Saturday, November 17, 2012

Did Abiotic Intelligence Precede Biotic Intelligence?

Bright Things
I suppose we should also ask ourselves whether or not abiotic intelligence even exists.

If it does, since abiotic evolution preceded biotic evolution in our theoretical models, then that factor answers our question.

Nevertheless, either way it seems to require another discussion about what intelligence in general actually is, and whether it is the same in the abiotic realm as it is in the biotic realm.

It is a subject that is coming up a bit more regularly of late than it used to, when the notion of "intelligence" was limited exclusively to the small realm of human consciousness (see e.g. On The Peak of Intelligence - 2).

One can expect arguments both for and against abiotic intelligence, if we consider and extrapolate on Tenet One, which is:
The stars like our Sun, at the center of all solar systems, will support life forms for an amount of time, but will then destroy life on the planets near them at an unknown time during each solar system's developmental life cycle.

(The Tenets of Ecocosmology, Tenet One). According to our current cosmological evolutionary models, stars evolved during the long abiotic evolutionary phase that preceded the much shorter biotic evolutionary phase (see e.g. Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 3).

In those models "stars" evolved (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 6) then produced carbon within them, which is the basis of biotic life and therefore biotic evolution (e.g. Logic of Metabolism).

Stars evolved such that they made carbon based life possible, yet they will eventually destroy all the life in the habitable zone of planets near them; life which they originally made possible:
Earth's fate is precarious. As a red giant, the Sun will have a maximum radius beyond the Earth's current orbit, 1 AU (1.5×1011 m), 250 times the present radius of the Sun. However, by the time it is an asymptotic giant branch star, the Sun will have lost roughly 30% of its present mass due to a stellar wind, so the orbits of the planets will move outward. If it were only for this, Earth would probably be spared, but new research suggests that Earth will be swallowed by the Sun owing to tidal interactions. Even if Earth would escape incineration in the Sun, still all its water will be boiled away and most of its atmosphere would escape into space.

(Life According To Science). Before this "catastrophe" happens there is sufficient time for life forms to learn space travel and find a new home world, if:
That final catastrophic event (destruction of life on inner planets), and all events leading up to it, comprise "The Test" (This test is composed of all the preliminary and final evolutionary requirements for the life forms on all planets near central stars. The Test works as a wall, moat, or barrier, to divide those species who may continue to live in the physical universe from those who may not).

(The Tenets of Ecocosmology, Tenet Two). This could be read to imply that abiotic evolution includes a process whereby undesirable carbon based biotic life forms that might later evolve will eventually be extinguished:
"The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe must have known that we were coming."
(Disturbing the Universe,  by Freeman Dyson, 1979). That is, will biotic forms that evolve "automatically" become extinct in the event that they evolve/develop primarily "maladjusted behaviors?"

The notion would would seem to imply, then, the existence of some form of abiotic intelligence intent on preventing future undesirable biotic evolution from getting out of hand and populating the cosmos with undesirables:
To pass The Test, intelligent life forms inhabiting any planet will be required to:
a) first learn to live and work together within, and in accord with, their planet's ecosystem, and to substantially coexist with all the other species on that planet, while overcoming any toxins of power that are contrary to social harmony;

b) develop technology that produces space vehicles able to substantially meet or exceed the speed of light;

c) find another solar system with a habitable planet which contains a central star still having enough time left in its stellar life cycle for them to colonize a habitable planet in that solar system (since it is unknown whether the toxins of power are to be found on all planets, as they are found on Earth, that possibility should be taken into consideration when selecting any new planet or moon as a home world); Note: since red dwarfs are the most stable and most abundant stars, they should be favored over Sun-like stars;

d) colonize that habitable planet, and then improve ecocosmological skills as needed;

e) then repeat the entire process ad infinitum;

f) or, experience a morph into another "species" free from that type of solar/planetary cosmic dependence.

(The Tenets of Ecocosmology, Tenet Three). We reviewed the cosmological evolutionary model of The Big Bang Theory recently, which notably indicates that abiotic evolution is a much older evolutionary process than biotic evolution is.

Abiotic evolution takes up by far the greatest portion of time involved when considering the span of time involved for all of evolution (Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 3).

The fundamental essence which The Tenets of Ecocosmology indicate as being built into this abiotic and biotic evolutionary dynamic is a command of due respect for all life forms:
The seeds of intelligence (genetic and memetic clues) required to successfully perform The Test are distributed into all species, races, religions, sciences, creeds, and genders. Thus, all individuals should be respected as carriers of some quanta of the seed of intelligence required to pass The Test, lest a fundamental quantum of necessary intelligence be lost.

(The Tenets of Ecocosmology, Tenet Four). Thus, the evolutionary path seems to begin with abiotic evolution of a non-living system that can provide the necessary ingredients of later biotic life.

But more than that, it also contains fundamental processes and/or mechanisms for judging some fundamental aspects of the competence of that later-to-begin biotic evolution.

That would seem to be a form of intelligent "non-life," but let's keep our notion subject to the difficulty of defining "life" and "machine":
The definition of life is as enormous a problem as the phenomenon of life itself. One could easily collect from the literature more than 100 different definitions, none satisfactory enough to be broadly accepted. What should the definition contain, to be suitable for all varieties of observable life? Humans, animals, plants, microorganisms. Do viruses also belong to life?


“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.

(Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 3). The machines that preceded life, and of which life is based, could be said to have evolved in an abiotic process that has some of the hallmarks of "some type of intelligence."

Especially when we are not reluctant to use the term "machine intelligence" to describe the software that comprises the "brains" of computers.

Not a very easy subject to derive only one clear dialogue is it?

Let's really muddy the waters, then, by pointing out that some religions are antithetical to this structure which The Tenets of Ecocosmology set forth above, a structure which favors appreciation of Nature.

This favoring of Nature is not the way of everyone's science or religion:
"Now I notice a very odd point. All other religions in the world, as far as I know them, are either nature religions, or anti-nature religions ... But here is something quite different. Here is something telling me - well, what? Telling me that I must never ... say that death does not matter." - C.S. Lewis

(God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, page 86). Now that you have been given some food for thought, have fun with it!

1 comment:

Randy said...

It was restrained of you not to question where the stuff of the Big Bang came from.

There is criticism of the obvious holes in the theory. Link