The question of ‘What is Life?’ is an important one. It is one that has enormous implications for us and sits in the boundaries of religion and philosophy without really entering into science except for a definition that covers the signs of its existence. So where is it in regard to the rapidly mechanical view that you must take when considering Dr Venturers recent report in Science, magazine. He has, with his team, transplanted DNA to a host cell from what was originally software.
The cell survived and behaved just as the software had predicted, multiplying itself a billion times with no problems. The new conceptual connection between software and DNA has been made and tremendous areas of new knowledge are ahead of us all.
Open Source Life
Only by proper understanding does the wealth of information become knowledge. The new and numerous applications of how DNA works in the material world is one that will involve worldwide experimentation and reporting. The genetic revolution that approaches slowly now seems to display the possible explosion seen when programming and software opened up to worldwide enthusiasts. We have an awesome time ahead in learning and understanding its implications. Dr. Venturer and his team have created another milestone towards it and it opens the door to new ones.
Exorcizing the Ghost In The Machine
So where is life, that critical foundation stone of many moral standings and points of view? Where does this illusive gift belong as we edge further to the mechanics of where it displays itself? Is it a pattern, a form of information that in its complexity produces life? Is it beyond the material world but somehow intrudes and manipulates the machinery of the universe? It does exist? I know from experience – as we all do. Maybe the point at where it manifests itself will suddenly come into bright view in understanding the technologies awaiting us. Or maybe, once again, we are overdue a massive paradigm shift in understanding life in the universe.
Personally, I emphasise the word overdue. From scientific understanding of what awaits us in the absence of life is a real problem to me. It gives me sense that I am being trundled mechanically towards ultimate mechanical failure and like a dumb animal in the slaughter house, nothing can be done about it. Every milestone that is achieved in understanding the miraculous DNA and its function in the material world is welcome, if not to discover how to fix the machinery of the body and to extend its warranty.