Re: virus: Metasystem Transition

Dave Pape (
Sun, 16 Feb 1997 20:21:10 GMT

At 14:00 14/02/97 -0600, Ken wrote:

>On Sun, 9 Feb 1997, Dave Pape wrote:
>> What was the entropy pump before DNA? Because if we call the time when DNA
>> first appeared T(1), and the time of the Big Bang T(0), I'd argue that,
>> starting at T(0) with an expanding mass of subatomic bits and bobs, and
>> ending at T(1) with discreet-ish planetary bodies hosting self-reproducing
>> chemicals, there's an increase in orderedness, because typically I've been
>> told that clouds of gas are less ordered than chunks of rock with
>> self-reproducing chemicals on them.
>Unless the 2nd Law is bypassed/defied [easiest bypass: the Universe is an
>open system, thermodynamically. Most useful bypass: the yet-to-be
>discovered 4th Law, that Sante Fe desperately looks for.]
>"The universe" is more disorganized now [more entropy] than at the Big
>Bang [or whenever Time Starts: modern cosmology is in flux.]

Okay... is that just because everything's so much further apart than it used
to be?

>Locally [on Earth], a loosely specified set of circumstances set up
>systems of [at least] self-reproducing chemicals. These systems are
>phenomenally deficient in entropy. Their continued existence requires
>some method to exhaust entropy at least as fast as it accumulates. When
>this method fails [whether by hostile environment {cow eats grass} or
>accumulated time {115-year-old woman}], classically "death" occurs.

Cool, but I'm critically interested in what was going on in the x-hundred
million years BEFORE DNA appeared, because in that time there seems to have
been a proliferation of increasingly complex types of NON-SELF-REPLICATING

>> I think that evolutionary processes (interaction of
>> self-reproducing-with-variation units producing ecologically related groups
>> of descendant units) are a subset of the ecogenetic processes, which are:
>> All processes of interacting units which give rise to structured,
>> interdependent metasystems of groups of those units.
>Interesting. I wonder how severely constrained these are, mathematically.

What does that mean? Does it mean, "Interesting idea but it freaks my bag
out a bit"? ;)

Being a biological and group-dynamics-sensitive old bastard, I just phoned
my dad to ask him what he thinks about this whole ecogenesis thing. As
usually happens, he's already read a pop-science book that covers it, and
the book's called "At Home In The Universe" by Stuart Kauffmann. This
complexity-fan geezer reckons that ANY system of interacting units, subject
to an input of energy, that becomes autocatalytic (the products of some
interaction catalyse other interactions) could well form crazy ecology-style
hierarchies of relationships between (classes of) interactor units. But
heck, that's probably some crazy third-hand battering of his arguments, so
I'll have a read and report back... when I ever have any expendable income,
given that I'm moving home soon and I suspect it's going to bankrupt me.

Erm... anyway: Dad's opinion is that autocatalysis is a kind of replication
(dunno if I agree with that) and that you could class things that I call
ecogenetic as evolutionary, kind of. So: Anyone who says my dad's wrong gets
a kicking, basically.

>[When I get my Masters, I'm going to swim in hordes of papers on this.]

Great! Don't lose touch... how long do we have to wait?

Dave Pape
Ran out of sig. ideas.

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