Origin of Life: The 5th Option

Laura

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One of the forum mods, Shijing, sent me this book about a month ago and I have yet to thank him for it. THANK YOU!

Okay, this one is a keeper. I'm about 4/5ths of the way through and it is a dense read with some annoying things about the text but I've forgiven the author because the topic and his treatment of it are just amazing.

Here's a blurb from his website:

About the Book

The evidence suggests that the interactive system of biological Life we find on planet Earth originated here some 3.8 billion years ago. THE 5th OPTION asks the interesting (and provocative) questions that mainstream scientists tend to ignore - such as:

What, exactly, is this phenomenon we call "biological life"? What, exactly, is it doing here on our planet? How did it get here?

This is how an engineering mentality approaches the origin-of-life issues - from the "top down". Could this intricately intelligent evolving system we call "life" really have self-generated out of random lifeless chemical elements from scratch, as mainstream science (the 2nd Option) would have us believe? Don't count on it! THE 5th OPTION explores that possibility and concludes that the odds of it happening all by itself -without outside help - are virtually zero; the system of life on our planet was designed and implanted on our planet some 3.8 billion years ago purposefully and in order to accomplish specific goals. THE 5th OPTION engages in the novel process of reverse engineering the system of life in order to try to understand what possible practical use the phenomenon is “good for” in order to comprehend what, indeed, it might be doing. Bryant Shiller, an engineer, puts himself "in the shoes of a would-be designer of the system of life" and asks the provocative question:

"What would I - the hypothetical designer of the interactive system of life on planet Earth - have had in mind to have designed this planet wide system in this particular way? After all, system designers always have choices among various design alternatives and ultimately choose those that best serve the purpose-specific "design intent". This design intent is ultimately revealed.

The author deals with these kinds of questions within his "5th Option" origin-of-life model entitled the Rational Design Hypothesis (RDH) - not to be confused with Intelligent Design. The RDH homes in on the defining life-system attributes that lead unfailingly to:

1] The undeniable existence of biological evolution as the built-in “adaptive sub-system” of the life-system design. With the introduction of a novel “Quantum Theory of Evolution”, the author demonstrates how the system of biological life controls from within the two major mechanisms that direct evolution – that allows the system to both anticipate as well as channel the directions evolution can take. In the process, solutions are offered for: the enigmatic spotty fossil record (you can’t find the missing fossils because they do not and need not exist); the mystery of the evolution of complex organs - those endowed with (according to Michael Behe) irreducible complexity; Stephen J Gould’s puzzling punctuated evolution.

2] A generic definition of the life phenomenon in terms of the laws of thermodynamics.

3] A generic definition of intelligence as a quality that both is qualitatively the antithesis of, and quantitatively the reciprocal of, the randomness that is at the heart of the inanimate world.

4] Life portrayed as an intelligent system based on a “primary design platform (PdP)” that is immune from evolution and that epitomizes the basic building block of biology – the biological cell - as the product of nanotechnology.

5] the genetic code endowed with an ingenious intelligence scheme upon which all biological activity depends – a scheme that must have predated the origin of life itself. A novel statistical analysis of all possible single nucleotide basepair mutations (576 to be exact) reveals the true nature of the genetic code as an efficient “non-random evolution filter”.

6] the possible inclusion of a self-limiting feature within the life system design that would serve to target specifically any evolved species capable of advanced technology. This has important consequences that could threaten the future survival of the human species. The unexpected conclusions are nothing short of spectacular!

Extraordinarily, the Rational Design Hypotheses is scientifically credible and relevant for one important reason: it is testable. Shiller defines where to find the evidence of design and how to access it. What does the RDH model have to say about the would-be designer? The origin of the designer question is ultimately considered in depth and dealt with. What are the unexpected consequences for human survival? The RDH model deals with these issues and much more. The results are eye opening and alarming! You will walk away from this exercise with a totally new appreciation of the significance and meaning of life, and the essential part you play in it.
 

SeekinTruth

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Wow!! Sound like ANOTHER really fascinating book! I gotta put this on the to-read list.
 

Ares

Jedi Master
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fasctinating indeed, have to look this one up. after reading the intro by laura, i'm dying to know what the author is postulating...any review coming up? :D

ADDED:
25$ is a bit pricey for me, guess i'll have to put this at the end of my list.

anyway fwiw, here's two opposite reviews from amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars An Origin of Life Hypothesis That Does Not Insult My Intelligence, October 25, 2005
By Dr Allan Lazare
This book is as close to a theory of everything I have ever read. For all its explanations of complex scientific issues, I found it a genuine pleasure to read. Shiller puts forth his scientifically testable Rational Design Hypothesis at a time when mainstream science relegates any design theory as unscientific. His reverse engineering analysis of biological life confirms convincingly the validation of classical Darwininan evolution(of species)while at the same time questioning the whole neo-Darwinian notion of chemical evolution upon which the chemical soup theory of life's origins hangs its collective hat. I found the reasoning both meticulous and convincing. I chose to skip some of the technical details obveously included for the benefit of professional biologists. A truly refreshing treatment of important issues.
----------------

1.0 out of 5 stars Utter Ignorance of Biology, February 7, 2009
By James Stein (Staten Island, NY United States)
I won't go on at length. I will simply point out that the writer in question *is* an engineer. This entire book betrays a startling lack of knowledge regarding fundamentals in biology, and the author did not feel the need to supplement his knowledge - instead, where brushing up against the gaps of his ignorance, he chose to fill them in with hand-waving and speculation.

If you are already committed to intelligent design by virtue of your religion, this book is a wonderful exercise in listening to the choir. Otherwise, this book is not worth your time: freshmen biology majors could (and in my class, did) rip this book to pieces.
 

anart

The Living Force
I'm halfway through it (thanks Laura) and it is very interesting. The author spends a lot of time going off on tangents, but if you stick with it, he does put some very interesting pieces together. It takes a while to read (due to all the tangents) but the meat of it is quite interesting!
 

knowlaw777

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It looks fascinating. Already this fragment "the system of life on our planet was designed and implanted on our planet some 3.8 billion years ago purposefully and in order to accomplish specific goals." .. it is revolutionary if we compare it to what mainstream science usually says.
 

mb

The Living Force
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I have had a hunch that life was "planted" ever since I read about ribosomes some years ago. These bodies assemble proteins from RNA templates. One fascinating thing about them is that they hardly contain any protein themselves. For the most part they are made from RNA which means their physical structure is encoded directly in DNA. If you imagine an earlier protein-free ribosome version, this could represent a kind of "bootstrap" feature, to get life started in a new environment.
 

Laura

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moksha said:
fasctinating indeed, have to look this one up. after reading the intro by laura, i'm dying to know what the author is postulating...any review coming up? :D

ADDED:
25$ is a bit pricey for me, guess i'll have to put this at the end of my list.
Send me a shipping address via PM and I'll get our extra copy to you.


moksha said:
anyway fwiw, here's two opposite reviews from amazon:
The first one is accurate, the second one was obviously written by someone who did not read the book.
 

Oxajil

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A very interesting book, especially since I study Biology. Thank you for sharing Laura, and Shijing for finding it!
 

Buddy

The Living Force
[quote author=About the Book]
Extraordinarily, the Rational Design Hypotheses is scientifically credible and relevant for one important reason: it is testable. Shiller defines where to find the evidence of design and how to access it.[/quote]

I'm definitely interested in this hypothesis if it provides for testability. Thanks for the reference!
 

Guardian

The Living Force
The evidence suggests that the interactive system of biological Life we find on planet Earth originated here some 3.8 billion years ago. THE 5th OPTION asks the interesting (and provocative) questions that mainstream scientists tend to ignore - such as:
Sounds very linear and dependent on the whole "time" thingy? Don't get me wrong, time does come in handy, but I'm still not convinced it isn't just a figment of our imagination?
 

anart

The Living Force
Guardian said:
The evidence suggests that the interactive system of biological Life we find on planet Earth originated here some 3.8 billion years ago. THE 5th OPTION asks the interesting (and provocative) questions that mainstream scientists tend to ignore - such as:
Sounds very linear and dependent on the whole "time" thingy? Don't get me wrong, time does come in handy, but I'm still not convinced it isn't just a figment of our imagination?
He by no means has the whole banana and he abides by a lot of conventional thinking in a few areas, the linear time thing being one of them. In order to get anything out of the book, I've really had to navigate around his assumptions (which are many) and focus on where he's trying to go. His destination is interesting and he supports it in really interesting ways. It's one of those books where you have to realize that he was writing from his understanding and he simply doesn't have all the information necessary (and certainly not all the information that we have).
 

Buddy

The Living Force
Guardian said:
The evidence suggests that the interactive system of biological Life we find on planet Earth originated here some 3.8 billion years ago. THE 5th OPTION asks the interesting (and provocative) questions that mainstream scientists tend to ignore - such as:
Sounds very linear and dependent on the whole "time" thingy?
I would assume that, as an engineer, he knows how we superimpose a storyline on what is really just successive cycles. I believe that discovery is what brought systems theory and design patterns to light - which he should also know about.

Being an engineer and producing a book that is readable by the average person, I would also assume "accessibility" is a calculated effect that doesn't necessarily preclude deeper levels of meaning as well.

Guardian said:
Don't get me wrong, time does come in handy, but I'm still not convinced it isn't just a figment of our imagination?
I'm not convinced either. Perhaps it's like the reverse of someone having an intense episode of "eidetic memory" and being made to believe he's hallucinating? The difference being one of seeing what is not there vs not seeing what is there?

Of course, I don't know any of this yet but I'm looking forward to finding out. :)
 
F

forge

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Design with universal purpose:
Shillers intro quoted above - also where he might got these ideas - and possibly his book content is specifically detailed in The Battalions of Heaven, (for example) page 106.

What is really interesting one university of engineers is described, where young, beginner students are progressing by studying, then trying create basic life functions, then when they manage to pass examinations, create basic life forms with very advanced prototype modeling techniques, to which nowadays' 3D displays and imaging technologies seem like toys.* Graduates must really understand the purpose of life, what is required at specific stage of evolution on Earth and on many other planets carrying life (life diversity in many galaxies is thoroughly studied)

* Closest technological infrastructure for design is skillfully introduced in Iron Man 2 as Robert Downey Jr. makes his advanced machines. To come closer substitute his work displayed by trying to imagine how the movie could look with him trying to create cellular life? Much more difficult, maybe?

Linear time durability of created living beings is well explained, after the reader can understand life processes may vary only inside allowed evolution limits by design.

Viable design (photocopy, blueprint) is brought to life by will - will is specifically detailed, what orders of magnitude exist of will. Example is given in case of plant life, where the plant design blueprints are brought into existence, manifested by elemental spirits (somewhat lower grade primal life powering living consciousnesses) these spirits literally energizing (continued growth of) plant life on Earth. (and elsewhere)

Edit:
What nowadays is called 3.8 billion years of "evolution" is described and mentioned by example of old creatures, dinos very well functioning early designs and adapted to environmental factors then present. As the environment gradually changed, new life designs were necessary.. possibly so that the organic coating on Earth (G.) can better transduce universal energy. All this from higher universal maintenance viewpoint that enabled/designed human models to participate.
 
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