Life Origin

A Scientific Approach

Edited for the Non-Scientist

How did life get programmed with such sophisticated instructions?  

All known life is programmed.1,2


Programming provides the needed instructions for what the cell has to do to come alive, stay alive and reproduce. 3-10 But the cell has to make these programming choices before any processing begins, and before any computation is completed. 11-20   No living physical organism comes into existence until after an incredible amount of programming and processing produce it.


So, what did the programming?   Did gravity do the programming?   How?


Did the electromagnetic force do the programming?   How?  


Did the strong or weak nuclear force do the programing?   How?


Neither the four known forces of nature, nor the laws of physics and chemistry, can explain the clearly observable phenomenon of programming in DNA and RNA. 3, 9, 21-25


   Why do we laugh at the Yogism, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”


   We laugh because the information we are being given by this Yogism is not really information.  The “instruction” tells us nothing about which way we should go when we come to the fork in the road.  We are left to guess which way to go.  To guess is the equivalent of flipping a coin.  It is not really a purposeful choice.  It is just a random selection.  But a “random selection” is not really a “selection,” either.  To select is to purposefully choose. 


   If we “choose” which way to go by flipping a coin, we will not wind up at our destination any more efficiently.  The more forks in the road along the way, the less likely we are to get there sooner if we use coin flips to decide which way to go.


   A rat improves his exit from a maze only by learning and memorizing which purposeful choices to make at which turn.  The rat builds a program in his mind of successive wise choices that computes the most efficient exit from the maze.  Any attempt to deny the reality of wise choices, or to replace them with mere coin flips, renders the rat’s exit time unimproved on average. 


   The role of wise choices is no different in the workings of any cell.  All known life is programmed at the subcellular level.  Life consists of many integrated, parallel computations all going on at the same time.  These require wise purposeful choices at every turn.


   There are many other forms of programing within the cell in addition to the sequencing of nucleosides in nucleic acid.   Many of the configurable switch-settings are epigenetic, meaning, “on the surface of DNA.”  Some of the programming is found in different types of coiling of nucleic acid and proteins.  The Prescriptive Information (PI) that makes the cell possible can be three-dimensional. 


   Sometimes the RNA and proteins that can only be produced by DNA instructions are themselves the controllers of the DNA and processes that produced them!  Life-origin research is riddled with scores of paradoxes:  “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” 


   In the end, it doesn’t matter which came first. Neither the chicken nor the egg could exist without Prescriptive Information programming and processing an extraordinary number of cooperative computations into the one symphony of life.


1.            Abel DL, ed The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: Longview Press Academic; 2011.

2.            Abel DL. Primordial Prescription:  The Most Plaguing Problem of Life Origin Science   New York, N. Y.: LongView Press Academic; 2015.

3.            Abel DL. The Formalism > Physicality (F > P) Principle. In: Abel DL, ed. In the First Gene: The birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, New York: Ed. LongView Press-Academic, 2011: Biological Research Division; 2011:447-492  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

4.            Abel DL. What is ProtoBioCybernetics? In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press-Academic: Biolog. Res. Div.; 2011:1-18  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

5.            Abel DL. The three fundamental categories of reality. In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press-Academic: Biolog. Res. Div.; 2011:19-54  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

6.            Abel DL. The Cybernetic Cut and Configurable Switch (CS) Bridge. In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press--Academic, Biol. Res. Div.; 2011:55-74  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

7.            Abel DL. What utility does order, pattern or complexity prescribe? In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press--Academic, Biol. Res. Div.; 2011:75-116  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

8.            Abel DL. Linear Digital Material Symbol Systems (MSS). In: Abel DL, ed. The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control. New York, N.Y.: LongView Press--Academic, Biol. Res. Div.; 2011:135-160  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

9.            Abel DL, Trevors JT. Self-Organization vs. Self-Ordering events in life-origin models. Physics of Life Reviews. 2006;3:211-228  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

10.          Abel DL, Trevors JT. More than Metaphor: Genomes are Objective Sign Systems. In: Barbieri M, ed. BioSemiotic Research Trends. New York: Nova Science Publishers; 2007:1-15  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

11.          Abel DL. Life origin: The role of complexity at the edge of chaos.  Lecture given at the Headquarters of the National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA, Jerry Chandler and Kay Peg, Chairmen. 2006; http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel  Power Point slides and speaker notes downloadable.

12.          Abel DL. Complexity, self-organization, and emergence at the edge of chaos in life-origin models. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences. 2007;93(4):1-20 http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel [Last accessed: March, 2015].

13.          Abel DL. The capabilities of chaos and complexity. Society for Chaos Theory: Society for Complexity in Psychology and the Life Sciences; Aug 8-10, 2008; International Conference at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.

14.          Abel DL. The Cybernetic Cut [Scirus SciTopic Page]. 2008; http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel [Last accessed: July, 2016].

15.          Abel DL. The ‘Cybernetic Cut’: Progressing from Description to Prescription in Systems Theory. The Open Cybernetics and Systemics Journal. 2008;2:252-262 Open Access  at http://benthamopen.com/ABSTRACT/TOCSJ-252-252  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel  [Last accessed July, 2016]

16.          Abel DL. The capabilities of chaos and complexity. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2009;10(Special Issue on Life Origin):247-291 Open access at http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/1410/1421/1247  [last accessed: March, 2015] Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

17.          Abel DL. The biosemiosis of prescriptive information. Semiotica. 2009;2009(174):1-19  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

18.          Abel DL. Prescriptive Information (PI) [Scirus SciTopic Page]. 2009; http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel [Last accessed: March, 2015].

19.          Abel DL. Constraints vs. Controls:  Progressing from description to prescription in systems theory. Open Cybernetics and Systemics Journal. 2010;4:14-27 Open Access at  http://benthamopen.com/contents/pdf/TOCSJ/TOCSJ-14-14.pdf [Last accessed: April, 2016]  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

20.          Abel DL. The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness [Scirus SciTopics Page]. 2010; http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel [Last accessed: March, 2015].

21.          Trevors JT, Abel DL. Chance and necessity do not explain the origin of life. Cell Biol Int. 2004;28(11):729-739.

22.          Abel DL. Moving 'far from equilibrium' in a prebitoic environment: The role of Maxwell’s Demon in life origin. In: Seckbach J, Gordon R, eds. Genesis - In the Beginning: Precursors of Life, Chemical Models and Early Biological Evolution. Dordrecht: Springer; 2012:219-236  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

23.          Abel DL. Is life unique? Life. 2012;2(1):106-134  Open access at  http://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/2072/2071/2106  [Last accessed July, 2016]  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.

24.          Abel DL, Trevors JT. Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information. Theoretical Biology and Medical Modeling. 2005;2:29-45.

25.          Abel DL, Trevors JT. More than metaphor: Genomes are objective sign systems. Journal of BioSemiotics. 2006;1(2):253-267  Also available from http://lifeorigin.academia.edu/DrDavidLAbel.