Sexual reproduction as cooperation / Spolno razmnoževanje kot sodelovanje

author: Victor P. Shcherbakov, InInstitute of Problems of Chemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences
published: Oct. 21, 2011,   recorded: October 2011,   views: 64
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Disclaimer: Please note that the sentence formulated at 05min 02sec should be corrected from "Mind is not just epiphenomenon of life it is third fundamental interaction" to "Mind is not just epiphenomenon of life it is fifth fundamental interaction".

What is life? And what is death? There are two ways of existence: animate and inanimate. Second Law of thermodynamics predicts the final dissipation of everything in the Universe. Longevity it is a quantitative measure of any existence. The Universe is evolving entity: ephemeral forms of being are replaced by the long-lasting ones. Evolution of the Universe may be portrayed as resistance to chaos. The four fundamental interactions prevent immediate dissipation of the inanimate world; the living world resists chaos by means of sensible behavior. I name a behavior sensible if it is aimed at survival of the behaving entity. Biological evolution might also be portrayed as self-knowledge of Nature: mind from matter (Delbrück; Teilhard de Chardin). The mind is not just epiphenomenon of life. It is the fifth fundamental interaction preventing the living world from dissipation, a major instrument for survival of the living entities. To survive means to resist any change, not only decay. The words »mind«, »knowledge«, »sense« should not be taken as metaphors. They are good terms. The cells of my body know how to replicate DNA. This knowledge does not differ principally from my knowledge of how to read and write, being of course much more important for my survival than my literacy. The total knowledge a biological entity enjoys is the knowledge of how to reproduce itself. In inanimate nature, all the processes are directed from a less probable state to a more probable state: movement to equilibrium. Life is a movement to a less probable state. It is a river flowing upward. A stone falling from the mountain is an example of a physical process; an alpinist climbing up a mountain is an example of a biological process. The latter needs not only energy, but intention (will) and mind. The laws of physics are not violated during this »climbing up«. Instead, they are harnessed by the goal-directed programs of life in such a way that low probable, virtually impossible events become the most probable. A living entity may disappear for two reasons: it may die or it may change. In both cases the previous entity ceases its existence. Evolution implies disappearance of the ancestor entity. To exist means to exist long. Biological species know how to exist long. This is miraculous knowledge because living entities are improbable things. We are »quite unable to grasp the extreme complexity of the simplest of organisms« (Prigogine). It is not complexity in itself that is miraculous but the fact that biological complexity is highly organized. Complexity implies availability of a large space of the states for the system, while the term »organized « implies that only very few of the states are compatible with vitality, i.e. living systems are non-equilibrium, low-entropy systems. We do not say that organisms violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Instead, we say that living things are open systems, continuously sharing matter and energy with their environment. Organisms export entropy to environment, thus keeping their internal states far from equilibrium. This is a correct description of the state of affairs, yet it is not an adequate explanation of biological organization. Energy is necessary but not sufficient for implementation of life. It needs knowledge. The living entities survive due to their sensible behavior. Taking the word behavior in the broadest sense, we may speak about the behavior of molecules, cells, organisms, populations, and ecosystems.


Kaj je življenje? In kaj je smrt? Obstajata dva načina obstoja: živ in neživ. Drugi zakon termodinamike napoveduje končni razpad vsega, kar v vesolju obstaja. Dolgoživost je kvantitativno merilo vsega obstoja. Vesolje se neprestano razvija, kratkotrajne oblike sčasoma zamenjajo dolgotrajne oblike. Evolucijo vesolja si lahko predstavljamo kot kljubovanje neredu. Štiri temeljne interakcije preprečujejo neposredni razpad neživega sveta; neredu se živi svet upira s smiselnim vedenjem. Izraz smiselno vedenje uporabljam, če je cilj takega vedenja preživetje entitete. Biološko evolucijo si lahko predstavljamo tudi kot samopoznavanje Narave: kot um iz snovi (Delbrück, Teilhard de Chardin). Um ni samo epifenomen življenja. Je peta temeljna interakcija, ki preprečuje disipacijo živega sveta in je poglavitni instrument za preživetje živih entitet. Preživeti pomeni kljubovati vsaki spremembi, ne le razkroju. Besed »misli«, »znanje« in »občutek« se ne sme jemati kot metafore. So dobri termini. Celice mojega telesa vedo, kako podvojevati DNA. To znanje se v osnovi ne razlikuje od tega, da znam brati in pisati, a je veliko bolj pomembno za moje preživetje kot moja pismenost. Zelo pomembno znanje bioloških entitet je, da vedo, kako se razmnoževati. V neživi naravi so vsi procesi usmerjeni od manj verjetnega do bolj verjetnega stanja; gre za gibanje proti ravnovesju. Življenje pa je gibanje proti manj verjetnemu stanju. To je reka, ki teče navzgor. Kamen, ki se kotali z gore, je primer fizikalnega procesa; alpinist, ki se vzpenja na goro, pa je primer biološkega procesa. Slednji ne potrebuje samo energije, ampak tudi namen (voljo) in um. Zakoni fizike pri plezanju navzgor niso prekršeni. Namesto tega jih vodijo ciljno usmerjeni programi življenja tako, da malo verjetni, tako rekoč nemogoči dogodki postanejo kar najbolj verjetni. Živa entiteta lahko izgine iz dveh razlogov: lahko umre ali pa se spremeni. V obeh primerih prejšnja entiteta preneha obstajati. Evolucija vključuje izginotje entitete prednika. Obstajati pomeni obstajati dolgo. Biološke vrste vedo, kako obstajati dolgo. To je čudežno znanje, saj so žive entitete le malo verjetne stvari. V resnici »kar ne moremo dojeti izjemne zapletenosti niti najenostavnejših organizmov « (Prigogine). Vendar ni kompleksnost sama po sebi čudežna, temveč bolj dejstvo, da je biološka kompleksnost visoko organizirana. Kompleksnost pomeni razpoložljivost velikega prostora stanj nekega sistema, medtem ko se izraz »organiziran« nanaša na to, da je le malo stanj skladnih z vitalnostjo, kar pomeni, da živi sistemi niso v ravnovesju in imajo nizko stopnjo entropije. Ne trdimo, da organizmi kršijo drugi zakon termodinamike. Nasprotno, trdimo, da so živa bitja odprti sistemi, ki nenehno izmenjavajo snov in energijo s svojim okoljem. Organizmi v okolje oddajajo entropijo in s tem svoja notranja stanja vzdržujejo daleč od ravnovesja. To je pravilen opis stanja, vendar še ni ustrezno pojasnilo biološke organizacije. Energija je potrebna, vendar sama ne zadostuje za obstoj življenja. Potrebuje znanje. Žive entitete preživijo zaradi svojega pametnega vedenja. V najširšem pomenu besede lahko govorimo o vedenju molekul, celic, organizmov, populacij in ekosistemov.

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