Re: Analog Feedback and Ringing

Dave Pape (
Wed, 11 Jun 1997 21:20:05 +0100 (BST)

Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 21:20:05 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <>
From: Dave Pape <>
Subject: Re: Analog Feedback and Ringing

At 15:04 11/06/97 -0700, Mario Vaneechoutte wrote:
>Dave Pape wrote:
>> >1.) The idea that cells are the true self-replicators is empirical. If
>> >you put cells in the proper medium, you get more of them.
>> >Cells turn out to be the smallest units that self-replicate.
>> >Cells, however, do appear to be some kind of complicated emergent from the
>> >Earth's organic chemistry, at least at one period long ago.
>> Okay... I think there's theories out there [oh good /citations/, Dave!]
>> about DNA precursors being things like... nucleotide chains linking on
>> crystalline clay molecules, and other complicated but non-biological
>> chemical reactions, all of which have this property of autocatalysis.
>> Meaning that >= 1 of the products of the reaction set catalyses... its own
>> production.
>Well, indeed there are such theories. They are a nice illustration of
>our obsession for DNA and gene centered life. Some people look at it
>the other way around and say that DNA only came in later, after cells
>(which had no nucleotides whatsoever) had developed. I am already quite
>convinced (from observable analogies between how culture is evolving and
>early biology) that this is indeed the case. If you take the point of
>view of information it it obvious that there was first processing
>(enzymatic and cellular activity) and then code (RNA and DNA).
>Similarly, in culture there were first perceptions and behaviours, which
>could later be encoded in words, not the other way around.

I'm going to print that paragraph out and have a good think about it,
because it sounds very good. Thanks!

>> Thus, current chemistry, including biological chemistry, would /still/ be
>> the working of the autocatalytic chemical system that was bootstrapping
>> before DNA, and cells, were on the scene. Cells are STILL an emergent of
>> autocatalytic (read self-referential) chemical processes.
>Yes (but only biological chemistry). As I said, biology (life) could be
>considered as a single giant chemical process which took off some 4
>billion years ago when some chemical reactions hooked into each other.

Excellent! I think the only thing I'd take issue with potentially is the
"only biological chemistry" bit, because I still like the idea of
autocatalysis in pre-biotic chemistry. But my chemistry's as poor as my
cognitive self-restraint, so I couldn't sustain the argument. Thanks for
your comments!

Dave Pape
I am ready.

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