“the replicators”

(<< good title for a horror movie!)

chapter 2 of “The Selfish Gene” — all about how (we imagine that) genes, i.e. replicators, first got going in the primordial soup (or wherever). good stuff! (of course, we humans — meaning craig venter — are now making replicators from scratch! cool.)

but, i really liked this. something on which to meditate [pg. 12]:

“Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ is really a special case of a more general law of survival of the stable. The universe is populated by stable things. A stable thing is a collection of atoms that is permanent enough or common enough to deserve a name. It may be a uniqe collection of atoms, such as the Matterhorn, that lasts long enough to be worth naming. Or it may be a class of entities, such a rain drops, that come into existence at a sufficiently high rate to deserve a collective name, even if any one of them is short-lived. The things that we see around us, and which we think of as needing explanation — rocks, galaxies, ocean waves — are all, to a greater or lesser extent, stable patterns of atoms.”

“survival of the fittest” just a subset of “survival of the stable.” neat!

previously: “the selfish gene”

(note: comments do not require an email. eeek! replicators!)

Advertisements

3 Comments

  1. Survival of the stable would also include all the chemical elements (and their isotopes) found in nature. And of the whole universe itself, which depends on a delicate balance of the strength of gravity against the rate of expansion.

    The difference with living things of course is that they are stable, but not too stable.

    Reply

  2. @luke – “Survival of the stable would also include all the chemical elements (and their isotopes) found in nature.”

    absolutely! that’s exactly what dawkins was talking about — and that was, more or less, his lead-in to how “replicators” (eventually genes or genetic coding) evolved — first as bits of chemicals floating around in a primordial soup (if that’s how it went) — and then some accidentally developing this replication feature — and then … well, here we are! (^_^)

    (here we are discussing ourselves — that’s really bizarre if you think about it.)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s