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Thread: Origin of Life - A New Concept

  1. #121
    This sentence is a lie aaqucnaona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krishnagopal View Post
    OK. Let us see my point from a different perspective.

    Where do you think consciousness is 'lodged' in the case of a human being?
    I think our consciousness is an emergent property, like a rainbow. A rainbow is much more than just raindrops, but without the raindrops, there is no rainbow. Similiarly, our consciousness is, IMO, the emergent property of the computations by the neurons in our nervous system and when that decomposes, so does the person.

    Do you consider an act of reflex withdrawal from pin prick a part of consciousness?
    Do you consider breathing a part of consciousness or not?
    They are involutary and hence not a part of conscious self-awareness. Breathing can be controlled, so it is in a grey area.

    Do you consider studying for exams a part of consciousness?
    Yes, because that shows self-awareness, agenticity, intentionality and deliberated and directed conscious use of cognition, perception, memory and thought.

  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaqucnaona View Post
    I think our consciousness is an emergent property, like a rainbow. A rainbow is much more than just raindrops, but without the raindrops, there is no rainbow. Similiarly, our consciousness is, IMO, the emergent property of the computations by the neurons in our nervous system and when that decomposes, so does the person.

    They are involutary and hence not a part of conscious self-awareness. Breathing can be controlled, so it is in a grey area.


    Yes, because that shows self-awareness, agenticity, intentionality and deliberated and directed conscious use of cognition, perception, memory and thought.
    i very well appreciate the analogy drawn between rainbow and consciousness. It is usable.

    "Self-awareness", yes it is't there. but it is not relevent right now as to "what is self".

    But the neurons in the spinal cord (by the same above analogy) do sense a prick of the needle and respond too. I wanted to know whether this entitled "awareness" at least remotely?

  3. #123
    This sentence is a lie aaqucnaona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krishnagopal View Post
    i very well appreciate the analogy drawn between rainbow and consciousness. It is usable.

    "Self-awareness", yes it is't there. but it is not relevent right now as to "what is self".

    But the neurons in the spinal cord (by the same above analogy) do sense a prick of the needle and respond too. I wanted to know whether this entitled "awareness" at least remotely?
    Awareness means to have a knowledge of. That means that the thing that is aware must be able to obtain, retain and process information. Moreover, it must be able to, by itself, reorganise, rearrange, learn or deduce more information from the imputs to be able to form a knowledge base. This is why computers and plants arent considered aware while cats and humans are.

    Ps. For me, the self is the totality of all material constituents, their functions, properties and emergences that form a human body. Add an awareness to that and somewhere along the line would be consiousness.

  4. #124
    Another interesting article in Scientfic American:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...quantum-secret

    If plants (e.g., algae) can do it (quantum interactions) . . . why not neurons?

  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaqucnaona View Post
    Awareness means to have a knowledge of. That means that the thing that is aware must be able to obtain, retain and process information. Moreover, it must be able to, by itself, reorganise, rearrange, learn or deduce more information from the imputs to be able to form a knowledge base. This is why computers and plants arent considered aware while cats and humans are.
    Spinal neuron (chief player in spinal reflex) meets most of the above criteria.

    It does obtain information from the surroundings – it senses that its nerve endings are stimulated (by a physical change around nerve ending resulted form of prick, in this case). (Nerve ending is the tip of the axon, which itself is a part of neuron)

    It registers and retains the information, otherwise how can it act? Each stimulus must result in a molecular change and then only it can ‘fire’ an action potential. These molecular signatures are stored inside them if stimuli are given for a sufficient time or with sufficient intensity.

    Process and reorganize information – it has to process the information so that it may do several of the following things –
    1) it may send information to the motor neuron directly (the basis of reflex arc)
    2) or it may send it to several motor neurons belonging to other areas such as trunk and upper limbs (eg to keep balance after the jerk)
    3) it may also send to an intermediate inhibitory interneuron (called Renshaw cell) – so that we donot have an exaggerated response
    4) it may send the impulse to cortical sensory neurons (so that more pain is felt),
    5) it may also allow the impulse to ‘die out’ within it ( so that no pain is felt at cortex).
    and possibly several other functions

    These neurons can learn too – you keep on stimulating an area for some time, the neurons get ‘used to’ the input and after some time no action results.

    This is interesting to know – the spinal reflexes (eg, knee jerk) are in fact exaggerated if the cortical control is lost, as sometimes occur in spinal cord injuries

    Now can I say the spinal neurons do live and act on their own at least for sometime (in the absence of cortical control)? Can they be called to be aware of the surroundings, on their own, by themselves?

  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by wlminex View Post
    Another interesting article in Scientfic American:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...quantum-secret

    If plants (e.g., algae) can do it (quantum interactions) . . . why not neurons?
    Every single living cell on the earth (uni- or multicellular) has to be alert to its surroundings to get food, to protect itslf and to procreate. That is the way life is designed
    That was a nice article, Thank you

  7. #127
    Valued Senior Member Arioch's Avatar
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    @krishnagopal --

    Every single living cell on the earth (uni- or multicellular) has to be alert to its surroundings to get food, to protect itslf and to procreate.
    That needn't always have been the case. In the Earth's early history the organic compounds necessary for life would have been present in abundance and the need to move or do anything beyond simply allowing the laws of chemistry to unfold wouldn't have been necessary for an organism to survive.

  8. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arioch View Post
    @krishnagopal --
    That needn't always have been the case. In the Earth's early history the organic compounds necessary for life would have been present in abundance and the need to move or do anything beyond simply allowing the laws of chemistry to unfold wouldn't have been necessary for an organism to survive.
    Hardly. Even though we know very little of the primordial conditions, one thing is sure the atmosphere was not so conducive. The food was not plenty, on the other hand non-existent – there was no oxidizable substrates (eg sugar) in their surroundings. The early life had to depend on minerals for their energy (lithotrophs). Possibly, They could not even use sunlight as they were deep inside a ‘warm little pond’(phototrophs appeared much later).

    Moreover, the conditions at that time were harsh – with bombarding meteorites, ever changing tectonics, damaging radiation (damages organic compounds readily), and of course without the carbon-cycle, nitrogen-cycle and all the “ecobalance” of today.

    You can picture the early colony- as the organisms grow in a colony with certain resources, deep inside a pond, and they cannot stop proliferating (by whatever means) and had to fight for the food available.

    After all, Abundance is no guard for avarice.

    No, it was a fight all the time. Each cell had be aware of its surroundings to keep going. That was the primary requirement.

  9. #129
    Quote Originally Posted by krishnagopal View Post
    Hardly. Even though we know very little of the primordial conditions, one thing is sure the atmosphere was not so conducive. The food was not plenty, on the other hand non-existent – there was no oxidizable substrates (eg sugar) in their surroundings. The early life had to depend on minerals for their energy (lithotrophs). Possibly, They could not even use sunlight as they were deep inside a ‘warm little pond’(phototrophs appeared much later).

    Moreover, the conditions at that time were harsh – with bombarding meteorites, ever changing tectonics, damaging radiation (damages organic compounds readily), and of course without the carbon-cycle, nitrogen-cycle and all the “ecobalance” of today.

    You can picture the early colony- as the organisms grow in a colony with certain resources, deep inside a pond, and they cannot stop proliferating (by whatever means) and had to fight for the food available.

    After all, Abundance is no guard for avarice.

    No, it was a fight all the time. Each cell had be aware of its surroundings to keep going. That was the primary requirement.
    Please consider it just about proven that life started on Mercury. It was the incubator planet for this solar system.

  10. #130
    Valued Senior Member Arioch's Avatar
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    @krishnagopal --

    Hardly. Even though we know very little of the primordial conditions, one thing is sure the atmosphere was not so conducive.
    While it is true that the atmosphere was not conducive to our kind of life, that's never been a stumbling block for life in the past. Just look at the thousands of extant species of extremophiles, they're thriving in environments that were previously considered completely hostile to life(including some like the tardigrade who can survive over an hour in hard vacuum with all that that entails). If life is capable of that now, in a very oxygen rich environment, who's to say that it wasn't back then?

    In fact one of the hypotheses concerning abiogenesis is that it occurred near undersea vents, with the energy required being provided by the heat from the vent.

    The food was not plenty, on the other hand non-existent – there was no oxidizable substrates (eg sugar) in their surroundings.
    Which assumes that early life, some three point nine billion years ago, worked in the way that modern life does today. A rather bold assumption to make in the face of evidence to the contrary.

    The early life had to depend on minerals for their energy (lithotrophs). Possibly, They could not even use sunlight as they were deep inside a ‘warm little pond’(phototrophs appeared much later).
    And sunlight wasn't the only energy source available to them, it was(and still is) simply the most abundant, hence why life has evolved since then to use it as a source of energy.

    Moreover, the conditions at that time were harsh – with bombarding meteorites, ever changing tectonics, damaging radiation (damages organic compounds readily), and of course without the carbon-cycle, nitrogen-cycle and all the “ecobalance” of today.
    So the selective pressures applied to the organisms would have been tighter, this somehow proves that the first life forms were aware?

    You can picture the early colony- as the organisms grow in a colony with certain resources, deep inside a pond, and they cannot stop proliferating (by whatever means) and had to fight for the food available.
    Actually for the first billion or so generations the components necessary for replication were very likely to be incredibly common, leading to overpopulation and cannibalizing of neighbors for further replication. Again, this doesn't imply that the initial replicators were aware, they may have just been organic compounds who had a tendency(due to their physical shape) to rearrange nearby chemicals into copies of themselves. In fact given what we know of life and the universe this seems to be an increasingly likely scenario.

    [quote]After all, Abundance is no guard for avarice.[quote]

    But again, this doesn't make your case. This would have been a factor after the initial replicators had exhausted their supply of "food" and needed to prey on their neighbors to keep replicating.

    No, it was a fight all the time.
    This is simply your opinion, one that's not supported by the what we know.

    Each cell had be aware of its surroundings to keep going.
    Well sure, once the cell was around. However life didn't begin with the cell, that evolutionary innovation came later.

    That was the primary requirement.
    Wrong. The primary requirement for life was replication and the primary requirement for evolution(other than life, obviously) is heredity(imperfect replication with a high fidelity rate). Nowhere in there is awareness or consciousness required.

  11. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Please consider it just about proven that life started on Mercury.
    alright bob! we will see what we can do about it.

    It was the incubator planet for this solar system.
    I just hope your hypothesis clicks

  12. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arioch View Post
    @krishnagopal --While it is true that the atmosphere was not conducive to our kind of life, that's never been a stumbling block for life in the past. Just look at the thousands of extant species of extremophiles, they're thriving in environments that were previously considered completely hostile to life(including some like the tardigrade who can survive over an hour in hard vacuum with all that that entails). If life is capable of that now, in a very oxygen rich environment, who's to say that it wasn't back then?
    I agree with you that ‘lower organisms’ are capable of adaptation. The lower the organism in the phylogenetic rung the better is its adaptability.

    In fact one of the hypotheses concerning abiogenesis is that it occurred near undersea vents, with the energy required being provided by the heat from the vent.
    I myself think it possible that this point is right



    Which assumes that early life, some three point nine billion years ago, worked in the way that modern life does today. A rather bold assumption to make in the face of evidence to the contrary.
    Why should we assume that something very grossly different had occurred billions of years ago?

    There is much unity in diversity. There is diversity (among various species) in procuring energy from the environment and its subsequent release into the surroundings. Some use minerals, some sunlight, some organic compounds etc. But there is considerable unity in intracellular mechanisms (the metabolic processes) which are ‘comparable’ in all the organisms – the intermediates used for the cellular metabolism are almost the same. The energy currency (ATP) is almost universal.

    Almost all metabolic pathways across the biological world use ‘stereotyped’ substrates– same handed amino acids, same chiral sugars, same nucleic acids, similar metabolic pathways – what more evidence is needed to say that life’s processes were uniform all the time … from the start?


    And sunlight wasn't the only energy source available to them, it was(and still is) simply the most abundant, hence why life has evolved since then to use it as a source of energy.
    Because, We can see that sunlight is ubiquitous and reaches the earth continuously, whereas mineral sources deplete fast, and not so energy efficient

    they may have just been organic compounds who had a tendency(due to their physical shape) to rearrange nearby chemicals into copies of themselves. In fact given what we know of life and the universe this seems to be an increasingly likely scenario.
    If they were ‘just’ organic compounds with ‘a tendency to rearrange nearby chemicals into copies … without being aware of what they are doing?? This ‘molecular rearrangement’ would have happened repeatedly (and what more –much more randomly), and they were led by the forces of nature alone (and not by anything ‘self’).

    In such a case of random rearrangement, the birth of an ‘organized life form’ would have been difficult. If this random rearrangement continued (without a direction) – we would have known a far more diverse ‘metabolic forms’ on the earth. But this is not the case with what we see now.

    The marked ecological interdependence of various life forms from archaea to mammals also proves the point.

    What we know of life is far more complex, than simple rearrangement.


    Well sure, once the cell was around. However life didn't begin with the cell, that evolutionary innovation came later.
    Of course life did not begin in a cell

    Wrong. The primary requirement for life was replication and the primary requirement for evolution(other than life, obviously) is heredity(imperfect replication with a high fidelity rate). Nowhere in there is awareness or consciousness required.
    But this is the snag today. A discussion of this ‘direction’ or ‘awareness’ or ‘what ever’ is a ‘dangerous proposition’ in the scientific elite. We are not used to discuss such abstract things in science. If pushed a little further all this sounds ‘philosophical’ or even spiritual or theological, and scientists shy away immediately. We feel comfortable with a ‘rational’ and lock-stepped approach to the problems in biology. Worst still is that if we do not recognize a problem or a paradox as such, and feel that we have already explained this and that and there is nothing more. I say that the mystery of life is also scientific
    Last edited by krishnagopal; 03-22-12 at 10:49 AM.

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