Re: The Great Filter
Wed, 21 Aug 1996 14:55:26 -0400

Eric Watt Forste writes:
>the jump from simple to complex single-cell life. Am I safe in
>assuming that this means the same thing as the jump from prokaryotic
>to eukaryotic life?

Hard to say. I think that's what the poster intended.

>The jump from prokaryotic to eukaryotic life, then, would be a mutation or
>a sequence of mutations that resulted in a nonlethal total failure of the
>prokaryotic immune system. This notion seems sufficiently paradoxical to me
>that I'm content, for the time being, to identify the jump from prokaryote
>to eukaryote as the Great Filter.

Actually the ribosome RNA sequences indicate eukaryotic and prokaryotic life
are approximately equal in age. Eukaryotic life, with its hodgepodge of
interacting and varied systems and vast amounts of apparently useless baggage
is a much more plausible model for spontaneous self-organization a la
Kauffman than efficient, minimized prokaryotic life.