Addy Pross

Addy ProssIn existographies, Addy Pross (1945-) (DN:7) (CR:10) is an Israeli reaction theory chemist noted for his 2003-present articles on attempts to discern the driving force for life, thermodynamically, arguing in short that a cell (see: cell-as-molecule) is akin to a refrigerator, increasing order at the expense of external energy, culminating in his 2012 book What is Life?: How Chemistry becomes Biology, wherein he attempts to grapple with Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger’s famous 1943 what is life in terms of chemistry and physics query, albeit in such a way that he uses the extrapolate down method, wherein he employs Rube Goldberg type arguments, e.g. that the stability that governs animate replicating systems is a “dynamic kinetic stability” whereas that which governs the inanimate world is a “thermodynamic stability”, and that the former “emerges” from the latter, etc., to argue that concepts such as purpose and Darwinian selection exist in the lower sub warm pond chemical system level. [1]

Human thermodynamics | Prediction
Pross seems to relatively uneducated about modern human thermodynamics and the "predictive" ability of the second law in the human sphere. He states, for example, that gravity and the second law, in the “living world” and in the human activity sphere of things, have “little predictive value”. [2] Iranian mechanical engineer Mehdi Bazargan, conversely, in a circa 1980 note on his Thermodynamics of Humans, was one of the first to cogently state that thermodynamics has significant predictive power in the sphere of human activity: [3]

“In general, an object in a given force field will, of necessity, behave in a calculable and predictable way. For any object, whether a stone, a plant, or a human society, force means movement.”

The so-called "force field", in the human sphere of movement, is the electromagnetic force (see, e.g., Jaegwon Kim's 1992 library walk problem), and the so-called force function for human chemical reactions (see: HCR theory) is the Gibbs free energy, the characteristic function for isothermal-isobaric freely-running chemical reactions, whereby, according to the 1969 views of American science historian Henry Guerlac: [4]

“By means of chemical thermodynamics the physical chemist can indeed, without leaving the ‘cabinet’, predict the course of many chemical reactions.”

according to which, when this logic is scaled up to the human-human reaction level (reactions between people), this logic implies that “by means of human chemical thermodynamics the human physical chemist can indeed, without leaving the ‘cabinet’, predict the course of many human chemical reactions.”

Life → Animate matter
Into the 2000s, with the 2002 publication of the Sterner-Elser human molecular formula (see: human molecular formula), and with the rise of modern human chemical thermodynamics, the question of when exactly is one to stop calling a "molecule", cell (cell-as-molecule), and or virus (virus molecule) as alive began to come into view, particularly in the context of the 2005 molecular evolution table and the 2009 evolution timeline, and doubly in particular in the context of human free energy theory, according to which there is no recognizable difference between the free energy that forms the water molecule and the free energy that forms the human molecule (human free energy of formation, following which one is forced to look under the scanning tunneling microscope at what exactly one means by the term "life", following which the term quickly becomes defunct beyond repair.

The following switching of terms, from "life" to "animate matter", by Pross, in the opening abstract sentence as compared to the opening article sentence, of his 2003 article “The Driving Force for Life’s Emergence: Kinetic and Thermodynamic Considerations”, gives a view of how, in the early 2000s, researchers began to vacillate ambivalently between the terms “life” and “animate matter”, using the former in more pressurized summaries, the latter in more loosened dialogs: [5]

Abstract: “The principles that govern the emergence of life from non-life remain a subject of intense debate.”

Article: “The nature of the driving force that led to the emergence of animate matter remains a subject of continuing debate and uncertainty.”

Stepping into the 21st century, the discussion has indeed turned to free energy, specifically Gibbs free energy (see: human free energy timeline). In the free energy view, the search for the origin of life, in the context, of the human molecule perspective, , i.e. humans viewed as animate molecules, which have evolved or synthesized over time, through chemical mechanism, starting from hydrogen atom reactant precursors, the theory of life begins to fall apart to the point that it is no longer tenable (Thims, 2009). [6]

Not seeing the forest (text)
A parody rendition of Pross' perspective that he and American complexity theorist Stuart Kauffman "see so many trees", such as catalysis, synthetic biology, RNA, metabolic pathways, DNA, molecular machinery, ATP, biosynthesis, etc., but he and Kauffman "have no real view of the forest" (see: ships not seen), the view they are missing being solution to the question "what makes a cell alive?" [2]
Not seeing the forest
The following is a related quote by Israeli chemist Addy Pross, in commentary about statements from Stuart Kauffman's 2000 Investigations, about not being able to see the forest: [2]

“We see so many trees, yet we have no real view of the forest.”
— Addy Pross (2012), What is Life?: How Chemistry Becomes Biology; restatement of Kauffman’s 2000 “life remains shrouded from view” perspective

The issue here is that Kauffman and Pross have many “trees” (molecular machinery, metabolic pathways, membrane biosynthesis, molecular biology, etc.), to look at and study, but they cannot see the “forest” (or as Kauffman states: “what makes a cell alive is still not clear to us”). The forest that they cannot see in this case is the defunct theory of life and subsequent life terminology upgrades—a very difficult forest to see, to say the least.

References
1. (a) Pross, Addy. (2003). “The Driving Force for Life’s Emergence: Kinetic and Thermodynamic Considerations” (pdf), Journal of Theoretical Biology, 220: 393-406.
(b) Pross, Addy. (2008). “How Can a Chemical System Act Purposefully? Bridging Between Life and Non-Life” (pdf), Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry, 21:724-28.
2. Pross, Addy. (2012). What is Life?: How Chemistry Becomes Biology (predictive, pgs. 14-15; thermodynamics, 38+ pgs; "so many trees", pg. 114). Oxford University Press.
3. Bazargan, Mehdi. (c.1980). “Religion and Liberty” (Section: Opposition: the Cause of Movement and Life, pgs. 81-82, note 23: Thermodynamics of Humanity); originally in Rediscovery of Values (Bazyabi-e Arzeshha); reprinted in Liberal Islam: a Source Book (chapter 7, pgs. 73-84) edited by Charles Kurzman, Oxford University Press, 1998.
4. Guerlac, Henry. (1969). “Chemistry as a Branch of Physics: Laplace’s Collaboration with Lavoisier” (pg. 275), Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, (7): 193-276.
5. Pross, Addy. (2003). “The Driving Force for Life’s Emergence: Kinetic and Thermodynamic Considerations” (pdf), Journal of Theoretical Biology, 220: 393-406.
6. (a) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume One) (life: difficulties on term, pgs. 130-31). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2009). “Letter: Life a Defunct Scientific Theory”, Journal of Human Thermodynamics, Vol. 5, pgs. 20-21.

Videos
● Pross, Addy. (2012). “What’s the Difference Between Living and Non-Living Thing?” (Ѻ), Oxford Academic, Sep 28.

External links
Addy Pross (faculty) – Ben-Gurion University of Negev.

TDics icon ns

More pages