The Vital Question: Why Is Life the Way It Is?

#1
A new book:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Vital-Question-Why-life/dp/1781250367

I heard the author interviewed on the radio recently. Despite what some may expect he s very humble over areas where science has no answers.

The work he has done seems to take a big step towards a better understanding of the origin and progression of life.

It appears to have been well received. A couple of reviews:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/...s-Life-the-Way-It-Is-by-Nick-Lane-review.html

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/apr/22/the-vital-question-nick-lane-review-secret-life
 
#2
Right, So life originates from energetic chemicals deep within the ocean sea, Is this scientists able to combine the required chemical attributes and create life. Is he able to demonstrate his hypothesis, If life is simply a combination of chemicals he should be able to combine the required chemical attributes and create life.

I await the results, But I won't hold my breath. It would be revolutionary if discovered to be true.
 
#4
There is not a shred of scientific evidence that electricity combined with known chemicals can create a thought. Sure evolution does occur. But what causes evolution or consciousness is not a settled question in science at all.

My Best,
Bertha
 
#5
Right, So life originates from energetic chemicals deep within the ocean sea, Is this scientists able to combine the required chemical attributes and create life. Is he able to demonstrate his hypothesis, If life is simply a combination of chemicals he should be able to combine the required chemical attributes and create life.

I await the results, But I won't hold my breath. It would be revolutionary if discovered to be true.
He finds strong links between the geo chemistry at theses alkaline deep water vents and primitive biochemistry. Remember, this didn't have to happen deep in the sea, at these vents; the conditions just had to be present somewhere in the universe with subsequent panspermia. Never-the-less, the vents are providing some intriguing insights.

The real driver for how life suddenly moved forward was the combination of two of these "proto-life units" that resulted in a the sort of cell that could generate serious amounts of energy. Energy is key.

Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist about this book they should probably read it. I haven't yet, but have it queued up. I don't think it is an argument against a prime mover... Our gods are safe.
 
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#6
Don't worry: promissory materialism rocks.;)
Heh, Perhaps. It depends if one wants to explore the gaps and figure stuff out, or exploit the gaps in order to fill them with one's favourite... well you know ;)

For balance, what would be the equivalent book to this produced by the ID crowd?
 
#7
There is not a shred of scientific evidence that electricity combined with known chemicals can create a thought.
Perhaps, it depends on what one regards as evidence. However, I suspect a thought would struggle to be expressed without those things.

Sure evolution does occur. But what causes evolution or consciousness is not a settled question in science at all.
Indeed.
 
#8
I remember finding the original Miller-Urey experiment very simple and exciting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller–Urey_experiment

If some of the building blocks of life could be formed in such a simple experiment, surely the other steps couldn't be too hard!

In fact, the other steps are exceedingly hard - essentially because you need to somehow get much larger molecules with a lot of information content (DNA, RNA, or some other primitive information containing molecule).

If you read this book, it might be interesting to determine if their ideas are based on actual successful experiments.

David
 
#9
Perhaps, it depends on what one regards as evidence. However, I suspect a thought would struggle to be expressed without those things.
"Later, a colleague at Sheffield University became aware of a young man with a larger than normal head. He was referred to Lorber even though it had not caused him any difficulty. Although the boy had an IQ of 126 and had a first class honours degree in mathematics, he had "virtually no brain". A noninvasive measurement of radio density known as CAT scan showed the boy's skull was lined with a thin layer of brain cells to a millimeter in thickness. The rest of his skull was filled with cerebrospinal fluid. The young man continues a normal life with the exception of his knowledge that he has no brain."

~ http://flatrock.org.nz/topics/science/is_the_brain_really_necessary.htm

My Best,
Bertha
 
#10
Heh, Perhaps. It depends if one wants to explore the gaps and figure stuff out, or exploit the gaps in order to fill them with one's favourite... well you know ;)

For balance, what would be the equivalent book to this produced by the ID crowd?
"Signature in the Cell".

Nick lanes stuff is well known to the ID crowd. He and some research is mentioned in the book I believe. Is there something new?
 
#11
The real driver for how life suddenly moved forward was the combination of two of these "proto-life units" that resulted in a the sort of cell that could generate serious amounts of energy. Energy is key.
malf,

With all due respect, energy is not the key to life. It is an important component, only. The key to life is the capability to command and control the release of stored energy. There is only gain in entropy in energetic transforms that are not organized. Negentropy is increased when energy is stored and released at appropriate times and places to achieve the local goals of a living cell.
 
#12
A new book:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Vital-Question-Why-life/dp/1781250367

I heard the author interviewed on the radio recently. Despite what some may expect he s very humble over areas where science has no answers.

The work he has done seems to take a big step towards a better understanding of the origin and progression of life.

It appears to have been well received. A couple of reviews:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/...s-Life-the-Way-It-Is-by-Nick-Lane-review.html

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/apr/22/the-vital-question-nick-lane-review-secret-life
from the article
Information without energy is useless (pull the plug on your computer); information could not have started the whole thing off but energy could.
I have to say this is a wonderful example of a flat-earth vision. We have to have a flat-earth - because you would fall off a curved one.

Energy makes physical processing go.... no argument - just like there is no argument that bodies don't fall away from the centers-of-gravity. The problem is orientation!!!

Unplug your computer. Plug it in. Did the information structured on the chip or hard drive go away????

Energy proceeds from prior states of information. If there is no informational probability for kinetic energy to be released - no action is going to happen. Yet, any potential energy is still there to be released when an informational reality becomes configured to due so.

From this point of view -- information MUST be prior to organized energy transforms. Evolution proceeds from actual probabilities, not from magical chemistry. Look - I am not a very smart guy - and only have a modest understanding of the facts of the natural sciences. How am I in a position to expose such stupid thinking as the above quote? The data-analysis of materialism is clogging the brains of my betters, and naked kings are being seen by peasants like me.
 
#13
Nick Lane doesn't seem to accept or grasp the basic probabilistic difficulty of life's origin. Eugene Koonin does, and to get around it he resorted to the materialist's last gasp fall back option: the multiverse. In this ultimately irrational and unscientific hypothesis everything that isn't absolutely impossible, no matter how infinitesimally unlikely, must occur by chance somewhere/sometime in this supposed infinity of universes. In fact, an infinite number of times in all possible variations.

From http://www.biologydirect.com/content/2/1/15 (cited earlier by Jim Smith):

Koonin: "Eternal inflation offers a viable alternative (for the origin of life through abiotic processes) that is untenable in a finite universe, i.e., that a coupled system of translation and replication emerged by chance, and became the breakthrough stage from which biological evolution, centered around Darwinian selection, took off. ..... In this model, the stage for Darwinian selection is set by anthropic selection of complex systems that rarely but inevitably emerge by chance in the infinite universe (multiverse)."
 
#15
Like I said earlier... Our "gods" are all safe. Lane appears to postulate nothing beyond the data in front of him.

This is a new study that appears to converge with Lane's work:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/mathematical-physical-sciences/maps-news-publication/maps1526
Early life is interesting and so are the finding around sea vents. However, I am very concerned about science "converging" around non-reductive causation and emergence. I am preaching a methodological solution to the the "hard problem". Its format for this methodology is that there are multiple generative levels and not just one from "magic matter". We have received science formats where-by things, events and processes can have activity both at a physical level and at an informational level.

Look at this excerpt for the article you have linked. It treats life as a tipping-point mysteriously reached by complex chemical forms. Rather than - finding rational process models that predict how life starts operating with self-referential information due to integrated information objects.

“They behave much like enzymes do in living organisms, breaking down the bonds between carbon and oxygen atoms. This lets them combine with water to produce formic acid, acetic acid, methanol and pyruvic acid. Once you have simple carbon-based chemicals such as these, it opens the door to more complex carbon-based chemistry.”
Enzymes behave with teleonomic purpose and communicate measurable information. In my many years of reading about chemistry - I have never encountered the inorganic chem "door principle" that sorts left-handed molecules for bio-engineering. Or heard expressed the "opening" oxidation-reduction process that segregates coded molecules for building DNA.

It's ridiculous! Of course, there needs to be the base chemistry to build physical information processing!!! But pretending it "emerges" or panpsychically self-assembles - is a poor excuse for scientific analysis from empirical evidence. Its no wonder science is losing credibility.
 
#16
I'm not sure how many times or ways I can say this; Our gods are safe, there are still plenty of gaps to inhabit.

These studies are looking for clues to the origins of organic chemistry, nothing more, and the science should be judged in that light.
 
#17
I'm not sure how many times or ways I can say this; Our gods are safe, there are still plenty of gaps to inhabit.


Your implying God is in the God of the gaps, That is not the God I believe in, And it isn't because this type of article or research threatens to kill 'our' God,
it's that if I had a penny for every failed attempt, at what is probably the most sought after question of all time, then I would be a very rich man, instead it's the ones who are good at sophisticating promissory notes that are getting rich.



These studies are looking for clues to the origins of organic chemistry, nothing more, and the science should be judged in that light.
c

Yes, I won't hold my breath, there is enough circumstantial evidence to conclude life is not a combination of chemicals, but an immaterial aspect. In other words, people should wake up to the fact that we are spiritual beings, and not biological robots.
 
#18
I'm not sure how many times or ways I can say this; Our gods are safe, there are still plenty of gaps to inhabit.

These studies are looking for clues to the origins of organic chemistry, nothing more, and the science should be judged in that light.
I think you are looking to the wrong set of measurements. It has nothing to do with some undiscovered new type of carbon bonding or polymeric reactions. It has to do with a rational model of order and organization, in terms of logic, thermodynamics and communications theory.

Life is characterized by its ability to self-generate negentropy. Why would you think that there is some special organic material that will substitute for specified circumstances of logical probability enabling agents to understand and communicate messages.
 
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#19
c

Yes, I won't hold my breath, there is enough circumstantial evidence to conclude life is not a combination of chemicals, but an immaterial aspect. In other words, people should wake up to the fact that we are spiritual beings, and not biological robots.
The best estimate we have is that we are biological robots and to think anything objectively spiritual exists, let alone spiritual beings (whatever that means...), is the assumption, Johnny.

Don't forget to wake up.
 
#20
The best estimate we have is that we are biological robots and to think anything objectively spiritual exists, let alone spiritual beings (whatever that means...), is the assumption, Johnny.

Don't forget to wake up.
And the best estimate we have for cybernetic programming is intelligence.
The question of the origin of life is the origin of information and the irreducible semiotic systems.

That best estimate says nothing of how programming emerges from the fundamental forces of nature. If you believe mud can make a language I suggest another wake up call.
 
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