Cell biology Design inference Intelligent Design Physics

Decidedly unDarwinian admissions re proteins

Spread the love
Aza Toth/3-D myoglobin

Philip Cunningham writes to note for us such moments in the literature:

Abstract: (open access) Why life persists at the edge of chaos is a question at the very heart of evolution. Here we show that molecules taking part in biochemical processes from small molecules to proteins are critical quantum mechanically. Electronic Hamiltonians of biomolecules are tuned exactly to the critical point of the metal-insulator transition separating the Anderson localized insulator phase from the conducting disordered metal phase. Using tools from Random Matrix Theory we confirm that the energy level statistics of these biomolecules show the universal transitional distribution of the metal-insulator critical point and the wave functions are multifractals in accordance with the theory of Anderson transitions. The findings point to the existence of a universal mechanism of charge transport in living matter. The revealed bio-conductor material is neither a metal nor an insulator but a new quantum critical material which can exist only in highly evolved systems and has unique material properties. – Gábor Vattay et al., “Quantum Criticality at the Origin of Life,” (2015) pdf

“molecules taking part in biochemical processes from small molecules to proteins are critical quantum mechanically” … The revealed bio-conductor material is neither a metal nor an insulator but a new quantum critical material which can exist only in highly evolved systems and has unique material properties.” If so, might this not be evidence for fine-tuning for life?

Abstract: We give a new explanation for why some biological systems can stay quantum coherent for a long time at room temperature, one of the fundamental puzzles of quantum biology. We show that systems with the right level of complexity between chaos and regularity can increase their coherence time by orders of magnitude. Systems near Critical Quantum Chaos or Metal-Insulator Transition (MIT) can have long coherence times and coherent transport at the same time. The new theory tested in a realistic light harvesting system model can reproduce the scaling of critical fluctuations reported in recent experiments. Scaling of return probability in the FMO light harvesting complex shows the signs of universal return probability decay observed at critical MIT. The results may open up new possibilities to design low loss energy and information transport systems in this Poised Realm hovering reversibly between quantum coherence and classicality. (open access) – Gábor Vattay, Stuart Kauffman, and Samuli Niiranen, “Quantum Biology on the Edge of Quantum Chaos,” PLOS One 9, no. 3 (2014)

“We show that systems with the right level of complexity between chaos and regularity can increase their coherence time by orders of magnitude. Systems near Critical Quantum Chaos or Metal-Insulator Transition (MIT) can have long coherence times and coherent transport at the same time.” Again, if so, might this not be evidence for fine-tuning for life?

But it’s more complicated than that: Can the answer to the vast levels of organization even be quantum critical proteins?: From Stuart Lindsay, Professor of Physics and Chemistry at Arizona State University, at Inference Review,

The difficulty with this proposal lies in its improbability. Only an infinitesimal density of random states exists near the critical point. Nonetheless, the distinctive distributions of energy-level spacings can be used as a simple tool to probe the state of the system.

In other words, they are easier to find and study there but there are not nearly enough of them to make the difference needed.

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.

It could only have come about as the result of evolutionary pressure.

But what is exerting the pressure to organize?

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. (2018) More.

Also, from the Physics ArXiv blog

One of the great puzzles of biology is how the molecular machinery of life is so finely coordinated. Even the simplest cells are complex three dimensional biochemical factories in which a dazzling array of machines fill the shop floor.

Today, Stuart Kauffmann at the University of Calgary in Canada and a few pals provide some extraordinary new insight into how all this might happen. These show that most biomolecules are quantum critical conductors; their electronic properties are precisely tuned to the transition point between a metal and an insulator.

In other words, biomolecules belong to an entirely new class of conductor that is not bound by the ordinary rules of electron transport, a discovery that has profound implications for our understanding of the nature of life and its origin. (2015 )More.

What is killing Darwinism is really that we are seeing a fascinating new world of biology and it is just not the textbook Darwinism defended in so much popular media. And whatever it turns out to be, it will never be that.

See also: At New York Times: Darwin skeptic Carl Woese “effectively founded a new branch of science” In fairness, many of us DID sense that the people splintering lecterns in favor of Darwin’s Tree of Life were more certain than the facts would turn out to warrant. Every so often, a new poll would announce, to general hand-wringing, that much of the public doesn’t “believe in” evolution. Most of us didn’t fight with anybody about it, we just waited… A world where horizontal gene transfer is a “thing,” (and epigenetics as well) actually makes a lot more sense from experience than the “selfish gene” world.

One Reply to “Decidedly unDarwinian admissions re proteins

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    The extreme rarity of these ‘quantum critical’ proteins is also touched upon here, “to all intents and purposes, impossible.,, of the order of 10^-50 of possible small biomolecules and even less for proteins,”

    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

    ,,, Moreover, Quantum biology is completely incompatible with the reductive materialistic framework that undergirds Darwinian thinking.

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – video
    https://youtu.be/LHdD2Am1g5Y

    In other words, with their insistence on reductive materialism, Darwinists are not even on the correct theoretical foundation in the first place in order to properly understand biology.

    As Jim Al-Khalili states at the 2:30 minute mark of the following video, “,,and Physicists and Chemists have had a long time to try and get use to it (Quantum Mechanics). Biologists, on the other hand have got off lightly in my view. They are very happy with their balls and sticks models of molecules. The balls are the atoms. The sticks are the bonds between the atoms.,,,
    at the molecular level living organisms have a certain order. A structure to them that’s very different from the random thermodynamic jostling of atoms and molecules in inanimate matter of the same complexity. In fact, living matter seems to behave in its order and its structure just like inanimate matter cooled down to near absolute zero. Where quantum effects play a very important role.”

    “,,and Physicists and Chemists have had a long time to try and get use to it (Quantum Mechanics). Biologists, on the other hand have got off lightly in my view. They are very happy with their balls and sticks models of molecules. The balls are the atoms. The sticks are the bonds between the atoms. And when they can’t build them physically in the lab nowadays they have very powerful computers that will simulate a huge molecule.,, It doesn’t really require much in the way of quantum mechanics in the way to explain it.”
    At the 6:52 minute mark of the video, Jim Al-Khalili goes on to state:
    “To paraphrase, (Erwin Schrödinger in his book “What Is Life”), he says at the molecular level living organisms have a certain order. A structure to them that’s very different from the random thermodynamic jostling of atoms and molecules in inanimate matter of the same complexity. In fact, living matter seems to behave in its order and its structure just like inanimate matter cooled down to near absolute zero. Where quantum effects play a very important role. There is something special about the structure, about the order, inside a living cell. So Schrodinger speculated that maybe quantum mechanics plays a role in life”.
    Jim Al-Khalili – Quantum biology – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOzCkeTPR3Q

Leave a Reply