Only life evolves, and steel claws, being made of steel, are not alive,
at least in the ordinary sense (Leibniz believed that everything in
the universe is alive). So what you propose couldn't happen.



Roger Clough, rclo...@verizon.net 
9/30/2012  
"Forever is a long time, especially near the end." -Woody Allen 


----- Receiving the following content -----  
From: Craig Weinberg  
Receiver: everything-list  
Time: 2012-09-29, 11:49:19 
Subject: Re: Zombieopolis Thought Experiment 




On Friday, September 28, 2012 11:36:36 PM UTC-4, stathisp wrote: 
On Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 12:46 PM, Craig Weinberg  wrote:  
>  
>  
> On Thursday, September 27, 2012 8:10:37 PM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:  
>>  
>> On Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 8:53 AM, Craig Weinberg   
>> wrote:  
>>  
>> > But you don't need a living cell to transmit a signal. That is my point.  
>> > Why  
>> > have a cell?  
>>  
>> There are cells because that's the way organisms evolved. If there  
>> were a way of evolving computer hardware and this was adaptive then  
>> there would be organisms with computer hardware. It's not impossible  
>> that somewhere in the universe there are naturally evolved organisms  
>> utilising batteries, conductors and logic gates.  
>>  
>  
> It's not reasonable to say on one hand that there is no significant  
> difference between solid state electronics and living organisms and on the  
> other to blithely accept that not one of the millions of species on Earth  
> have happened to mutate even a single solid state inorganic appendage. You  
> claim it's not impossible, but the evidence that we have in reality does not  
> support that assumption in the least. To the contrary, living organisms are  
> dependent on organic matter to even survive. As far as I know, we don't even  
> see a single individual organism in the history of the world that  
> predominately eats, drinks, or breathes inorganic matter. You are saying  
> that is, what...coincidence?  

Well, almost every organism predominantly made of, drinks and breathes  
inorganic matter, since water and oxygen are inorganic matter. 

While water and oxygen aren't technically organic matter, they are biological 
precursors. I should have worded it that way. My point is that no living 
organisms breathe or drink matter which is not part of an extremely narrow 
range of elements and compounds. 
  

But  
leaving that obvious fact aside, the other obvious fact is that  
evolution has used organic chemistry to make self-replicators because  
that was the easiest way to do it. Do you imagine that if it were easy  
to evolve steel claws which helped predators catch prey that steel  
claws would not have evolved? What would have prevented their  
evolution, divine intervention?  


You are assuming that there are other options though. Maybe there are, but we 
don't know that for sure yet. If there were, it seems like there would be 
either multiple kinds of biology in the history of the world, or individual 
species which have mutated to exploit the variety of inorganic compounds in the 
universe available. What prevented their evolution is the same thing that 
creates thermodynamic irreversibility out of reversible quantum wave functions. 
The universe is an event, not a machine. When something happens, the whole 
universe is changed, and maybe that change becomes the active arrow of 
qualitative progress. Organic chemistry got there first, therefore that door 
may be closed - unless we, as biological agents, open a new one. 

Craig 

  



--  
Stathis Papaioannou  

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