World hasn’t ended yet:
Fine-tuning has received much attention in physics, and it states that the fundamental constants of physics are finely tuned to precise values for a rich chemistry and life permittance. It has not yet been applied in a broad manner to molecular biology. However, in this paper we argue that biological systems present fine-tuning at different levels, e.g. functional proteins, complex biochemical machines in living cells, and cellular networks. This paper describes molecular fine-tuning, how it can be used in biology, and how it challenges conventional Darwinian thinking. We also discuss the statistical methods underpinning fine-tuning and present a framework for such analysis.Steiner Thorvaldsen and Ola Hössjer , “[article title]” at Journal of Theoretical Biology
The paper is open access.
From the paper: “A major conclusion of our work is that fine-tuning is a clear feature of biological systems. Indeed, fine-tuning is even more extreme in biological systems than in inorganic systems. It is detectable within the realm of scientific methodology.”
It would be nice to have a civilized discussion of what fine-tuning means and implies in biology. Would incorporating an expectation of fine-tuning into biology hypotheses lead to quicker advances sooner? How will we test this—assuming that the village Darwin mob doesn’t storm the place, demanding that we shut down the discussion?
One issue is that nature is vast and we must make quicker progress than we are now doing if we are to address a number of problems. Can we frame fine-tuning hypotheses in such a way that we can acquire more knowledge faster via detection of expected patterns?