Re: Analog Feedback and Ringing

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Thu, 12 Jun 1997 11:34:52 -0700

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 11:34:52 -0700
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Re: Analog Feedback and Ringing

Dave Pape wrote:

Tim (I believe):
>>>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!

Mario again:
There is no difference here. I include autocatalytic cycles into
biology. Roughly, biological chemistry is about chemical cycles that
keep running and keep interacting. Chemistry is about dead-end
Usually we consider biology as only the gene centered biology we observe
nowadays (and which exists since at least 3 billion years). More and
more biologists accept the idea that biological chemistry started well
before this genetic biology.

What has this to do with memetics, one may ask. One thing is that we are
always comparing culture with genetic biology, while genetic biology is
an end stage of an evolution whereby encoded information (genes) has
taken over completely. In culture, we are still in the process where
memes are used only for communication between processors. I think that
we are comparing very similar processes (biology in general and
culture), which both make use of encoding of the information for the
processes going on, but that the problems in finding a real one-to-one
fit (a formal analogy, or how do the philsophers call it?) is that we
are comparing different stages of both processes.

This may lead to the prediction that complete take over by the encoded
information of cultural processes, may happen. There may be some
indications that this is indeed happening at an amazing speed. Already
now we are something like neurons providing input to a world wide webbed
digital brain. Similarly, the remnants of the original autocatalytic
cycles might be found in current genetic biology as co-enzymes, which
are still needed for motivation of genetic biology processes, but which
no longer play a central role.

Well, of course we are still more than co-enzymes (e.g. the combination
of information still goes on essentially in our brains). The question is
how long this will still last.

Mario Vaneechoutte
Laboratory Bacteriology & Virology
Blok A, De Pintelaan 185
University Hospital Ghent
Belgium 9000 Ghent
Tel: +32 9 240 36 92
Fax: +32 9 240 36 59
Editor J. Memetics:
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