Threesology Research Journal
Contemplating Origins Of Life

(The Study of Threes)

Life on Earth quite possibly arose due to elements which came from the bombardment of space debris, flotsam, or junk. Earth may very well be situated in a position akin to:

  • Some rubbish heap on the outskirts of a galaxy,

  • Some musty corner where insects and rodents eventually gather amongst shards of a broken window pane through which the elements barge into,... or

  • Some indiscriminately occurring pool of water that was left after a passing inter-galactic storm.

There are of course other scenarios one might venture to include in this small list, but it nonetheless serves to facilitate the beginning of forays into considerations that well-intentioned theologians are inclined to side-step in their efforts to present the public with positive thoughts concerning existence and the after-math. However, their views change not according to supporting evidence, but whether or not you abide by their beliefs which very often are contoured by the presence or absence of tithing payments.

But let's be fair. Researchers very often contour their beliefs according to the presence of possibly being funded for their interests. On the one hand a scientist may humbly muse on the possibility of achieving a Nobel prize, a theologian may humbly muse on the possibility of achieving Sainthood. One may think about being in a history book while the other thinks about being in Heaven. One wants to be funded by public monies called a research grant and the other wants to be funded by public monies called tithing. Each has their own external and internalized hallowed halls for soliciting what are believed to be deeply serious life-defining considerations, respective jargons, communal attire and ardent attendant believers. Theologians want to build a firm foundation upon your heart, mind, and soul in order to enable you to reach heaven (variously named as nirvana, Valhalla, Eden, etc...), and the scientist wants to build a firm foundation upon which one's heart, mind and soul can travel to these purported heavens, just in case one or all are further away then most theologians surmise.

Both the Scientist and Theologian have a different perspective with respect to life. This is not to say that some Scientists ignore religious beliefs or that some Theologians whole-heartedly dismiss scientific inquiry. With respect to a religious-based inquiry into life, it is fairly simple. One needs merely to accept the notion it was created by an entity called GOD, and that is it. God created this, God created that, so on and so forth. This is the easy part for most people. The hard part arises when this belief is attached to one or more religious precepts controlled by others who have a longing to control one or more behaviors of others. According to them, you have not only got to believe in GOD, but they way they think you should believe in GOD. And this belief requires you to do this, say that, wear this, attend to this, etc., etc., etc...

Believing in God, according to them, requires that you believe in God the way they do because theirs is the only RIGHT WAY to do so. Very often they may simply abbreviate this into THE WAY. But the same sort of nonsense, the same type of irrationality occurs amongst scientists when they are delving into an understanding of life. Each scientist specifically involved with research into life, claims that the best means for understanding life must be done THE RIGHT WAY (their way). Their view becomes the reasoning ("guesstimation": educated guess) they use to convince Research Grant Dispensers that their belief will answer one or more of the questions posed by those stipulating some award to be offered to a researcher who can, (in their own type and level of guesstimation) accomplish the task. And like theologians postulating different belief structures as providing the best route towards accomplishing the desired end result, scientists will likewise pay a similar level of respect to their juxtaposed (if not oppositional) colleagues.

Below are some questions posed by the Origin (of) Life Organization for research grant seekers:

Specific questions to be addressed include:

  • What were the nature and genesis of the first macromolecules on the prebiotic earth?
  • How did the building blocks that comprise these macromolecules become available and how were they assembled?
  • How did prebiotic molecules first acquire the capacity for storing genetic information and how did the genetic machinery evolve?
  • At what stage in the origin of life did cells originate, and what did they contain?
  • How did those primitive cells evolve to modern biological cells?
  • What was the chemistry of the first metabolic pathway(s) and how did that metabolism evolve to modern cellular metabolism?
  • At what stage did proteins become involved in metabolic processes and how did the link first arise between genetic molecules and other functional molecules, such as enzymes?

--- Origin (of) Life Organization ---

More than 70 submissions were received! This is an incredible statement to the fact that more and more people are not buying into the simplistic theological notions. Whereas God may have created everything, but by what route and processes did life- amiable constituents proceed along... according to God? The "Abracadabra," "Poof" and "Shazam"-related theological theories are viewed as being quite silly; particularly when trinitarian concepts are being used as THE explanation for the presence of "three-formula" examples appearing in all other subject areas. And this 70+ group doesn't include those who, like myself, came across the offer past the due date for submissions (approximately three months after the deadline), thereby causing them to shake their heads and beat themselves up a bit, as they walk away. Nor does it include those who didn't come across the offer altogether, or those who have an interest but may not have what they feel are the "proper" credentials to compete with those who have acquired Grant writing skills that "sound good" on paper, but may nonetheless result in merely confirming what we already know. In many instances some people are more interested in seeing that every t is crossed, every i is dotted, and a clean smock is worn everyday... all for appearances sake.

One of the greatest stumbling blocks towards progress in knowledge is that there is no ongoing offer for research money in these types of endeavors that very often have to be funded by private investors. The government would rather spend billions on some new war toy or give a contract for a construction project that is doomed to failure because the costs are expected to exceed the proposed outline. Yet this doesn't really doesn't matter because the contractor is but one of a small group that will get paid whether or not the project is completed as initially planned. The contractor just wants to keep their employees working, whether the project is a monumental multi-million or billion dollar dud or not. We humans set up certain deadlines that are functionally appropriate in some instances, but in the pursuit of knowledge, if someone doesn't meet a deadline, all of us suffer the consequences. In the pursuit of knowledge we humans can sure be stuporous about alot of idiotic policies which we may humourously label as research "protocol-ism" which is just another form of the previously mentioned "THE WAY."

One of the main suggestions for a submission was right up my alley:

Submitters are encouraged to offer unconventional hypotheses that nonetheless can be subject to experimental validation.

I've been thinking along Origin-of-life experimental lines for about three decades, to the extent I contracted with an electrical engineer to build me an apparatus to simulate at least one aspect of the Early Earth environment.

In effect, it is a type of Time Machine in that its array of dials will permit the user to dial in a particular solar and/or lunar irradiation (or lightning discharge) sequence in concert with a given period of planetary/geological time.

My first experiments were rather primitive expressions related to developing ideas in which I initially subjected gold fish to some rather make-shift environmental conditions I was toying with just to get some idea of how best to use the equipment. To my surprise and astonishment (I wasn't trying to be murderous), they all died within a few minutes! (However, the information culled from the short-run experiment set up in a small living room where I was living at the time, proved that life, at least on this scale, could and did follow the proscribed solar irradiation pattern.) I didn't get a chance to pursue further experimentation because mind numbing jobs got in the way in order to pay for mundane living expenses. I set the apparatus aside which now occupies a spot in a storage unit. Imagine, what a fate of history if some researcher were to independently have a similar device constructed in order to pursue the same experiments! ...But thinking about experiments can only take you so far, experimenters have got to eventually roll up their sleeves.

The problem with the foregoing questions posed by the Origin (of) life organization is that they are like questions one encounters in a theological discussion. I don't mean in substance, I mean form. Let me put it very simplistically: Insects don't think about God perhaps because God, as we humans surmise, is a concept derived from numerously similar types of nerve twitchings that humanity has become aware of and designate with a label called God. In other words, the questions being asked are so incredibly simplistic, they distract us from pursuing something more fundamental to ALL the questions. Namely, how was life, as we know it, shaped in this particular EARTH environment? The very constituents from which life on Earth arose, if subjected to another environment, might well be fashioned into a type of life we have never nor could ever encounter on this planet. Do all the "threes" we're finding in various subject areas represent a particular three-based formula which influenced a pattern-of-three in so many life-relevant areas?

It's not whether or not life was seeded from outside Earth. It's not whether or not the aforementioned processes have occurred, but why did they do so, with the specific form, under Earth's particular and peculiarly evolving environment? The answers to the above questions will fall into place after the evolutionary process is not only understood, but replicated, in some fashion, in a laboratory setting (even if the laboratory is set-up external to the Earth). While some may think that answering one or more of the above questions will provide (by way of a reverse engineering methodology), a means by which the early pristine (pre, pro and post)-biotic circumstances can be graphically illustrated by way of experimentation, this may not be the case at all... but we have to rule it out by way of experimentation.

Biological processes occurring today do not necessarily represent, even in caricature, the process by which the earliest macromolecules were set into motion to become a life form, in the sense of some animal. Understanding a process we see today may have arisen because of one or more former extinctions, that have no type of "fossil" evidence providing clues, such as in the case of comparing our own hominid evolution.

It is already well-established, via chemical evolution experiments, that many basic substances found in life processes can be "created" in different types of early Earth environmental scenarios. Stanley Miller and other experimenters have proven this is the case. No doubt there were a lot of what might be called "hits and misses" with respect to changes taking place in an evolving environment which may well have produced lots of different life forms that died out due to environmental changes. And just because we can find characteristic components-found-in-life on meteors, does not mean they played any sustained role whatsoever in the development of life-on-Earth with respect to any organism living today. It is quite reasonable to suspect that the more volatile (less stable) the environment, the less able were some (if not all) "sensitive" life-viable components able to adapt and survive, in terms of longevity.

When I was in school, I was not at all impressed by those who could diagram a sentence, many of whom used their ability to do so as if it were a weapon to wield and be patted on the back for by a like-minded teacher. Neither am I impressed by those who can diagram molecular structure. As far as I'm concerned they're like computer geniuses whose fortress of solitude (so they can get some work done) is like being in a wilderness cabin away from all distractions. But lo and behold they don't know what to do with their so-called brilliance when the power goes out. The longer the power remains out (and they have no access to generators), the sooner they get back to re-discovering the basics of life... figuratively, and in the present context, actually. Scientists and theologians are like kids who like diagramming sentences. They can write a "perfectly structured" religious tract or research grant proposal, that those reading such will be very impressed with, but the content is nothing more than a diagrammed sentence with little original substance. No doubt they will argue otherwise because such is a projection of their ego, and not an actual step forward in any promising direction.

Contemplating Origin Of Life scenarios is, for some, about diagramming sentences, just as the Origin (of) Life organization seems to be most interested in, with respect to the content of the questions presented. But they are just examples of questions some people are interested in regarding life's originating processes. Yet there are other questions that should be asked, and followed up with by being provided to those whose proclivity is to address the processes of Life Origins from what can be called an unorthodox approach. Namely, a Threesological one. It is a perspective, that, quite understandably, is not being addressed within the context of Origin-Of-Life considerations because its existence is not widely known.

Life may in fact have hundreds, thousands, millions, billions, trillions, or zillions of representative forms throughout the Universe (with or without including the notions of inter/trans/counter-dimensional beings), each and every one different from life depicted on Earth. It matters not whether you think some life form could be silicon-based opposed to our carbon-based structure. It matters not if "sentience" is likewise alternatively defined. And it matters not if life on Earth is the result of some other-than-Earth source, be it a meteor, comet, galactic dust, alien being or whatever. The fact remains that life on Earth uses an abundance of "threes."

The process by which humanity, in particular, has developed towards a usage of Patterns-of-three is an issue that will ultimately come to play in experimentation involving our understanding of life-on-Earth origins. Experimentation which seeks to address the following (and numerous other) "threes" circumstances should be awarded a research grant:

The environmental conditions by which...

  • DNA and RNA developed so-called "triplet" codon (coding) systems [which are actually 3 to 1 ratio systems].
  • Proteins have a Primary- Secondary- Tertiary structure (with the quaternary as a composite making this a 3 to 1 ratio).
  • There are three Germ layers (Endoderm- Mesoderm- Ectoderm).
  • AMP, ADP, ATP are the three (mono- di- tri) main sources of energy for cellular processes.
  • A-B-O is the main three-patterned blood-typing system.
  • Earth is the third planet in our solar system and bears life perhaps due to the Sun's expansion; (thus altering irradiation characteristics) suggesting Mercury and Venus may have previously had life.
  • Atomic structure has three families of fundamental particles.
  • Electrons- Neutrons- Protons are the three basic components of atoms.
  • There are three Quarks and three anti-Quarks.
  • Human anatomy is filled with three-part structures. ( List of Threes in human anatomy)
  • Human pregnancy is divided into three trimesters.
  • Our brain has three coverings: Pia Mater- Dura Mater- Arachnoid process.
  • The Human ear developed with numerous three-part components: 3 bones, 3 semi- circular canals, 3 eardrum membranes, (thus affecting language).
  • All languages are said to have a tri-modal (Subject- Object- Verb) structure.
  • We end sentences with Periods- Question marks- Exclamation points.
  • Our brain neurons communicate electrical signals in trinary in contrast to the binary code used by computers. (Guosong Liu).
  • Bacteria- Archaea- Eukarya are the three life domains.

In other words, does the recurring usage of "three" represent some underlying influential environmental condition that can be experimentally replicated? If so, the environmental condition may very well have to illustrate the following (metaphorically stated) five instances in order to grasp the coveted golden ring:

  • a three form (thumb)
  • a three-to-one form (index finger)
  • a triangle (geometric three) form (infamous middle finger)
  • a pre- pro and post biotic presence (ring finger)
  • a sustained biology "contouring" (shaping) ability (etiquette pinky)

In my own "Threesology" research, my first efforts years ago focused on the triplet codon system in DNA as that which, at the time, in my mind, satisfied the requirements for answering the question of what could have influenced the multitude of threes examples being found in various subject areas. I didn't buy into the theologically-based trinity influenced notion. I then sought for something that could have shaped this "three" pattern. Necessarily so, the only thing I could see that existed billions of years ago during the era of the primordial soup, was the Sun with its three "moments" called Dawn- Noon- Dusk. Three moments that, over billions of years, could very well have impressed this "three" pattern on biological development.

However, my assessment was thrown into somewhat of a turmoil when I came to realize that DNA, as well as RNA and Proteins have a three-to-one formula that was not being emphacized. Whereas the triplet codon system and the primary- secondary- tertiary structures of proteins were, the presence of their 3 to 1 ratio formula was obscured within most narratives. But I couldn't ignore them. Thus, not only must the originating biological development "influencer" have a "three" pattern, it must also have a 3 to 1 ratio component. Again, when I looked at the Sun through the prism of a Threesological framework, I saw that it had this very structure. But I needed to take a larger grasp of the Sun in terms of its interactive behavior with the Earth. Hence, I came to include the realization that the Sun is enlarging and the speed of the Earth's rotation is slowing. The precursors of life were subjected to these forces, including the various environmental circumstances such as geo-thermal heat, oxygen poor/rich atmosphere, an alternating magnetic field, etc...

While developmental "progressive-evolutionary" changes could be explained by an "evolving" (changing) climate, which could have influenced the progressive "expression" of Germ layers (Endoderm- Mesoderm- Ectoderm) [from one- to two- to three in terms of complexity of organism structure], it didn't explain the presence of the many three-patterned triadic (triangular) structures. For example, while we of today can easily see the four sides of a pyramid as a singular entity, the ancient Egyptians may have visualized four separate triangles. Thus, what influenced them to design structures with triangles (in their pre-electronic based desert environment), may have been more prominent than what we of today are able to recognize. However, this does not initially explain why some insects such as termites build triangular-shaped (or conical-shaped) mounds, why some migrating birds use a V (or Vee)-shaped flight formation, while some schools of fish appear to do likewise, and yet not all animals nor insects do.

In the case of the Sun-worshipping ancient Egyptians, it can be realized, with time-lapsed photography, that the Sun follows a triangular pathway from Dawn to Noon to Dusk, but their design or lay-out influence may have been the arrangement of three stars. Unless of course, as in the case of the unknowns left to be deciphered about the pyramids, they could see the Sun's triangular pathway without the need for conventionally considered time-lapse photography. In other words, since we do not have a commonly known grasp of in what manner the pyramids were built, the perspective of ancient Egyptians may have been able to see the Sun's triangular pathway as opposed to the idea that the triangular pyramidal structure was due to the Sun's rays piercing through a cloud. Yet, in the case of stars having been the original influence, we must ask why the Egyptians choose only three, and not some other number amongst all the many stars in the heavens.

In returning to the discussion from my short excursion into ancient history, the fact that I have encountered numerous three-patterned "triangular" examples and added them to my list of "threes," the fact that I could find a triangle image connected with the Sun made it a prime candidate, once again, to consider it a necessary component for influencing the origin of life on Earth. Whereas electrical discharges used in chemical evolution experiments have resulted in the production of emergent components present in life structures, where is the presence of a "three," unless the three is due to a developmental one- two- three progression.

I think it's really Cool that Mr. Lonsdale is sponsoring research into life's Origin(s). There are many questions pertinent to fundamental biology that need to be answered not only for the purpose of extending our grasp of knowledge and further exploration, but to dispel so many perpetuated views of nonsense revolving around in philosophy, religion and science as well. Although some researchers would prefer to work alone, a Manhattan-like project atmosphere may be advantageous for some aspects of the needed research. You can count me in even if I do nothing more than empty out the trash.

Harry Lonsdale (13K) Harry Lonsdale

--- Origin of ---

My goal in supporting Origin of Life research is to help scientists solve one of the great remaining problems in biology. A solution will give every science teacher in the world, from high school to college, a fundamental understanding of how life probably began on the Earth. In time, the world will learn that the laws of chemistry and physics, and the principle of evolution by natural selection, are sufficient to explain life's origin. --- Harry Lonsdale

The following provides points of clarification for a "life" (compared to the above origin [of] prize:

The Origin-of-Life Prize ®

  1. Purpose of the Prize
  2. Clarification of what the Foundation is looking for
  3. Criteria for winning
  4. Judging
  5. Definitions
  6. Discussion
  7. Applications must include
  8. Review of submissions
  9. Prize Value
  10. Submissions
  11. Required forms for submission
  12. Suggested texts
  13. Invitation to become an advisor
  14. About The Gene Emergence Project

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Clarification of what the Foundation is looking for

    We are primarily interested in how certain linear digital sequences of monomers were covalently (rigidly) bound so as to only later provide instruction for amino acid sequencing, folding, and three-dimensional dynamic function. The Prize offer is designed to stimulate focused research on the origin of initial genetic instructions themselves.

    So much of life origin work centers around biochemical factors. But biopolymers catalyzed by clay surfaces, for example, do not necessarily contain any functional (prescriptive) information. How does an algorithmically complex sequence of codons arise in nature which finds phenotypic usefulness only after translation into a completely different language (AA sequence)? How did natural process produce so indirectly the hundreds of needed three-dimensional protein catalysts for life to begin?

    Selection must occur at the molecular/genetic level, not just at the fittest phenotype level of already living organisms. This is called The GS Principle, sometimes referred to as The Second Law of Biology. Any successful model of life-origin would have to falsify this principle.

    In addition, a winning submission would have to provide empirical falsification of The Cybernetic Cut. This principle states that prescriptive information flows only from formalism to physicality over an infinitely deep ravine across a one-way C S Bridge (The Configurable Switch Bridge). Thus far, physicodynamics has never been observed to organize non trivial formal function. Physicodynamics has never been observed to exercise choice contingency at decision nodes, logic gates, and configurable-switch settings. Organization is impossible without selection for potential function. Natural selection cannot select potential function. Natural selection is nothing more than the differential survival and reproduction of the fittest already living organisms. Physicodynamics is blind to isolated formal function. Inanimate nature has no preference for function over non function. It could care less whether physical interactions and chemical reactions provide utility or any kind.

    Mathematically, it is impossible to go backwards from 20 AA to 64 codons. There is no way to know which of four or six codons, for example, coded a given AA when one tries to go backwards against the "Central Dogma." Prescriptive Information has been lost. Various models of code origin often pursue primordial codon systems of only two nitrogen bases rather than three. At some point, such a two-base codon system must evolve into a three-base codon system. But catastrophic problems such as global frame shifts would have resulted from such a change midstream in the evolution of genetic code.

    Environmental selection, if existent at all in a prebiotic environment, is nothing more than after-the-fact differential survivability/reproduction of certain stochastic ensembles in certain environments. How did initial genetic code-certain sequences of codons-come to specify only certain three-dimensional sequences of amino acid strings that "work"?

    The winning submission will likely provide both a novel and cardinal conceptual contribution to current biological science and information theory.

    The Foundation welcomes theoretical models of a more direct primordial instruction system (one that might have preceded codon transcription and translation) provided the model provides explanation of continuous transition (abiding by the "continuity principle") to current prokaryotic and eukaryotic empirical life.

    Inanimate stepping stones of abiotic evolution are essential components to any natural process theory of the molecular evolution of life. Full reign must be given to the exploration of spontaneously forming complexity and to self-ordering inanimate systems. But reductionistic attempts to provide models of life development must not sacrifice the very property of "life" that biology seeks to explain. Coacervates, micelles, vesicles, and various primordial quasi-membrane models, for example, may resemble membrane equivalents and merit considerable ongoing research, but should not be confused with the active transport membranes of the simplest known free-living organisms.

    The Origin-of-Life Prize ®
    is offered through The Gene Emergence Project ®
    of The Origin-of-Life Science Foundation, Inc. ®

    Watch for updates here on the www at...

    Copyright © 1997-2001

    Your Questions, Comments or Additional Information are welcomed:
    Herb O. Buckland