Level Head (level_head) wrote in how_life_began,
Level Head

On the ordinality of causes in complex autocatalytic systems.

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 May;988:154-7.

On the ordinality of causes in complex autocatalytic systems.

Ulanowicz RE.
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Chesapeake
Biological Laboratory, Solomons 20688-0038, USA. ulan@cbl.umces.edu

The convention in chemical dynamics usually is to identify the reactant and catalytic molecules as the active agencies that combine in mechanical fashion to constitute a reaction process. When macromolecules grow large and complex enough to exhibit some plasticity, however, the subsequent directions in which these molecules change may be guided more by the nexus of chemical reactions in which they participate. In particular, configurations of autocatalytic reactions among plastic macromolecules can come to exert more agency upon the component reactants and mechanisms than vice versa, and the nexus of such processes retains its identity longer than do the latter, more transient participants. Whence, the ascendancy of autocatalytic forms as causal agencies provides a natural example of the phenomenon of "emergence" and affords a way out of the conundrums that currently obfuscate the issue of the origin of life.
===|==============/ Level Head
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