sábado, 23 de abril de 2016

The Thermodynamic Evolution of Heterogeneity

A commentary on Jeremy England's new thermodynamic account of the origin of life—which is no doubt basically correct. It provides a general principle driving the natural selection of complex structures, and a more general framework connecting Darwinism and physics:

The notion that evolution, from simple material forms to complex organic beings, societies, and cultural phenomena, is the consequence of basic thermodynamic principles and obeys simple laws involving the circulation of energy was formulated by Spencer already in the nineteenth century. Dissipation of energy plays an important part in his definition of evolution, which runs thus: "Evolution is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion; during which the matter passes from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity; and during which the retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation" (First Principles, XVII). Of life he gave a minimalist, structural and ecological definition which favours an evolutionary continuity with non-life, as follows: "life is definable as the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations" (IV).

 See here:

Wolchover, Natalie. "A New Physics Theory of Life." Quanta Magazine 22 Jan. 2014. (Jeremy England, MIT).


Spencer, Herbert. First Principles. London, 1862. 6th ed. (The Thinker's Library). London: Watts, 1937
García Landa, José Ángel. "Mi conferencia de París." In García Landa, Vanity Fea 7 July 2013.*
            _____. "ENN: The Story behind any Story: Evolution, Historicity, and Narrative Mapping." YouTube (CRAL – Centre de Recherches sur l'Art et le Langage) 5 July 2013.*


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