Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Paul Davies on the Origin of Life as an Information Problem

"Based on simple mathematical models, we think it may have happened suddenly, analogously to a heated gas abruptly bursting into flame." 

IDvolution - God “breathed” the super language of DNA into the “kinds” in the creative act.

Paul Davies on the Origin of Life as an Information Problem

The Guardian features an interesting article by Paul Davies: “The secret of life won’t be cooked up in a chemistry lab: Life’s origins may only be explained through a study of its unique management of information.” Davies writes, 

"If we cast the problem of life's origin in computer jargon, attempts at chemical synthesis focus exclusively on the hardware – the chemical substrate of life – but ignore the software – the informational aspect. To explain how life began we need to understand how its unique management of information came about.

To take a simple example; whether a cell expresses a gene can depend on mechanical stresses or electric fields acting on the whole cell by its environment. Thus, a change in global information (a pattern of force) at the macroscopic level translates into a change in local information movement at the microscopic level (switching on a gene). More generally, a range of signals received from its environment help to dictate how a cell's DNA is distributed and transcribed. Walker and I propose that the key transition on the road to life occurred when top-down information flow first predominated. Based on simple mathematical models, we think it may have happened suddenly, analogously to a heated gas abruptly bursting into flame"

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