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Quantum Darwinism = Darwinism as woo-woo?

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Hubble galaxies/NASA

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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3 Replies to “Quantum Darwinism = Darwinism as woo-woo?

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    “Quantum Darwinism explains that superimposed states are “selected” based on what is best preferred and predictable under classical states.”

    “Selected”? Nope – that is guided. Guided Woo & Guided Genes. Dawkins will not appreciate guided woo. Best not tell him.

  2. 2
    mahuna says:

    “Survival of the fittest” is NOT Malthusian. It was/is an observation from Economics that became popular at the same time Darwin’s first book came out. That is, in a free market economy, the “fittest” businesses survive while incompetently managed or under-financed businesses fail.

    Oddly, in the increasingly Socialist political environments since 1850, governments have restricted business competition to PREVENT incompetently managed businesses (most especially incompetently managed BANKS) from failing. The “market adjustments” under Bushie the Lesser are a prime example of government intervention to protect specific businesses and specific individual investors who had failed in a competitive environment. That is, public funded were expended to ENSURE that unfit businesses and investors would survive normal, natural strains on the system. If this Government intervention had NOT occurred, the Unfit would have been eliminated.

    Darwinists simply expanded the Economic idea already in circulation in the 19th century to Biological systems. This caught on, since it was very unlikely that most middle class men in London or New York had ever seen a species of elk go extinct, but VERY likely that those same men had seen a business go bankrupt.

  3. 3
    Me_Think says:

    The phase randomness posited in environment – induced superselection (einselection) does not arise on its own from quantum state of the universe.The theory presupposes that the universe is a closed system and obeys only unitary dynamics! IOW the theory is circular.

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