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Friday, 28 June 2019

Are planets evolutionary lab experiments? (2)

A recent Big Think article mentions a new book by Stanford psychologist Barbara Tversky which "argues that action is the foundation of thinking" rather than language. I could only think: duh! There's plenty of evidence that all living organisms think and communicate. The difference with human language and thinking is complexity versus simplicity.

A recent discovery by the University of Queensland on the evolution of life, as published in Nature, found that animal life is derived from convertible cells, similar to stem cells. UQ News: "The findings disprove a long-standing idea: that multi-celled animals evolved from a single-celled ancestor resembling a modern sponge cell known as a choanocyte."

Last Tuesday, scientists confirmed the presence of molecules consisting of 60 carbon atoms (ie, C60). Quoting Martin Cordiner in Phys: "The presence of C60 unequivocally demonstrates a high level of chemical complexity intrinsic to space environments, and points toward a strong likelihood for other extremely complex, carbon-bearing molecules arising spontaneously in space."

Remarkably, the ancient Sumerian civilization used a Base-60 - rather than our current Base-10 - for their complex calculations, like geographic coordinates, geometry, and time which they used for astronomy and astrology. Now I'm wondering if Base-60 and C-60 are (un)related.

The current revolutionary medical applications of human stem-cell therapy suggest that stem cells are both simple (ie, one size fits all) and complex at the same time (eg, NCBI-2015). The existence of C60 and stem cells as the origin of (animal) life suggest that evolution was never "simple" but has always been "complex". 

In retrospect, the origins of contemporary complex lifeforms may just look "simple". This should come as a relief to "creationists", who have often been ridiculed by several scientists. In my view, creation is about who and why, and science about how and when. To quote theoretical physicist Richard P. Feynman: “Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.”

Initially, it was hard finding a title for this blog (eg, the complexity bias). Considering the recent discoveries of C60 in space and of methane on Mars, my recent question felt more and more appropriate: Are planets evolutionary lab experiments? Hence, I decided for a follow-up on part 1 of this blog. 

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
An alleged quote by Mark Twain (1835-1910), American writer and humorist.

(Is There) Life on Mars? (1971) by David Bowie

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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