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Will quantum biology help solve some of life’s greatest mysteries?


In the past, the idea that quantum effects would matter much in life forms was considered a “fringe idea” because the numbers would average out.

“The warmer the environment is, the more busy and noisy it is, the quicker these quantum effects disappear,” says University of Surrey theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili, who coauthored a 2014 book called Life on the Edge that brought so-called quantum biology to a lay audience. “So it’s almost ridiculous, counterintuitive, that they should persist inside cells. And yet, if they do—and there’s a lot of evidence suggesting that in certain phenomena they do—then life must be doing something special.”

Al-Khalili and Vedral are part of an expanding group of scientists now arguing that effects of the quantum world may be central to explaining some of biology’s greatest puzzles—from the efficiency of enzyme catalysis to avian navigation to human consciousness—and could even be subject to natural selection.

“The whole field is trying to prove a point,” says Chiara Marletto, a University of Oxford physicist who collaborated with Coles and Vedral on the bacteria-entanglement paper. “That is to say, not only does quantum theory apply to these [biological systems], but it’s possible to test whether these [systems] are harnessing quantum physics to perform their functions.”

… Most ideas in quantum biology are still driven more by theory than by experimental support, but a number of researchers are now trying to close the gap. t

Catherine Offord, “Quantum Biology May Help Solve Some of Life’s Greatest Mysteries” at The Scientist

Well, life is “doing something special” whether quantum mechanics drives much of biology or not.

Quantum mechanics can solve mysteries but only if they are mysteries of a certain sort. The temptation is to try to shoehorn a mystery – they mentioned human consciousness – into that mold in order that quantum theory might solve it. But we haven’t yet established the role of quantum processes in much more basic biology so they might want to wait on that fuzzier stuff.

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

See also: From Philip Cunningham: Darwinian Materialism Vs Quantum Biology: Part I


Philip Cunningham: Darwinian Materialism Vs. Quantum Biology: Part II

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as to:
"Most ideas in quantum biology are still driven more by theory than by experimental support, but a number of researchers are now trying to close the gap."
Thus far, the most powerful empirical evidence that quantum coherence/entanglement is ubiquitous throughout molecular biology comes from work on Quantum criticality. As the title of the following paper states, Quantum criticality (now found) in a wide range of important biomolecules.
Quantum criticality in a wide range of important biomolecules – March 2015 Excerpt: “Most of the molecules taking part actively in biochemical processes are tuned exactly to the transition point and are critical conductors,” they say. That’s a discovery that is as important as it is unexpected. “These findings suggest an entirely new and universal mechanism of conductance in biology very different from the one used in electrical circuits.” The permutations of possible energy levels of biomolecules is huge so the possibility of finding even one that is in the quantum critical state by accident is mind-bogglingly small and, to all intents and purposes, impossible.,, of the order of 10^-50 of possible small biomolecules and even less for proteins,”,,, “what exactly is the advantage that criticality confers?” https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-origin-of-life-and-the-hidden-role-of-quantum-criticality-ca4707924552 Quantum Critical Proteins - Stuart Lindsay - Professor of Physics and Chemistry at Arizona State University - 2018 Excerpt: The difficulty with this proposal lies in its improbability. Only an infinitesimal density of random states exists near the critical point.,, Gábor Vattay et al. recently examined a number of proteins and conducting and insulating polymers.14 The distribution for the insulators and conductors were as expected, but the functional proteins all fell on the quantum-critical distribution. Such a result cannot be a consequence of chance.,,, WHAT OF quantum criticality? Vattay et al. carried out electronic structure calculations for the very large protein used in our work. They found that the distribution of energy-level spacings fell on exactly the quantum-critical distribution, implying that this protein is also quantum critical. There is no obvious evolutionary reason why a protein should evolve toward a quantum-critical state, and there is no chance at all that the state could occur randomly.,,, http://inference-review.com/article/quantum-critical-proteins Gábor Vattay et al., “Quantum Criticality at the Origin of Life,” Journal of Physics: Conference Series 626 (2015); Gábor Vattay, Stuart Kauffman, and Samuli Niiranen, “Quantum Biology on the Edge of Quantum Chaos,” PLOS One 9, no. 3 (2014)
And although the author paid lip service to natural selection in the article, the finding that quantum coherence/entanglement is ubiquitous throughout molecular biology is far more devastating to Darwinian presuppositions than the author apparently realized. Just as quantum theory as a whole is completely antithetical to reductive materialism,
Why Quantum Theory Does Not Support Materialism - By Bruce L Gordon, Ph.D. Excerpt: Because quantum theory is thought to provide the bedrock for our scientific understanding of physical reality, it is to this theory that the materialist inevitably appeals in support of his worldview. But having fled to science in search of a safe haven for his doctrines, the materialist instead finds that quantum theory in fact dissolves and defeats his materialist understanding of the world. https://www.namb.net/apologetics-blog/why-quantum-theory-does-not-support-materialism/ Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C5pq7W5yRM
And just as quantum theory as a whole is antithetical to reductive materialism, so to is the finding of widespread quantum coherence/entanglement in molecular biology devastating to the reductive materialistic presuppositions of Darwinian evolution. The main thing that is devastating for the reductive materialistic presuppositions of Darwinian evolution, (as well as devastating to the entire philosophy of Atheistic materialism in general), is Quantum non-locality. Quantum non-locality, i.e. ‘spooky action at a distance’ as Einstein termed it, is one of the most enigmatic, and yet is also now one of the most verified, aspects of Quantum Mechanics.
“I cannot seriously believe in it because the theory cannot be reconciled with the idea that physics should represent a reality in time and space, free from spooky actions at a distance.” Einstein – (The Born-Einstein Letters, p.155) Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012 Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,” http://www.quantumlah.org/highlight/121029_hidden_influences.php Einstein vs quantum mechanics, and why he’d be a convert today – June 13, 2014 Excerpt: In a nutshell, experimentalists John Clauser, Alain Aspect, Anton Zeilinger, Paul Kwiat and colleagues have performed the Bell proposal for a test of Einstein’s hidden variable theories. All results so far support quantum mechanics. It seems that when two particles undergo entanglement, whatever happens to one of the particles can instantly affect the other, even if the particles are separated! – per physorg Einstein wouldn’t like it: New test proves universe is “spooky” – Oct 21, 2015 Excerpt: Eighty years after the physicist (Einstein) dismissed as “spooky” the idea that simply observing one particle could instantly change another far-away object, Dutch scientists said on Wednesday they had proved decisively that the effect was real. Writing in the journal Nature, researchers detailed an experiment showing how two electrons at separate locations 1.3 km (0.8 mile) apart on the Delft University of Technology campus demonstrated a clear, invisible and instantaneous connection. Importantly, the new study closed loopholes in earlier tests that had left some doubt as to whether the eerie connection predicted by quantum theory was real or not. Einstein famously insisted in a 1935 scientific paper that what he called “spooky action at a distance” had to be wrong and there must be undiscovered properties of particles to explain such counter-intuitive behavior. The idea certainly confounds our day-to-day experience of the world, where change only appears to occur through local interactions. But in recent decades scientific evidence has been building that particles can indeed become “entangled”, so that no matter how far apart they are, they will always be connected. The Delft experiment is conclusive because, for the first time, scientists have closed two potential loopholes at once. The first suggests that particles could somehow synchronize behavior ahead of time, while the second implies that testing might detect only a subset of prepared entangled pairs. To prove their case, the team led by Delft professor Ronald Hanson used two diamonds containing tiny traps for electrons with a magnetic property called spin and measured all entangled pairs across 1.3 km separating two laboratories. The experiment effectively closes a chapter in an 80-year scientific debate, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/21/us-science-universe-einstein-idUSKCN0SF2GQ20151021
Reductive materialists, since they deny the reality of anything beyond matter-energy, space time, are simply at a complete loss to explain how particles can be instantly correlated,,,
Quantum correlations do not imply instant causation – August 12, 2016 Excerpt: A research team led by a Heriot-Watt scientist has shown that the universe is even weirder than had previously been thought. In 2015 the universe was officially proven to be weird. After many decades of research, a series of experiments showed that distant, entangled objects can seemingly interact with each other through what Albert Einstein famously dismissed as “Spooky action at a distance”. A new experiment by an international team led by Heriot-Watt’s Dr Alessandro Fedrizzi has now found that the universe is even weirder than that: entangled objects do not cause each other to behave the way they do. http://phys.org/news/2016-08-quantum-imply-instant-causation.html Experimental test of nonlocal causality – August 10, 2016 DISCUSSION Previous work on causal explanations beyond local hidden-variable models focused on testing Leggett’s crypto-nonlocality (7, 42, 43), a class of models with a very specific choice of hidden variable that is unrelated to Bell’s local causality (44). In contrast, we make no assumptions on the form of the hidden variable and test all models ,,, Our results demonstrate that a causal influence from one measurement outcome to the other, which may be subluminal, superluminal, or even instantaneous, cannot explain the observed correlations.,,, http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/8/e1600162.full
,,, And whereas atheistic materialists are at a complete loss to explain how particles can be instantly correlated, on the other hand Christian Theists readily have a beyond space-time, matter-energy, cause that they can appeal to in order to explain quantum non-locality:
Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
In fact, the problem is ‘exponentially’ worse for Darwinian materialists than it originally was for Einstein when he first postulated hidden variables to try to 'explain away' spooky action at a distance. In the following paper it was found that 'the greater the number of particles in a quantum hypergraph state, (which is exactly the type of coherence we have in molecular biology), the more strongly it violates local realism, with the strength increasing exponentially with the number of particles.'
Physicists find extreme violation of local realism in quantum hypergraph states - Lisa Zyga - March 4, 2016 Excerpt: Many quantum technologies rely on quantum states that violate local realism, which means that they either violate locality (such as when entangled particles influence each other from far away) or realism (the assumption that quantum states have well-defined properties, independent of measurement), or possibly both. Violation of local realism is one of the many counterintuitive, yet experimentally supported, characteristics of the quantum world. Determining whether or not multiparticle quantum states violate local realism can be challenging. Now in a new paper, physicists have shown that a large family of multiparticle quantum states called hypergraph states violates local realism in many ways. The results suggest that these states may serve as useful resources for quantum technologies, such as quantum computers and detecting gravitational waves.,,, The physicists also showed that the greater the number of particles in a quantum hypergraph state, the more strongly it violates local realism, with the strength increasing exponentially with the number of particles. In addition, even if a quantum hypergraph state loses one of its particles, it continues to violate local realism. This robustness to particle loss is in stark contrast to other types of quantum states, which no longer violate local realism if they lose a particle. This property is particularly appealing for applications, since it might allow for more noise in experiments. http://phys.org/news/2016-03-physicists-extreme-violation-local-realism.html
Thus in conclusion, although the author of the paper tried to pay lip service to ‘natural selection’, the fact of the matter is that the present finding that quantum coherence/entanglement is ubiquitous throughout molecular biology is simply devastating to the entire reductive materialistic foundation that Darwinian evolution rests upon. If Darwinism were a real science that was subject to falsification, instead of basically being a pseudo-scientific religion for atheists that its adherents resolutely refuse to ever let be falsified, this should count as yet another powerful scientific falsification of Darwinian theory. But alas, Darwinian evolution is not now,, and never was, about practicing good science.
"Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion — a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint — and Mr. Gish [Duane T. Gish] is but one of many to make it — the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today." - Michael Ruse - Atheist - Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University
1 Thessalonians 5:21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.

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