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Author Topic: Any complex chemical reactions system perceives itself as life!!  (Read 8974 times)

Offline minass

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Suppose we have a flask with simple chemical compounds and we constantly provide external energy so that random chemical reactions occur. If we continue to provide external energy then not only chemical equilibrium will not occur, but instead more and more reactions will occur and the system will thrive and become more and more complex.

    Through the eons, 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 happening in the long term. Additionally, many random chemical reactions will eventually lead to some molecules with the ability to adhere with other molecules and also with surfaces. These reactions will eventually prevail and become the basis for further complexity, because the chemical compounds will not diffuse around and lead to dead ends.
   Also, the reactions with the ability to promote their own existence would prevail and continue to exist, in a process which is a kind of natural selection and survival of the fittest reactions.
   Random chemical reactions does not promote a certain plan or any kind of order, but what we see, is the result of the sum of the reactions that happened through history. However, their end results are reactions that are characterized by survival capacities over others. And suppose that these end results are the observers of the whole system. Virtually they are composed from some chemical compounds, which are constantly changing.
    However, everything that happens leads to them. If they analyze their own reactions they will have a very good view to their homeostasis. In other words these systems of random reactions when used as a reference frame/ observers of their own systems, they would have exactly the same perspective as we ourselves have while thinking about what is life, evolution, reproduction (repeatability of reactions).
  But arenít we a system of chemical reactions observing the system that creates us? To me, it might be the 2 different sides of the same coin. After all, what is the meaning of human biology (I am only referring to the mechanistic properties of our bodies) for a non living thing? Maybe meaningless chemicals?
   But can a things without brains used as observers? In science everything can be used as a reference frame. Human point of view is not so objective for things like speed of objects, spacetime metrics, motion etc.
  We once believed earth was standing still and everything was rotating around it. Finally we realized that we are not living in the center of the Universe. However, we still think that human biology stands in the center of ExistenceÖ.
« Last Edit: 28/11/2014 15:55:31 by minass »


 

Offline chiralSPO

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I guess it depends on how exactly the energy is put into the system, but most mixtures of chemicals will reach an equilibrium, even if additional energy is pumped into them. If the incoming energy is constant, it may be a different equilibrium than would be attained without the incoming energy (equilibria are necessarily temperature-dependent, for instance).

I'm also not sure how to ascribe how any system "perceives itself"...

In principle I agree that life is just an emergence of complexity from random chemical reactions, but I think that there are many requirements as to which types of chemicals are the starting point, and what conditions will allow for the emergence and propagation of life.
 

Offline minass

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I guess it depends on how exactly the energy is put into the system, but most mixtures of chemicals will reach an equilibrium, even if additional energy is pumped into them. If the incoming energy is constant, it may be a different equilibrium than would be attained without the incoming energy (equilibria are necessarily temperature-dependent, for instance).
How complex can it go before reaching equilibrium? Is there a threshold of complexity that when it suprassed then its impossible to equillibrium to occur? What about if repeated systems of reactions generate? Will they also get to an equilibrium state? Does dissipative systems of reactions count as equilibrium? The reactions of life clearly resembles that of a dissipative system!

I'm also not sure how to ascribe how any system "perceives itself"...

Any system can be an observer or a reference frame when it comes to physical laws. Remember theory of relativity. There is no need for a reference frame to have a consciousness as a prerequisite to be used as one. After all, the system of reactions inside the flask can be an observer in the same way that we, as chemical reactions ourselves, are observing the world and we are trying to figure everything out.
 

Offline minass

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Of course, when we are talking about chains of chemical reactions, we do not mean it in the simplistic way, i.e.  that they are in a chain, and everything is happening in an order, in which the newly formed substrate goes to the next position to react with the next substrate etc. Things in nature are much more arbitrary, and it is difficult sometimes for us to detect which is the next step. One of the more difficult things to include are some passive phenomena that happen, such as plasma flow, passive diffusion through membranes because of differences in concentration, or electrical gradients, excretion throught ducts, etc. The latter are phenomena that happen passively, due to the laws of nature but they are not defining life, the way the chemical reactions do. To be more symbolical, they play the role that scientists play in a chemical lab: they transfer the substances from one tube to another, arrange the conditions, etc. But the chemical reactions are what counts.

Of course, if these movements that we are talking about were not there, we ourselves would not be the way we are. We are the results of all these (arbitrary) reactions, and so it is normal to think that if something was not the way it is, WE would not be here, the way we are! We are a changing complex, and everything that happens lead to us. We see things from the opposite side. It is like we are in a moving ship, and so we realize things differently than from someone who is standing in the port. We are not perfectly aware of our own movement. Even if we were tables for example, we would think that the most perfect creatures are tables and the creation of tables is not without meaning. If tables are created spontaneously, then through the tableís own eyes, instead of the anthropic principle, they would think that there is a table-istic principle. All depends on who is the observer.
 

Offline minass

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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),what you get a sum of just arbitrary 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. Its sme sort of evolution of the fittest chemical reactions. We see everywhere anthropocentrism, but its only because we are the results of all these.
Question:How can random reactions lead to the repeatability we see in life forms(organisms replicate themselves) ,that is so crucial in what we define as life?
answer:
 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 peaking, these are the ones that survived, and thatís what through our perspective receive as reproduction.

Question:If the sparkle of life is a simple chemical transformation (e.g.prions, viruses), then what about a simple chemical reactions happening in a lab? Is it life? Is fire life?

Answer:
The reactions of life donít differ in quality than those of simple reactions that have nothing to do with life, for example fire, or the creation of water, but they are far too simple to be perceived as life, or else, they donít look enough like us.
 

Offline minass

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NASA scientists have found ten-fold spikes in methane in the atmosphere of Mars. If life forms are eventually found somewhere locally, this means that my arguments are proven wrong, because if life is actually arbitrary reactions as we explained, this cannot be sustained only locally. Due to a problem of space, arbitrary reactions will drop away and equilibrium would occur. Additionally, chemicals would diffuse around not allowing complex reactions to be sustained. Complex arbitrary reactions can be sustained only in an isolated place (remember the paradigm with the flask), but not for long because of the lack of chemical resources. So my described model can only develop everywhere on earth simultaneously (slowly reaching higher levels of complexity) or not at all.
So this discovery possibly rules out my argument which is bad. However, this is a proof that at least my arguments are falsifiable, which is good.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2014/12/15/science.1261713.full.pdf?ijkey=wh80Qt3dcQZKw&keytype=ref&siteid=sci
 

Offline minass

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Human is a very complicated system of reactions that all depend from each other, so its very logical to say that it is almost impossible to treat completely a chronic disease with a single drug. Drugs usually block a molecular pathway. But is every disease or human morbidity a result of a single pathway deregulation? Is there any limit to this kind of approach?

The human body is not a car so we fix the part that is wrong and everything is ok. Instead, its reactions are so complicated, and unless the illness is caused by a foreign agent e.g. a microbe, or by that lack of a substance that can be replaced, if there is a problem with a reaction this will lead in a chain reaction way to problem to other reactions of the body as well. This mechanism is responsible for chronic diseases. The only way to treat completely this disease is to put back the initial reaction with the problem the way it was. Every other method will just reduce symptoms. Or it may treat a problem and create another one .A good example for this is the treatment of high blood pressure or cholesterol.

The pathogenesis is much more complicated that we though, that even with the proper treatment of high blood pressure or cholesterol, we are not talking about healing, but for statistically significant improvements. Even with optimally controlled pressure or lipidemia, adverse outcomes exist. Some studies also shows that there is no decrease in mortality even with the treatment of the risk factors. Another good example are rheumatic diseases. No complete cure exists. Drugs have many side effects as well.At some cases it is right to say that what happens is that one hole is closed, and another is opened.

 Even in major diseases there is a big dissociation between the pathogenetic mechanisms that are discovered and treatments. This diference will continue to grow if we donít realize that the mechanism that organism works is more complicated that we think and see the limit of the drugs that block pathways. I think new avenues in research should open focused on the fact that the organism is a dynamic system of reactions.
 

Offline minass

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I think a very crucial question is this: If every life form suddenly disappeared from half the earth, what would happen? Would life eventually overcome this problem and re-expand to cover everything and how quickly or will it rather disappear? The chemical reactions scenario i think says that even if life overcomes, it would be slowly and only at a cost of a great decay of the existing life in the other half.
 

Offline minass

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A new study in sciencemag this week provides further evidence that the borders between random chemistry and biology are far more blurry that was previously thought, was recently published. Shen et al. Science. Jan 2015.
All dogmas of biology (like the central dogma) are steadily proven that are incomplete in terms of describing what really happens. Every new discovery in fact shows that things in biology are in fact are much more complicated than previously thought (e.g. complexity of molecular pathways, cross talk between cells and extracellular matrix, morphological and clinical diversity of genetically identical cancer cells inside a single individual, etc). In fact every rule of biology turns out to be incomplete, and to my opinion, we steadily move to a system where biological processes resemble more to a chaotic complex arbitrary chemical reaction system.
 

Offline jeffreyH

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Life is an ensemble of reactions that generate a definite action. The actions are targeted in the direction of greatest chance of survival. Chemical reactions, no matter the complexity, will need to meet this criteria to be defined as alive. If they cannot act in a way that optimizes survival then they cannot be defined as alive. Just simply being lucky enough to survive is not enough.
 

Offline minass

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Yes but trying to survive is a quality that doesn't exist anywhere in nature apart from life. Additionally, survival can be a very subjective thing. It can be observer dependent, especially if the observer is the survivor.

For instance, what is more likely to be the case?
1)That 1000....000 millions of reactions got spontaneously knit together forming an extremely sophisticated system in order to promote the survival of the organism (why?), or
2)the case is that these 100...00000 reactions are simply the result or the natural history of the chemical reactions that happened? We (aka the resulting chemical reactions) are studying this system and from our pointview these chemical reactions are sophisticated because:
a) They formed us,
b)they promoted our survival,
c)they have survival capacities (hellooo! these reactions that will prevail in the long term will do so for a reason, and they have survival advantages toward other possibilities because exactly thats what they did. They survived over others for some reasons.
d) these reasons are seen through our perspective as the qualities of life. For instance, repeatability in reactions that will help them survive in the long term because they wont lead to dead end reactions will be perceived by us (the resulting reactions) as reproduction. The same thing happens for the other qualities of life as well.
 

Offline minass

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Life is the result of chance events that are dictated by the laws described by physics. But why everything seems to have been set up in a way that the right rules are here to promote us and our survival? What about the finding that support the anthropic principle?
Isn't this is a sign that the fact that we as the observers are the ones that give value to actually random arbitrary processes?
Even we as chemical reactions judging a system in which we are included, can have the wrong impression that life is actually something more than random mindless reactions and evolution in fact is something more than the perception of what is actually the natural history of the chemical reactions on the surface of earth.
Thus, I think that the evolution of chemical reactions is more likely to be the case than the classical evolutional theory that assumes that life was previously created before evolution even started to act upon it.
 

Offline minass

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In a system of complex chemical reactions there will always be a tendency of the system to reach chemical equilibrium. However, if the number of different chemical reactions in a flask is large enough, then new reactions will occur massively, because of the large number of end substrates that can potentially interact with other substrates. If you add some external energy, then a point probably exists, in which the newly formed reactions can overcome, in terms of numbers, the ones that are reaching equilibrium. Thus, the system as a whole will be composed of a constantly growing number of chemical reactions. Moreover, reactions with periodicity occur,( that regenerate and repeat themselves in a cyclical manner), one can understand that under some circumstances, equilibrium will be avoided and thus, an extremely complex system of chemical reactions can spontaneously occur in nature.

a)   Because there will always be the tendency for equilibrium that is constantly growing as the number of reactions increase, the reactions with periodicity and the ones that are succesfull in surviving equilibrium, will prevail in the long term. So after a certain time point and after, only those will be found in the mixture. That is exactly what happens in life where all end creatures with their reactions that we see now pose reproducibility (e.g. species regenerate in a cyclical manner) and surviving capacities.

b)   Any complex chemical reaction system will eventually become organic at the end. If equilibrium is avoided, inorganics will be slowly substituted in the flask by organics. That is because of the certain properties of organic reactions that will make them prevail in the long term.

c)   So I think that a new approach to abiogenesis is to find possible starting chemical reactions on primordial earth that can cause a burst of different chemical reactions. Experiments can be done and reproduced in any lab. These can be any reactions and donít worry, organics will be later natural products. And of course the phenotype of the reactions will be analogous to what happens with life. Moreover, if the observers are some reactions inside the system (as we are), then any complex chemical reaction system will be perceived as life if the observer is a group of inside the system reactions.
 

Offline minass

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So this means that in a given constant environment, the natural history of the reactions will be lead towards a similar result every time, because every time the same combination of reactions will prevail.

Recently scientists have found organisms that haven't evolved at all for billions of years. This finding is consistent with the classical theory of evolution, because as long the environment doesn't change, a fit organism can remain unchanged. However this does not apply to the evolution of chemical reactions that we explained, and virtually rules out the theory. This is because the organisms that are reactions, although at harsh environments they can only make minor changes and their reactions happen slowly, they cannot remain totally unchanged. This is because this system of reactions interacts with other reactions. If the whole system is changing, even some minor changes will be found everywhere.
 

Offline minass

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 In a recent study entitled ďThe butterfly effect in cancer: A single base mutation can remodel the cell, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2015)Ē scientists have found that the impact of a single reaction to the whole system can be much more complicated and stronger than previously thought. These chaotic system phenomena to my opinion support a model in which organism are composed of systems of chaotic arbitrary complex chemical reactions.

In time, more and more studies provide us with more information about the similarities of the pathways that viruses use with the cellular pathways of the host. This raises our confidence that viruses really are formal living beings. However viruses become alive when they interact with hosts, ie while they are undergoing chemical changes. For viruses, chemical reactions=living state and not chemical reactions=non living state.

Even complex misfolded proteins can pose similarities with life, because they generate diversity and can be evolved chemically. Rna and DNA might be a result of life.

 

Offline PmbPhy

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You seem to have forgotten that intelligent life is not made up merely of chemical reactions but in terms if electrical impulses as well.
 

Offline jeffreyH

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You seem to have forgotten that intelligent life is not made up merely of chemical reactions but in terms if electrical impulses as well.

Well said Pete.
 

Offline minass

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You seem to have forgotten that intelligent life is not made up merely of chemical reactions but in terms if electrical impulses as well.
Yes but electrical impulses are just a result of chemical reactions. They might play a role but they don't define the system. Additionally, this cannot change the idea that we can consider organisms as chemical automatons without missing anything at all. In fact, it can help us answer to all our questions as we previously explained...
 

Offline domkarr

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I think I understand what you are getting at Minas. There is a woman who's name I can't recall who was working on some massive arsenic fields up near greenland or somewhere like that (great referencing there) who had discovered an arsenic based life form/s living in the fields which has thrown eveloutionary science into a bit of a spin.
As we know, previously, all life was though to be carbon based. So to have a life form (bacterial) on this planet that is composed not of carbon but of arsenic is a major breakthrough and it begs the question. What else can life arise from?
Can life spawn from any compound or chemical? Is there more to life than previously considered? Can we synthesise life?

As I said I think I know what you are getting at. however I think that the process is so unbelieveably complicated and slow that to synthesise life in a laboratory; jeeze, the cost in time would more than likely outwiegh the benefit. I mean what would we use an arsenic based life form for?
To study these lifeforms would be very interesting and may lead to a better understanding of our universe but we may be able to find such lifeforms existing naturally before we manage to build them (as did the woman working in greenland).

Perhaps if there was some major benifit such as a gaseous life-form that reproduces and can be used as a never ending fuel source?
Or an H20 based life form that can purify and enrich water?

I like this discussion, it has a lot of potential.  ;D
 
 

Offline domkarr

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I should probably add that one of the major concerns with this science is that we may build a life-form that wipes out all life on earth at a bacterial level. There is always the possibility no matter how remote. 
 

Offline chiralSPO

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I think I understand what you are getting at Minas. There is a woman who's name I can't recall who was working on some massive arsenic fields up near greenland or somewhere like that (great referencing there) who had discovered an arsenic based life form/s living in the fields which has thrown eveloutionary science into a bit of a spin.
As we know, previously, all life was though to be carbon based. So to have a life form (bacterial) on this planet that is composed not of carbon but of arsenic is a major breakthrough and it begs the question. What else can life arise from?
Can life spawn from any compound or chemical? Is there more to life than previously considered? Can we synthesise life?

As I said I think I know what you are getting at. however I think that the process is so unbelieveably complicated and slow that to synthesise life in a laboratory; jeeze, the cost in time would more than likely outwiegh the benefit. I mean what would we use an arsenic based life form for?
To study these lifeforms would be very interesting and may lead to a better understanding of our universe but we may be able to find such lifeforms existing naturally before we manage to build them (as did the woman working in greenland).

Perhaps if there was some major benifit such as a gaseous life-form that reproduces and can be used as a never ending fuel source?
Or an H20 based life form that can purify and enrich water?

I like this discussion, it has a lot of potential.  ;D
 

As exciting a discovery as it sounded, the arsenic-based life claim has been shown to be mistaken. I don't remember now whether the researcher has officially recanted her claims, but no one has been able to reproduce her findings, and have argued fairly convincingly that the conclusions were a result of faulty experimental technique.

This is still an interesting thread, but the arsenic story is a red herring...
 

Offline minass

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I think that the key point and the basic question is to whether a chemical reaction system can become increasingly complex and thus avoiding equillibrium. Is there a certain point in which the possible reacting combinations are too much to be outweighted by equillibrium? Can system of reactions that periodically repeat themselves avoid equillibrium an fuel further complexity?
If yes, then given the same environmental conditions, every time the outcome will be similar after some time, because some chemical reactions have a greater propensity to survive than others.



Further (possible) evidence:
And here is an interesting finding i would like to address

1) A new study published Feb 25 in the journal Nature, reports that emulsifiers that are added in most processed food can alter gut microbiota. This alteration can cause inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic syndrome, which in turn can be responsible for heart problems, liver problems, etc.

In general, this underscores the importance of the composition of gut microbiota, and the food processing by the bowel, in the overall function of the organism. Every system of the body does not seem to be that much self regulated and independent after all, but seems to be influenced by other systems in a chain reaction way, starting from food intake.

And to me, the fact that initial substrates that come into the organism with the digestion of food (influenced by gut microbiota), is an indication that the chemical reaction system that we described previously, theoretically predicts some things that recent research shows that apply pretty well with what happens in reality.


 

Offline minass

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Epidemilogical observations have led to the conclusion that early life conditions can influence propensity to disease in adulthood. The developmental origin of well being and health is another indicator that initial conditions affect in a chain reaction way later life events. In other words, your basis are the your initial chemical reactions. The more healthy basis you start with, the more chances you have to convert into a healthy adult, and the lesser propensity you have to develop bad health later in life.
 

Offline minass

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Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute published a paper showing that only a single base substitution causes major unexpected changes on phenotype, as it causes multiple changes, other than that are connected with the activity of the gene. This chaotic behavior underscores the unimaginable complexity and the inter-reactions between molecular pathways. The more we uncover the hidden complexities, the more complexities we found, which to my opinion will eventually lead us to a model in which we will only have chains and systems of chemical reactions that inter-react.


In a new study published in PNAS, scientists from UMMS found that long-lived mutated roundworm, despite the fact that they lived longer, they spent most of their life in a frail condition. This means that longevity is not synonymous with well being.
This supports the chemical reaction model that we described, because if you intervene with chemical reactions just to make them last longer, inevitably you pay the price for it (e.g slower reactions, creation of other pathways and thus frailty, etc). Its not just that you intervene with stem cells that rejuvenate the body and everything starts from the beginning as time has not passed at all.
 

Offline minass

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And now something that was a matter of time to happen. A novel breakthrough that was actually predicted to happen, according to the only-arbitrary chemical reaction theory of living organisms. In a study published these days in ďScienceĒ, Shubhroz et al. found that in drosophila, the timing of feeding had a great impact in age-related cardiac decline.
Despite the fact that the research make efforts to uncover the complex underlying genetic and molecular pathways behind this, from a chemical reaction-only perspective, it is quite obvious (and expected) why this happens.
 

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