Mark Reads ‘The Science of Discworld IV’: Chapter 10, Part II / Chapter 11

In the tenth and eleventh chapters of Judgment Day, we discuss the origins of life and L-space. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Science of Discworld IV. 

More things that have changed since the first book in the Science series was published! I truly love this stuff, and I do think it’s a fantastic way to demonstrate just how much scientific consensus can change in a relatively small period of time. Thirteen to fourteen years separate the publishing of the first Science book and the last one, and in that time, the “primeval soup” theory of the start of life on Earth has faced scrutiny from other possible theories. Basically: A NEW CHALLENGER APPEARS. In this specific case, the authors initially found the thoughts of Wächtershäuser to be a lot more appealing, that metabolism developing first makes a lot more sense. Is it the answer? Oh, no, of course not, and I don’t think I got the impression that science had figured this all out. Just that this was the best operating theory! Yet in that time, some theories relating to an RNA basis for the start of life have gained traction. But the new one—the one that a solid portion of chapter 10 is devoted to—is that viruses might have been responsible for the spread of life on Earth. 

I learned another new word from this book as well: biosemiotics! I don’t entirely understand everything that this discipline covers, but I think the authors did a fine job summarizing what sort of biological codes are sent throughout DNA, RNA, and other parts of life. I’d say the same for the description of ribosomes, and in particular, how they used the bridge metaphor to explain the emergent property of ribosomes. So it made it easier to understand a lot of the more complicated stuff that lead to their point that they really like Marcello Barbieri’s work in semiotics. And if there’s been a chance to do a fifth book in this series, I bet there’d be new information to incorporate into that text, too! 

Anyway, the main thing I wanted to discuss was the VERY important developments back on the Discworld. I’m guessing that the title of this book isn’t just referring to the Final Days, but to the notion that Lord Vetenari is going to eventually have to make a “judgment” about the fate of Roundworld. I love that he’s going to be the one in charge of making this decision, but, like I said on video, I remained stumped. Why is it that the Church of Latter-Day Omnians feels that they own Roundworld? What exactly about it makes it theirs? If anyone has a claim to it, it’s the Dean. Who isn’t even at Unseen University anymore! So what gives? They’ve got to have an argument ready, but I can’t anticipate what it is. Why are they seeking out other religious organizations? How is that going to help them???

I also DEEPLY loved the reveal that Marjorie had SEEN THE LIBRARIAN BEFORE! And of course she has. She’s connected to the library here at Unseen University through L-space, and the Librarian gets around. It makes perfect sense that he accidentally slipped into other libraries from time to time. It’s just an accepted part of being a librarian! So there would be nothing better than letting Marjorie go free in the Unseen University’s library, and SERIOUSLY, I would read a whole chapter that’s just her going from shelf-to-shelf. I WANT IT NOW. I would also like the full Atlantis history? Because lobsters??? Oh my god, you can’t just reveal something like that and then disappear on me. HOW DARE YOU. 

So: I assume the next Roundworld chapter is going to cover the start of this… trial? Case? It’s not quite a trial, I guess. A hearing? Anyway, I really, really want to know what the Omnians will use to support their claim.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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