The base form of life
Dec 1999, Dov to SA, Heraclitean Biology Forum, re (“The Origin Of Life Foundation”) base form of life.
Dov: As usual, DA says it best: “If we are going to point to the arbitrariness of human definitions, why don’t we face up to the utter arbitrariness of declaring that…” the base form of life is a cell”.
I am primitive. I take a step into the future in an imagined history. I imagine a third-millennium human spaceship moving in space, or a human space station comprising many spaceships and its human-made plasma, human-made earthly atmosphere. Both the spaceship and the space station survive, and may even be replicated, only if their essential vital internal and external circumstances enable it. Is the spaceship the base form of life ? or are the humans in it the base form of life?
And then I take a big step backward in history, to when on Earth either single genes or their early genome associations were not yet cellularized. At this stage, before they evolved into symbiotic associations and lost their independent existing capability, were they then alive ? or were they just nitrogenous bases?
The reason why I don’t take a step even further backwards is because with my best primitive imagination and intuition I am yet unable to couple ENERGY with the Nitrogenous Bases in a manner that converts them to live beings, which is what I imagine happened and may probably still happen on Earth or somewhere else, unless The Origin of Life was a One-Time-One-Place Occurance, which is difficult to accept.
The existence and the composition and extent of The Origin Of Life Foundation and the nature of the accumulated human thought and conjecture and science should not be factors in weighing anything re this or any other subject. These are factors in some persons’ considerations. Somewhat like humans think they have the capability of being as intelligent as possible until they realize that there may be organisms more intelligent than we can imagine.
It is strange and ironic that DA undoubtedly, even maybe with forgiving compassion, would reject my conjecture/concept of the “purposefullness” of the modular in-cell PolyNucleotides, yet he credits their spaceships, their micro planets, with much more than the “purposefullness” than that which I conjecture for the PNs, namely with aspects like “conceptual information” and “symbolical encoding”.