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CCP4BB  September 2010

CCP4BB September 2010

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Subject:

Re: Reverse Translatase

From:

Jacob Keller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Jacob Keller <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 13 Sep 2010 12:03:29 -0500

Content-Type:

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Just as a thought exercise or challenge--can you provide an algorithm or 
rule that will be able to distinguish in all cases what is a "design" and 
what is an "illusion of one's instinct for conveying selective advantage?" 
What would such a criterion be? And how about this side-question: do lower 
life forms design things, e.g., do spiders design their webs? Do bees design 
their combs, or beavers their dams? What is the decisive line which divides 
the designed things from the random-advantage-conferring? I think that you 
will have a very difficult time defining that line. And if you can provide 
such a rule, it will be fun to test it with some examples!

You might even be tempted to go as far as Shroedinger who in his essay "mind 
and matter" seems to doubt even whether there are any real consciousnesses 
outside of his own (there is, after all, no concrete evidence for such). 
Therefore, perhaps all designs by humans would also be mere illusions...ah! 
but they seem so much like the product of an intelligence!

JPK



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ed Pozharski" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, September 08, 2010 8:29 PM
Subject: Re: [ccp4bb] Reverse Translatase


> David is absolutely right.  There is no design, Jacob, we just
> instinctively look for it everywhere because seeking purpose instead of
> understanding mechanism conveys advantage to our species.  Your
> rationale is flawed - just because it is imaginable (with caveats) does
> not mean that it must exist on this particular planet.  Complementary,
> not every feature observed has functional significance (in part because
> biomacromolecules are structurally redundant).
>
> On Wed, 2010-09-08 at 09:04 -0400, David Schuller wrote:
>> > Ah, so many possibilities! And as I said before, considering that
>> > it would be so useful, and that the genius of macromolecular design
>> observed
>> > in nature is apparently so unlimited, shouldn't it be out there
>> somewhere?
>> "Design"? I think there are more appropriate descriptions for life as
>> it
>> has been observed. The complexity of life can be explained fairly
>> well
>> by Darwinian evolution, i.e. replication with variation coupled with
>> selection. This works through modification of existing entities. The
>> relatedness of many molecules and the theme of modification of
>> pre-existing parts ought to be apparent to someone who has learned
>> about
>> replication and sources of genetic novelty, and spent any time
>> studying
>> protein structure.
>>
>>


*******************************************
Jacob Pearson Keller
Northwestern University
Medical Scientist Training Program
Dallos Laboratory
F. Searle 1-240
2240 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208
lab: 847.491.2438
cel: 773.608.9185
email: [log in to unmask]
*******************************************

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