Entropy, Evolution and Life

Science has struggled to explain the origin of life. However, the mechanistic understanding in Physics on Entropy and in Biology on Evolution may provide us tantalizing clues to this vexing problem. Physics tells us that the arrow of time is fixed and entropy has to always increase. Evolution is less precise as initial ideas of random mutation and natural selection have been challenged by many including active evolution [1]. There have not been many attempts at bridging Entropy and Evolution and if we are able to do that, we may make progress.

The apparent randomness on evolution has been difficult to explain. But the precise observations around Entropy should tell us that Chemistry has to fall in line with the arrow of time. It means that Chemicals have no choice but to organize themselves in such a way that the monotonic increase in Entropy is satisfied. And if active Evolution is true, then one can draw that back to the beginning of time. What that might imply is that Chemicals may be forced to create life by both Physics and Biology in a coordinated fashion. Whereas Physics is deterministic in this context, Biology provides a force in the same direction with high levels of flexibility. The marriage between Entropy and Evolution gives us a glimpse of the unavoidability of the origin and progression of life.

If these principles are universal then one would expect to find life everywhere. But we have not found any except in close proximity. The solar system appears devoid of life except on the struggling blue planet, which is close to losing it. And the Milky Way appears incredibly quiet. The only way to explain our inability to find life elsewhere is the possibility that we are proto-life, not sufficiently capable of recognizing real life elsewhere.

The combination of Entropy and Evolution may be the missing link in the explanation of the origin of life.

[1] Prof. James Shapiro of the University of Chicago on Evolution https://youtu.be/5s8CB3o-S18

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Gill Eapen is the founder and CEO of Decision Options ®, Mr. Eapen has over 30 years of experience in strategy, finance, engineering, and general management

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Gill Eapen

Gill Eapen

Gill Eapen is the founder and CEO of Decision Options ®, Mr. Eapen has over 30 years of experience in strategy, finance, engineering, and general management

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