Human Knowledge: Foundations and Limits

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The critical feature of earliest life had to be a way to reproduce itself, and is common to all cellular life today. The DNA that exists today was almost certainly not a feature of the first life. The most accepted hypothesis is that . The mechanism today is that DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes proteins. DNA, RNA, proteins, sugars, and fats are the most important molecules in life forms, and very early on, protein “learned” the most important trick of all, which was an energy innovation: facilitate biological reactions. If we think about at the molecular level, it is the energy that crashes molecules into each other, and if they are crashed into each other fast enough and hard enough, the reaction becomes more likely. But that is an incredibly inefficient way to do it. It is like putting a key in a room with a lock in a door and shaking up the room in the hope that the key will insert itself into the lock during one of its collisions with the room’s walls. Proteins make the process far easier, and those proteins are called enzymes.

Copper | Linus Pauling Institute | Oregon State University

About 2.7 bya, dissolved iron in anoxic oceans seems to have begun reacting with oxygen at the surface, generated by cyanobacteria. The dissolved iron was oxidized from a soluble form to an insoluble one, which then precipitated out of the oceans in those vivid red (the color of rust) layers that we see today and are called ("BIFs"), which became an oxygen sink and kept atmospheric oxygen low. The GOE is widely accepted to have created almost all of the BIFs, but it is not the only BIF-formation hypothesis and there is a great deal of controversy, but life processes are generally considered to be primarily responsible for forming the BIFs. Most iron in the crust is bound in silicates and carbonates, and it takes a great deal of energy to extract the iron from those minerals; the oxides that comprise BIFs are much less energy-intensive to refine, as the iron is so concentrated. Far less ore needs to be melted to get an equivalent amount of iron. BIFs are the source of virtually all iron ore that humans have mined. Life processes almost certainly performed the initial work of refining iron, and humans easily finished the job billions of years later. Copper was not refined by life processes, and copper ore takes twice as much energy to refine as iron ore does.

Just as the aftermath of the appearance of complex life was uninteresting from a , as the amazingly diverse energy-generation strategies of archaea and bacteria were almost totally abandoned in favor of aerobic respiration, biological solutions to the problems that complex life presented were greatest during the Cambrian Explosion, and everything transpiring since then has been relatively insignificant. Animals would never see that level of innovation again. While investigating those eonic changes, many scientists have realized that the dynamics of those times might have been quite different from today’s, as once again may be of limited use for explaining what happened. Also, scientists generally use a rule-of-thumb called , or parsimony, which states that with all else being equal, simpler theories are preferred. , a seminal theorist regarding the scientific method, as they were easier to falsify. However, this issue presents many problems, and in recent times, theories of or speciation have invoked numerous interacting dynamics. Einstein noted that the more elegant and impressive the math used to support a theory, the less likely the theory depicted reality. Occam’s Razor has also become an unfortunate dogma in various circles, particularly , in which the of materialism and establishment science are defended, and often quite irrationally. Simplicity and complexity have been seesawing over the course of scientific history as fundamental principles. The recent trend toward multidisciplinary syntheses has been generally making hypotheses more complex and difficult to test, although and ever-increasing and more precise data makes the task more feasible than ever, at least situations in which are not interfering.


Detoxification & Chelation Protocols - Medical Insider

I earlier compared people from different epochs. That stone tool Tesla what his/her invention would lead to a half-million years later, and members of the founding group could not have comprehended . Imagine a hunter-gatherer of 10 kya being dropped into Rome in 100 CE or London in 1500 CE. History has some relevant examples. When , about the last of his people, came out of hiding in his dying world and strode into civilization, it caused a sensation. He soon died of tuberculosis, but his encounters with civilization were recorded. He attended an opera, and the popular account portrayed his rapport with the diva, but Ishi actually stared in amazement at the , as he had never before seen so many people in one place. When he saw an airplane in flight, he laughed in amazement. Imagine a hunter-gatherer of 10 kya being dropped into imperial Rome. That hunter-gatherer had probably seen dogs, but horses, cows, sheep, and the like would have been astounding, and watching a horse or ox pull a cart would have been stunning. Crops would have been an amazing sight. Imagine that hunter-gatherer at the . The building and crowd alone would have boggled his mind, even if the festivities might have been horrifically familiar. Metals and glass would have seemed magical. Writing had not yet been invented in that hunter-gatherer’s world, so even the concept would have been difficult. Imagine him trying to learn math. There were no more singing and dancing religious rituals, and no wide-open spaces to hunt a meal. Imagine that hunter-gatherer visiting a Roman bath. Hot water alone would have been surreal, while the cavorting might have been delightful. What would his reaction have been to Rome’s markets? Rome was also loud and could be hellish, so the hunter-gatherer might have longed to flee to the countryside before long, but the countryside would have little resembled the one he knew. He obviously would not have understood anything that anybody said, but they were also all members of , so he would have seen many behaviors and traits that he eventually understood. But how long would his shock have lasted? Could he have really ever adapted to Roman society (if he did not quickly end up on the arena’s stage as a novelty)? Another surprise for that hunter-gatherer would be seeing people interact who did not know each other. People were interacting with members and not trying to kill them on sight, which became standard behavior in most hunter-gatherer societies that battled over territory (their food supply). Civilized life was all made possible by the local and stable energy source that agriculture provided, which led to an epoch that changed very little until the next energy source was tapped: the hydrocarbon energy that powered the Industrial Revolution. The next chapter will survey the developments that led to that momentous event. It is the only Epochal Event with historical documentation that showed how it developed, which is easier to reconstruct than examining stones and bones.