The Galaxy Insight –“In Each of Us Lies a Message, Its Beginnings Lost in the Mists of Time”

The Galaxy Insight --"“At One Time, We Thought the Way Life Came Together Was Almost Completely Random"

 

“At one time,” writes science-fiction author Dennis E. Taylor in We Are Legion (We Are Bob), “we thought that the way life came together was almost completely random, only needing an energy gradient to get going. But as we’ve moved into the information age, we’ve come to realize that life is more about information than energy. Fire has most of the characteristics of life. It eats, it grows, it reproduces. But fire retains no information. It doesn’t learn; it doesn’t adapt. The five millionth fire started by lightning will behave just like the first. But the five hundredth bacterial division will not be like the first one, especially if there is environmental pressure. That’s DNA. And RNA. That’s life.”

Paul Davies, Arizona State University astrophysicist and Director of the Beyond Center, and author of The Demon in the Machine –How Hidden Webs of Information Are Solving the Mystery of Life offers a similar message to Taylor: information, like energy, has the ability to animate matter. “In each and every one of us lies a message,” writes Davies. “It is inscribed in an ancient code, its beginnings lost in the mists of time. Decrypted, the message contains instructions on how to make a human being. Nobody wrote the message; nobody invented the code. They came into existence spontaneously. Their designer was Mother Nature herself, working only within the scope of her immutable laws and capitalizing on the vagaries of chance.The message isn’t written in ink or type, but in atoms, strung together in an elaborately arranged sequence to form DNA, short for deoxyribonucleic acid. It is the most extraordinary molecule on Earth.

“What is remarkable is that human beings are actually able to carry out this code-breaking operation, that the human mind has the necessary intellectual equipment for us to “unlock the secrets of nature. I cannot believe that our existence in this universe is a mere quirk of fate, an accident of history, an incidental blip in the great cosmic drama. Our involvement is too intimate.”

Davies has been profoundly influenced by astrobiologist and theoretical physicist, Sara Walker, Deputy Director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, in his quest seeking a grand unified theory of physics and biology organized around the concept of information. ‘Life is the next great frontier of physics!’ she declares. Her work is focused on whether or not there are ‘laws of life’ – how information structures the physical world that could universally describe life here on Earth and on other worlds.

Editor’s Note: “Science fictions isn’t dead, it’s just not fiction anymore.”

Sources: Dennis Taylor, We Are Legion (We Are Bob) and Paul Davies, The Demon in the Machine

 

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