Life Origin

A Scientific Approach

Edited for the Non-Scientist

Is “Self-Organization” even possible?  

In the discussion of the previous question, we differentiated “order” from “organization.”  But, what about “self-organization”? 

 

It is much more difficult to define “self-organization” than “organization.”  One reason is that “self-organization” has never been observed.  Repeated observation is one of the pillars of science.  The notion of “self-organization” is immediately in  trouble from a scientific perspective.

 

Others pillars of science include “testability (falsifiability)” and “predictability.”   The notion of “self-organization” cannot be tested if it has never been observed.  No possibility of reliable predictions exist, either, of “self-organization,” if it has never been observed to occur.  The notion of “self-organization” fails all three forms of scientific scrutiny.  “Self-organization” comes far closer to superstition than to science.  

 

The notion of "self-organization" arises out of "pretzel thinking."   In addition to never having been observed, it is logically impossible

 

It’s a logical impossibility for anything to self-organize itself into existence!1,2  

 

Something would have to already exist in order to be a cause of any effects. 

 

          If it already exists, how could it bring itself into existence?

 

          An effect cannot be its own cause.

         

From a purely logical standpoint,  “self-organization” is completely untenable.  Logical soundness is another crucial tool in scientific method.  We are left wondering how we could even define a self-contradictory nonsense term like “self-organization?

The notion of “self-organization” cannot possibly contribute mechanism or explanation to any scientific hypothesis if the very term is both unobservable self-contradictory, and logically fallacious.  Even if the term made sense, at best it would be tautological—circular, with no new meaning or information.  It would not answer the all-important scientific question of, “How?”   How could the first genetic instructions have written themselves? 

 

What machinery would have been waiting to process those instructions even if they had randomly written themselves?   What central processing unit would be waiting that was specifically designed and engineered to process those symbolized programming decisions?  Inanimate prebiotic nature could not have dealt with the formalism of “representationalism.”  Yet, that is exactly the phenomenon observed in molecular biology.   Codons functionally “represent” each prescribed amino acid.  No physico-chemical necessity links the nucleotides in DNA with the amino acids of instructed and needed proteins.  The two languages have to be formally “translated” using a symbolic, formal codon table.  

 

All known life is cybernetic.  Not only do programs not write themselves, computers don’t design, organize, engineer and manufacture themselves.  Neither do cells.

 

But, couldn’t self-ordering phenomena eventually produce formal organization, given enough time? 

 

Absolutely not!  It is a logical impossibility for fixed, redundant, boring, self-ordered states to make wise programming decisions.  No freedom of programming choice would exist in such a state.   Everything would happen the same way every time, “by law.” 

 

It would be impossible to define the laws of physics if ordinary physical events did not happen the same way every time.  The very reason we value the laws of physics so highly is that reams of data can be reduced to simple little mathematical formulas like f = ma,  or e = mc2.   Self-ordering depends upon consistent force laws and monotonous interactions.   Neither chance nor necessity (law) could ever program any computation, in any amount of time.  Purposeful choices are needed to organize anything, including protocells.  Inanimate nature cannot make purposeful choices. 

 

Self-ordered tornadoes and hurricanes, for example, don’t organize anything!  Tornadoes and hurricanes invariably destroy organization.

 

Genetic programming (genotype) had to have been written prior to the existence of any phenotype.  Only then could the environment favor the fittest already-programmed, already-living organisms.3 

 

No scientific justification exists for attributing the exquisite formal organization of life to the “self-ordering” phenomena addressed by chaos theory.2-27

 

Life–origin scientists are well aware of this fact, although they almost never talk about it, even amongst themselves.  

  

Instead, wishful thinking prevails.  Pure imagination runs wild with all sorts of models based on the pre-assumption of “self-organization.”   Naturalistic abiogenecists have no choice but to believe in “self-organization.”   This belief is required to maintain logical consistency with their presupposition―their starting axiom―that “Nature is sufficient to explain nature.”  The problem is, this axiom does not correspond with the reality we all have to live in.  Physicality cannot explain all of the pieces of reality’s puzzle, starting with life’s programming, processing, and subcellular computation.

 

No such thing as “self-organization” exists.  The corner-stone of every naturalistic model of life origin is sinking sand―mental mush.  Nothing could possibly be more unscientific and superstitious.

 

Life could not possibly have self-organized itself into existence.  What would successfully compute the orchestration of biofunction and integrated, holistic metabolism?

 

Life is the most highly organized phenomenon known to humans.

 

          What did the organizing of life in a lifeless environment?

 

          What did the programming and processing?

 

The reality of formal, choice-induced causation at the subcellular, cellular, multicellular, and organismal levels of life cannot be denied.  Mere physical interactions cannot explain it.  Not only is Physical Determinism a part of reality; Choice Determinism is also a fundamental category of reality.24

 

Choice Determinism could not have arisen from chance and necessity, mass and energy.  Yet Choice Determinism is the key to life’s programming.3,19,20,23-26

 

 Choice Determinism is also the route to manufacturing the conceptually complex “machinery” that has to process the cell’s programming.

 

Life exists.  How did life come into existence if mass and energy, chance and necessity, could not possibly have organized it?28-35

 

Any attempt to answer this question would be labeled, "metaphysical.”   Asking the question is as far as science can go on the subject.  But this stopping point in science has great significance.  Quality science eliminates a lot of metaphysical dogma pontificated in the name of science.  “Self-organization” dogma is proven to be utter nonsense in purely scientific terms.36

 

Hopefully, we are left with more open minds.  Perhaps science cannot address and answer every question about reality.  Perhaps the worldview of “naturalism” is not as scientific as we thought.  Perhaps reality is bigger than the embarrassingly limited perimeter drawn by materialistic “scientism.”

 

“Scientism” is found to be “pseudo-science.”

 

 

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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. Is Life Reducible to Complexity? In: Palyi G, Zucchi C, Caglioti L, eds. Fundamentals of Life. Paris: Elsevier; 2002:57-72.

5.            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.

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

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