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Dec16-11, 11:30 AM
I recommend the extensive work of Stuart Kaufmann. He has been pursuing some fascinating concepts in self-organisation and emergent properties related to abiogenesis and biological evolution. He has a number of excellent published books which have garnered praise from Nobel laureates and the likes of Stehpen Gould. If his ideas are wrong they are wrong in a gloriously elegant, inventive and original way.
Stuart Kaufmann is a treat when it comes to complex systems. In
Reinventing The Sacred
he mentions something that keeps me thinking well into the night,
The number of possible combinations of activities of these genes is 2
or about 10
. There are only an estimated 10
particles in the known universe, which means that the number of possible states of our regulating genes is enormously, vastly larger than the number of particles in the universe. If we add in our structural genes, there are 2
or about 10
states. The universe is about 10
seconds old. It takes a few minutes to an hour for genes to turn on or off. Even if we were a thousand times as old as the universe, there is not time enough for our regulatory network to "visit" even a tiny fraction of its possible states. And remember, we are still assuming genes are as simple as light bulbs, with no states but "on" or "off".