I will respond to both your new title to the thread and to your
philosophy of mathematics.
When you ask the question, "what is life, logically?" what is the
nature of the question that you wish to address? Given your history
of posts, I am almost certain that I do not understand what you are
The principle issue that separates our views is not the nature of
life or information, it is the nature of scientific logic and a
philosophy of mathematics.
The concept of "logic" dates back to pre-Aristotelian days and it is
no clearer today, in my opinion, than when Aristotle defined his
views of causality and categories. (The small book, "Logic, A short
introduction" by Graham Preist, OU Press, is to be recommended.)
Model theory and various sorts of set theory are often promoted by
promoters. Yet, no one has succeeded in applying set theory to
chemical theory and phenomena. The oft stated claim that "quantum
theory" covers all of chemistry lacks supporting evidence. It really
refers to calculating properties of molecules AFTER one is given the
exact enumerations of structural organization in space.
If anyone would like to demonstrate that quantum theory covers
chemistry, the place to start is to show how quantum theory applies
to a simple enzymatic reaction. For example, give an exact
calculation of the transfer of electrons from ethyl alcohol to NAD
via the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, starting from physical
principles. Chemists have developed exact methods to give an
accounting of the particles and their positions for this reaction.
The simple fact of the matter is that physical quantum theory is
derived from the chemical table of elements and chemical relations
and not vice versa. The list of chemical elements is an abstraction
about invisible particles with electrical properties and relations
among them. Chemical quantum mechanics simply places the objects in
motion. (Physical quantum mechanics is awash in the mathematical
approximations that attempt to use 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 different
mathematical definitions of force into a logically consistent
framework. Which notion of force should I believe in? Have you a
favorite definition of force? If one makes a sufficient number of
approximations, one can eventually fit empirical data - this is
remote from the exactness of chemical calculations!)
More generally, I believe that the nature of logic itself is
intertwined with the the semiotics of the symbol systems. Logical
methods are not general. We have many classes or types of logic.
These logics are intimately intertwined with the grammar of the
particular symbol system that is being used. The grammar of addition
is hardly the grammar of our emotions, is it? The grammar of music
is hardly the grammar verbal expression. The grammar of chemistry is
highly context dependent. a modal grammar that is closer to Aristotle
than to quantum mechanics and its inability to correspond directly
with human sensory perceptions. Can anyone point out how the axioms
of set theory or group theory express the grammar of genetic systems?
I point I am seeking to make is that the oft expressed notion that
certain logical statements are "true for all time and place" is a
statement that can not be placed directly in correspondence with
empirical observations in the many, many many areas of biology and
So, when you ask, "what is the life, logically?", I think you will
get many answers and that these answers are more apt to reflect on
the individual philosophy of mathematics and science and little to do
with the question.
For me, a rough answer that is little more than a tautology is " Life
is a chemical system that co-operates with an ecosis to reproduce
systems similar to itself. "
Enough venting of my views! A few comments are interlaced into to
your response below.
On Nov 14, 2006, at 6:00 AM, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
From: "[EMAIL PROTECTED]" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> (by way
of Pedro Marijuan <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>)
Date: November 13, 2006 7:21:08 AM EST
Subject: [FIS] what is life, logically?
Both Stan and Jerry raise points about whether the fact of having
how genetic information, in its abstracted and formalised version,
transferred between the living organism and its dna, does or will
improve a chemist's lot.
Both interjections address important questions.
> SS: What I meant is no compelling model of an 'RNA First
> as a model of the origin of life. That is, life begins with
> spontaneously synthesized catalytic RNA molecules. My point is a
> materialist one, not a logical one.
I concur with Stan and add that the problem is the nature of
catalysis, not a particular structure.
> Chemical information is grounded in the list of chemical elements
and the >
relations among them.
> The terms "DNA" and "RNA" etc, are chemical names of specific
> The information content of chemical molecules must be expressed in
> terms of atomic numbers and relations among the electrical
> Biological information emerges as flows of changes of chemical
relations - >
> In general, chemical structures / information does support
> relations among the atomic numbers organized into graphs.
> Thus, if one wishes to develop a compelling argument about chemical
> numbers and structures and genetic information, one should start
> relational algebras that keep track of changes of relations.
The common question both Jerry and Stan raise, as I understand it, is:
Does the fact that a slight inner inconsistency has been found in
system mean anything for actual science? Will the existence, extent
properties of the inner duality of the counting system allow
Karl: No. The issue is not the validity of your mathematics. As far
as I know, your mathematics is perfectly fine number theory. The
question is, how does your number theory result relate to empirical
genetic observations? What is the path between your interiority,
your thinking, and the exteriority of the natural world, reality if
you will, and genetic systems in general?
My answer is:
Yes, it does. By finding a. the principle, b. the numeric
properties of a basic
building block, the road is open to define a mathematical object
well as an "atom". The Lego building block, which the last posting
how to find, is a "density with properties" that certainly exists.
This is what
one calls an atom in chemistry.
Nonsense. it is closer to Russell's notion of an atom of logic.
A chemical atom is defined in terms of the number of particles,
properties of same, and relations.
Our semantic differences are just that, trade language differences.
The situation is comparable to that of writing a compiler that
(as a symbol arrangement on a commutative assembly) into output (as
arrangement on a sequenced multitude) and back. The data processing
its own slang. The meaning of the news this person advocates in FIS
that what you ask for, as future users of the compiler.
Chemical computations of valence are based on context dependent
In general, arithmetic operations (with associative and distributive
laws) of compilers are not used to compute valence.
Your user requirements are a specific aspect of what the compiler
can and will
do. In the data processing view chemistry is a part of user
requirements. It is
too early to discuss the user interfaces yet. The inner workings of
compiler allow (and require) for the certain existence of logical
have properties that can and cannot come to lie next to each other in
dependence of the properties.
What is the linkage to genetics? To heredity?
What is the correspondence between "the inner workings of compliers"
and inheritance of biological properties?
The last time the task was attacked it had the name of "Unified
The present approach presupposes the Field to be quite densely full
mathematical objects which have predictable properties. The a-
Field gets its a-priori structure from the slack (torsion, over-
that exists between counting lines.
Your user requirements show the keen interest and high expectations
into the improved counting system. They are a bit early to discuss.
might have nodded friendly as they asked him: shall we be able to
without wires music from computers and listen to them in a tiny
device the size
of a credit card? Yes, whatever can be enumerated, can be found on
N. This was
Shannon's answer and dead right he was.
You ask me: shall we be able to build molecules that <...please
futuristic idea here...>? The friendly answer is again: Yes,
whatever can be
enumerated, can be found on N and, depending the case, on M, or on
depending the case, on N.
This is fine mathematical philosophy for variables and calculations
Now, can you show how these calculations can be used to relate
genetic sequences to biological properties?
What is the semantic path between your nouns and verbs and the nouns
and verbs of chemistry and biology and medicine?
The user may not be satisfied with the technician's answer. Yet,
is the best answer you can get from the workshop.
Basic research has come up with a gadget. The gadget looks
promising and basic
research swears by its ancestors' bones that it is that gadget all
for. This is the wheel, calendar, electricity, radio and the
each revolutionised whole societies in a historic dimension. Just,
to have got evolved as a data processing question, and later
migrated into the
philosophy of numbers, in fact, a kind of number theory, and that
trade has as
an added disadvantage that its sales force does not have anything
around in order to demonstrate the practicality of the wheel, the
etc. on, but the numbers. We deal with the order among our concepts
discuss how and what we measure.
The improved measurement instrument does have by itself, available
time, certainly existing subsets with definite properties, and
do simulate the basic ideas about neutron and proton+electron, and
only a few of them, and they have an intricate logical relation
other. Rest assured, the gadget does deliver usable concepts of
atom so you can
start building molecules in the not so distant future.
The fate of a great invention depends on many factors. The results
research will become application in dependence of the behaviour of
surrounding basic research, the scientists and the science
managers. How fast,
and for which applied science tailored to measure it will appear in an
application first, is a managerial question, not one of cuts and
Even, if the present audience does nothing to further the
translation of stereo
counting into his or any trade,
*counting the cuts together with the stitches is a principle that
its way to the general public, by its own merits, inevitably,
sooner or later.
This is an idea for which the time is always right to propose, but
afore, computers were not as readily available, so the idea was
investigate (because it involves quite a lot of counting). There is
bit of common sense to this idea, and it smells to the layman, too,
could be useful in chemistry and theoretical physics.
It depends on many factors, how an idea translates into profit
profit will appear in). Among the factors that influence the fate
of this idea
you and your action or inaction are quite important and relevant.
Thank you for the inquiry whether one may model chemistry better than
heretofore by an improved counting system, which also considers the
with the stitches. The answer is positive: yes, this is the
research is taking. More helping brains can well improve the speed
precision of the effort. Thanks again for thinking along.
Karl, your argument wanders over vast domains. What I am seeking is
a particular path, a particular collation of syllogisms (sorites)
that relate the concepts of number theory to the concepts of
chemistry, biology and medicine. If such a path is stated, then we
can compare the statements to particular observations in the
fis mailing list