By: Natalie Wolchover January 22, 2014
Excerpt (with my emphasis): “The formula, based on established physics, indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy. This could mean that under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life.
“You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant,” England said.
England’s theory is meant to underlie, rather than replace, Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, which provides a powerful description of life at the level of genes and populations.”
My comment: I’m surprised by the apparent lack of biophysical constraints in this theory that attempts to link physics to biology. Isn’t the light accompanied by heat that causes the random clump of atoms to “unclump?” Is this the correct context: one of random clumps that somehow in the light of evolution (and heat) become plant-life?
Excerpt 2: “Life does not violate the second law of thermodynamics, but until recently, physicists were unable to use thermodynamics to explain why it should arise in the first place.”
My comment: Increasing organismal complexity requires the de novo creation of genes in cells of tissues of organs in organ systems. We’re told that life doesn’t violate the second law of thermodynamics, but increasing organismal complexity does appear to violate the second law of thermodynamics.
Excerpt 3: “Self-replication (or reproduction, in biological terms), the process that drives the evolution of life on Earth, is one such mechanism by which a system might dissipate an increasing amount of energy over time. As England put it, “A great way of dissipating more is to make more copies of yourself.”
Excerpt 4: “Once RNA arose, he argues, its “Darwinian takeover” was perhaps not surprising.”
My comment: What this suggests to me is that the hydrogen bonds of RNA defied the second law of thermodynamics on the way to the formation of hydrogen bonds of DNA that also defied the second law of thermodynamics. Thus, it is not surprising that the “Darwinian takeover” automagically occurred in the context of everything else that defies what we know about the biophysical constraints on ecological adaptations. It’s comical!
Excerpt 5: “One has to be careful because any mutation might do many things,” she said. “But if one kept doing many of these experiments on different systems and if [dissipation and replication success] are indeed correlated, that would suggest this is the correct organizing principle.”
My comment: Therein lies the problem. Correlations merely suggest things! Mutations perturb the thermodynamics of protein folding, which is required for organism-level thermoregulation. I vaguely recall that the idea that random mutations would result in selection of anything that would enable increasing organismal complexity involved calculations that exposed the entirety of this approach to ridicule. Simply put, mutations theory refuted itself because there is not enough time since the big bang for the complexity of life to arise. In that time, however, increased organismal complexity of extant organisms appears to have arisen via the thermodynamics of intercellular signaling, which requires nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations via amino acid substitutions that stabilize protein folding that leads to organism-level thermoregulation in species from microbes to man.
Excerpt: “Natural selection doesn’t explain certain characteristics,” said Ard Louis, a biophysicist at Oxford University, in an email. These characteristics include a heritable change to gene expression called methylation, increases in complexity in the absence of natural selection, and certain molecular changes Louis has recently studied.”
My comment: The day after he wrote the article at the above link, Carl Zimmer wrote: “Scientists are exploring how organisms can evolve elaborate structures without Darwinian selection.”
“Others maintain that as random mutations arise, complexity emerges as a side effect, even without natural selection to help it along. Complexity, they say, is not purely the result of millions of years of fine-tuning through natural selection—the process that Richard Dawkins famously dubbed “the blind watchmaker.” To some extent, it just happens.”
Summary of the new physics theory of something: Decades after Darwin’s theory was bastardized by eliminating his ‘conditions of life’ from first consideration, we continue to see physicists and evolutionary theorists tout irrefutable nonsense. Experimental evidence, however, has shown why the nonsense is irrefutable. The physicists and theorists have not determined how to experimentally test any theory that involves random mutations that somehow arise and complexity to emerge as a side effect.
Meanwhile, serious scientists known that ecological adaptations are nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled in species from microbes to man.