Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

New OOL book: Life rests on physics but can’t be derived from it

arroba Email

In a review of Stuart A Kauffman’s A World Beyond Physics: The Emergence and Evolution of Life Stuart A. Kauffman Oxford University Press (2019), we learn, after an outline of his theories on the origin of life is offered,

Because of this, Kauffman provocatively concludes, there is no mathematical law that could describe the evolving diversity and abundance of life in the biosphere. He writes: “we do not know the relevant variables prior to their emergence in evolution.” At best, he argues, any ‘laws of life’ that do exist will describe statistical distributions of aspects of that evolution. For instance, they might predict the distribution of extinctions. Life’s emergence might rest on the foundations of physics, “but it is not derivable from them”, Kauffman argues.

If biology cannot be reduced to physics, however, is it “beyond physics”, as Kauffman claims? Sara Imari Walker, “The new physics needed to probe the origins of life” at Nature

Walker disagrees with this view, of course, but the problem is, physics is a mess just now and whether biology can be derived from it might depend on which piece you are holding.

See also: At Scientific American: Understanding the cosmology crisis All that said, faith in mathematics is better than faith in a lucky rabbit’s foot because the mathematics might make sense someday.


Rob Sheldon: Here’s why physicists are surprised by the universe’s increased expansion rate The two methods differ in that one is “direct” and the other “indirect”. Clearly one or both of them is making a mistake. Since it is hard to find (and people have looked) a reason why the direct method is failing, the feeling is that the indirect method must have a mistake in its model.

Bahhh Family friends love hope, all that’s just oxytocin. Get with the science man I’m totally mocking that sorry I don’t believe that AaronS1978
It is surely obvious to everyone, including physicists, that any future materialistic "theory of everything" (TOE) will not be able to account for biology, life, and consciousness. Indeed, any mathematical TOE could never explain most of the things that are important to most people, like family, love, friends, hope, peace, etc. Fasteddious
Kaufman’s perspective is quite interesting I wasn’t expecting that it looks like it’s reaching outside of the box that many people play in AaronS1978

Leave a Reply