From: JG, Darwin Award Assistant
Sent:February 15, 2008
Subject: "Life, Tomorrow's Comprehension"
Thank You for responding to our call for science writers. I really enjoyed you outline. Your purposed idea is truly unique and I have not read anything similar. Your essay would be a great addition to our scientific essays…. etc.,
I look forward to hearing from you.
Darwin Award Assistant
Sent:February 16, 2008
Thank you for the flattering compliment and for the kind offer.
However, having looked up the Darwin Award link I regret to decline the offer since I do not think that "Life, Tomorrow's Comprehension" belongs in the class of 'popularised science' essays you seek.
I consider "Life, Tomorrow's Comprehension", and other brief essays that I have been writing on this subject, uniquely novel expansion of Darwinism towards the furthest presently conceivable life comprehension horizon.
At my advanced age and background (ret', 1956 PhD biochem) I would be glad, though, to consider favourably some sort of a joint project of editing-organizing-publishing my subject relevant essays-postings. IMO this might be an impressive scientific contribution for extending the profoundity and applicability of historical Darwinism.
If Darwin Award is interested to consider such a project I shall furnish some links and sample essays.
Chirality In Life, The Earliest Surviving Darwinian Evolution Product
A. From "…key to life before its origin on Earth?"
When scientists synthesize these molecules in the laboratory, half of a sample turns out to be “left-handed” and the other half “right-handed.” But the amino acids that are the building blocks of terrestrial proteins are all “left-handed,” while the sugars of DNA and RNA are “right-handed.” The mystery as to why this is the case, “parallels in many of its queries those that surround the origin of life…”
Thanks to the pristine nature of this meteorite, we were able to demonstrate that other extraterrestrial amino acids carry the left-handed excesses in meteorites and, above all, that these excesses appear to signify that their precursor molecules, the aldehydes, also carried such excesses,” Pizzarello said. “In other words, a molecular trait that defines life seems to have broader distribution as well as a long cosmic lineage.”
B. From "Allosteric, chiral-selective drug binding to DNA"
(Allosteric: of, relating to, undergoing, or being a change in the shape and activity of a protein, as an enzyme, that results from combination with another substance at a point other than the chemically active site)
DNA is polymorphic and exists in a variety of distinct conformations. Duplex DNA can adopt a variety of sequence-dependent secondary structures that range from the canonical right-handed B form through the left-handed Z conformation. Multistranded triplex and tetraplex structures are now known to exist. All of these unique conformations may play important functional roles in gene expression.
C. Chirality in life still awaits elucidation
First, reasearch findings should be stated scientifically correctly. In A above NOT "a molecular trait that defines life seems to have broader distribution as well as a long cosmic lineage”, but YES "a molecular conformation dominant in Earth life may have broader distribution and additional cosmic presence.”
Next, re in A above "the mystery as to why this is the case":
My conjecture about the probable reasons for the prevailing chirality:
Darwinian evolution started at life's day one, with the genesis of the first organisms, the replicating oligomers, pre-archaea genes. It started under yet-unknown energetic conditions, by a serendipitous occurrence, with oligomeric (RNA?) conformations, in a soup containing all their essential molecular progenitors. These conformations happened to absorb the amounts of energy enabling their polymerization, to lengths precipitated as determined by the nature and conditions of the soup.
The sugars and the nitrogen-based compounds that, together with the phosphates, are the components of the genes-organisms, are chiral. There probably is an energetic advantage in homochirality and chiral homogeneity for the self-replication of biopolymers.
This serendipitous occurrence set up a matrix-field of energy with a potential extended between its source, the sun radiation and the precipitating organisms. This was the genesis of the ongoing formation and maintenance of Earth's biosphere.
And since the biosphere had thus started it could only evolve in the directions of more favorable energy balances-life-packages and towards stabler conformations. Survival was the direction. After all, this was already the course of Earth life evolution.
But this is a conjecture. Chirality in life still awaits elucidation…
Darwinism Starts With Life's Day One, With Pre-Archaea Genes
History Of Life In Structure Of Transfer RNA
Quote from http://www.physorg.com/news124097235.html
The new analysis also indicates that viruses emerged not long after the archaea, with the superkingdoms eukarya and bacteria following much later – and in that order. This finding may influence the ongoing debate over whether viruses existed prior to, or after, the emergence of living cells, Caetano-Anolles said.
“This supports the idea that viruses arose from the cellular domain,” he said.
Quote from http://genomebiology.com/2000/1/3/reviews/1020/
Archaea (as exemplified by Pyrococcus sp.) replicate their circular genome from a single DNA replication origin as do bacteria, even though they may use eukaryotic-like proteins to do so. This single-origin replication is unlike human's, as our DNA replication depends on initiation at thousands of different origins. The multiple sites of initiation are essential for timely replication of large eukaryotic genomes. The archaebacterial Pyrococcus genomes by contrast are smaller even than that of Escherichia coli, so perhaps we should not be surprised that archaea can replicate like E. coli using a single origin.
Quote from http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-P81pQcU1dLBbHgtjQjxG_Q–?cq=1&p=372
Viruses, Too, Are Bona Fide Organisms
Evolution is always in the direction of more effective survivability; however, this is not always in the direction of more complexing for coping with changing environments and competition. In a stable nutritious environment, like in Earth's oceans, coping with vital requirenments, evolution, is in the opposite direction, simplify tooling and means.
It is plain common sense that viruses, even Viroids and Virusoids, no
thing more than single strands of DNA or RNA, sometimes only 200-300 nucleotides long, are organisms as alive as we are, evolved at life genesis era and selected for survival in forms, composition and capabilities by living, and even replicating, off their richer kin. Smart little buggers.
Factors Involved In Extended Historical Darwinism:
– Earth Life Is A Real Virtual Affair; it pops in and out of existence in its matrix, which is the energy constrained in Earth's biosphere .
– Genes are organisms, interdependent members of genes communes, genomes, all continuously undergoing evolution directed towards survival as long as possible, for maintaining Earth's biosphere as long as possible.
– Culture is a ubiquitous biological entity and is the major effector of genetic evolution, of capabilities and attributes selected for survival.
– The major course of natural selection is not via random mutations followed by survival, but via interdependent, interactive and interenhencing selection of biased replication routes by genes at their alternative-splicing-steps junctions, effected by the cultural feedback of the second stratum multicells organism or monocells community to their prime stratum genes-genome organisms.
– Evolution of life is but a minute component of the evolution of the universe. Cosmic evolution is the evolution of energy. Life, like all objects and processes and natural laws in the universe, are – since none in exsistence at singularity – products of evolution and are continuously further evolving. Everything in the cosmos is fractal, rehappens on many scales, and is continuously evolving. Each and every system in the universe continuously evolves within the total universal evolution and all the systems' evolutions are intertwined and within it life's evolution is the evolution of genes-genomes, in a losing attempt to survive, to maintain – as long as possible – pockets of constrained energy that would otherwise and anyhow eventually expand and dilute with the whole mass and energy of the cosmos…
Puzzled why even Darwinians do not comprehend that Darwinism starts all the way back with Life's day one, with the pre-archaea not-yet-genomed-celled genes…
Elephants, Cetaceans, Religion, And Ethics
In A Science-Informed-Based Civilization
Feb 28 2008, in physorg forum
A. Elephants to be killed to control their number
Feb. 25, 2008
Pretoria, South Africa: South Africa says that it will start killing elephants to reduce their burgeoning numbers…
B. Intelligence and culture
– Wikipedia: "There is no universally agreed definition of intelligence. However, a commonly used definition is 'the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience'."
– Intelligence = The core (wordnet.princeton) definition of "intelligence" is "the ability to comprehend, to understand and profit from experience".
These surviving abilities are different for the different genotypes and for the different phenotypes within a genotype, therefore each of those cases has its own unique expression of "intelligence". Intelligence is to culture approximately as essential amino acids are to proteins. Culture evolves in response to circumstances via the use of intelligence and to the extent and scope feasible by the extent and scope of intelligence.
– Cognition = the capability, process or act of thinking, questioning and analysing. Cognition is Cultural, is Biological. Cognition derives from culture. Culture is a biological attribute of ALL organisms regardless of size or complexity.
– Culture = the totality of ways of the organisms' dealing with (awareness of, reaction to, manipulation of, exploitation of) its environment.
C. Present ethical and non-ethical killing
Devouring of organism by organism is an innate evolutionary survival format. Humans, having evolved within their genotype a variety of different phenogroups' cultures comprising also artifactual codes of ethics, have not involved ethical consideration in regards to either killing and/or consuming other organisms.
Humans' avoidance of cannibalism, some humans' burrial of their dead, some humans' avoidance of own-kin killing, and license to kill and consume other organisms have been founded and developed historically first via the human artifact religion, essentially a frame-of-mind and system of ascribing Inflated High individual and group Self-Esteem (IHSE) to a kin group as means for the phenogroup survival. With accelerating development of human culture, accompanied with increased welfare demands, follows competition for resources between phenogroups and various forms of IHSE-phenogroups takeover and domination of other groups. In the course of this competition the different phenogroups evolve at different rates and in different directions, per their unique circumstances and capabilities, arriving at the present state of humanity on Earth.
Even if we comprehend today the historical process of our evolution, we members of whatever phenogroup still have embeded in us the IHSE base of ethics. This embeded ethics criterion grades the extent of our empathy unevenly along a scale of social strata within our community and along a scale of nations-phenogroups on Earth.
In regards to non-human organisms our Ethics Scale is based on our concept of the extent of cognition expressed by them. The closer their cognitive characteristics are to ours the more empathy we feel for them. Thus our highly empathic attitudes towards elephants and some primates and towards some Cetaceans, the 'brainy' ex-mammals turned ocean dwellers. We feel more uneasy about killing them than about killing less 'brainy' cratures, farther from us on the scale of having cognition.
D. Future ethics of killing non-humans in science-based civilization
If, whenever, eventually, Earth's humanity survives to base-found a united Earth civilization based on science-informed rational…in such a maybe far future methods other than killing (some available now, already) will probably be applied for interferring with natural Darwinian course of evolution…