Genome complexity: what genes do and don't do (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, March 05, 2019, 10:55 (199 days ago) @ David Turell

I am combining all the relevant posts on this subject.

dhw: How do bacteria automatically select the relevant instructions from your 3.8-billion-year-old library of instructions for all conditions, life forms, lifestyles, econiches, and natural wonders in the history of life?

DAVID: I've listed above the few challenges bacteria have. Their library is small, and their constant division is fully automatic. For other responses as a food example: sense food which then causes a series of molecular reactions to move toward it, and then automatically engulf it, followed by automatic digestion.

Your 3.8-billion-year-old library with information and instructions for every undabbled future life form, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder has suddenly undergone an amazing transformation. Those first single cells only had a library for bacteria and instructions only for the vast number of different conditions that future bacteria would have to cope with. So where was the library for the whole future of evolution? And even if bacteria had their own special library with their own limited number of special instructions, you still haven’t explained how they chose the right ones for each situation. (And we mustn’t forget that when trying to cope with new antibiotics, millions of them die before the chosen few are istructed to pick out the right instructions). (See below)

dhw: Sorry you couldn’t respond to the major point about your God’s itty-bitty steps. As regards my hypothesis, it is absolutely NOT a fact that cells operate automatically (although I have pointed out that they may do so once a system has been established, and will only change if conditions change). That is your opinion, which you admit has a 50/50 chance of being wrong, i.e. that their intelligent ways may be the product of autonomous intelligence. And how often do I have to repeat that my hypothesis is a hypothesis. If only we could find your God’s 3.8-billion-year-old library of instructions for the whole of life, your hypothesis might have some credence.

DAVID: The multitude of layers of controls over DNA expression under current discovery is slowly elucidating how it all works.

dhw: And we still have your God specially designing humans itty-bitty, and current discovery still hasn’t discovered a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for the whole of evolution, but according to several of the articles you have posted, scientists seem to be slowly coming round to the idea that cells create their own instructions “on the hoof” and “de novo”, because they are intelligent. Even you give that hypothesis a 50/50 chance.

DAVID: All open to interpretation.

Like everything else we discuss. That is why some of us find it so hard to pin ourselves to a fixed belief, and why we try to test the logic of each interpretation.

dhw: And only then can living organisms function. I don't see information as the ghost in the machine. The ghost in the machine is whatever uses the information. You say it’s a 3.8-billion-year old computer programme (which your God installed in the first living cells) with instructions for every single undabbled life form, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of life. I suggest it’s intelligence, and in my post I offered three alternative and, for me, equally mysterious sources of that intelligence, one of which is your God.

DAVID: You are right. Intelligent information/instructions and intelligent instructions as to how to interpret and use the instructions are all part of the ghost with all processes acting together like a giant symphony orchestra. All designed.

Now we have instructions on how to use instructions. I suppose that explains how bacteria use their mini-library. But hold on, how do they know which instructions they should look for when they look for instructions on how to use instructions? Somewhere amid this great tangle there has to be a decision. So maybe whenever bacteria find themselves in a tricky new situation, your God pops in and picks out the correct instructions on how to use his instructions? Oh, if only he’d given them the intelligence to work out their own solutions to each problem, he would have saved himself and us a lot of time and effort.

Under “are bacteria truly independent?

QUOTE: The flows and orientations of the swimmers become coherent on a length scale much longer than any individual particle, resulting in huge flocks of organisms swimming in the same direction and, perhaps unintentionally, working together. (dhw’s bold)

Or perhaps intentionally.

QUOTE: "'That these individuals can group together passively due to their fluid interactions alone, and that this results in large-scale events and effects they can't achieve as independent particles, is relevant to many biological functions—like nutrient mixing and bacterial resistance to antibiotics in bacterial swarms and biofilms," Spagnolie says.

DAVID: In this instance bacteria appear to be mostly passive.

You would have thought that if individuals grouped together and thus achieved results they could not achieve as independent particles, it might be conceivable that they did so actively and intentionally. And the more often they do it, and the more successful they are, the more likely it might seem that they do it actively and intentionally.

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