Venter in his two books, "A Life Decoded" and "Life at the Speed of Light," provides a wealth of information about the Chemical Double Helix DNA (CDH) as the basis of life. Adding my proposals on Emergence, opens up the discussion about life in a more structured scientific manner.
In my previous two articles Abortion? and What is Life? I had proposed that there are four states of life forms, biomechanical (virus), cellular (single celled organisms), multicellular aggregation (or biological automatons, biotons, i.e. plants and animals) and entity (humans). A stimulus is required for each state to evolve and that as a result each state is different from the next. This is because Emergence requires that the emergent property is different from the sum of its parts as opposed to synergy where the whole is greater than sum of its parts.
Each state must meet four conditions, animated, free will, survival and spirit in progressive order, respectively. Looking back this implies that free will is very deeply buried into our biology and ecology, because it is the second condition.
Normal pregnancy (in humans) is 40 weeks and the shortest recorded gestation period for a fetus to survive as a baby is 21 weeks. We can now infer that premature birth fetuses (biotons) don't survive because intrinsically, they have not achieved the survival condition. That technology to improve live births, like the mothers' womb, facilitate a sustainable environment until the fetus has achieved the survival condition. To become human (entity form), these biotons, the fetuses, require the instantiation of the spirit (the spirit condition). Is a biochemical signature evident?
That is, from the survival anecdotes, one observes two phenomena. (1) The survival condition is triggered as early as 21 weeks or later. Why? How? Is there a biochemical signature that evidences this? (2) It is a statistical process. My guess, from decades of working with statistical empirical data, that this process is a log-normal probability distribution. Since the spirit condition comes after the survival condition, the spirit condition is also a log-normal statistical process whose mean is shifted to the right (later time) with a smaller standard deviation (shortened by the limiting 40-week normal pregnancy).
In terms of legal debate, we see that the survival condition is equivalent to the "fetal viability" criterion used in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey Supreme Court decision. We now know that this criterion is insufficient, and the test should be the spirit condition. The Supreme Court needs to ask the question, given that the survival condition (fetal viability) has been achieved, has the spirit instantiated? That is, there is an additional question the Supreme Court needs to address, the spirit condition. An alternative outcome is to request that the scientific community provide evidence of the survival and entity conditions before a decision is made.
On this planet Earth, we infer that the spirit condition is stochastically dominant (higher probability of better, in this case later, outcomes, or the cumulative probability distribution has shifted to the right) over the survival condition. And therefore each condition is stochastically dominant over the previous, with the animated condition stochastically dominant over inert planetary matter.
Therefore, when NASA searches for life on other planets, it is not sufficient to just find life, but to ask the question, why did each stage (animated, free will, bioton, & entity) of stochastic dominance succeed or fail? And when we find intelligent life based civilizations we should ask, are these bioton or enity? On the other hand, assuming that wolves and dogs are biotons, this would suggest bioton planetary worlds would consist of packs, versus entity worlds consisting of communities that could lead to civilizations.
Returning to Venter's genomics that got me thinking about life. How is it possible for a single set of DNA in bees and ants produce several distinct insects, queen, drones, soldier & workers?