What happens when biology grows beyond “training wheels”? Addy Pross

Commenting on the Guardian’s recent article by Stephen Buranyi, Israeli chemist Addy Pross, an Evolution 2.0 podcast guest, wrote to me, saying:

Evolutionary theory has barely begun to grapple with the real issues of biology. It amazes me how oblivious so many biologists are with regard to addressing the source of biology’s extraordinary characteristics. Recently, I wrote a paper:

How Was Nature Able to Discover Its Own Laws—Twice?

The article asks a question that few scientists seem to ask. Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier received the 2020 Nobel prize in Chemistry for discovering how DNA can be edited.
Except they didn’t really discover that technique. They just discovered how bacteria have been doing it for billions of years to help combat viral attack. When people do that to other people it’s called plagiarism (tongue in cheek, of course; no question regarding the significance of the Doudna-Charpentier Nobel work).
The point is that there’s a question out there that biologists (and physicists and chemists) don’t seem to ask: How could nature have discovered its own laws (twice), and apply them, like a top technologist, way ahead of all human technologists? What is the law of nature that explains nature’s ability to discover (and exploit) its own laws?
The article asks a question that few scientists seem to ask.
My reply to Addy: I know of no other way to even consider this question than to point out that saying, “discover its own laws” only makes sense if life itself has a degree of self-awareness. That’s why Barbara McClintock asked, ‘What does a cell know about itself?’ This I believe is the pivotal question of all biology. I presented a proof of this in my own 2021 paper and will be speaking about it at the Thermodynamics 2.0 conference next week.
Our search for an answer is a quest for the next Albert Einstein or Nikola Tesla.
Until we squarely face this question, biology will remain in its current state of “training wheels,” describing but never fully defining its subject matter. This is one of the most fascinating questions in science. Which is why I earnestly believe that once we begin making real progress on this question, a host of revolutionary discoveries will quickly ensue.
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