From science writer Neel S. Patel at Inverse:
“Survival of the fittest” is bigger than just evolutionary biology.
You bet. The selfish gene even gives us medical advice.
The word Darwinism has become a synecdoche for all the mechanisms implied by the Malthusian concept of “survival of the fittest” — the notion that the strongest members of a system survive to reproduce and pass their genetics on to progeny. But natural selection needn’t be limited to Darwin’s finches. When applying this idea to physics we get quantum Darwinism, the theory that the governing laws of biology apply to particles.
It used to be the other way around (physics and chemistry govern biology), but on the eve of its extinction, there is nothing Darwinism can’t do.
The bigger point of quantum Darwinism, however, isn’t simply that it could be the key to helping bridge two schools of physics decided by a chasm. It also lends support to the idea that Darwinism — the survival of the fittest — is universal to all other natural processes in the universe. It doesn’t simply explain why some life evolves and other life dies out — it also explains why some particles and physical processes occur and why others don’t. Quantum mechanics is often thought of as a seemingly random process, but it turns out that the atomic world we can’t see operates very much like the ecological world we experience every day. More.
Does it? Or is that something that the convinced Darwinist needs to see, the way a religious crackpot sees Satan in the words on can labels?
One thing that seems to get lost quite frequently these days is the significance of an “explanation.” A useful explanation doesn’t just explain the world according to our grand theory; it tells people who don’t care about the theory something we didn’t otherwise know.
For example, how do trout, turtles, and pelicans navigate? They have magnetite embedded in their heads.
That’s true irrespective of anyone’s grand theory. It still sounds as though Darwin’s follower are looking for a job. Maybe something in quantum mechanics.
See also: The selfish gene advises: Stay in bed if you have a cold. No wonder Karl Popper saw “adaptive” as a tautology.
and Cosmic Darwinism
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