Advertisement

Is Life Fundamental?

  • Sara Imari Walker
Chapter
Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)

Abstract

Although there has been remarkable progress in understanding some pieces of the puzzle, the emergence of life is still a mystery, presenting what is arguably one of the greatest unsolved questions in science. For the physicist or biologist, this may seem a problem for chemistry, and that the difficulty is simply that we don’t have the know-how to engineer chemical networks quiet as complex as life, at least not yet. However, current challenges and limitations in chemical synthesis and the design of complex chemical networks may be only part of the story

Keywords

Information Control Darwinian Evolution Transfer Entropy Causal Efficacy Biological Realm 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. 1.
    C.E. Cleland, C.F. Chyba, Defining life. Orig. Life Evol. Biosph. 32, 387–393 (2002)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    P.C.W. Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1999)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    G. Joyce, Bit by bit: the Darwinian basis of life. PLoS Biol. 418, 214–221 (2012)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    C. Darwin, Letter to J.D. Hooker, in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin 1863, vol. 11, ed. by F. Burkhardt, S. Smith (1999), p. 278. (29 March 1863)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    P.W. Anderson, More is different. Science 177, 393–396 (1972)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    J.A Wheeler, Sakharov revisited: “It from bit”, ed. by M. Man’ko In: Proceedings of the First International A.D Sakharov Memorial Conference on Physics, Moscow, USSR (Nova Science Publishers, Commack, New York, 1991)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    J. Pellicer, M.F. Fay, I.J. Leitch, The largest Eukaryotic genome of them all? Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 164(1), 10 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    D. Noble, Genes and causation. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. A 366, 3001–3015 (2008)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    V.B. Pinhero et al., Synthetic genetic polymers capable of heredity and evolution. Science 336, 341–344 (2012)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    G. Auletta, Cognitive Biology: Dealing with Information from Bacteria to Minds (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    G. Auletta, G.F.R. Ellis, L. Jaeger, Top-down causation by information control: from a philosophical problem to a scientific research programme. J. R. Soc. Interface 5, 1159–1172 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    U. Alon, An Introduction to Systems Biology: Design Principles of Biological Circuits (CRC Press Taylor & Francis, 2006)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    G.F.R. Ellis, Top-down causation and emergence: some comments on mechanisms. J. R. Soc. Interface 2(1), 126–140 (2012)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    N. Goldenfeld, C. Woese, Life is physics: evolution as a collective phenomenon far from equilibrium. Annu. Rev. Condens. Matter Phys. 2(1), 375–399 (2011)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    D. Hofstadter, Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (Basic Books Inc., New York, 1979)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    P.C.W. Davies, The epigenome and top-down causation. J. R. Soc. Interface 2(1), 42–48 (2012)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    M.R. Parsek, E.P. Greenberg, Sociomicrobiology: the connections between quorum sensing and biofilms. Trends Microbiol. 13, 27–33 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    J.C. Flack, F. de Waal, Context modulates signal meaning in primate communication. In: Proc. Nat. Acad. of Sci. USA 104(5) 1581–1586 (2007)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    P.C.W. Davies, The physics of downward causation, in The Re-emergence of Emergence, ed. by P. Clayton, P.C.W. Davies (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006), pp. 35–52Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    S.I. Walker, P.C.W. Davies, The algorithmic origins of life (2012). arXiv:1207.4803
  21. 21.
    D.T. Campbell, Levels of organization, downward causation, and the selection-theory approach to evolutionary epistemoloty, ed. by G. Greenber, E. Tobach. Theories of the Evolution of Knowing. T.C. Schneirla Conference Series, (1990), pp. 1–15Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    G.F.R. Ellis, D. Noble, T. O’Connor, Top-down causation: an integrating theme within and across the sciences? J. R. Soc. Interface 2, 1–3 (2011)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    G.F.R. Ellis, On the nature of emergent reality, in The Re-emergence of Emergence, ed. by P. Clayton, P.C.W. Davies (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006), pp. 79–107Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    E.R. Scerri, Top-down causation regarding the chemistry-physics interface: a sceptical view. Interface Focus 2, 20–25 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    S.I. Walker, L. Cisneros, P.C.W. Davies, Evolutionary transitions and top-down causation, in Proceedings of Artificial Life XIII, pp. 283–290 (2012)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    G. Tononi, An information integration theory of consciousness. BMC Neurosci. 5, 42 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    J. Pearl, Causality (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000)zbMATHGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth and Space Exploration and Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in ScienceArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Blue Marble Space Institute of ScienceSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations