THERE – Theory and Empiricism of Religious Evolution: Foundation of a Research Program

7. The Mutual Transcription of Metaphors in the Fields of Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Cultural Studies

The biogenetic code is referred to as a “translation key”: “The majority of the information stored in the genome encodes amino acid sequences of proteins [...]. In order to produce (expression) these proteins, a text from the ‘nucleic acid language’ has to be translated into the ’protein language’. This is where the term translation for protein biosynthesis process comes from. The’dictionary’ that is used for this translation process is the genetic code. As there are 20 proteinogenic amino acids [...] the nucleic acid language must contain at least as many words (codons). In the nucleic acid alphabet, however, there are only 4 letters (A, G, C and U as well as T). In order to form 20 different words, each word must have a length of at least 3 letters [...]. The codons actually consist of 3 consecutive building blocks (Base-Triplets)” (Koolman and Röhm 2009, 246; [emphasis added]). The discovery of the genetic code is called deciphering. Alan MacKay and Jacek Klinowski (1986) apply the metaphors of “letters”, “words”, “grammar” and “syntax” even to the description of inorganic structure formation. The “grammar” of inorganic structure formation, for example, consists of “intrinsic curvature” (MacKay and Klinowski 1986, 806). It was already Galileo Galilei who stated that “in nature philosophy is written with mathematical letters” (Dänzer 1960, 305).

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