Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Living Things Emerging in Evolution + 2nd Law of Thermodynamics VS Evolution

Argued on Facebook. Here to promulgate the knowledge.

Steven Hughes// Can somebody tell me , how did non living matter develop the ability to reproduce ?
Ivan Toshev//
At the beginning there was the ocean with all the building blocks of life ( randomly floating around.
They were moving around by pure chance, and so they would stick together in all sorts of random shapes. There were circles, and springs, and formless clusters of them. They would often disintegrate, of course, after some time.
Most of the combinations dont have special functions, however the more complicated do. There would be many that would look like organelles of a cell, random, of course, and over large distances, but still, there would be a strand of RNA here and another organelle a few meters away, and a patch of a cell wall on the other side of the world. If there are enough building blocks, it is inevitable that such arrangements come to being.
And so, sooner or later, they would come together. The RNA and some ribosomes would find themselves (maybe along with some more building blocks that have formed into random useless stuff) inside enough cell wall matter that it will wrap around them. Or it wouldn't, but after a few million of years and many failed chances it will. And there you have it: the first cell on Earth! Capable of replicating.... See More

Surely, something could have happened and it could have swam into some acid that would dissolve it... But early Earth had millions of years at its disposal, so the above thing happened again. And again. Until it replicated enough so that random deaths did not affect its population.

In fact, what I just came up with didnt stop happening back then. I'm pretty certain that because the water around us is teeming with biological and non-biological particles, such spontaneous generations of cell parts - and eventually whole simple cells - happen every moment. In the local pond, where the remains of dead cells float, they can sometimes merge together (how the cell membrane works is another thing, but it allows it) into something that can grow and split into two. And there you have it - life out of nowhere. It happens right now in the sea, and in the sewers, and in our juice. Countless such events happen and countless primitive cells come together, and probably dissolve soon, even as I am writing this.

Hope I answered your question :)
NOTE: I haven't read the Abiogenesis wkpdia article yet, I just found out it existed. Up there is just logic, I hope my facts are right.

Steven Hughes// [Argument from 2nd law of thermodynamics]
Ivan Toshev//
As for thermodynamics, natural selection is not disturbed by it - on the contrary.

Living things are like sophisticated mechanisms that are constantly facing the 2nd law and the environment's efforts to dissolve them, blow them away, melt them and so on.

Natural selection, however, eliminates individuals even faster than the 2nd law would do. New living beings are always born, and while alive, they try to resist both the 2nd law, with wind/rain/hostile environment, and natural selection due to other living beings similar to them trying to survive.... See More

The 2nd law, basically, picks off random individuals who have walked over the wrong cliff or have been hit by lightning. So, evolution, we would think, would not be happening.

This struggle for survival picks off chosen individuals - the weakest and least fit for the world. Thing is, the struggle for survival is a far more potent agent of death to a population.
It statistically causes more deaths than random accidents to the animals in a herd do.

And so, natural selection is more merciless and demanding from living things and therefore is more influential in the selection of who will live in each next generation.

Ivan Toshev//
To clarify, natural selection seems to reduce entropy, but it does it at the price of increasing it overall.

Because natural selection works when the individuals are actively trying to survive. And this action of theirs requires energy and food. And so by using up food to stay going, the living things actually do increase the entropy more than natural selection manages to decrease it.