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Do non-living forms evolve?

Discussion in 'The Material World' started by atanu, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Physical systems are known to spontaneously increase internal order and dissipate. Order is exemplified by crystals, etc. wherein a constant relation between neighboring constituent elements can be seen.

    Physical systems organise into structures also. Structures are exemplified by snowflake, molecular structure, etc. Structure can be understood as 'complex order.' But there is no new form creation.

    OTOH, the living systems evolve. The physico-chemical systems in the living systems also change dynamically. If only living forms evolve, what is thermodynamics of this process?
     
  2. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Replication and form inheritance is the main missing piece here.
     
  3. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Generally speaking, living things are far from equilibrium.Most of classical thermodynamics is done at or near equilibrium, so there are some changes that are required.

    Mostly, the thermodynamics isn't too difficult though. All living things take in some energy source: food or light. That high energy source then drives other reactions. More specifically, the energy source is usually used to drive production of ATP, which is an intermediate level energy compound which then is used to catalyze other reactions in the body. The overall reaction in animals tends to be that of combustion, which produces a lot of heat, adding to the entropy of the environment.

    So, what we see in living systems is the use of high energy sources to drive other reactions through coupling to ATP or some other intermediate and the formation of a lot of heat.

    Evolution specifically isn't that much different thermodynamically than life itself. Lots of heat produced coupled to formation of structures locally.
     
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  4. Kangaroo Feathers

    Kangaroo Feathers Hardline moderate

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    Any system that involves imperfect replication will theoretically evolve.
     
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  5. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    One of the *definitions* I have seen for the difference between life and non-life is precisely the ability to evolve: maintain information across generations along with mutation and some sort of natural selection.
     
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  6. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Not just imperfect replication, but that along with some sort of selection.
     
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  7. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    There needs to be differential selection among the replicants as well.
     
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  8. Kangaroo Feathers

    Kangaroo Feathers Hardline moderate

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    True.
     
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  9. sun rise

    sun rise "Love pours forth from the heart of the universe."
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  10. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Can you please elaborate?
     
  11. PureX

    PureX Well-Known Member

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    Mountains, rivers, lakes and oceans all change their forms and characteristics according to the ever-changing possibilities offered them by their environment. In this way they 'evolve' as surely as any life forms do. Even weather patterns are constantly changing (evolving) as the energy conditions that feed them keep changing. The engine of evolution is change: changes in possibility. And change is everywhere, and effects everything.
     
  12. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    As others have already pointed out, if you had some sort of imperfect replication in non-living forms coupled with some kind of selection, you would have something at least approaching evolution in living forms.

    By the way, a person who should be listened to on this is Eric -- @Mr Spinkles on RF. He did his doctoral research in the physics of biology. Specifically, he was interested in some question or questions closely related to how non-living random molecules could organize themselves into living forms, if I recall.
     
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  13. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    The entity must give rise to new entities that, in some way, inherit the structural and action properties of their predecessor with minor variations. These inherited tendencies need to be things that determine its ability to give rise to further structures like it..making variability a critical factor for differential survival and replication propensity of these entities. If these conditions are met, that entity can be said to be evolving in the Darwinian sense.
     
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  14. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Actually, I was talking of difference of evolution of forms and organisations in living and non living objects and thermodynamics of these two processes.
     
  15. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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