Thursday, May 21, 2009

Final Fantasy Genes

When playing an RPG - a character's abilities and inabilities are governed by those skills which one unlocks.
Are genetics/epigenetics working in the same way?
(Does all of the information for a trait or skill exist - and is it only unlocked by one's experience?)


CNu said...

No John.

An RPG is a non-generative system. It has no emergent, irrational, or negentropic properties.

By contrast, human natural language, though rule-based, is generative. i.e., new terms, usages, and structures arise in natural language use.

Life (which language mirrors to an extent) is profoundly generative, irrational, negentropic, and principally characterized by emergent properties.

So, genetics, like language is not fixed and bounded like an RPG. The identification of epigenetic processes working within a genetic context - was pretty much an inevitability.

Check this article in the current issue of Technology Review for a bracing illustration whereof I write above.

Even at the level of non-living substances, there is something quite extraordinary going on.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ SeeNew - But isn't the game example similar to the current interpretation of IQ tests?

CNu said...

The game example is similar to my interpretation of IQ tests. I'm not sure what means the "current interpretation".

Back to the genetics/epigenetics question. Under Rolf Landauer and Charles Bennett's interpretation of information theory and the backwards arrow of time, there IS an explanation of reality which makes genetics/epigenetics similar to an RPG.

Namely, they posit that evolution results from the backward scatter of information from the future and that the capture of information transiting that backward arrow of time is what accounts for the negentropic or progressive changes exhibited by evolving systems.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ SeeNew - Damn... I just finished reading that MIT article and then you assign MORE homework?

("Current Interpretation" (Excluding UCBM and Big Don)meaning; Not having anything to do with race.)

The article stated that something has to exhibit 'growth and reproduction' in order to be deemed as living.
Would common rust fill the bill?

uglyblackjohn said...

@ SeeNew - Concerning the concepts of Rolf and Chas; So would this be humans trying to become God-like?
As in reaching our ultimate potential?
As though man were created to evolve into perfection after all.

CNu said...

Would common rust fill the bill?

nah. rust just happens, it doesn't "reproduce".

crystals "grow", but they don't "reproduce" - speaking of which - my man Frobel had some very interesting notions about crystals and exerted a profound influence on the structure of education in the modern era.

Staying on topic, I think the most basic chemical/mechanical process that "just happens" and which comes REAL close on the "reproduction" tip is what happens in clays.

Clay is semi-crystalline. However, it's composed of fine layers, think somewhat along the lines of phyllo dough. Those layers are subject to mechanical drift and shearing. When that shearing event happens, half of the semi-crystalline structures in the layer are displaced and continue to regrow, giving you this mechanically induced reproduction of structures in the layers. Think along the lines of xeroxing paper.

Personally, I don't believe that that qualifies as living either, just that it comes very close, so close in fact that if you had organic compounds and structures, like those liposomes or others, embedded in the clay layers - they would naturally be subject to the mechanically induced "growth and reproduction" process occurring in the clays and that might be sufficient to bootstrap autopoetic growth and reproduction events in increasingly complex and rapidly cycled organic compounds and structures. Matter of fact, you might just have a perpetual flux of increasing complexity and information density in organic compounds and structures embedded in clays.

CNu said...

So would this be humans trying to become God-like?

nah. but it might be an awful lot like humans as organic compounds/structures embedded in spatio-temporal clay.

Just playing.

Structurally, that concept is VERY close to the Sabbattean divine cosmology.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ SeeNew - The clay example is one that I can easily look at.
Most of our ground is made up of clay here in Beaumont.
Sometimes it just stinks - but that could be the petro-products seeping through the ground.

"Sabbatean"? As in Sabbats - Don't tell me that I'm thinking like a Wikken

CNu said...

nah, it's an heretical jewish sect founded by Sabbatai Zevi.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ SeeNew - Oh - I know (now). I looked it up after you mentioned it.