Life Origin

A Scientific Approach

Edited for the Non-Scientist

How did life’s on-off “configurable switches” come into existence?  

Configurable switches are designed by humans to be set by choice contingency alone, independent of any physical forces or factors.   Long before humans designed and engineered configurable switches, they existed and were extensively used by life to control thousands of biofunctions.1-6   It is very difficult to design and engineer a good configurable switch.7

     They are the physical version of programming decision nodes—forks in the road where choices must be made about the best direction to take to reach one’s destination most efficiently.8-10 

 

Configurable switch-settings are used to record purposeful choices into physicality.11-13  Configurable switches work in a way similar to how material symbol systems work.14  An example is the game of Scrabble.  Physical tokens with letters inscribed on them are chosen and arranged in a sequence that spells formal words.  Physical tokens and configurable switches are both used to record and store purposeful mental choices into physical reality.  The purposeful choices themselves are not physical.4,11-13  But those choices are recorded into a physical system for retention and message sending.  Configurable switches are used extensively by life to regulate all sorts of biological activities.  Riboswitches are a classic example.15-17 

 

Material symbol systems are also used by life.7,18,19   Physical tokens in the form of nucleosides (letters) are purposefully chosen and arranged into meaningful, functional sequences (words, sentences, paragraphs, books) to represent commands of what the cell should do to be alive and stay alive.

 

It is exceedingly difficult to produce a physical switch that can only be set by nonphysical, formal, programming choices.  The physical forces of nature can play no role in how these physical switches are set.   Yet, thousands of such switches control and regulate metabolism at the subcellular level.17,20-22

 

Nonliving nature cannot design or engineer configurable switches.  In addition, physical nature certainly cannot program and integrate many different kinds of such switch-settings into a concert of organized functional activity.

 

 

1.             Abel DL, ed The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, NY: LongView Press-Academic; 2011.

2.             Abel DL. The Formalism > Physicality (F > P) Principle. In: Abel DL, ed. In the First Gene: The birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, New York: Ed. LongView Press-Academic, 2011: Biological Research Division; 2011:447-492  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

3.             Abel DL. What is ProtoBioCybernetics? In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press-Academic: Biolog. Res. Div.; 2011:1-18  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

4.             Abel DL. The three fundamental categories of reality. In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press-Academic: Biolog. Res. Div.; 2011:19-54  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

5.             Barbieri M, ed Introduction to Biosemiotics: The New Biological Synthesis. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer-Verlag; 2006.

6.             Barbieri M. Is the cell a semiotics system? In: Barbieri M, ed. Introduction to Biosemiotics: The New Biological Synthesis. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer; 2007:179-208.

7.             Abel DL. Primordial Prescription:  The Most Plaguing Problem of Life Origin Science   New York, N. Y.: LongView Press Academic; 2015.

8.             Abel DL, Trevors JT. Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information. Theoretical Biology and Medical Modeling. 2005;2:29-45.

9.             Abel DL, Trevors JT. More than metaphor: Genomes are objective sign systems. Journal of BioSemiotics. 2006;1(2):253-267  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

10.          Abel DL, Trevors JT. More than Metaphor: Genomes are Objective Sign Systems. In: Barbieri M, ed. BioSemiotic Research Trends. New York: Nova Science Publishers; 2007:1-15  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

11.          Abel DL. The Cybernetic Cut [Scirus SciTopic Page]. 2008; http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel [Last accessed: July, 2016].

12.          Abel DL. The ‘Cybernetic Cut’: Progressing from Description to Prescription in Systems Theory. The Open Cybernetics and Systemics Journal. 2008;2:252-262 Open Access  at http://benthamopen.com/ABSTRACT/TOCSJ-252-252  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel  [Last accessed July, 2016]

13.          Abel DL. The Cybernetic Cut and Configurable Switch (CS) Bridge. In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press--Academic, Biol. Res. Div.; 2011:55-74  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

14.          Abel DL. Linear Digital Material Symbol Systems (MSS). In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press--Academic, Biol. Res. Div.; 2011:135-160  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

15.          Wachsmuth M, Domin G, Lorenz R, et al. Design criteria for synthetic riboswitches acting on transcription. RNA Biol. 2015;12(2):221-231.

16.          Garst AD, Edwards AL, Batey RT. Riboswitches: Structures and Mechanisms. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology. June 1, 2011 2011;3(6).

17.          Roth A, Breaker RR. The Structural and Functional Diversity of Metabolite-Binding Riboswitches. Annual Review of Biochemistry. 2009;78(1):305-334.

18.          Abel DL. The Genetic Selection (GS) Principle. In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press--Academic; 2011:161-188  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

19.          Abel DL. Is life unique? Life. 2012;2(1):106-134  Open access at  http://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/2072/2071/2106  [Last accessed July, 2016]  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

20.          Baker JL, Sudarsan N, Weinberg Z, Roth A, Stockbridge RB, Breaker RR. Widespread genetic switches and toxicity resistance proteins for fluoride. Science. Jan 13 2012;335(6065):233-235.

21.          Moore EA. Human brain has more switches than all computers on Earth. CNET News 2010; http://news.cnet.com/8301-27083_3-20023112-247.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20. Accessed December, 2010.

22.          Ramakrishnan N, Bhalla US. Memory Switches in Chemical Reaction Space. PLoS Computational Biology. 07/18 2008;4(7):e1000122.