Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.
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We think that a cell or an organism are highly ordered systems. However, we don't take into account that they are intergated in a system of reactions called "life as a whole" that interacts with external energy. Cells or organisms never exist in isolation. What are the entropic changes of "life as whole" over time? Are there any experimental data?
Life in the beginning was limited spatially into a small chemical system, interacting with external energy. It was thus, a unique and separate chemical system. Through the eons, that system got larger and more complex, and it created us that we live inside it, as a part of it. However, for an outside observer, life nowadays came from, and remains exactly the same system as it was before, only it became larger and more complex.
Indeed, no cell or animal or plant can be created is isolation. They are integrated inside a bigger system that is: Life as a whole.
And if life as a whole is studied only as a unique entity (without subdiving into cells, organisms, etc), what about its entropic changes over time, from the beginning up to now, with all the complexity we see? Maybe that of any complex chemistry that interacts with external energy and increases its entropy?
Through the eons, in a chaos of chemical reactions, only those with some kind of repeatability and periodicity will not lead to a dead end and will be able to continue happening in the long term. Additionally, many random chemical reactions will eventually lead to some molecules with the ability to adhere with other molecules and also with surfaces. These reactions will eventually prevail and become the basis for further complexity, because the chemical compounds will not diffuse around and lead to dead ends.
Also, the reactions with the ability to promote their own existence would prevail and continue to exist, in a process which is a kind of natural selection and survival of the fittest reactions.
Random chemical reactions does not promote a certain plan or any kind of order, but what we see, is the result of the sum of the reactions that happened through history. However, their end results are reactions that are characterized by survival capacities over others. And suppose that these end results are the observers of the whole system. Virtually they are composed from some chemical compounds, which are constantly changing.
However, everything that happens leads to them. If they analyze their own reactions they will have a very good view to their homeostasis. In other words these systems of random reactions when used as a reference frame/ observers of their own systems, they would have exactly the same perspective as we ourselves have while thinking about what is life, evolution, reproduction (repeatability of reactions).
But aren’t we a system of chemical reactions observing the system that creates us? To me, it might be the 2 different sides of the same coin. After all, what is the meaning of human biology (I am only referring to the mechanistic properties of our bodies) for a non living thing? Maybe meaningless chemicals?
If you heartlessly consider life as a WHOLE (without dividing it into species,organisms, etc), you merely get a huge system of complex chemical reactions.
The natural history of these reactions led to the forms we see today. Through our perspective (we are some chemical compounds in constant change), while we are studying this history, we see all the processes that led to all that we see today, or else, evolution. We see everywhere purpose and anthropocentrism, but its only because we are the results of all these.
Lets answer some critical questions:
1)The reactions of life don’t differ in quality than those of simple reactions that
have nothing to do with life, for example fire, or creation of water, but they are far too simple to be perceived as life, or else, they don’t look enough like us.
2) What about the basic properties of life?
a)Homeostasis and self sustaining ability:
Everything happens for a reason. All is coordinated in a way that has one remarkable result. To sustain you alive. But…..if you are the result of all these and you study what brought you here, isnt it like watching the same thing from another perspective?
How can random chemical ractions manage to replicate themselves?
But….. I think its obvious that in a chaos of chemical reactions, only those with some
kind of repeatability and periodicity will not lead to a dead end and will be
able to continue In the long term. So,in general, these are the ones that
survived, and that’s what through our perspective receive as reproduction.
3)What about evidence?
Of course scientific facts are confirmed only experimentaly. Well, I think that one can easily design experiments to check if an isolated life form acts like a series of just chemical reactions, or there is something more. Also we can study the decaying patterns of life forms in deep seas and other unhostile environments….
4)What about organic chemistry?
Any complex chemical reaction system will eventually become organic at the end. If equilibrium is avoided, inorganics will be slowly substituted in the flask by organics. That is because of the certain properties of organic reactions that will make them prevail in the long term, such as many stereotactic isoforms, etc that helps them avoiding equilibrium and leading to increasingly complex reacting systems….
Question: How can random reactions, no matter how good they were selected through the centuries, can lead from a tiny spore or a sperm, etc to the creation of extremely complex organisms (plants, animals, human) in relatively predictive ways?
Answer: Don’t get confused by the complexity of the grown up organisms. Don’t forget what happens with fractals. That is, seemingly complex structures emerge as the result of very simple initial conditions (equations). Similarly, complex animals can arise predictively from the flourishing of much simpler entities over time, such as zygotes, spores etc. All the information needed is already there. This is simply perceived by us as embryology.
Question: And someone might wonder what is the meaning of this theoretical perspective. Are there any possible applications in real life? Can it be experimentally tested or even falsified?
Answer: The general idea is that living beings are actually a chemical automaton. A catalogue of complex chemical reactions. There are many possible applications for this.
If the phenotype of an organism is the sum of its chemical reactions, one thing is obvious. That these reactions become different as we age. However, we don’t know whether the initial reactions are programmed to change and lead to the latter ones, or the transition is a result of other events. In other words, is it possible to maintain the same composition of reactions for a long time, thus preventing changes in phenotype, thus preventing further aging?
Answer: In the case our reactions are programmed to change, then things are more complicated. However, in the case that the reactions can be maintained as they are, then it might be possible. And below is a way to theoretically achieve it.
The most important thing is to prevent changes. This can be achieved by providing a certain amount, composition and pace of initial substrates to the reacting system in the form of food. We are only interested in maintaining the system unchanged. We don’t care about the composition of this system, as long as it remains unchanged.
This means that any diet that repeats itself every day,( by providing everyday the same nutrients, in the same manner without any deviations in the routine) can cause the maximum of phenotype preserving in an organism, providing that the diet is viable and supplies all essential elements for life.
As we said, this implicates that we can theoretically control the change rate, by controlling the initial substrates of the system (e.g. food, gut bacteria). In theory you can have a certain combination of initial substrates and environmental factors in which changes in the living system are reduced to a minimum.
But, how do we know how to reach this state of stability?
Answer: By analyzing the end products of the system. If they have constant synthesis, this means that the chemical reactions are repeated as they are, and no changes occur. If their synthesis changes, it is an indicator that we must modify the initial substrates.
This method can also serve as a way to experimentally test this theory, because if the rate of stability of the gut content is correlated with aging delay, it means that actually living beings are in fact chemical automatons, and it would open new ways to approach human diseases…
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