[ExI] Things I have (sort of) changed my mind on (2): Life and consciousness
avant at sollegro.com
Thu Jun 28 00:11:33 UTC 2018
Bill W wrote:
> That's a given. Take coffee - over two thousand chemicals and we know
> only a very few of them. Take a tree - influenced by other trees,
> microbes in the soil, pollutants in the air (read National Book Award
> winner "Overstory" and you will never think of trees the same way again).
> biological nature is far more complex.
> It's that tiny god doing all this: DNA
DNA is only tiny in two out of three of its spatial dimensions. It is
quite large in the third dimension. DNA is like a very long and slender
thread. As such, each microscopic cell nucleus in your body contains about
2 meters of DNA.
You have approximately 10 trillion nucleated cells in your body, therefore
all of your chromosomes in those cells unwound and spliced together
end-to-end would form a gigantic but fragile circle some 20 billion
kilometers in circumference.
In other words, the DNA in your body alone, could encompass the orbit of
Uranus yet only weigh about 60 grams. The DNA of all 7.2 billion of us
humans, on the other hand, would stretch some 15 million light-years
I can't even guess how long it would stretch if the DNA of all the
organisms on earth were included in the calculation.
If that doesn't sufficiently boggle your mind, add in the time dimension
and realize that all that DNA has been continuously replicating,
branching, and forking in an unbroken chain for billions of years.
DNA might indeed be a "tiny god". Only one that becomes cosmic in scale
when you look at it sideways. :-)
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