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Claudio Bruno

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How did information arise spontaneously from inanimate matter?

Lately I have been pondering the question of the origin of life. Would appreciate feedback on this question and if there are any logical errors in my thought process leading up to it.

In Franklin M. Harold's book: “The Way of the Cell,” I read the following quote:
“Life arose here on earth from inanimate matter, by some kind of evolutionary process, about four billion years ago. ” This may be expressed more generically as:
“Life arose here on earth from inanimate matter spontaneously about four billion years ago.”
Later I read an article by Paul Davies, Professor at Arizona State University, in an online article called: "OriginsOfLife_II" that contained the following condensed quote “The revolution in the biological sciences ... has revealed ... that the secret of the cell lies ... with its extraordinary information storing and processing abilities. . ”
If the above 2 statements are true, then one could rewrite Harold's statement as:
“Information arose here on earth spontaneously about four billion years ago.”

As there can be many uses of the word “information,” please limit your responses specifically to its use in molecular biology as “coded chemistry.” That is, the sequence of the amino acids in protein are “encoded” in the sequence of the DNA molecule. To “decode” the meaning, one needs to use the “Codon” table.

Has anyone read any hypotheses on how this kind of information can arise spontaneously from inanimate matter?

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    Nov 19 2012: Information does not have weight, nor does it take-up space. Those are the two requirements for Matter. Information is not matter. Information is not material in substance so it is illogical to say it spontaneously came into existence from other matter because that would necessitate an act of mutation from material to immaterial. The answer to your question is, it didn't. Thank you!
    • Nov 19 2012: Information may or may not have weight, that does not make it any less physical. A common problem with people who believe in the "immaterial" is that they mistake "immaterial" with "non-physical." Whether you want to concede that information is material or not (which is similar to conceding or not that potential energy is material because it can exists and be measured by mere position of objects with respect to each other), information is still very physical (like potential energy). Otherwise we would not be able to store it in hard drives and such. Abstractions are physical. Otherwise we would not be able to count with abacuses, or have computers make calculations.
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        Nov 19 2012: I am uncertain as to exactly what you are saying sir. 1) Do I understand you to be saying that because the beads on an abacus have weight and take-up space then information is matter? 2) Do I understand you to be saying information may have weight and may not have weight? 3) Do I understand you to be saying that when information does not have weight it can still be matter? 4) Are you saying that we could not store the mutiplication tables in a calculator's memory chip if the data (information) was not material? 5) Do you think information is affected by gravitational force, the weak force, the strong force, or electromagnetic force? 6) Are you saying that only physical, measurable, observable phenomena act upon our universe? 7) Are you sure you want to declare that abstractions are physical? 8) Are you pulling my leg?
    • Nov 19 2012: Hello Edward,

      1. No, I am saying that because the beads on an abacus have weight and take up space, and have a spatial configuration, information is physical. Physical reality is not matter alone Edward. It's also energy and positions and time and dimensions and ...
      2. Yes.
      3. No, I am saying that even if/when it has no weight it is still physical.
      4. No, I am saying that we would not be able to store information if it was not physical.
      5. I do not just think so. I know so.
      6. I was about to say yes, but there might be physical phenomena/stuff that can't be measured, or observable. At least not yet.
      7. 100% certain.
      8. No. You are a pal. I like you. I would thus not pull your leg on matters that I understand to be of utmost importance to you.

      Do you think that potential energy is immaterial? Would it still be physical? Does it have weight? If information can be expressed as energy is it still "immaterial"? Is it non-physical? Is it some kind of spirit?
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        Nov 20 2012: Thank you for the clarification. I was not as confused as I thought. You actually are saying most of that stuff. Enjoy the journey!

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