What is Life?

Where did it come from?


What is life and where did it come from?


One of the most fundamentally significant scientific discoveries of recent years is the very nature of what life is.
Science has come to realise that every biological system  has  2 basic fundamental  components, on the one hand there is lifeless chemicals and on the other we have the information contained in our genomes that organise those chemicals into the mind-blowingly sophisticated  structures we call life. It is the importance of this information that is built into life that has profound implications as to our understanding of what life is and where it came from.
It is this information that turns chemistry into biology.
A world leading scientist by the name of Craig Ventor, the head of the team that first sequenced the human genome, as well as the team that produced the world’s first synthetic life form, has described life as a software driven process and our genome as our operating system.

Link 1
 
     
Scientists, like Ventor, can now manipulate a cells genome with a computer, load that genome back into a cell and fundamentally change the very nature of the cell.  Our genomes are in a very literal sense a executable computational algorithm that controls life.  Our cells are continually reading and executing parts of that algorithm in every moment of our lives.

Link 2   

     

That is a very bold statement.  But to understand why that is the case we need to take a closer look at the very nature of information itself and in particular the type of information found in life, that is Specified  Functional information , sometimes referred to as  Prescriptive information ( it prescribes for something)

Link 3
   


This discovery sheds a great deal of light on the question of the origins of life, why?   Because any algorithm, or functional information, of the type we have discovered in life, has only one known source,  that is prior intelligence.

That is a very bold statement.  But to understand why that is the case we need to take a closer look at the very nature of information itself and in particular the type of information found in life, that is Specified  Functional information , sometimes referred to as  Prescriptive information ( it prescribes for something)

  Link 3
   
And not just us, every living thing on this planet, from Bacteria to butterflies from plants to polar bears, runs a
variation of the same software program. This planet with its absolute abundance of life, fair hums, as  countless
numbers of biological computers  process information of such vast quantities that that by comparison the internet pales into insignificance in terms of the volume of the information processed. It is not just the quantity of information that is impressive it is also the quality and sophistication of those programs.
Some years ago Bill Gates described the information in life as being like a computer program but far more advanced than any software we have created.

This discovery sheds a great deal of light on the question of the origins of life, why?   Because any algorithm, or functional information, of the type we have discovered in life, has only one known source,  that is prior intelligence.

Supporting information Links
Link 1

50 second video clip. Craig Ventor explains how our genome operates as software


Link 2

Craig Ventor announces the 1st synthetic life form.
They have taken a small bacterium and using a computer, deleted large sections of its genome in an effort to understand what each component does and to produce a minimally complex functioning genome.


Link 3

Scientific paper from The National Center for Biotechnology Information
which by making comparisons with computer science, concludes
that the biological genome does indeed contain semiotic, prescriptive information and operates as an executable algorithm.
Link 4

Short video that explains how the Encode Project (Encyclopedia of DNA elements) aims to characterize the functional elements and regulatory controls of the human genome to form a source of information for use in further research. Encode has exposed the myth that the human genome is largely composed of junk.


Link 5

Life is Semiosis
Scientific paper from ResearchGate 
This paper underlines precisely the scientific nature of biosemiotics and argues that the time has come to acknowledge that semiosis not only is a fact of life but is ‘the’ fact that allowed life to emerge from inanimate matter.

Link 6

Ted Talk by Stephen Larson. While he adheres to the obligatory nod to evolution, he twice refers to the genetic code as a alien technology written by an engineer a million times smarter that us, therefore inferring an intelligent origin to life rather than undirected physical process.