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Author Topic: is life random and chaotic chemistry?  (Read 2230 times)

Offline minass

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is life random and chaotic chemistry?
« on: 10/04/2014 12:08:24 »
In the beginning, people thought the earth was flat, because that was what everybody observed. However, there were fundamental inconsistencies with this model, both mathematical and logical. Additionally, human couldn’t feel the motion of the earth and thus, believed their eyes and tried to explain the skies with the assumption that earth was the center of the universe. However, things were getting far too complicated, and finally this model was replaced with the heliocentric which made things easy and clear. In all cases we were a part inside the system and we couldn’t have an objective view of things. However, can we say that today we got rid of all these subjectivities? Is there still way to go? I believe the latter is the case.
Take for instance the phenomenon of life. All that is there is a complex system of countless chemical reactions. These reactions however, seem to have some amazing properties rather than being random. What we have in life, is a system of sophisticated and stochastic reactions that lead to more and more sophisticated organisms with higher organization. These organisms are self-sustained through a complicated process that is called homeostasis. The complexity of the latter becomes more and more evident as we try to study every aspect of it in detail. For instance, acid base balance in an organism depends on a series of events that are cooperating in a way that if a single procedure was not there, then the whole system would be malfunctioning. Even a relatively simple process such as Krebs cycle is composed of such a complex system of reactions, including upregulators and downregulators that ensures that the cycle is self regulated. Countless reactions, but not a single one is placed in chance. How possible is that this can occur spontaneously? 
 My question is: Can human subjectivity help us find a more simple explanation? In fact, can we make this extremely simple and assume that all the reactions that compose life on earth are actually random? Can they just be reactions that with the help of external sources of energy like sunlight are simply becoming more and more complex over time?
Before you say that the answer is no, just think who is the observer of all these. WE. The end results. A part inside the system that judges this system from the inside. The causes judged by the result. In other words, subjectivity on its extreme.
Think about it: Even if there were only random chemical reactions what would happen on primordial earth? The reactions with repeatability that occur in a cyclic manner would not eventually lead to a dead end and eventually would go on indefinitely in the long term (what we perceive as reproduction?). In addition, some reactions with specific characteristics would eventually survive, either because they promote their own existence, or they give them survival advantage toward others. This fact, with a little help of repeatability would lead to the creation of reactions with three characteristics: survival capacity, complexity and repeatability. If the reference frame is the results of these, or else ourselves, the whole process is actually perceived as evolution. To put it mathematically, evolution is called the study of the random series of events that lead to the transformation of A to B, where B=[B1,B2,B3,….Bv], when things are viewed through the perspective of either B1, or B2, or B3, …….or Bv.
In other words, we exist not because a conspiracy force promotes our evolution, but because our reactions continue to occur. We are the ones that give value to our existence.
The importance of this viewpoint is that apart from the fact that it answers previously unanswered questions, it assumes that living beings are actually complex systems of reactions, and can thus be manipulated in predictable ways under chemical laws. This means that apart from the fact that the theory is testable and falsifiable, it indicates major implications for medicine.


 

Offline chiralSPO

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Re: is life random and chaotic chemistry?
« Reply #1 on: 10/04/2014 15:32:42 »
Yes. All chemical reactions are random. It is very rare for a complex, self-reinforcing nexus of reactions to develop, but the probability of such a genesis is nonzero, and once started, it continues and degrades with some half-life (or more complex decay), related on how self-reinforcing it is. After an arbitrarily (long) time there will be several such cycles, and as time goes on, it is expected that the number of stable cycles would grow, and the average lifetime of the cycle would increase, especially in cases where multiple cycles can converge into a very stable nexus (life!). This applies to chemistry (and life) on cellular and global scales (and possibly cosmological, but who knows).

There are even examples of complex nuclear chemistry cycles in the stars (which I would not argue is a sign of life, but just the ability of self-sustaining cycles to... well... be sustained)
 

Offline minass

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Re: is life random and chaotic chemistry?
« Reply #2 on: 30/04/2014 19:40:04 »
Proposed experimental testing of this concept:
(Experiments must be performed in the simpliest life forms that is possible, and under controlled conditions as the complexity of living organisms is tremendous and the interreactions with the environment cannot be easily estimated, leading to confusion. However, here are some ideas).
  A If a living organism is a sum of random automaton chemical reactions as we previously explained, then the components of food intake are the first substrates and the excreted products are the last elements. By changing the food and also the pace of feeding, one can observe the way the organism performs some functions, for instance if the organism is an automaton, in certain feeding conditions one can observe extreme reproducible outlier values. The latter won’t be observed if the organism is self-regulating (self sustained).
B) Testing if feeding identical organisms (clones) with the same food in an identical manner and under identical conditions would produce exactly the same amount of waste products plus the error factor ε, (also known as noise), produced by various unpredictable factors. Only if the organism is a system of random chemical reactions, it will behave mechanistically and will produce reproducible results.
The factor ε must follow a normal distribution as known by statistics.
C) If we have clones of the same simple organism and we study them into the same conditions and we give the exact food, then if these organisms are just random chemical reactions, their lifespan could be predicted as a result of multiple linear regression. The dependent variable y (or else the lifespan) would be: y=a+a1x1+a2x2+…….aνxν+aωxω+ε where ε is the error variable and x1,x2…xν the various explanatory variables and a,a1,a2…av the effects or regressor coefficients and aωxω measures the feeding speed effect.
If these clones share everything in common(e.g environmental factors, temperature etc) except the pace with which they are fed  and if we secure that actually these organisms absorb exactly the same nutrients, but differ only in the pace they absorb them, then all the parameters of the linear regression will be the same for all clones except the speed factor, or else lifespan=y=aωxω+B+ε (where B=a+a1x1+a2x2+….avxv and it is the same for all organisms), or else we have a simple linear regression. Thus, if we avoid extremes in feeding pace and we assume no collinearities caused by it, then at a certain pace range we would expect lifespan to be linearly correlated with the feeding pace. (ATTENTION: The regressors x do not represent the reactions, but rather represent  the effects of some “x” factors. Once again, if the organism is a system of random chemical reactions, it will behave mechanistically and will produce reproducible results. I agree that it is difficult to completely isolate the system from all possible disturbing factors, but if their influence is chaotic and random for all experimental individuals, i think that their influence as a total can be satisfactorily represented by ε , or else the error term or noise in the formula of the final linear regression.
D) One can also test the way the living forms and their functions are decaying when they move to more hostile conditions on earth, such as extreme temperatures, deep ocean etc. Do they decay as if they where random chemical reactions or in an other way, e.g. self-sustaining organisms?
Any comments?

 

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Re: is life random and chaotic chemistry?
« Reply #2 on: 30/04/2014 19:40:04 »

 

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