Any complex chemical reactions system perceives itself as life!!

  • 57 Replies
  • 9215 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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 aren’t 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 Existence….
« Last Edit: 28/11/2014 15:55:31 by minass »

*

Offline chiralSPO

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • 1914
    • View Profile
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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 table’s 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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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 that’s 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 don’t 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 don’t look enough like us.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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 don’t 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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • 4062
  • The graviton sucks
    • View Profile
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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 don’t 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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
 In a recent study entitled “The butterfly effect in cancer: A single base mutation can remodel the cell, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2015)” 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

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • 2788
    • View Profile
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

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • 4062
  • The graviton sucks
    • View Profile
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 18
    • View Profile
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

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 18
    • View Profile
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

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • 1914
    • View Profile
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
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 “Science”, 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.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
In a paper recently published in “Nature Chemistry”, chemists from UK have found a novel way to create complex organic precursors of the building blocks of life, by using simple initial substrates. Organic macromolecules are commonly found around the universe, as they are found in meteorites, and possibly even in Mars. This experiment, along with others underscores the ease in which these molecules can actually be created. However, these organic macromolecules by themselves cannot create life by themselves. In fact, organics can be created in billions of different ways, through various chemical reactions. So, the question is not how organics were created in the first time on earth, as organics can be created anytime and everywhere.
And once again, the question is:
What is more likely the case?
a)Organic macromolecules were initially created in the form of building blocks that came together and in some way, under unknown conditions and unknows ways, they slowly created life?
b)Complex chemical reactions lead to the prevailance of organics in the system of reactions, due to the latter’s properties, and that’s why organics are the phenotype we see today, in a frame in which life is just the arbitrary reactions that happened through history and we as the ending results, judge the system from an anthropocentric point of view, since we are the results of this. And actually any system of complex chemical arbitrary reactions would perceive the whole process that created it as having the properties we see in life.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
The question is: How can random reactions, no matter how good they were selected through the centuries, can lead from a tiny spore or a zygote to the creation of extremely complex organisms (plants, animals, human) in relatively predictive ways?
Answer: Don’t get confused by the complexity of the grown up organisms. Don’t forget what happens with fractals. Seemingly complex structures emerge as the result of very simple initial conditions (equations). Similarly, complex animals can arise predictively from the flourishing of much simpler entities over time, such as zygotes, spores etc. This is simply perceived by us as embryology.
    And to continue with my thoughts regarding how life as chaotic random chemical reactions can be linked to chaos theory, I think that countless chemical reactions that continue happening can at some point reach some properties of a dissipative system, thus avoiding major structural changes, chemical equilibrium, and thus eventually leading to forms and structures we see now, with the help of chemical reaction natural selection….

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
1)And of course if life is a random collection of spontaneous arbitrary chemical reactions perceived as sophisticated only because we are both the observers and the end results, (and we give value to the natural fact that some reactions survived, baptizing the process as energetic survival capacity), then this means that the system maintains the properties of a complex chemical reaction system. And this described system is dependent on environmental conditions because environment and life are inter-connected to each other. This means that the changes in the species properties due to climatic change will occur in a way that will be consistent with the complex chemical reaction way. This means that many changes would occur instantly instead of the time-consuming way of evolution described by the classical evolution theory.
Indeed, I read recently that scientists have found that lobsters are already becoming faster due to climatic change. You can find interesting additional information in a new study published March 30 in PNAS by Francis Pan et al.

2)The random chemical reaction collection model is strongly supported by recent findings that dwarf lemur with exceptional longevity spend most of the time of the year in a hiberniated state compared to the others. It seems that the rate of aging is correlated with the time they spend in suspended animation. Heart rate dramatically slows, breath slows, thermostat shuts down, etc. This leads to longevity. Of course the reason might not be only energy conservation, but also slowdown of chemical reactions…

3)Why in the theory of evolution the survival of the fittest doesn’t always lead to the survival of the most fit tactic? Why different tactics co-exist? A new study published in Current Biology last month has shed some light in this issue. In brief, experiments in amoebas revealed that in difficult conditions, cooperation was what mattered. So we had altruists and cheaters, but in the long term, cheaters had not higher success since they produces higher amounts of inferior quality spores. So the overall number of spores that survive are the same as those that cooperate. In other words, the community can only be seen as a complex system, and as you go in more and more detail, you will find out that it doesn’t differ in anything from an arbitrary chemical reaction system that we described.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
I apologize for the inaccuracy of the information I provided while reporting a previous research finding. Actually climate change makes spiders (Aphonopelma hentzi) faster (according to a research) and the increase in the acidity of oceans decreases lobsters’ size, according to a study that was conducted at the University of Rhode Island.
   
A new study published recently in Nature claims that probably there might be water in liquid form in Mars. And here is my question: We already know that complex organic molecules are abundant in space, as they can be found even in meteorites. We also know that water in any form is also common too. What if we find out that despite the abundance of organics, water and habitable conditions in space, we still don’t find signs of life? In other words, what if they are not related with the existence of life? What would be our next step?

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
1)In a new study published in Science, Yann Hautier et al. found that biologic diversity is the key to keep an ecosystem strong. Specifically they found that human related changes only affected grassland plot productivity when they were related with decreased biodiversity.
Why this happens remains unclear. However, a good explanation can be given under the chemical reaction perspective, as diversity in a chemical reaction pool can sustain the system more efficiently and longer. In a chemical reaction only system, if you completely take away a part of reactions, then the system itself will be affected as a whole, because it loses some of its components.
However, under any other perspective (apart from chemical reaction only), there will be a problem in explaining the scientists finding, because in other scenarios, theoretically every member or group of the ecosystem can sustain itself if there is enough food around….! Even will less diversity, the survivors can find ways to cope with problem and continue…


2)In a new study published in PNAS, researchers from MIT and WHOI have provided some new insights regarding the deep ocean carbon reservoir and how it fuels carbon cycle. They found that deep oceans play a crucial role in global carbon cycle. They found that the youngest source of organic carbon originated from the surface and this carbon was cycling much faster than what was expected by the fact that deep ocean water come in the surface every 1000 years. Carbon was cycled due to the action of deep ocean bacteria. On the contrary, older carbon coming from ocean sediment, hydrothermal vectors etc, cycled much slower, every 30.000 years, which means 30 times slower that the ocean needs to cycle itself.
These finding actually support the arbitrary chemical reaction theory because if you think of any complex chemical reaction system that happens near the surface of earth, this is what you will get. Younger carbon that is a part of the complex system of reactions will have a fast turnover rate because they belong to the global system of reactions. Despite the fact it is facing hostile conditions, its turnover is affected by the other reactions that are happening elsewhere. So despite having slow reactions, they have faster reactions than what was expected to happen only due to the water cycle of the oceans.
On the other hand, carbon from hydrothermal soils, ocean sediment etc are not initially a part of the chemical reaction system, but they are isolated chemicals that are slowly intergrated into the global chemical reaction system.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
Complex chemical reactions differ from functional organized systems such as automobiles, tv, electronics, etc in this: All the above mentioned systems are composed from different structural and functional units that have specialized functions and each part contributes in a specific way to the function of the whole entity (e.g. brakes, wheels, lights etc). On the contrary, complex chemical reactions don’t have separate functional units, but there is a complex overlapping instead. In fact, although while someone investigates a chemical reaction system discovers some units with discrete and specific role in the system, a further study reveals that there is a huge overlapping between pathways. For instance, molecular pathways are found to pose a role in multiple different jobs that a cell performs. For instance, some molecular signaling pathways are involved in all replication, apoptosis, adhesion, metastasis, angiogenesis, etc. There is a tremendous functional overlapping in biological cells and a huge number of molecular cross-talks, that more and more resembles that of a complex chemical reaction system.
Recently, Balestra et al have found that biological information across generations can also be carried by centrioles, apart from the nucleic acids.

If biological systems are actually complex random arbitrary chemical reactions, what would one expect to see while studying the function of their genetic material (sequencing, pcr etc??) Answer: Something like the finding of Walworth et al published in PNAS, that the bacterium trichodesmium’s (an organism that live in extremely nutrient-poor regions of the ocean) DNA defies a dogma of evolution. The researchers found that only 63% of its genome is expressed as protein. This is usually found only in higher organisms.
What are complex chemical reaction systems as we described them that survived and thrived in the long term? Reactions with repeatability. As such, different systems pose different turnover paces in which they periodically repeat themselves. This means that in chemical systems with fast repeatability, when someone studies the function of its nucleic acids, he will find a big proportion of DNA expressed in proteins. The opposite is happening in systems with slow repeatability, such as individual cells of a higher multicellular organism, or an organism such as trichodesmium that is an oligotroph that lives in incredibly nutrient poor areas of the oceans and have a slow metabolic and functional rate.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
Complex chemical reactions and news from cancer research.

a)Scientists from the Universtiy of San Diego California in a study recently published in PNAS have found that in order to reprogram a diseased cell due to problems driven by abnormal signaling in multiple upstream molecular pathways such as cancer, it is not enough to target a single receptor or a single pathway. Instead, the most effective strategy by far to manipulate a hub of signaling networks. This is consistent with the complex chemical reaction scenario, because it indicates that if a network of reaction are in the wrong pathway, then the only solution is to provide some time and some good initial signals and substrates with the hope to manipulate the cells in a favorable manner.

b)One of the hallmarks of cancer is this: Most cells don’t divide unless there is enough oxygen around, or the conditions are favorable for the offspring. However, cancer cells can override the warning signals and divide anyway, even if there is not a good blood supply, and in general, even if the conditions are not ideal. Cancer cell under hypoxic conditions uses different metabolic pathways to sustain its functions. On the other hand, cancer cells are cells and as such, they have intrinsic information for the basic cellular functions, such as replication, vessel formation, motion, etc. However, their altered metabolic pathways make them function not in coordination with the rest of the system, and that’s why things go wrong with an uncontrollable division and invasion of these cells. In a chemical reaction perspective, the reactions of cancer cells create novel independent networks inside the original network. This causes problems to the functionality of the latter when these independent new networks proliferate.

c)Scientists have focused their interest lately in cancer immunotherapy. This was fueled by recent findings that immune checkpoint inhibitors can achieve durable responses in subsets of cancer patients, especially melanoma, renal cell and non small cell lung cancer patients. This caused an unprecedented interest of researchers in mechanisms of cancer immunity with the hope to develop strategies so that more and more patients can benefit. But what does this mean under a chemical reaction perspective? In my opinion, immune cells can attack tumor cells and a lot of people can benefit. However, this will have a cost of a high amount of unwanted symptoms. Additionally, as scientists go deeper to the secrets of immunity, they will find an extremely complex system of pathways and with time the picture will become more and more complex. So with time, oncology books will become bigger, and more subspecialists will be needed to handle this level of information.

d)Recent findings indicate that cancer cells pose Darwinian evolution patterns while spreading. Clonal expansion, genetic diversification, clonal selections in the adaptive landscapes of tissues are a major cause of treatment failures. However, if cancer cells are chemical reaction systems, and we showed that complex chemical reaction systems can undergo a process which can be called “evolution of systems of complex chemical reactions”, what does this mean in our effort to manipulate cancer cells in order to achieve a favorable outcome? I think this is an interesting field for thinking… to be continued..

*

Offline Lamarck2014

  • First timers
  • *
  • 5
    • View Profile
This topic is absolutely fascinating, I will read everything more in detail now but I feel that we are missing a key point which is the non-reversibility of some reactions.

The emergence of new chemical structures that require tremendous amounts of energy to go back to their previous state will make the system move forward given that these new stable chemical structures have the potential to actively interact with other reactions, like enzymes do. The emergence of these structures may cause the system to achieve new reactions that would take too much time or energy and potentially move away from a thermodynamic equilibrium, potentially forming dissipative structures that will exchange matter and energy with the rest of the system, which in turn will potentially achieve new stable chemical structures with an active function.

I recently posted a link on this forum to a paper that tackles this kind of protein behavior among others like the storage of information, the emergence of protein clusters with substrate channeling etc. I think you will find some of it pretty interesting.

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fmolb.2015.00016/abstract#

thanks a lot for this discussion!

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
Thnaks for the read. This is quite interesting and i will think about this non-reversibilty key point under a chemical reaction perspective, to see if can be integrated.

Below are some more insights from novel publications

1)In a recent study from researchers at the Scripps Institute and Johns Hopkins that was reported in “Cell Metabolism”, molecular evidence that came from sophisticated metabolomics techniques suggested that there is metabolic link between bacterial conglomerations (biofilm) in the intestine and colorectal cancer. Additionally, biofilms  were influenced by precancerous lesions, creating a vicious cycle. This finding, apart from the fact that it further enhances the idea that in fact, underneath, everything is chains of chemical reactions, it also offers novel opportunities for the creation of more efficient screening and preventional techniques in the future.

2)In an interesting new study published recently in “American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry” scientists have found that post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is not associated with a genetic disorder, can have a biologic effect in aging. This shows that this mental disorder can lead to molecular and metabolic alterations with a huge systemic effect with biological impact. From the chemical reaction perspective this is something that was expected. This happens because the basis of our thinking and higher cognitive functions rely on chemical reactions, that are connected with the rest of the reactions of the body. So mental damages are in fact chemical damages and any alterations are transmitted in a chain reaction way to the rest of the reactions of the body. For sure, this new finding offers a great chance to push scientists to increase their efforts to understand the inter-reactions between the brain and the body in terms of metabolism, so as to understand some phenomena and to exploit some possible findings in order to promote health and longevity.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
1)If life is just some chemical reactions, then in fact it will behave as a chemical automaton underneath it all, because it’s a series of chemical reactions. Foods and microbes of the gut are the first substrates and excretions are the last products. If living beings really are chemical automatons, then the outcome of the resulting reactions and the phentype can be influenced by specific combinations of food and microbes. For everyone there will be a certain diet able to make the reactions of its body to remain unchanged, or even better to shift to a previous condition. To me, this is the ultimate fate of scientific progress. To map each persons list of chemical reactions and intervene accordingly. Either directly r from the beginning of the chain, ie the food.
Although not exactly at this direction, a new initiative is approaching this concept already. It is called Longevity cookbook. It is more about scientific research than gastronomy. You can check this out and you can even contribute to this project that is a run by a group of California- based scientists I think.

2) And in a theory of life as a system of complex chemical reactions near the surface of earth, it is obvious that life in the land and life in the sea is the same system, with reciprocal interactions, as they theoretically both belong in the same system of reactions. However, most of the communication (if there exists one), must be carried out by bacteria, phytoplangton and other small organisms in general. Recently a new way of interaction was found, that wasn’t expected. Scientists demonstrated that microbes in seawater controls the chemistry of sea spray that is ejected into the atmosphere. The study was published recently in ACS Central Science.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
1)If life is a sum of complex chemical reactions, then life can be found everywhere on earth, without gaps. The specific environmental and other conditions of each place alters the reactions accordingly. Everytime, the resulting reactions, when viewed from the results point of view, they seem to pose surviving capacities for the place it is found. This is because they are the resulting reactions. Recently scientists identified organisms living in Atacama desert, which is known as the driest place on earth.

2)If living beings are truly a sum of chaotic complex chemical reactions, that are meaningless for an outside observer (i.e. one not participating in the system of reactions), then the reactions of the organism constitute its phenotype. If we isolate its DNA, we will in fact isolate a small proportion of these reactions. By analyzing its structure, we can get a hint into the phenotype, but its role in determining phenotype should be less decisive than thought, because its like taking a picture of a small subset of reactions.
Some examples in real life that underscores this facts are:
Whole genome sequencing became a routine, but still we don’t understand much about diseases.
This week a study published in Science revealed a surprisingly high burden of cancer associated mutations in normal functioning skin that is exposed to the sun. There were more than 100 of them in a square centimeter of skin. However, there was no cancerous phenotype. They were still waiting for the driver mutation, or carcinogenesis is much more complex than previously thought, and DNA is not everything? Remember the role of microenvironment,…
Another study in Science showed that yeasts can incorporate human DNA and live normally.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
Chemical reactions and aging.
The chemical reaction system of life that we refer to, simply says that living beings are just a system of chemical reactions. This system of chemical reactions naturally changes over time naturaly, as any system of chemical reactions naturally change. Thus, the organism changes over time, creating the phenotype of aging. So under this perspective, aging is the result of the change in the systems of complex chemical reactions that constitute an organism.
If true, this has some concequenses:
 a)This means that the effect of dietary restriction on prolonging survival relies on the fact that fewer initial substrates slow down the whole system of reactions and thus causes a lifespan prolongation. However, current efforts of scientists rather focuses on identifying the effect of dietary restriction on specific proteins, or single genes, molecular pathways etc, that can cause life prolongation. And the struggle goes on…on the wrong direction.

b)Aging is not an effect of single pathways, proteins, genes, etc and this is suggested by recent research that found that there is a surprisingly wide variety of genetic systems influence aging across species.

c)Studying a genetic defect that causes premature aging or else aging-like defects, cannot be a model for studying normal aging.

d)Studying how respiration of mitochondria is reduced is not a way to identify how we age, only because older counterparts are found to have lower mitochondrial respiration rate. Even if we manage to reverse this decline in lab cultures it doesn’t mean that we found a way to reverse aging. Moreover, even if we manage to rejuvenate some cells in vitro, doesn’t mean that this will be succesfull in real multi-cellular organisms.

However, all the above statements are wrong in the case that life is not a sum of chemical reactions.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
In the chaotic chemistry theory of life that we introduced the main novelty is that actually all the features of life, such as metabolism, reproduction etc are only meaningless spontaneous chaotic chemistry, that is perceived as something special by us because they leads to us. In a similar manner, in any other long term system of chaotic chemistry, some natural processes will occur (evolution of reactions, advantage of repeatable reactions, etc) and the resulting reactions, if used as observers, they will perceive the whole system exactly the same way that we perceive our own system. Additionally, this means that all features of life for a non participating object (ie a stone)are only meaningless chemistry. Including our actions, our intelligence and our organized societies. But, what do the latter serve? Answer: Our survival mainly. It’s a weapon for survival exactly like strength, speed, etc.
 If you study any chaotic chemical reaction system, the resulting reactions over time prevail over other reactions due to some reasons. If you study the patterns in which they do this, you will find common patterns. You can call them strategies. Depends on who is the observer.

But what are the data supporting this theory?

a)For an external observer, our survival has no meaning. Its only chemistry instead of other chemistry. We are not special things for them that should be sustained and reserved.

b)You don’t find anywhere else in the Universe the “effort to survive”. Only here in life. I wonder why. Maybe because its only a term created by us to describe the patterns in which our reactions have prevailed over time.

c)Intelligent actions, strategies and intelligent organization is found everywhere in the animal kingdom and its pretty much not dependent to the existence of a higher organ such as the brain. Everybody knows that many animals survived for centuries without even having a brain. Recently scientists have found that fish actually dispay a much greater behavioral and intelligence sophistication than previously thought or explained by the structure of their brain.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
Chemical reactions and Aging -Part 2:

If the phenotype of an organism is the sum of its chemical reactions, one thing is obvious. That these reactions become different as we age. However, we don’t know whether the initial reactions are programmed to change and lead to the latter ones, or the transition is a result of other events. In other words, is it possible to maintain the same composition of reactions for a long time, thus preventing changes in phenotype, thus preventing further aging?

Answer:  In the case our reactions are programmed to change, then things are more complicated. However, in the case that the reactions can be maintained as they are, then it can happen. And below is a possible way to achieve it.
The most important thing is to prevent changes. This can be achieved by providing a certain amount, composition and pace of initial substrates to the reacting system in the form of food. We are only interested in maintaining the system unchanged. We don’t care about the composition of this system, as long as it remains unchanged. This means that any diet that repeats itself every day,( that is providing everyday the same nutrients, in the same manner without any deviations in the routine) can cause the maximum of phenotype preserving in an organism, providing that the diet is viable and supplies all essential elements for life.
Question: Is there any existing evidence that this theory can work in reality?

Answer: A possible evidence can be the fact that the long term maintenance of the same weight (which is achieved by relatively stable food habits) pose an anti-aging effect. On the contrary, frequent changes in body weight accelerate aging.
Additionaly, anyone that tries to lose weight with the help of a specific nutrition, knows that even if he is very compliant to the perfect diet, he must periodically eat something else so as to further make changes in his body, because the body gets used to the diet and resists to further loss. It seems that eating the same food both in quality and quantity tend to cause stabilization of our body’s composition.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
Life as chemical reactions and cancer part2
If a living organism is a sum of chemical reactions, then tumor cells are also a group of chemical reactions with specific by largely unknown properties. What is known however is that the reactions of the tumor have deviated from normal metabolism. Tumors are characterized by cells that are rapidly replicating. Hence, chemical reactions of the tumors are turned into “fast forward” mode. The rapid use of glucose in cancer is the basis of a powerful diagnostic test called PET scan, as tumor cells selectively uptake the tracer.
What causes the shift into unusual metabolisms is a hot topic in cancer research nowadays.
Over the last decades, scientists have found a lot with respect to molecular pathways linked to cancer. They have also managed to analyze cancer genomes rapidly and in great detail, with the help of next generation sequencing. However, results from targeting these pathways with drugs has proven to be relatively disappointing, mainly due to a significant amount of cross-talks between pathways.
Currently there is enthusiasm for immunotherapies (that can extend life for some months in some selected cases), but the next best thing is the study of cancer metabolomics. More and more scientists discover metabolic disruptions that are oncogenic. Metabolic disruptions and the speed of tumor chemical reactions can be exploited from scientists to develop novel treatments.
Additionally, complex metabolic disruptions are found also in other multi-cause chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, autoimmune diseases etc. Most of these conditions are age related. Seems that metabolic disruptions due to aging are hidden behind these age related diseases. It is something like a whack a mole game.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
1)Two scientists have recently developed a new model to explain how could early replicating molecules could have worked. I cannot explain it because I found it rather crazy, complex, and highly unlikely to represent a real scenario. However, it was published in a respectable journal and for anyone interested it can be found here:
http://phys.org/news/2015-07-life-emergence-self-replication-early-earth.html
At this point I would to point out at the origin of the self replicating molecules that the chemical-reaction-only scenario offers. Everytime a system of chemical reactions became repeatable, this helped it to sustain itself in the long term. Gradual complexity could be built and sustained in this way. Organic molecules  (as multiple experiments show), and particularly nucleic acids can be created later from this increasing complexity and finally prevail due to its properties. That simple!!!!

2)At this point, one might have a question. If life is actually chemical chaos, why does living beings  avoid spatial chaos? The answer is simple. The chemical reactions of entire life as a whole phenomenon, poses spatial chaos. Individuals organisms are focal fluctuations that are a part of a larger system. So the answer to the question of what prevents chemical reactions of an organisms from spatial chaos, the answer is “the other chemical reactions that exists on earth and belong to living beings”.

3)Life viewed as a sum of complex chemical reactions suggests that acquired intrinsic chronic diseases such as cancer are more likely a result of complex metabolic imbalances (in which genetic alterations are a small fraction) that forces cells to obtain a cancer phenotype, rather than being a result of mainly genetic alterations. The latter was the predominant idea for decades. However, recently scientists have initially discovered that cancer is a complex interplay between cancer cells and its surrounding stroma. In addition, very recently scientists have found that cancer can be initiated due to non-genetic causes as protein imbalances inside a cell can be the sole cause of cancer. Specifically, two proteins that compete for binding to FGFR2 are plc-gamma-1 and grab-2. If the relative concentration of the former prevails, then there is constant activation of akt pathways that leads to cell proliferation and cancer formation.)

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
The concept that caloric restriction without malnutrition can increase longevity is known for many decades. As a result, numerous studies had been performed, in order to study the effect of nutrition in healthy lifespan. A thorough analysis of all the studies strongly supports the concept of living beings as complex systems of chemical reactions. I will explain:

First of all, what happens in a complex system of chemical reactions? Without providing initial substrates for reactions (food), then the existing system will reach an equilibrium state and die. If insufficient amount of food is provided (malnutrition), then equilibrium will be eventually be reached at some point, as well. If sufficient amount of initial substrates are provided, then the reactions will happen normally. If you provide some additional substrates, this will neither be of a benefit for the system, but it will be an extra stress, nor the pace of the reactions will increase. On the contrary, it will have a negative impact on the chemical reactions.

Now, why existing evidence support this is the case?

a)The fact that nutrition affects longevity points to a mechanistic system .

b)The differential effects of caloric restriction on different organisms are dependent on the composition of the reactions of each organism. Caloric restriction effect is not universal.

c)Everytime there is a lowering in metabolic rate, there is an increase in lifespan…Slower reactions last for more…simple as that.

d)This cannot be satisfactorily explained by a reduction in the production of reactive oxygen molecules as the culprit of this phenomenon per se, as some studies provide contradictory results.

e)Some studies in insects has shown that the relative proportion of nutrients (e.g. proteins/carbohydrates) is what plays the most decisive role, not caloric restriction.

f)Caloric restriction(CR) only produces longevity if it counteracts a significant metabolic imbalance. Animals under CR were compared to ad-libitum controls, that usually become overweight and obese. CR increases lifespan only in animals that become obese while on ad libitum diet. On the contrary, weight stability was an indicator that animals were receiving an optimal diet, so as to reach the longest lifespan possible.

For further study, I propose this article as well as some of its cited references …
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0891584914002317

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
And if life on earth is just chemical chaos caused by arbitrary reactions, that we perceive as something special due to our viewpoint,  how did life was created in the first place? In other words how can some initial reactions lead to a system of billions of others instead of leading to equilibrium?
Here is a logical scenario:
At the primordial earth we had many geological phenomena, such as volcanos etc, etc. Temperature was higher, sun energy was stronger and the atmosphere was different. Many chemical reactions were happening at the atmosphere, so a variety of chemicals were created. Eventually all these different chemical molecules fell on the ground due to gravity. So the surface of earth and the floor of the oceans and seas were the place were many different chemicals were concentrated. In fact, an inch of this carpet collects everything that comes from above i.e atmosphere and underlying water. So at every tiny inch of the surface, a huge variety of chemical molecules were collected. All these chemicals, with the help of strong external energy (e.g. solar energy, heat etc), started to react with each other. (Probably that would have been invisible our eye). Many different substrates were produced, so they started to react with each other, plus with all the previously occurring chemicals and so, equilibrium was avoided and further complexity was created.
However, terrestrial reactions, athough gaining significant complexity, equilibrium would have eventually occurred everytime. On the contrary, marine reactions were buoyed by water and so reactions and chemicals were stuck together for more, and so complexity was promoted, as well as the creation of hydrophobic membranes that made the process multilocal rather than diffuse. Eventually, increasing complexity created the first tiny organisms. This complexity was constantly increasing creating multi-cellular organisms. Functions such as eating, swimming, walking, killing etc were not present on the first multicellular organisms.
Ok!! This is the scenario.
And lets see what scientific evidence from fossils found tells us about the istory of life on earth. The story in general goes something like…
Life on earth was first evolved 3,5 billion years ago. The first organisms with structure to create fossils were marine prokaryotes. First bacteria performing photosynthesis appered 3,4 billion years ago. 2 billion years ago appeared cmplex cells, and 1,2 billion years appeared sexual reproduction. Around 1 billion years appeared some bizarre multicelluar organisms such as skolithos, diplocraterion, cruzianna, ichnotaxon, spriggina, sinotubulites, namacalathus, etc, with elusive properties. Until 500 million years ago, all life was marine. Around that period the first terrestrial life-forms appeared. Soon after, Cambrian explosion happened and the rest is history….

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
If life as a whole is a system of chemical reactions, then from the beginning it was a system of reactions with increasing complexity. Thus, every époque was characterized by a particular level of chemical reaction complexity. If this is the case, it means that fossils from the same period must have had the same level of complexity, as they were all parts of the same system of life at a particular time.

 But how do you measure complexity of chemical reactions in an organism? A good way is to see an organism’s embryology. How complicated can it become? In other words, how much of its DNA can be regulated? Or else, what is the ratio between coding DNA/ non coding regulatory DNA? Or what is the ratio between methylated/ non methylated DNA? In any particular period in a system of interconnected chemical reactions, the ratios in all the organisms must follow a normal distribution, as the chemical complexity must have been nearly the same. In any other case, then the distribution will be far different from normal. Any ideas?

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
A chemical-reaction-only theory of life indicates that life is a sum of chemical reactions that are happening arbitrarily and spontaneously. This means that we would expect that the entropy of the system of reactions both as a whole and for particular organisms to be increasing constantly, albeit the external sun energy that this open system receives.
But this is in contrast with our long held belief that living beings are characterized by order, and thus a lowering entropy state (see ideas of Schrodiger). But is this really the case?

For instance, for a nonliving object, such as a stone, all the reactions of living beings are meaningless. A stone only perceives a chemical unordered chaos. On the other hand, weare what we are because of some properties of these reactions. Hence, through our perspective, there is a lot of order there.
For this reason, if we want to re-examine if entropy of living beings during evolution is actually increasing or decreasing, we must abandon human-created terms such as “order”, and instead check-out for entropy changes using more objective tools such as “heat release”, etc etc.
For instance, I am not sure if life as a totality is characterized by an entropy decrease during , or what happens to an isolated leaf or a baby during its lifetime as it is getting older.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
And someone might say that if living beings are only a sum of complex chemical reactions then what prevents them from degrading into chemical chaos? For instance, if there is not a major adverse event or a catastrophic external factor, how can a human maintain its body structure at a viable state for nearly 100 years instead of spontaneously degrading towards a higher entropic state?

A possible answer lies in our inability to fully appreciate and comprehend big numbers.
I will explain.
Lets assume that human body everyday degrades towards a higher entropic state. Lets assume for this reason, that after each day, the body loses, lets say 100 thousand of chemical reactions. Suppose we have an 80 years old man. He has lived 29200 days. This means that he has lost nearly 3 billion reactions during his lifetime. If the total amount of chemical reactions he has in his body is, lets say 1 trillion, then after 80 years he will be composed of 997 billion reactions, which means virtually still 1 trillion. So the impact of the whole process on the chemical reaction count will be almost negligible.

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
 Entropy in life: Increase vs decrease

Question: If we let alone a cell in an isolated box, the result will eventually be a chemical mixture and not the organized cell. The final disordered mixture is more entropic than the the organized cell. Doesn’t this prove that lowering entropy is a hallmark of life and every organism spends an amount of energy to increase its order??
 
Answer: Not necessarily. The story of any individual living being actually is a journey towards gradual decay into disordered chemistry. In the beginning it’s a zygote in which so much information is disclosed about future events, patterns, etc in a very small space. So we can say that a zygote has less entropy compared to later stages. This entropy gradually increases as we become infants, childs, teenagers, adults, etc, because less and less information is carried over time…
A simple cell in isolation will indeed decay quickly, but don’t forget that cells never exist in isolation, and higher organisms are much more complex and they interact with external energy. So the fact that they don’t instantly decay doesn’t necessarily mean that they use energy to decrease their entropy. Never underestimate our inability to fully comprehend the value of huge numbers.
 I will explain:
Lets assume that a human body everyday degrades towards a higher entropic state. Lets assume for this reason, that after each day, the body loses, lets say 100 thousand of chemical reactions. Suppose we have an 80 years old man. He has lived 29200 days. This means that he has lost nearly 3 billion reactions during his lifetime. If the total amount of chemical reactions he has is, lets say 1 trillion, then after 80 years he will be composed of 997 billion reactions, which means virtually still 1 trillion. So the impact of the whole process on the chemical reaction count will be almost negligible.
Of course, if we stop giving him food, he will degrade faster, but this is an example how can life can be compatible with a gradual loss of entropy.




Question: Isn’t a cell is much more ordered than its components?

Answer: A cell is much more ordered than its components, but what you forget is that a cell never exists in isolation. It owes its existence and its properties to the fact that it belongs into a more generalized phenomenon that is called life, which is an open system and interacts with external energy.
Imagine you have a flask with water that is heated with fire. The molecules of water will start speeding randomly toward various directions. Virtually, what you are doing here with the cell argument is ignoring the fire and the majority of other water molecules and focusing only on subset of 2 specific molecules. These molecules will be perceived as gaining speed without an obvious reason, thus seeming to decrease entropy, as well as other known laws is such a way that it has to be characterized as an independent phenomenon that has to be studied….



Question: Isn’t glucose and oxygen more ordered than CO2 and water?
Answer: In order to build a house, you take the bricks and put them together. But you don’t build a cell in that way. A cell or a living being is the way it is because of the other living beings, ie because of the existence of what we call life on earth. Cells or living beings never exist in isolation.

Question: Isn’t it difficult to measure changes in order in particular organisms or cells?
Answer: Yes, but if life as a whole is a sum of entropy decreasing entities, then the entropy of the whole system will be decreasing accordingly over time. In this case, the total amount of entropic releases in the environment will be changing over time accordingly. I think this can be measurable....

*

Offline ProjectSailor

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 83
    • View Profile
This is a fascinating thought process, and it highlights the unusual property that life has that 'just' chemical reactions don't

Will

All life by definition strives to continue. I find many many chemical reactions that do not. That stubornly refuse to react to meet the known equilibrium without me giving them a nice catalyst or condition to push them along.. these reactions and their equilibrium are purely mechanical operations on a molecular level with no 'will' to drive it or speed it up it won't search out the catalyst or condition to do so.

If I had a 'bubble' of chemical say Vinyl Chloride, which in its bubble was happily polymerising away to form PVC, once it reaches equilibrium, does not then hunt down more Vinyl Chloride or take in any other chemicals to assist in the formation thereof. Life seems to want to do this and so is specifically and definitively different, why this is the case, what exists in the cells or structures of every living creature that causes it to 'will' its way to continued chemical reactions..

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
There is no 'will' in cells. Cells don't think. There are simply composed of chemical systems that evolved over time and have survival capacities, because thats what they did. They survived. This gives us the impression that these systems think or have a will. However, it is only chemistry and there is nothing that can't be explained in terms of spontaneous chemical reactions. Cells can cope with mild stress, but they can't fight everything. From a certain point on they are not programmed to fight, but illness and death occurs in predictable ways instead.


And something more:

And now that we found water on Mars, it is a first class chance to test all those water-based theories with respect to the origin of life!
 
We are all waiting to see! We truly live in amazing times....
 
 
A possible setback is that they have found that crater Gale is the bottom of an ancient watery lake that existed for a significant amount of time in the past. This is evidence that the climate of Mars used to be warmer and the atmosphere thicker. However, does the absence of fossils or any organic remnants of ancient microbial life suggests that life probably never existed there despite the presence of water?

*

Offline minass

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 86
    • View Profile
Recent understandings on the mechanisms behind carcinogenesis and metastasis can be summarized on the following 2 key points:
1)All tumors (and other diseases) are different from person to person. Even tumor cells from a single individual are different.
2)Cancerous behavior is not only a matter of genetic material. It has to do with a complex and reciprocal cross-talk between cells and their environment. Extra-cellular matrix is not static, but on the contrary is very dynamic. Genes by themselves are not enough.
In a nice lecture, Mina Bissel explains all these findings
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBBOMTIXlL0
And my question is this:
Isn’t it obvious that all these discoveries suggest that actually it is all just a matter of complex chemical reactions after all? They (reactions) all belong in a system that can be seen as a catalogue of chemical reactions. Some happen intra-cellularly and others happen extra-cellularly, but why does this matter? They all belong in a unique catalogue of spontaneous chemical interactions.
And as explained before, the whole life can be explained in that way…