The key to life is information, not chemicals

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posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 11:49 AM
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Finally, it seems that mainstream science is starting to acknowledge the value of information regarding life.


A central challenge in studies of the origin of life is that we don’t know whether life is 'just' very complex chemistry, or if there is something fundamentally distinct about living matter. What’s at stake here is not merely an issue of complexification; the question of whether life is fully reducible to just the rules chemistry and physics (albeit in a very complicated manner) or is perhaps something different, forces us to assess precisely what it is that we mean by the very nature of the question of the emergence of life. I argue that if we are going to treat the origin of life as a solvable scientific inquiry (which we certainly can and should), we must assume, at least on phenomenological grounds, that life is nontrivially different from nonlife. As such, a fully reductionist picture may be inadequate to address the emergence of life. The essay focuses on how treating the unique informational narrative of living systems as more than just complex chemistry may open up new avenues for research in investigations of the origin of life. I conclude with a discussion of the potential implications of such a phenomenological framework – if successful in elucidating the emergence of life as a well-defined transition – on our interpretation of life as a fundamental natural phenomenon.

Source


Scientists trying to unravel the mystery of life's origins have been looking at it the wrong way, a new study argues.

Instead of trying to recreate the chemical building blocks that gave rise to life 3.7 billion years ago, scientists should use key differences in the way that living creatures store and process information, suggests new research detailed today (Dec. 11) in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

"In trying to explain how life came to exist, people have been fixated on a problem of chemistry, that bringing life into being is like baking a cake, that we have a set of ingredients and instructions to follow," said study co-author Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist and astrobiologist at Arizona State University. "That approach is failing to capture the essence of what life is about."

Living systems are uniquely characterized by two-way flows of information, both from the bottom up and the top down in terms of complexity, the scientists write in the article. For instance, bottom up would move from molecules to cells to whole creatures, while top down would flow the opposite way. The new perspective on life may reframe the way that scientists try to uncover the origin of life and hunt for strange new life forms on other planets.


Source

I have been arguing this for quite a while. I've also argued that information is immaterial, despite it requiring materials to be transferred, similar to how radio signals are not radios, but require the radio to be sent and received. Just like you can transfer the same information from ones and zeroes to ink on a paper, the information is independent of its medium, but requires the medium to manifest. I've been called religious, a creationist, an intelligent designer, and I don't know what else, for stating these. And I bet most other people, who don't pick sides, get put in boxes all the time. I've gotten tired of being labelled these things every time I argue this, while I was simply arguing from a logical perspective. Anything that's not the same as the current dogmatic views is labeled as pseudoscience, religion, or any other ridiculing term, to justify the dismissal of an argument, rather than tackling the subject in a logical reasonable way. And these are people who claim to support science, despite them acting in a completely different way themselves. What happened to "deny ignorance"?

I'm glad to see that science is slowly but surely pointing us in this direction. I also hope that information like this (no pun intended) will inspire people to think for themselves, rather than blindly following the current paradigm and dogma of the day. Free thinking is the only way forward, not blind obedience of authority.

Cheers.
edit on Tue Jan 22 2013 by DontTreadOnMe because: IMPORTANT: Using Content From Other Websites on ATS




posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 12:04 PM
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Information is lifeless.

Does a math problem comfort you if your mother dies?



posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 12:15 PM
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reply to post by PnezakYahakotima
 


Chemical causes are lifeless. Does a chemistry book comfort you if your mother dies?

I hope you see the irrelevance of your post.



posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 12:20 PM
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Neither....

I hope you see what I mean now.

Neither....

Both are merely functions, processes...

Life is not merely a function or a process.

There is something ineffable within life that resists discovery...

Science is digging a hole to China.



posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 12:45 PM
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Isn't there already a thread on this?



posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 12:58 PM
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Originally posted by PnezakYahakotima
Neither....

I hope you see what I mean now.

Neither....

Both are merely functions, processes...

Life is not merely a function or a process.

There is something ineffable within life that resists discovery...

Science is digging a hole to China.
Ok I see what you mean now. But, first thing's first. All these deterministic materialists on here, need to accept information as critical to life first, before we can go any further. Chemicals and information are both properties of life, but I think they are not enough. Like it was said in that article, based on only information a computer should be alive, but it isn't. Obviously chemistry isn't enough either. When we get these people to accept that information is a requirement for life and DNA, we can move on to get closer to defining life.



posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 01:02 PM
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reply to post by PnezakYahakotima
 



Information is lifeless.

Does a math problem comfort you if your mother dies?


A math problem would enable the formulation of a chemical compound that stimulates or replicates the effect of endorphins within the brain, essentially easing the mourning process and enabling you breathing room with which to come to peace with her death.

It's called antidepressants. Science made that, using math. Any more questions?
edit on 20-1-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 01:11 PM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


That's like saying that putting a superman costume on actually makes you superman.



posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 03:10 PM
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Funny, how this thread is being pretty much ignored. I guess since it's not a 'beat up on the creationists' thread, no one is interested.



posted on Jan, 20 2013 @ 04:17 PM
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It was an interesting read for sure. I still dont understand how nature went from molecules that can not make decisions ( or have instincts, or move) to molecules that "feel" and respond to their environment. Does the existence of life just mean that inanimate molecules have the ability to come alive? is it the molecules how are in charge of combining to form life, or is it the environment that pressures the molecules into combining, or a combo of both? I think its physical laws and chemistry which forced the quantity of elements to form the compounds and molecules, which caused the compounds and molecules to mingle,, the toughest problems are thinking about how it went from the environment pushing around the molecules to the molecules being able to give off their own push back to the environment, to acquire and seek new materials..

Nice thread on a really intriguing area of science, speculation and truth...



posted on Jan, 21 2013 @ 09:02 AM
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reply to post by ImaFungi
 


Glad to see at least someone is interested..

You pose some really great questions here, and no one really knows the answer yet. A reductionist approach, which is what's currently being experimented with, doesn't seem to work when it comes to life, so, it may be that the opposite route is what'll give the answers.



posted on Jan, 21 2013 @ 12:55 PM
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This is the same old tireless claim that you guys keep making and is already contained in dozens of threads here.. That's hardly a scientific study at all. Information does not exist without a human intelligence creating or organizing it. Why is that so difficult to understand? Information is our organization of data. It's not a separate entity. Humans can get information from anything. It just depends how in depth we want to study it. Suggesting that information is the key to life, doesn't make sense because we did not create life or DNA we made information out of it. The claims of it being digital or pertaining to information science have no merit. They are guesswork, just like everything else that people claim to support creationism or ID.
edit on 21-1-2013 by Barcs because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 21 2013 @ 01:06 PM
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reply to post by Barcs
 


Good to see that you think you know better than the Journal of the Royal society, and that you're so ingrained into your bias that you don't even try to understand, but are only interested in shoving things aside that don't fit your dogmatic worldview, and trying to masquerade it as being a logical scientific position.



posted on Jan, 21 2013 @ 04:59 PM
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Originally posted by Barcs
This is the same old tireless claim that you guys keep making and is already contained in dozens of threads here.. That's hardly a scientific study at all. Information does not exist without a human intelligence creating or organizing it. Why is that so difficult to understand? Information is our organization of data. It's not a separate entity. Humans can get information from anything. It just depends how in depth we want to study it. Suggesting that information is the key to life, doesn't make sense because we did not create life or DNA we made information out of it. The claims of it being digital or pertaining to information science have no merit. They are guesswork, just like everything else that people claim to support creationism or ID.
edit on 21-1-2013 by Barcs because: (no reason given)


Are you kidding? I thought it is common knowledge that cells communicate with one another, and that DNA is code/information that is utilized and decoded by ribosomes to manufacture proteins. Sequences that correlate to a product when interpreted have to be exact, to be meaningful and useful... this is what information is.... a sequence of physical symbols that can be interpreted to mean something, a description, a command. If the sequence is any different then what it is, the interpretation will be different. and the product will be different... just like the difference between me telling you to go get me a coffee, and go kill my dog... different sequences, different meanings, different results if decoded and followed..



posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 03:32 AM
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Originally posted by ImaFungi
Are you kidding? I thought it is common knowledge that cells communicate with one another, and that DNA is code/information that is utilized and decoded by ribosomes to manufacture proteins. Sequences that correlate to a product when interpreted have to be exact, to be meaningful and useful...


Cells communicating with each other and copying DNA does not prove a designer nor does it prove the information is digital / computer code. That is an ASSUMPTION. Don't confuse meaningful with functional.


this is what information is.... a sequence of physical symbols that can be interpreted to mean something, a description, a command. If the sequence is any different then what it is, the interpretation will be different. and the product will be different... just like the difference between me telling you to go get me a coffee, and go kill my dog... different sequences, different meanings, different results if decoded and followed..


There are no commands, there are no symbols involved. There are 4 repeating single digits that we have assigned to represent the count of paired atoms in the DNA structure. We created information out of the DNA. It doesn't just magically exist because it can replicate itself successfully. Claiming DNA is designed because of that is simply wishful thinking. It's not proven fact, and it's the same argument that's been posted on here dozens of time by the same people, and they act like they are bringing something new to the table every time. I do have to give the OP some credit, at least title isn't a fallacy like "Darwin proved wrong" or "Science against evolution" or "Proof of intelligent design that can't be denied".

If you want to claim it as fact, then prove it with objective evidence, not your personal interpretation of what the DNA design APPEARS to be.
edit on 22-1-2013 by Barcs because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 03:34 AM
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Originally posted by vasaga
reply to post by Barcs
 


Good to see that you think you know better than the Journal of the Royal society, and that you're so ingrained into your bias that you don't even try to understand, but are only interested in shoving things aside that don't fit your dogmatic worldview, and trying to masquerade it as being a logical scientific position.


Good to see that you still ignore all counterpoints that go against your guess about DNA replication and deflect them every single time they are brought up. People are seriously afraid to admit that it is mostly philosophy and guesswork involved in this hypothesis. Let me guess, next you will respond with a youtube video that has nothing to do with what I said and act like it holds more merit than a peer reviewed science paper.
edit on 22-1-2013 by Barcs because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 03:34 PM
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reply to post by Barcs
 


I'm not the one repeating things over and over without any scientific papers. If you actually bothered to look at the sources, you'd actually see that they are scientific sources, even though you unjustifiably put them in ID/creationism boxes on purpose, so that you can justify dismissing the claims, since they don't fit your own view.

Tell me something. Why do you hate these ideas so much? And don't reply with "it's not scientific" when the opening post is from scientific sources. I request you actually give me something with substance. If you can not do that, then I request you do not reply at all. Do you think it hampers progress? Do you hold a grudge against religion? Do you think it's against materialism while you're a materialist? What is it exactly, that ticks you off so much?



posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 03:52 PM
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reply to post by vasaga
 


I've been lately reading about the emerging field of Biosemiotics which seems to fit in very nicely with what you are presenting here...


Biosemiotics (from the Greek bios meaning "life" and semeion meaning "sign") is a growing field that studies the production, action and, interpretation of signs and codes[1] in the biological realm. Biosemiotics attempts to integrate the findings of scientific biology and semiotics, proposing a paradigmatic shift in the occidental scientific view of life, demonstrating that semiosis (sign process, including meaning and interpretation) is its immanent and intrinsic feature. The term "biosemiotic" was first used by Friedrich S. Rothschild in 1962, but Thomas Sebeok and Thure von Uexküll have done much to popularize the term and field.[2] The field, which challenges normative views of biology, is generally divided between theoretical and applied biosemiotics.


en.wikipedia.org...


Biosemiotics is the idea that life is based on semiosis, i.e., on signs and codes. This idea has been strongly suggested by the discovery of the genetic code, but so far it has made little impact in the scientific world and is largely regarded as a philosophy rather than a science. The main reason for this is that modern biology assumes that signs and meanings do not exist at the molecular level, and that the genetic code was not followed by any other organic code for almost four billion years, which implies that it was an utterly isolated exception in the history of life. These ideas have effectively ruled out the existence of semiosis in the organic world, and yet there are experimental facts against all of them. If we look at the evidence of life without the preconditions of the present paradigm, we discover that semiosis is there, in every single cell, and that it has been there since the very beginning. This is what biosemiotics is really about. It is not a philosophy. It is a new scientific paradigm that is rigorously based on experimental facts. Biosemiotics claims that the genetic code (1) is a real code and (2) has been the first of a long series of organic codes that have shaped the history of life on our planet. The reality of the genetic code and the existence of other organic codes imply that life is based on two fundamental processes--copying and coding--and this in turn implies that evolution took place by two distinct mechanisms, i.e., by natural selection (based on copying) and by natural conventions (based on coding). It also implies that the copying of genes works on individual molecules, whereas the coding of proteins operates on collections of molecules, which means that different mechanisms of evolution exist at different levels of organization. This review intends to underline the scientific nature of biosemiotics, and to this purpose, it aims to prove (1) that the cell is a real semiotic system, (2) that the genetic code is a real code, (3) that evolution took place by natural selection and by natural conventions, and (4) that it was natural conventions, i.e., organic codes, that gave origin to the great novelties of macroevolution. Biological semiosis, in other words, is a scientific reality because the codes of life are experimental realities. The time has come, therefore, to acknowledge this fact of life, even if that means abandoning the present theoretical framework in favor of a more general one where biology and semiotics finally come together and become biosemiotics.


www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

It was first given wide disclosure in the New Scientist in August 2010, which is where I first read about it, and it has been steadily gaining credence since. It definately has that hmmm-factor...makes so much sense you wonder why they didn't think of it before, and it is drawing all disciplines together, which is always a good thing in my opinion.



posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:28 PM
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Originally posted by Barcs

Originally posted by ImaFungi
Are you kidding? I thought it is common knowledge that cells communicate with one another, and that DNA is code/information that is utilized and decoded by ribosomes to manufacture proteins. Sequences that correlate to a product when interpreted have to be exact, to be meaningful and useful...


Cells communicating with each other and copying DNA does not prove a designer nor does it prove the information is digital / computer code. That is an ASSUMPTION. Don't confuse meaningful with functional.


this is what information is.... a sequence of physical symbols that can be interpreted to mean something, a description, a command. If the sequence is any different then what it is, the interpretation will be different. and the product will be different... just like the difference between me telling you to go get me a coffee, and go kill my dog... different sequences, different meanings, different results if decoded and followed..


There are no commands, there are no symbols involved. There are 4 repeating single digits that we have assigned to represent the count of paired atoms in the DNA structure. We created information out of the DNA. It doesn't just magically exist because it can replicate itself successfully. Claiming DNA is designed because of that is simply wishful thinking. It's not proven fact, and it's the same argument that's been posted on here dozens of time by the same people, and they act like they are bringing something new to the table every time. I do have to give the OP some credit, at least title isn't a fallacy like "Darwin proved wrong" or "Science against evolution" or "Proof of intelligent design that can't be denied".

If you want to claim it as fact, then prove it with objective evidence, not your personal interpretation of what the DNA design APPEARS to be.
edit on 22-1-2013 by Barcs because: (no reason given)


I never claimed it was intelligently designed or designed... only that DNA is information... will you admit that DNA then is stupidly designed by the universe? the problem you have with the word intelligence, is that it implies choice or intent.... so you are saying no quantity of earth and energy had a choice whether or not DNA would form, and what it would be able to do, and what it would be like... Therefore the universe did not design DNA, but because the universe exists exactly as it does with it laws,, DNA was forced to form...Can I say humans have never intelligently designed a thing in their existence..Tvs, cars, homes... there is a limited amount of materials and the way these materials interact are governed by laws... so the humans had no choice really in what to make.. the universe forced them to make these things..


I know it can be said that every quantity of energy/matter in the universe can represent information... But it is when comparing the sequences of atoms between rocks, clouds, stars, and asteroids ... we see that the existence of DNA and what it allows to happen in nature is "specially" different then other examples of sequences of atoms...

are ribosomes by design (by their natural form and function) made to decode the sequences of DNA? Why doesnt something else besides the ribosome do this, why are there these specialties?

What would DNA have to be.. and the ribosome have to do, in order for their interaction to be considered an act of utilizing information, by your standards?



posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:46 PM
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reply to post by vasaga
 





Ok I see what you mean now. But, first thing's first. All these deterministic materialists on here, need to accept information as critical to life first, before we can go any further. Chemicals and information are both properties of life, but I think they are not enough. Like it was said in that article, based on only information a computer should be alive, but it isn't. Obviously chemistry isn't enough either. When we get these people to accept that information is a requirement for life and DNA, we can move on to get closer to defining life.


I don't think there will ever be a satisfactory answer. Everything is made of energy. Clearly, information was needed to put the energy together in a way that created us and everything in the universe. What is also clear is the fact that energy was needed to create the information that created us and everything in the universe. Just thinking about it makes my head hurt.






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