Piero Scaruffi(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"
Information-based hypotheses abound, and the very first one was advanced by Alan Turing in person: a uniform distribution of chemicals can develop spontaneously in a wave of regularity. This would explain, incidentally, why Nature prefers repeated patterns.
The US biologist Stuart Kauffman views the problem of cell differentiation as a problem of networks that search for stability. Each cell is equipped with the same network of genes, but the process that is occurring within each network is different: different genes are active in different cells. There is an almost infinite number of combinations in which genes can be active in a cell, but only a few of these combinations (precisely, the square root of the number of genes) correspond to mathematical "attractors". In the imaginary landscape of all possible genetic processes (the epigenetic landscape), there are basins of attraction. Those attractors correspond to the cell types that will arise.
The US biologist Brian Goodwin believes that one cannot make sense of nature simply based on the information carried by genes. Nature is more easily explained by the self-organizing patterns of networks. There are physical laws that originate a universal tendency towards complex adaptive systems. Genes carry instructions, but those instructions are subject to that intricate web of constraints that is the environment.
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