Saturday, November 7, 2009

Randomness and purpose II

Paul Ewart points how "Disorder and chaos arising from chance are often seen as destructive and randomness per se as evidence that there is no purpose in the universe." But he uses examples from physics to argue that chaos can be constructive and chance to be consistent with meaning and purpose.

I agree. Randomness is actually necessary for biomolecular functionality including optimising the rate of specific chemical reactions. If you want a very technical discussion see the discussion in a recent talk that I gave at a scientific workshop in Germany.

In the book, Biological Physics: Energy, Information, and Life, Philip Nelson begins each chapter with a question. Chapter 4 begins with

Biological question: If everything is so random in the nanoworld of cells, how can we say anything predictive about cells?

Physical idea: The collective activity of many randomly moving actors
can be effectively predictable, even if individual motions are not.

No comments:

Post a Comment