Friday, January 17, 2014

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 27

Editor at MyMachine Dot Org
The subtitle of today's post could be "The Abiology Rebellion."

That is because, in today's post, I am going to talk about Abiology, a subject that is not yet in some of our parent's dictionaries.

Abiology is an area of science that is like Rodney "I don't get no respect" Dangerfield when it comes to the entirety of evolution.

Regular readers know that in various and sundry posts on the Dredd Blog System we have bemoaned the dearth of research within evolutionary circles concerning the subject of abiotic evolution or Abiology.

I have even done so to the point that I now encourage more scientific textbooks with the title "Abiology 101" in addition to and in contrast with "Biology 101" (see e.g. Did Abiotic Intelligence Precede Biotic Intelligence?, Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 3).

A fair definition of Biology is:
... the science of life or living matter in all its forms and phenomena, especially with reference to origin, growth, reproduction, structure, and behavior.
(Dictionary, emphasis added). A fair definition of Abiology, then, ought to be:
... the science of non-life or non-living matter in all its forms and
phenomena, especially with reference to origin, growth, reproduction, structure, and behavior.
(see e.g. abiological). One problem or question that biologists struggle with is the art of defining life (Erwin Schrodinger, PDF), but, to be sure that arises most often inside the twilight-zone between the abiotic and the biotic realms.

That is a twilight zone of overlap where Biology and Abiology would both be useful, in the sense that we can't yet draw a jurisdictional map with a fine line separating the two, at least like we can with cities, counties, states, and nations.

That reality is exacerbated by the understanding that we now have developed.

Which is that cells are like cyborgs, in that they are composed of both molecular machines and carbon based life stuff (The New Paradigm: The Physical Universe Is Mostly Machine).

If you are not convinced yet, remember that even DNA is a molecular machine, i.e., it is not alive (The Uncertain Gene - 8).

Yet genes are studied in Biology classes as if DNA was bio rather that abio, but not yet studied in Abiology class because we don't have any Abiology 101 classes do we?

The formula to the right has to do with quantum proton tunneling, which is a quantum
physics concept.

However, since genetic mutation, during DNA replication, can be caused by this phenomenon it is in that twilight zone.

So genes are to be studied by both Biology and Abiology (see Quantum Tunneling and Quantum Tunneling in DNA) even though genes and DNA are not alive.

But, since they are tightly coupled with cell reproduction and just about everything else a cell does, both disciplines are potentially impacted by the phenomenon.

However, one place where Biology is not involved in evolution at all is in the dynamics of abiotic evolution of the sort that took place for ~10.21 billions of years prior to carbon based life forms evolving.

That is, prior to there being any "bio" or "ology" to blend together into the study of life, a.k.a. Biology (see the "Did Abiotic Intelligence Precede Biotic Intelligence?", and "Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 3" links above).

Separating the two (bio, abio) might solve some of the problems mentioned in If Cosmology Is "Off," How Can Biology Be "On?" (and similar posts mentioned above).

Not doing so is like "observing adolescents to understand early childhood" (Alex Filippenko).

Have a good weekend.

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