Abstract. Nonphysical, formal, linear digital symbol systems can be instantiated into physicality using physical symbol vehicles (tokens) in Material Symbol Systems (MSS). Genetics and genomics employ a MSS, not a two-dimensional pictorial “blueprint.” Highly functional molecular biological MSS’s existed prior to human consciousness in tens of millions of species.
Genetic code is conceptually ideal. Not all signals are messages. Encoding employs a conversionary algorithm to represent choices using a symbol system. Encoding/decoding is formal, not physicodynamic. Symbols must be purposefully chosen from alphabets of symbols to generate meaning, instructions, and control. Formal rules must first be generated, and then both sender and receiver must voluntarily adhere to those arbitrary rules.
Neither law nor random variation of duplications can generate a meaningful/functional MSS. All known life is cybernetic (controlled, not just constrained) and semiotic (message dependent). Even protocells would require controls, biosemiosis, regulation, and an extraordinary degree of organization that mere mass/energy interactions, or chance and necessity, cannot produce.