Re: virus: Metasystem Transition
Thu, 20 Feb 1997 11:13:52 -0600 (CST)

On Sun, 16 Feb 1997, Dave Pape wrote:

> 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?

I don't think so. If the volume of the universe were fixed, that would
obviously be a significant part of this. I really need to crash-study
both Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity first.

> >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
> biochemicals.

That's where we want the currently-mythical 4th law, or a
thermodynamically open universe.

> >> 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"? ;)

No...just that I haven't had time to understand this, either
intellectually or intuitively.


> 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.

It's halfway there, at least: autocatalysis doesn't destroy the
responsible substrate at a noticeable rate. This is similar to
both biological and artificial life.

> >[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?

Numerical Analysis Qual: 2/15/97, coverage 5 and 2/3 out of 6
Algebra Qual: 2/18/97, coverage 5 out of 8
Differential Geometry Qual: 2/20/97, TODAY!!!!

I expect the hordes to be assigned even before it is formally announced.

The degree would be formalized in in May. [I'm doing it the Ivy
League way; "WHAT Master's program??? Here, you got into the doctorate
program; here's a Master's degree."]

/ Towards the conversion of data into information....
/ Kenneth Boyd