Re: Me against the meme

From: Dace (
Date: Thu 10 Nov 2005 - 23:05:59 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: Me against the meme"


    > At 22:37 09/11/2005, Dace wrote:
    > >What ought to happen to the cell at any
    > >given moment is precisely what does happen when it dies-- disintegration.
    > >Why doesn't it all disintegrate? What's holding it all together? This
    > >where life comes in, not as a vital force but the simply the
    > >of the whole. It's the whole that lives, not the bits and pieces. It's
    > >living whole that organizes the bits, not the other way around.
    > Living cells keep themselves
    > alive because their internal homeostasis mechanisms are in balance;

    And how do they do that? You're just pushing the question back a step. Cells are composed of molecules. As we know from thermodynamics, the behavior of molecules is indeterministic. How does the randomness of molecular behavior add up to the order of cellular behavior at larger scales of activity?

    > these are well understood at the molecular level and involve things
    > like the citric acid cycle, glycolysis etc. The death of a cell is
    > usually because external conditions, ie. in the intercellular
    > compartment, become so extreme that homeostasis can't cope. Man has
    > heart attack, heart stops beating, blood doesn't pump to extremities,
    > cells at extremities start to lack oxygen etc, after a few hours of
    > this cells cannot maintain their homoeostasis and gradually conk out.

    Naturally, a cell disintegrates when it's dead. The question is why it doesn't do so when it's alive. Even when it has all the materials it needs, why doesn't it follow physical and chemical principles and promptly disintegrate?

    >Reductionistic biology cannot explain life. It can only explain what life
    > >would be like if it were actually machinery. In the effort to explain
    > >as opposed to mechanisms masquerading as life, we have no choice but to
    > >posit two things: field and memory. We must have holistic coordination
    > >disparate activities, and we must have memory to guide the field. You
    > >yet to offer any reason as to why a memory-based morphogenetic field is
    > >impossible.
    > Because there's no known physical basis.

    And what's the physical basis for gravity or electromagnetism or the strong force? The point is that we can't explain the behavior of planets or rocks or atoms without field theory. To say there's no physical basis is like saying God hasn't decreed it. Why, there's no basis for it in the Bible! Science is about what we figure out regardless of what some invented authority figure has to say on the matter.

    > >Since the memory/field hypothesis is the only hypothesis that
    > >can explain the basic features of life, including our own experience of
    > >being alive, the burden is on you to explain why it's impossible.
    > That's rather like being asked by a creationist to explain why God
    > doesn't exist.

    You don't experience a white guy with a beard sitting on a heavenly throne. You do experience consciousness, will, freedom, intelligence, etc, none of which are compatible with reductionism.

    > It's impossible to prove to the satisfaction of the
    > determined believer.

    Projection. Your entire approach is that of a true-believer. You're acting more like a lawyer defending his client (reductionism) than a scientist interested in arriving at the truth. At the very least, you should be recognizing that the holistic approach to life is as valid as the reductionistic approach. But you have no interest in comparing rival theories, only in tarring the one you don't like with guilt by association
    (as in equating field theory with creationism).

    > then the most likely state of affairs is
    > that there is no elephant/God/field.

    > >You must explain why there cannot be a memory-based morphogenetic field.
    > >What principles of existence are violated by such a field?
    > Principles of existence? I'm more worried about principles of
    > physics (or even sanity).

    Keep in mind that Elsasser was a physicist. He recognized that biologists, rather than developing their own theory-- just like physicists do-- were trying to piggyback on the principles physicists have uncovered studying nonliving phenomena. This is not to say that there are laws that apply exclusively to life, simply that we're not likely to find the universal principles that account for life except in the course of studying it. It's in the study of life that we recognize the need for holistic memory, a property of nature exploited by life along with many other properties that have been uncovered by physicists.

    > the
    > >components
    > > > >of a cell are not ordered.
    > > >
    > > > But they are. Hans Krebs, among others, knew by the 1930s that this
    > >the
    > > > case.
    > >
    > >I'm referring to the ultimate, molecular components of the cell, not
    > >intermediate components.
    > Proteins are highly ordered.

    Yeah, and proteins are macromolecules. When a protein emerges, higher-level order has already been established, and this order cannot have been built up from molecular disorder.

    > >Naturally left-right polarity is established prior to the emergence of
    > >organ. Point being that genes can account for a superficial trait but
    > >its fundamental organization.
    > So left-right polarity is superficial now? A short while ago it was
    > an example of the kind of fundamental thing biology couldn't address.

    You're not making any sense. Obviously, a rational biology can address the fundamentals of life, and clearly left-right polarity is a superficial characteristic of an organ having nothing to do with its detailed structure.


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