence too. I’m sure you are quite aware that I believe I have it.

But, like you, I must be very careful not to enshrine my beliefs to the point of creating a personal dogma. One of my favorite philosophers reminds me that believing in anything is a step in the wrong direction. It often prevents further consideration. I don’t know about you, but that’s hard for me to live by sometimes.

Curiously, I’m wondering what you would consider as valid empirical evidence for an immaterial realm, or a God being, or an afterlife of sorts. I personally don’t buy into the religious depictions of such things. But I cannot allow that evil to discredit the possibilities either.

dpworkin's avatar

As I said, all proof must come from the sensorium. I would need to experience these things or entities as quotidian events, not as feelings or ideas. If I find myself playing a harp on a cloud after I die I will be surprised, but I will get used to it.

davidbetterman's avatar

If you wind up playing a harp on a cloud after you die,everyone else on that cloud will be far more surprised.

dpworkin's avatar

I believe Aristotle said that.

davidbetterman's avatar

Not so…‘Twas Plato

laureth's avatar

Plenty of wonderful texts with many and various insights on this topic have been written by educated experts and thinkers in the field. While Fluther is a pretty decent place to come for things like advice about frizzing pancakes and how to get stains out of blouses, I’m afraid we’re generally out of our depth for definitive information on this subject (but long on conjecture, argument, opinion, dogma and rhetoric).

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@dpworkin
OK, if proof from the sensorium is what you require, then have you ever pursued getting it? My experience tells me that the God being cares so much for us that it does not force itself upon us. It will allow us to live and believe anything we like.

Have you ever actually pursued a routine of prayer, or meditation? Perhaps psychedelic drugs? A warm cup of Ayahuasca would certainly give you new things to consider. Have you never been contacted by a close friend that has recently died? An afternoon in the sweat lodge with a Shaman? A reading from the I-Ching? Divination of bloody entrails perhaps?

I’m not advocating any of these things. Just wondering if you’ve ever made an attempt at pursuing “proof” of an immaterial realm in any way.

dpworkin's avatar

I have done many of those things and many more. We all yearn for those experiences that we have come to call spiritual. They are very satisfying,and the normative urge is to have more of them. I like to have sex, and to walk in the woods, too.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Me too. Though the wood walk has been more frequent than the sex recently.

lilikoi's avatar

Read Dawkins The Selfish Gene. He talks about this in the first couple of chapters.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@lilikoi

I noticed on your profile page the first thing you mentioned is that you enjoy unscrambling words. In your experience, is it possible for a set of scrambled letters (codons) to arrange themselves into a meaningful word (gene), sentence (operon), paragraph (regulon), chapter (protein), without the assistance of a mind to make them do so?

Remember, this chain of letters is 6 billion bits long. I am unaware of any natural mechanism other than mind that can assemble a meaningful sentence, or a complete communications protocol for it to function upon. I see no empirical evidence to suggest such a thing could occur by random chance. And this code is very meaningful and unique indeed. Mine means Me and Yours means You.

And the math has demonstrated that there is nowhere close to enough matter or time available since the big bang for such a thing to even be remotely possible.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Oh hell, why did I open my big mouth?

dpworkin's avatar

And the math has demonstrated that there is nowhere close to enough matter or time available since the big bang for such a thing to even be remotely possible.

Bahhhloney. Let’s see the formulae.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“Even if the observable universe were filled with monkeys typing for all time, their total probability to produce a single instance of Hamlet would still be less than one in 10^183,800. As Kittel and Kroemer put it, “The probability of Hamlet is therefore zero in any operational sense of an event…”, and the statement that the monkeys must eventually succeed “gives a misleading conclusion about very, very large numbers. This is from their textbook on thermodynamics, the field whose statistical foundations motivated the first known expositions of typing monkeys.

dpworkin's avatar

That has nothing to do with self-replicating proteins.

Shuttle128's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies LOL. It’s okay, I predicted this would be fodder for such a discussion. I have new thoughts on it anyway so it may be worth it.

Meaning is subjective. It takes mind to ascribe meaning or create meaning yes, but representation can arise through natural processes. We ascribe meaning to the representation that is inherent in DNA. The representation itself is not meaningful unless a mind ascribes meaning to it. Representation don’t necessarily require meaning. In order for something to have a meaning it’s representation must have been intended by a mind. You’ve heard my reasons for believing this before and I’m pretty sure that my explanation for it would be simply rewriting what I’ve posted before. If you’re interested I might say it again though.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@dpworkin Self replication does not create meaningful information. Copies do not a sentence make.

Shuttle128's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Perfect copies don’t lead to changes in outcome, but imperfect copies coupled with natural representation appears to lead to natural selection.

dpworkin's avatar

I know you are quite involved with information theory, and I am not intellectually equipped to argue with you in that arena, but I don’t understand where in your schema you are allowing for change, e.g. mutation.

At any rate we will just have to disagree. It seems quite likely to me that it could have happened simply because it did and that the law of parsimony would seem to rule out supernatural causes.

dpworkin's avatar

Ahh, I see @Shuttle128 has anticipated me here.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Shuttle128

James Shapiro writes:

“The conventional view is that genetic change comes from stochastic, accidental sources: radiation, chemical, or oxidative damage, chemical instabilities in the DNA, or from inevitable errors in the replication process. However, the fact is that DNA proofreading and repair systems are remarkably effective at removing these non-biological sources of mutation.”

“Evolutionary genomic change occurs largely by a process of Natural Genetic Engineering.”

”…the degree to which these genome reorganization activities are not random is poorly appreciated. Non-randomness is evident at three levels: mechanism, timing, and sites of action.”

“These examples make it clear that natural genetic engineering occurs episodically and non-randomly in response to stress events that range from DNA damage to the inability to find a suitable mating partner.”

“Molecular genetics has amply confirmed McClintock’s discovery that living organisms actively reorganize their genomes (5). It has also supported her view that the genome can “sense danger” and respond accordingly (56).”
LINK

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@dpworkin I don’t believe in the SuperNatural. In the spirit of parsimony, Sentient Authorship is the only mechanism that has been demonstrated to author codified information.

If there is in fact a God being, then it is perfectly natural for a God being to exist.

dpworkin's avatar

Also, I’m just curious: what do you think was going on during the 4.5 billion years or so on earth before unicellular life?

dpworkin's avatar

I’m sorry, but you make a lot of declarative statements that I can’t evaluate. It seems like petitio principii to me.

davidbetterman's avatar

Growth

Dpworkin is just begging the question…

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@dpworkin “I don’t understand where in your schema you are allowing for change, e.g. mutation.”

A.I., Computer Science, all other Information Sciences confirm that code can and does re-author itself based upon reaction to external stimuli. I do not claim that everyone’s DNA must have been uniquely authored by a sentient being. But the programs that do re-author themselves were programmed with that functionality from the very beginning by a sentient author.

“Over the years I have found that it is difficult if not impossible to bring to consciousness of another person the nature of his tacit assumptions when, by some special experiences, I have been made aware of them. This became painfully evident to me in my attempts during the 1950s to convince geneticists that the action of genes had to be and was controlled. It is now equally painful to recognize the fixity of assumptions that many persons hold on the nature of controlling elements in maize and the manners of their operation. One must await the right time for conceptual change.”
Barbara McClintock

“A goal for the future would be to determine the extent of knowledge the cell has of itself, and how it utilizes this knowledge in a “thoughtful” manner when challenged.”
Barbara McClintock Gifts of Speech

dpworkin's avatar

@davidbetterman You have finally proven that you learned something! I was able to teach you what petitio principii means. Now you need to learn to use it properly in a sentence.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Shuttle128 “We ascribe meaning to the representation that is inherent in DNA.”

Beyond our human description, there is a full closed loop communications protocol complete with two entirely separate languages (ternary and quaternary) that are conducting very meaningful correspondence between one another completely independent of any human observation, intervention, or description. It means something very specific to itself. Nothing else in nature does such a thing.

davidbetterman's avatar

@dpworkin Ahh, it is truly a shame that you are so full of yourself, my good man. You have taught me nothing that I didn’t already know from Latin classes.

And you need to learn how to act civilly in your sentences.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@dpworkin I am thankful for our open and reasonable discussions. I certainly do appreciate your knowledge base. I’m sorry to see you are so often baited and antagonized.

Bugabear's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Obviously thats not a proper explanation but it’ll do.

Shuttle128's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies “Noise… Entropy”

Even entropy abides by rules. Stars existed before we did.

How does a code mean anything to an inanimate object? Meaningful assumes some conscious observer that ascribes meaning to a process. If these DNA processes existed without observation by an intelligence then they would have no meaning, only representation.

The jump from representation to meaning is what I have a problem with, I think. There are plenty of physical systems in which the physical structure represents final results whether an intelligence is around to observe it or not. This does require a modest form of realism to accept but I don’t think it’s completely unacceptable to all empiricists. It simply requires that the causal natures of physical objects (whether we’ve described them correctly or not) do indeed act similarly to how we’ve observed them while not observing them.

Not everything we’ve ascribed meaning to actually has representation. People used to think (some still do) that the planetary positions dictated their lives. We ascribed meaning to the positions of heavenly bodies even though there was no real representation present. People think things have real meaning when our ascribed meaning coincides with natural representations. I think this is rather anthropocentric.

dpworkin's avatar

@Shuttle128 Thanks for articulating what I have been thinking. You do it so much better than I.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The difference between meaning and representation can be determined by the existence of code.

No code, and we may only ascribe meaning to a thing after it has assembled.
hot air + cold air + wind + time + pressure = tornado

But with genuine code, as DNA is, meaning is ascribed before a thing is assembled.
ATCG defines you before you have assembled, every bit as much as a set of instructions for a cheap office desk defines it before it is assembled. Code predetermines a thing in advance of the thing.

With code, the meaning is already present. Without code, the meaning is assigned afterwords. Get it, after words… meaning can only be determined with words… (code).

That’s what code is. Thought manifest into physical reality with code.

dpworkin's avatar

That makes it’s “self-awareness” mysterious but not inexplicable, and without resorting to a guiding sentience.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I don’t believe DNA is self aware. But I do believe that it is a quasi-intelligent mechanism, as witnessed by the tertiary and quaternary logic it incorporates. And I believe it was designed to be this way by a sentient entity far in advance of our becoming alive.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies i got to ask, how does ayhuasca make you believe more in a spiritual being? For me, psychedelic drugs just proved that religion was complete and utter bullshit.

davidbetterman's avatar

@uberbatman How does/do psychedelic drugs prove that religion was complete and utter bullshit?

Shuttle128's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies

If you say that meaning requires intent and purpose and that code is required to express that meaning then what you get is only that code is required to express intent and purpose. This doesn’t mean that the opposite is necessarily true.

“ATCG defines you before you have assembled…”

The orientation of any set of atoms defines how they interact with other atoms before they interact. If I were to identify the states (states that would exist whether I was aware of them or not) of a number of atoms that would be enough to determine the outcome of mixing those atoms together. Whether I had observed the states or not, those states would have existed. Whether I predicted the outcome of the atoms mixing or not, the final outcome would have resulted. This is because these atoms follow natural law. To say that ATCG defines me before I am assembled is to say exactly what I just said: that certain states of atoms inevitably lead to other specific states. There’s no reason to believe that natural code could not develop except your assertion that code must exhibit meaning.

Personally, I think feedback from natural systems could create code. When natural representation occurs then selective pressures can act on it whether it’s a full blown codified system or not. The natural development of code could very likely be explained by the selective pressures caused by information theory. We know that in order for representation to be most effective there should be certain transcription processes. If representation can develop naturally (and it seems that it can with feedback mechanisms) then I don’t see how information theory and natural selection could not apply to the representations.

If code, and more specifically life, is caused by feedback there should be some indication of this throughout biology, sociology, and technology that confirms this. When we look at various aspects of life, especially human life which nowadays relies heavily on code, we find exponentials everywhere. Exponential functions are a hallmark of positive feedback systems. Here are some examples:

Bacteria Population Growth
Human Population Growth
Computational Power Growth
World GDP Growth
World Energy Use
Number of items (books etc) Per Year in the Cambridge University Library
US Money Supply
Patent Applications

El_Cadejo's avatar

@davidbetterman There are too many similarities in what one experiences under the influence of psychedelics and what those clam to be holy experiences. Especially under the influence of Dimethyltryptamine. I’ve had my most spiritual experiences on this drug. I went to heaven. I felt welcomed by all these spiritual beings. I saw god. And yet… in the end it was all just a hallucination. Tricks from my brain.

Thing is DMT is naturally produced in the body and excreted into our brain during sleep(it is why we dream after all) and during NDE’s. Ya know the flash of light everyone says they see in a NDE their life flashing before their eyes in the blink of an eye. Its just our pineal gland pumping our brains full of DMT causing us to hallucinate.

Here is something interesting for you to consider. The Acacia tree appears a LOT in the bible. Its what the Ark was built from and is one of the only trees growing in the Sinai Desert where Moses recieved the commandments and saw a burning bush. Ya want to know something funny about the acacia tree… the bark contains copius amounts of Dimethyltryptamine. Convenient no?

TL:DR None of it is real. Its merely humans making up religion to explain that in which they dont understand.

davidbetterman's avatar

@uberbatman How do you know that your visit to heaven on Dimethyltryptamine wasn’t real?

dpworkin's avatar

These types of temporal lobe phenomena can be induced by electrostimulation. The subjects report immense good will, a feeling of oneness with the universe, etc.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@davidbetterman because i was fucking tripping face? I hate to tell ya, but your prophets were too.

30:1 And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of acaci wood shalt thou make it.

30:34 Take fragrant drugs—stacte, and onycha, and galbanum—fragrant drugs and pure frankincense; in like proportions shall it be.

30:35 And thou shalt make it into incense, a perfume, after the work of the perfumer, salted, pure, holy.

30:36 And thou shalt beat [some] of it to powder, and put [some] of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.

hmmm so a altar built out of a wood that is very hallucinogenic as are the fumes given off by it and a mixture of “fragrant drugs” burnt in a tent during their testimony. I dont know about you, but it sounds like their bakin out a tent, trippin face and then “connecting” with god.

.
.
As dpworkin said, these same states of mind can be accomplished through other means as well. I still fall back to what i said before, humans created religion to explain what they didnt understand.

Willowisp's avatar

You asked this question on an iPhone? Really? Perhaps the homology of the universe at both the subatomic and galactic order affirms that physics lies at the root of all evolution.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Shuttle128

But in these cases, the so called plan is built at the same time the phenomenon is assembled. That is not a plan, and it is certainly not a code that maps probability space A to B in advance. There is no receiver mechanism to interpret the initial state into the final outcome. There is no alphabet B to get the message even if there was an invisible receiver out there somewhere. This is not code, and there is no meaning until a mind observes and describes it.

Assuming you have a large enough computer to know of all possible states, your prediction of final outcome is still dependent upon past codified observations that allow you to make it. It’s like reverse engineering… pseudo code.

The same holds true for exponential observation. Recording historical reference and plotting exponential is no different than observing and codifying any trend. And it doesn’t take into account Free Will.

If the Singularity pre-determined the earth to exist 13.8 billion years ago, and therefor determined the leaves to fall in my yard… how did it pre-destine my free will to rake them up and burn them into ash? Was the leaf ash pre-destined from the initial state of the Singularity? Is that ash now pre-destined to blow upon the Alaskan permafrost?

Shuttle128's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies “But in these cases, the so called plan is built at the same time the phenomenon is assembled. That is not a plan, and it is certainly not a code that maps probability space A to B in advance.”

Feedback loops don’t necessarily have plans. However, the final outcome is dependent on initial conditions. When you feedback a final outcome into the initial conditions you can get a system that behaves very differently from randomness.

Take your TV static example. If I took the static on a TV screen and mapped each pixel to a feedback loop that introduces the pixels color (either black or white) back into the initial state then the likely result is to get an entirely white TV screen over the course of time. This is not information, but it certainly is not random. Now if some outside constraint altered the inputs then you might start to get things that appear non-random and symbolic. In the case of the TV screen I might apply a constraint that favors when the pixels form a checkerboard pattern.

Genetics seems to have started from similar humble beginnings. Certain chemical reactions occurred that were subject to constraints by natural selection and information theory. These constraints and the subsequent feedback from their ability to meet these constraints caused alterations to the initial conditions (the original chemical and its reactions).

The plan isn’t really a plan. Its the chemical reaction that creates an organism that abides by the constraints imposed on it by natural selection.

If there was really a plan, why doesn’t it stop where it is. A plan has ends and some means to get there. DNA simply reproduces, there is no ultimate goal of it and no end in sight. Organisms are a consequence of DNA reproducing and the constraints that are applied to its reproduction. Yes, we can identify current species by genetic markers. This is because the organisms are a direct result of the DNA reproducing within current constraints. If those constraints change, the DNA and thus organism change.

If DNA is a code why does it change with changing constraints (as in evolution)? Certainly no sentient author adds new code to the database of DNA symbolism before a new species emerges, yet when new species occur, new code is found. New information must occur within DNA to explain new features not found in other organisms. There was no sentient author for these new features and thus no plan for what the new “code” should do. This must mean that natural selection authors code and that it does not have a plan. Without natural selection new genetic code would not develop so don’t just say that it’s “front-loaded” to alter itself as it pleases. Natural selection is the causal driver of new genetic code.

“This is not code, and there is no meaning until a mind observes and describes it.”

You are right that no meaning exists until minds observe it. However, this doesn’t change that the initial conditions causally determine the outcomes. You seem again to be assuming that meaning must exist for for representation to occur. I’ve shown that feedback allows representation without sentient observance and that plans don’t exist for new features in new species.

“And it doesn’t take into account Free Will.”

Why should it, if what you call free will is a consequence of previous states of matter? What you call free will I have identified as a control loop feedback mechanism. Feedback systems are causal depending only on their initial orientation and inputs they receive.

“If the Singularity pre-determined the earth to exist 13.8 billion years ago, and therefor determined the leaves to fall in my yard… how did it pre-destine my free will to rake them up and burn them into ash?”

You are assuming that free will exists. I purport it does not. The initial conditions of the universe predestined your actions because your actions are a consequence of your brain’s neuronal pathways. Your neuronal pathways are a consequence of your interaction with the outside world and genetics. The outside world and genetics (I purport) are consequences of the initial conditions of the universe. Even if genetics were introduced by an intelligent being, that intelligent being did not create special rules for information that allow it to be acausal. Information is causal because it exists as states of matter. Information transfer, encoding, decoding, and storage must all be performed with physical entities undergoing physical state changes.

I totally did not see myself writing this much in response….sorry for the essay again.

Strauss's avatar

Cellular life and the Big Bang are two separate phenomena, but they have one thing in common: Novelty.

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