more.............. https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-new-thermodynamics-theory-of-the-origin-of-life-20140122/ A New Physics Theory of Life An MIT physicist has proposed the provocative idea that life exists because the law of increasing entropy drives matter to acquire lifelike physical properties. Jeremy England, a 31-year-old physicist at MIT, thinks he has found the underlying physics driving the origin and evolution of life. Why does life exist? Popular hypotheses credit a primordial soup, a bolt of lightning and a colossal stroke of luck. But if a provocative new theory is correct, luck may have little to do with it. Instead, according to the physicist proposing the idea, the origin and subsequent evolution of life follow from the fundamental laws of nature and “should be as unsurprising as rocks rolling downhill.” From the standpoint of physics, there is one essential difference between living things and inanimate clumps of carbon atoms: The former tend to be much better at capturing energy from their environment and dissipating that energy as heat. Jeremy England, a 31-year-old assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has derived a mathematical formula that he believes explains this capacity. The formula, based on established physics, indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy. This could mean that under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life. “You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant,” England said. England’s theory is meant to underlie, rather than replace, Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, which provides a powerful description of life at the level of genes and populations. “I am certainly not saying that Darwinian ideas are wrong,” he explained. “On the contrary, I am just saying that from the perspective of the physics, you might call Darwinian evolution a special case of a more general phenomenon.” His idea, detailed in a recent paper and further elaborated in a talk he is delivering at universities around the world, has sparked controversy among his colleagues, who see it as either tenuous or a potential breakthrough, or both. more at link........................ his paper: CLOSING REMARKS The process of cellular division, even in a creature as ancient and streamlined as a bacterium, is so bewilderingly complex that it may come as some surprise that physics can make any binding pronouncements about how fast it all can happen. The reason this becomes possible is that nonequilibrium processes in constant temperature baths obey general laws that relate forward and reverse transition probabilities to heat production.2 Previously, such laws had been applied successfully in understanding thermodynamics of copying “informational” molecules such as nucleic acids.8 In those cases, however, the information content of the system’s molecular structure could more easily be taken for granted, in light of the clear role played by DNA in the production of RNA and protein. What we have glimpsed here is that the underlying connection between entropy production and transition probability has a much more general applicability, so long as we recognize that “self-replication” is only visible once an observer decides how to classify the “self” in the system: only once a coarse-graining scheme determines how many copies of some object are present for each microstate can we talk in probabilistic terms about the general tendency for that type of object to affect its own reproduction, and the same system’s microstates can be coarse-grained using any number of different schemes. Whatever the scheme, however, the resulting stochastic population dynamics must obey the same general relationship entwining heat, organization, and durability. We may hope that this insight spurs future work that will clarify the general physical constraints obeyed by natural selection in nonequilibrium systems. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Sure makes a lot more sense then the biblical inspired nonsense from James Tour and his fanatical fascination with the bible.