Erection of multicellular structures needs something that unicellulars do not: huge amounts of information for the strictly determined spatial arrangement of a myriad of cells of different types and a mechanism for transmitting that information to the offspring.
Transmitting huge amounts of epigenetic information from parents to the offspring is a prerequisite for complex multicellular life.
The genetic information encodes proteins, but there is no indication, let alone proof, that it determines the specific spatial arrangement of billions or trillions of cells of various types in the animal body. The amount of information contained not only in genes but in the whole metazoan genome, including the “junk” DNA, quantitatively represents only a negligible fraction of the information necessary for molding an animal structure.
A human brain alone has at least one trillion nerve cells. Before birth, that is experience-independently, each neuron establishes an average of 10,000 specific connections with specific neurons, implying that information for establishing these connections alone is of the order of quadrillions of bits, millions of times greater than the total amount of information contained in the genomic DNA.
The Control System and the Epigenetic System of Heredity in Metazoans
How can an organism, whose structure at the molecular, cellular, and supracellular levels is continually disintegrating, succeed in maintaining that complex structure and function during its lifetime? Metazoans succeed in doing so unambiguously proves that they
– Continually monitor the state of the system,
– Figure out structural losses, based on the presence of information about the normal
– Figure out restitutive necessities, and
– Start signal cascades and activate GRN for replacing the lost structures at the right time
The maintenance of multicellular structures imply possession by the control system of information on the normal structure.
Question: How did this control system emerge ? Did it not require to have a priori " knowledge " of the normal structure? Does monitoring and figuring out based on a control system which constantly compares the actual state to what it has to be, as used in engineering, not require the previous input of information, both, of how the correct homeostatic situation has to be, and how to control that state of affairs, and in case of disease and homeostatic imbalance, how to activate signal cascades in order to replace the lost structures? Are engineering, monitoring, figuring out, controlling not all activities exclusively performed by intelligence?
The above functions performed by metazoans are typical functions of control systems, in principle similar to the control systems used in engineering. No metazoan would exist as such in absence of a control system. The presence of a control system is one of the fundamental features of living, as opposed to anorganic, systems. That control system makes possible the development and maintenance of the metazoan organism, a thermodynamically improbable structure.
In metazoans, this is an integrated control system (ICS) with the central nervous system CNS as its controller. During reproduction, the integrated control system (ICS) serves as the epigenetic system of heredity, which controls individual development. This epigenetic system organizes cells in the supracellular multicellular structures, parts, and organs, and the morphology in general.
In the process of metazoan reproduction, the integrated control system (ICS) functions as the epigenetic system of heredity. The individual development from the egg/ zygote to adulthood is a bigenerational process in which early development from the unicellular stage to the phylotypic stage takes place based on the epigenetic information provided parentally to the gametes.
In the second, the postphylotypic stage, the embryo is in possession of an operational CNS, which generates and provides information for the rest of the individual development, organogenesis and morphogenesis. After the phylotypic stage, electrical signals resulting from the processing of external/internal stimuli in neural circuits in the CNS (neural net in lower invertebrates) determine the activation of specific signal cascades leading to the development of specific morphological traits. The epigenetic information for metazoan morphology is computationally generated in the CNS by processing the input of internal/external stimuli.
Ample empirical evidence shows that the inductive signals for the development of tissues and organs during individual development originate in the CNS. During the adult life, as well, signal cascades for the maintenance of animal morphology and homeostasis come from the CNS, via neuroendocrine cascades, often with essential participation of the local innervation.
Development of the metazoan structure requires a considerable investment of matter, free energy, and information. With matter and free energy taken from the environment in the form of food, where does the information for the individual development and restitution of the disintegrating metazoan’s supracellular structure come from? That is, the source of the information necessary for the prenatal, i.e., experience-independent, the establishment of trillions or quadrillions of specific connections among neurons? Biologists believe that this information resided in the nervous system, but that does not answer the origin or source of the information. The development of various organs during embryogenesis is induced from signals and signal cascades originating in the central nervous system CNS. But the meaning of these signals, and the interpretation of those, had to be pre-programmed, and pre-established. 1
Since instructional complex information comes always from intelligence, i would say, most probably, the information was pre-programmed by the intelligent designer.
1. Epigenetic principles of evolution, 2011, page 24
In thousands of experiments, it has been demonstrated that spontaneous and induced mutations lead to anomalies in morphology, physiology, and behavior. We know of numerous genes in various species of invertebrates and vertebrates that are clearly related to specific characters. No one can deny that mutations, deletions, or generally nonfunctioning and malfunctioning genes lead to specific abnormal morphologies.
In other words, it is correct to say that in metazoans the normal gene is a necessary condition for the development of a specific normal character, but it would be logically erroneous to grant the “necessary conditions” attributes of the cause when these conditions are not sufficient for the development of normal morphology.
The development of phenotypic characters in metazoans is a function of signal cascades and gene regulatory networks (GRNs) with each network comprising from several to hundreds of genes. The presence of each of these genes is a necessary condition for the normal development of the specific character, but none of these genes is the cause of that character.
Moreover, even these several to hundreds of genes, in their entirety, do not rise to the level of a cause. Contemporary biological knowledge says that GRNs generally represent downstream entities of signal cascades that are activated by neurohormonal signals, and the primary source of the information for starting these signal cascades is a chemical output released as a result of the processing of electrical signals into which all external and internal stimuli are converted in neural circuits.
Signal cascades represent causal chains in which the preceding event is the cause of the next event. One cannot reasonably talk or think about the cause of a phenotypic result determined by such signal cascades. But we can instead distinguish between the last link in the causal chain, which is the proximate cause of the phenotypic result and the first (or initiating) link, which is the ultimate cause.
To single out a particular gene as the cause of the phenotypic character in such cases is to attribute to the part the functions of the whole.
The fact that the signal cascades that activate GRNs start with electrical/chemical outputs of the processing of internal/external signals in neural circuits suggests
that the activation/inactivation of GRNs is determined by the computational activity of neural circuits, which ultimately determine whether, where, and when to turn
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