Friday, September 25, 2009

Putting A Face on Machine Mutation

Dredd Blog has a post, which focuses on the issue of the evolution of machines.

Surprisingly, there is more to the question this issue deals with than what at first appears.

It is a post which asks the question: "which came first organic species or machine species?":
Looking at it that way, the machines are at the foundation of biological organisms aren't they? We are in a sense cyborg, then, because we are both machine and organic.

We are composed of atoms and elements which are organized in such a way that they morph into organisms. Organization.

So goes the cosmological theory of machines mutating into "higher forms". Atomic quanta which are composed of non-organic mass and non-organic energy, and therefore are machines, morph or evolve into other machines we call atoms and elements. Then those elements morph into molecules which morph or evolve into organic, biological life forms.

What is puzzling in many ways is that this is called both science fiction and evolutionary science. What makes it fiction on the one hand, but science on the other hand, on the same set of facts? By facts I mean machines morphing or evolving into biological organisms.

(Putting A Face on Machine Mutation, emphasis added). New research tends to agree with the position that the machines came first:
"Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial." Professor Lithgow said.


"François Jacob described evolution as a tinkerer, cobbling together proteins of one function to yield more complex machines capable of new functions." Professor Lithgow said.

"Our work describes a perfect example of Jacob's proposition, and shows that Darwin's theory of evolution beautifully explains how molecular machines came to be."

(Science Daily, emphasis added; cf. Monash Univ.). When you look at your wrist watch or your cell phone you may have more resistance to the notion that a machine evolves, yet the fly you just swatted away (which is far more complex) does not make you so skeptical.

That is one reason we bring these issues up, so that we do not fall asleep at the wheel and believe anything that comes our way.

With that in mind, notice how they came up with this new notion that machines do evolve:
"Our cells literally are chimeras of a "host" cell and these intracellular bacteria. Yet bacteria don't have TIM complexes – to understand where the TIM complex came from we simply applied scientific reasoning and looked at a modern-day bacterium akin to the organism that gave rise to mitochondria." Professor Lithgow said.

(ibid, Science Daily, emphasis added). Uh oh, the "scientific reasoning" statement, which we found in another post, can be translated "have faith" at times.

Even scientists balk at the faith of their peers at times, which this blog pointed out, and why not, since that is called "peer review".

We will keep watching and reporting these issues for your perusal, and your decision as to which came first, the machine or the organism.

The next post in this series is here.

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