Quantum Biology: The New Beginning

As I have already mentioned it many times before at TSZ quantum mechanics (or quantum physics) has become an inescapable part of many sciences today. Ever since Erwin Schrödinger wrote his book entitled:  “What is life?”, it became clear to many scientists that quantum aspects of life would have to make their way to biology.

But, just as it was the case with epigenetics, Darwinists  have been resistant to anything that would contradict their preconceived dogma of evolution.

Today, most of evolutionist, though still reluctantly, accept the well established epigenetic influence in the changes of life systems, and some, including few regulars at TSZ, act as if epigenetics has always been predicted by evolution…

Will quantum aspects of life be resisted by Darwinists the same way epigenetics or the ever dwindling so-called junk-DNA in human genome was and still is?

My bet would be that it would be very foolish but Darwinists are capable of that in order to protect their holy grail-Darwinian evolution…However, in some papers, Darwinists have begun to mention the quantum processes as “not well understood”; i.e. why evolution would prefer quantum processes over classical ones… It’s a lot of fun reading those papers with the biased Darwinist scrambling to explain why classical Darwinian evolution was bumped by quantum mechanics …

Photosynthesis, bird navigation, our sense of smell, consciousness, mitosis, mutations and many more have either been confirmed as quantum driven processes or are the best suspects to become such…

On the other hand, the process of cell differentiation in embryo development, self-assembly of the molecular machines in living cells, the memory storage in human brain and many, many more are being researched as the processes that either involve, or depend on, quantum process, like quantum coherence, quantum entanglement, as well as quantum information…

Erwin Schrödinger and many others, like Bohr and Wigner, have supported the idea of the existence of some kind of vitalism as the essential difference separating an inanimate matter and the animate; or separating the matter that is dead or alive…

Will quantum vitalism turn out to be IT?

In my view, quantum vitalism is a good candidate to fill in the chasm separating the inanimate matter and life. However, I have a feeling that dark energy will turn out to be IT or, it it will be the supplemental force sustaining not only the accelerated expansion of the universe but the whole life systems known to men…

64 thoughts on “Quantum Biology: The New Beginning

  1. Rumraket:
    Quantum vitalism?

    Get lost! Give me one proof that vents can create life and I will fund your research to prove it… Untill then, good bye!

  2. Erwin Schrödinger and many others, like Bohr and Wigner, have supported the idea of the existence of some kind of vitalism as the essential difference separating an inanimate matter and the animate; or separating the matter that is dead or alive…

    That is simply false about Schrodinger: he was not a vitalist and he did not think that quantum mechanics entailed vitalism. His whole point is that quantum mechanics can explain the properties that molecules must have if mutations are possible. At no point does Schrodinger question the modern synthesis.

    Schrodinger does entertain a view about consciousness that’s based on the Upanishads, but he’s really clear that he supports that view because he thinks it’s the only one that makes philosophical sense, not because it’s entailed by quantum mechanics.

  3. Kantian Naturalist: That is simply false about Schrodinger: he was not a vitalist and he did not think that quantum mechanics entailed vitalism. His whole point is that quantum mechanics can explain the properties that molecules must have if mutations are possible. At no point does Schrodinger question the modern synthesis.

    Schrodinger does entertain a view about consciousness that’s based on the Upanishads, but he’s really clear that he supports that view because he thinks it’s the only one that makes philosophical sense, not because it’s entailed by quantum mechanics.

    Schrodinger never did, eh? What did he mean by quantum life then?

  4. J-Mac: Schrodinger never did, eh? What did he mean by quantum life then?

    There are no hits for the phrase “quantum life” in my PDF of What is Life?

    Moreover, his central point is that quantum mechanics can explain the randomness and stability of mutations.

  5. J-Mac: No? So what was his book all about?

    Surely you’ve read it, since you made the point of bringing it up.

    But just in case you haven’t, his point is that the physical basis of life would have to be a specific kind of organization of atoms that he calls an “aperiodic crystal”, because that’s how you get the randomness and stability for mutations, and there’s no evolution without mutations. Quantum mechanics explains how mutations are possible.

    The idea that the physical basis of life is an “aperiodic crystal” was pretty much vindicated with the discovery that DNA has a double-helix structure.

    (This is, by the way, what I learned in high school and college in the 1990s — the idea that mutations are explained by quantum mechanics is completely standard and not at all heterodox.)

  6. Kantian Naturalist: Surely you’ve read it, since you made the point of bringing it up.

    It doesn’t matter whether I have read the book or not. Now we know that you haven’t which brings us to the point of you making assumption based on NOTHING!!!
    I don’t care how bored you are reading your nonsense papers…
    You have embarrassed yourself today, again…
    Good bye!

  7. J-Mac: It doesn’t matter whether I have read the book or not. Now we know that you haven’t which brings us to the point of you making assumption based on NOTHING!!!
    I don’t care how borred you are reading your nonsese papers…
    You have embarrassed yourself today, again…
    Good bye!

    It does matter whether or not you’ve read the book, since you insisted on leaning upon the authority of Schrodinger’s name in support of a view that I’ve demonstrated he does not hold. I am not the person who should feel embarrassed in this conversation.

  8. why evolution would prefer quantum processes over classical ones…

    Maybe because the basic properties of atoms, the basic chemistry of the periodic table, are explained by the Schrödinger Wave Equation? And evolution cleverly decided to make use of those?

  9. In his book This is Biology: the Science of the Living World Ernst Mayr wrote about the fathers of quantum mechanics and their view of vitalism:

    “Before turning to the organicist paradigm which replaced both vitalism and physicalism, we might note in passing a rather peculiar twentieth-century phenomenon-the development of vitalistic beliefs among physicists. Niels Bohr was apparently the first to suggest that special laws not found in inanimate nature might operate in organisms. He thought of these laws as analogous to the laws of physics except for their being restricted to organisms. Erwin Schrodinger and other physicists supported similar ideas. Francis Crick (1966) devoted a whole book to refuting the vitalistic ideas of the physicists Walter Elsasser and Eugene Wigner. It is curious that a form of vitalism survived in the minds of some reputable physicists long after it had become extinct in the minds of reputable biologists.

    https://books.google.ca/books/about/This_is_Biology.html?id=-ddVamDO-xcC&redir_esc=y

  10. Joe Felsenstein: Maybe because the basic properties of atoms, the basic chemistry of the periodic table, are explained by the Schrödinger Wave Equation?And evolution cleverly decided to make use of those?

    Maybe? This is your answer?

    So… MAYBE you can also tell us how mindless, unintelligent processes of evolution cleverly decided to use quantum processes that intelligent humans became aware of them about 100 years ago and to today most of those processes are not even close to being understood?

    I have a feeling that Joe has a crystal ball that gives him a special insight into what mindless processes think and cleverly decide…lol

    What do they think about quantum vitalism? Did they leak any clever thoughts on this? 😉

  11. Mung: I think I’m going to take Mayr’s word for it. Sorry KN. 🙂

    I think that can be a mistake — very smart people are often not good readers of other smart people whose views are too different from their own.

    Karl Popper’s reading of Plato is a travesty, Bertrand Russell’s remarks on Nietzsche in History of Western Philosophy are nearly libelous, and Thomas Nagel — whose work on moral and existential issues I admire and often teach — has an inability to read Dennett that is almost legendary (see here).

    So the fact that Mayr is a world famous biologist doesn’t by itself count as evidence that his reading of Schrodinger is accurate. But you do as you wish.

  12. Kantian Naturalist: I think that can be a mistake — very smart people are often not good readers of other smart people whose views are too different from their own.

    Good point. But you left out Dawkins on religion.

  13. Mung: Good point. But you left out Dawkins on religion.

    I don’t respect Dawkins enough to include him alongside Popper, Russell, and Nagel.

    BruceS: Not once you choose to be in it. But maybe ….

    I envy your ability to avoid pointing out that bullshit is bullshit.

  14. Kantian Naturalist

    I envy [BruceS’s] ability to avoid pointing out that bullshit is bullshit.

    Why do you think I asked for the revival of the Ignore Poster function a while back?

    Out of sight, out of mind.

    Needs to be enhanced to cover OPs, however.

  15. Mung:
    I think I’m going to take Mayr’s word for it. Sorry KN. 🙂

    What are you sorry about? You shouldn’t feel sorry for pointing it out when someone was proven wrong…especially more than once on the same theme…and even more so when he is trying to pretend that no such thing has happened…

  16. For those with an open mind I recommend reading the book Life On The Edge, where the authors suggest a quantum vital spark, which would clearly explain the separation from quantum processes taking place in the animated matter (life) and inanimate one or dead…

    It is quite interesting how the authors try to propose a scientific theory based on empirical evidence and at the same time try to stay under the radar of Darwinian police…
    This example proves again how Darwinism is slowing down the progress of science because the authors are afraid of making claims that reach beyond materialism and therefore could be deemed as pseudoscience because of the possibility of reaching into the spiritual realm…

    https://books.google.ca/books/about/Life_on_the_Edge.html?id=gyaJDAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&redir_esc=y

  17. J-Mac:

    It is quite interesting how the authors try to propose a scientific theory based on empirical evidence and at the same time try to stay under the radar of Darwinian police…
    This example proves again how Darwinism is slowing down the progress of science because the authors are afraid of making claims that reach beyond materialism and therefore could be deemed as pseudoscience because of the possibility of reaching into the spiritual realm…

    I don’t quite see how this follows. I can’t see “Darwinists” denying quantum mechanics, nor do I see quantum mechanics as lying beyond the reach of materialism. On the contrary, this seems to be a solid theory explaining how important parts of the material world actually work.

    What I DO see is someone who starts with an unquestionable foregone conclusion (that there exists some immaterial agent dicking with reality beyond our ability to observe or test), and uses that conviction to overlay over any uncongenial ideas.

    What I read is “there are aspects of reality not well understood, therefore my religion.” And there is no question that the non-negotiable NEED to find religion slows genuine progress in understanding reality in detail. Saying “I don’t know” strikes me as more honest than accusing those of different faiths of being thought police. Hey, your god might be dicking with reality. I don’t know.

  18. Flint: I don’t quite see how this follows. I can’t see “Darwinists” denying quantum mechanics, nor do I see quantum mechanics as lying beyond the reach of materialism. On the contrary, this seems to be a solid theory explaining how important parts of the material world actually work.

    Maybe I didn’t explain it accurately enough…
    I was thinking about it last night and read the chapter on vitalism again.
    What the authors are proposing is the replacement of an ancient idea of vitalism that was often attributed to a soul or some other vital force that many believed made matter animate with the quantum spark of life. Since many processes in life are supported by quantum processes; photosynthesis, mitosis, bird navigation, consciousness, possibly self-assembly of molecular machines, embryo development, mutations, our sense of smell etc. the separation from those quantum processes could mean death for the organism… Therefore quantum spark of life, as they call vitalism, could be a very good explanation for many unexplained processes in life…They also go beyond that in the chapter on the origins of life.

    Why do they tread carefully while proposing the ideas?

    Just look at Jerry Coyne’s website and review some of his OP, including the recent one, where he is demanding answers from the management of a scientific journal for apparently publishing a creationist’s paper…Any scientific results, papers, books published that go against so-called “main stream consensus” are ridiculed and demanded to be retracted…The Darwinian Secret Service never sleeps…

    Regarding vitalism, even if it reaches to quantum level-lets just imagine that it is going to be embraced by the so-called main stream consensus of Darwinists-will it make the origins of life more plausible or less? If you read the book Life On The Edge, you will find the chapters on building life bottom up and top to bottom. It quickly becomes clear that although the authors try to support the evolutionary theory (because of the Darwinian police watching) the abiogenesis and evolution from “simple” molecules to more complex ones becomes virtually impossible and the authors know it, but they can’t acknowledge it in the book…
    Why?
    Unless they want to join the side of creationists, their careers are ruined… No university will hire or keep them and none so-called respected journal will publish their papers… The Darwinian Police never sleeps and they bully anyone who dares to go against materialism and Darwinism.

    If materialism based Darwinism is an established fact, what are the Darwinists afraid of? Why not offer both materialism based Darwinism and ID in schools and let students see the undeniable, scientific evidence for materialistic Darwinism and let ID be exposed?
    But the supporters of materialistic Darwinism well know they have nothing but speculative fiction based on minor changes within well established organisms that they hoped would explain the alleged major changes that can’t be observed and experimentally replicated…

    That’s why they established the Darwinian Police and that’s why they go to courts to protect their ideology… A theory based on empirical evidence, such as Einstein’s theory of gravity, doesn’t need to be protected and policed but ideology based on unfounded assumptions does…

  19. I read up until this little gem before I realized that the rest wasn’t worth reading

    But, just as it was the case with epigenetics, Darwinists have been resistant to anything that would contradict their preconceived dogma of evolution.

    My university education was in the 70s and we were taught that the phenotype was the result of the interaction. Of genetics and environment. The only thing that has happened since then is a better understanding of the mechanisms involved.

    How do you equate ‘conduct extensive research to understand the mechanisms’ with ‘resistant to anything that would contradict their preconceived dogma of evolution.’?

  20. J-Mac
    Just look at Jerry Coyne’s website and review some ofhis OP, including the recent one, where he is demanding answers from the management of a scientific journal for apparently publishing a creationist’s paper…Any scientific results, papers, books published that go against so-called “main stream consensus” are ridiculed and demanded to be retracted…The Darwinian Secret Service never sleeps…

    Your statement is simply false.
    1. The Springer journal did not “apparently” publish a creationist article, it definitely published the article, and it definitely was a creationist load of codswallop (referencing Harun Yahya, FFS?)
    2. Coyne did not demand that the paper be retracted. He politely asked the editors to examine the article to see if it met the journal’s standards
    3. Coyne’s approach is precisely how scientific discourse proceeds. If a scientist doubts the validity of a published result, she or he will almost certainly object, sometimes vehemently
    4. “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions”, Thomas Jefferson.
    In any case, good luck with the quantum woo.

  21. timothya: Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions”, Thomas Jefferson.
    In any case, good luck with the quantum woo.

    Einstein called it “spooky”. He was wrong…
    I’m not going to ridicule you… You would have understand something first…

  22. Acartia:
    I read up until this little gem before I realized that the rest wasn’t worth reading

    My university education was in the 70s and we were taught that the phenotype was the result of the interaction. Of genetics and environment. The only thing that has happened since then is a better understanding of the mechanisms involved.

    How do you equate ‘conduct extensive research to understand the mechanisms’ with ‘resistant to anything that would contradict their preconceived dogma of evolution.’?

    “And that’s the problem with the Lamarckian/evolutionary/revolutionary hypothesis. Environmentally induced changes to the DNA, usually produced by the placement of small methyl groups on DNA that affect what it does, are almost never inherited beyond one or two generations. This lack of stable change means that such environmental modifications cannot form the basis of permanent evolutionary adaptation. Ergo, it can’t revolutionize our view of evolution. As the prescient Publisher’s Weekly reviewer noted, there’s just no evidence for the heritability of “Lamarckian” changes to the DNA.”-Jerry Coyne

    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2018/08/26/epigenetics-the-return-of-lamarck-not-so-fast/

    Jerry doesn’t think epigenetic mechanisms influences evolution… I think he finished his schooling around the same time you did and yet you both appear to have differing views on epigenetics…

  23. J-Mac: Einstein called it “spooky”. He was wrong…
    I’m not going to ridicule you… You would have understand something first…

    What has this to do with your assertions about Jerry Coyne?

  24. The self-assembly processes reaches beyond the flagellum…
    In the embryo development, the cell differentiation process must take place in the right order, at the right time and at the right places…Then, those cells will have assemble into tissues that will in turn self-assemble into organs and limbs and the whole body…Who has written instructions for such a process? The sheer dumb luck?

  25. J-Mac,

    Evolution no more decided to use quantum interactions than a fluorophore decides to absorb and emit photons at a specific wavelength. Since biology is chemistry it isn’t any surprise that the same natural processes found in chemistry are found in biology. At the end of the day, phenotype is still determined by genotype.

  26. T_aquaticus: Evolution no more decided to use quantum interactions than a fluorophore decides to absorb and emit photons at a specific wavelength. Since biology is chemistry it isn’t any surprise that the same natural processes found in chemistry are found in biology. At the end of the day, phenotype is still determined by genotype.

    J-Mac would have you believe that quantum mechanics essentially involves consciousness, so there can’t be quantum mechanical phenomena without some consciousness that brings those those phenomena into existence, ergo, God.

    So, welcome to TSZ!

  27. T_aquaticus:

    Evolution no more decided to use quantum interactions than a fluorophore decides to absorb and emit photons at a specific wavelength.Since biology is chemistry it isn’t any surprise that the same natural processes found in chemistry are found in biology.At the end of the day, phenotype is still determined by genotype.

    Unfortunately you are very confused about what have written here and I’m trying to be very polite about it… If a life systems uses quantum mechanics, such it is the case in photosynthesis, the processes of quantum superposition is involved so that energy can “travel simultaneously through all possible paths” for maximum efficiency…This is written into the math of quantum theory, which describes the position of a quantum particle in terems of probabilities…
    So unless evolution is superb at calculating probabilities and then implementing them with some kind of a magical foresight, Darwinism as we know it, reaches another chasm impossible to overcome…
    Unless you have faith?

  28. Kantian Naturalist: J-Mac would have you believe that quantum mechanics essentially involves consciousness, so there can’t be quantum mechanical phenomena without some consciousness that brings those those phenomena into existence, ergo, God.

    So, welcome to TSZ!

    Photon harvesting with close to 100% efficiency via quantum superposition in photosynthesis???

  29. J-Mac:
    … This is written into the math of quantum theory, which describes the position of a quantum particle in terems of probabilities…
    So unless evolution is superb at calculating probabilities and then implementing them with some kind of a magical foresight, Darwinism as we know it, reaches another chasm impossible to overcome…
    Unless you have faith?

    So, biological systems cannot use quantum phenomena by themselves because quantum phenomena are described in terms of probabilities, and evolution would have to calculate probabilities to use quantum phenomena. There you have it, a description uses probabilities, therefore the phenomenon doesn’t happen unless some[thing/one] can calculate its probabilities.

    Since the height of people in a room is described by an average height and variation by some standard deviation, people in a stadium cannot have heights unless the stadium has learned to calculate averages and standard deviations and then use them with some kind of foresight.

    This must be the stupidest argument for magical beings in the sky I’ve ever read.

  30. Entropy: So, biological systems cannot use quantum phenomena because quantum phenomena are described in terms of probabilities, and evolution would have to calculate probabilities to use quantum phenomena. There you have it, a description uses probabilities, therefore the phenomenon doesn’t happen unless someone can calculate its probabilities.

    Since the height of people in a room is described by an average height and variation by some standard deviation, people in a stadium cannot have heights unless the stadium has learned to calculate averages and standard deviations and then use them with some kind of foresight.

    This must be the stupidest argument for magical beings in the sky I’ve ever read.

    Oh boy! You no idea what you are talking about…
    Try calculating the probabilities in quantum superposition in photosynthesis… I give you 1 year lol
    BTW: In QM ,sometimes unfortunately, it’s easier because a particle can be in all “possible places at the same time” … 😂
    ETA: you can use quantum computer if you wish 🤣

  31. J-Mac:
    Oh boy! You no idea what you are talking about…

    It looks like it’s you who has no idea, since you insist on making the very same mistake. Phenomena do not require anybody to describe them in order to occur. Get it now J-Mac?

    J-Mac:
    Try calculating the probabilities in quantum superposition in photosynthesis… I give you 1 year lol

    What for? What will change if I do or do not calculate them? If there’s such a thing as quantum superposition in photosynthesis, do you think photosynthesis will stop happening unless somebody does the math? If so, then you should warn the scientific community and get them to do the math so that photosynthesis continues. I think they’ll laugh at you, but you’re so convinced that you must expect them to get on their knees, worship your enormous intelligence, and get to work on those calculations. Right?

    J-Mac:
    BTW: In QM ,sometimes unfortunately, it’s easier because a particle can be in all “possible places at the same time” … 😂

    Thanks for making my point yet again. You have no clue, yet you’re arrogantly dismissive. Since you think that phenomena won’t happen unless someone does the math, can you explain to me how do you think that quantum phenomena were discovered if nobody was calculating anything about them, thus, in your cartoon view of reality, it wasn’t happening?

    J-Mac:
    ETA: you can use quantum computer if you wish🤣

    🤣 indeed. The most astoundingly stupid argument for magical beings in the sky ever, and you have no clue. If somebody had told me that someone could be that clueless, I would have never believed it.

  32. J-Mac: Unfortunately you are very confusedabout what have written here and I’m trying tobe very polite about it… If a life systems uses quantum mechanics, such it is the case in photosynthesis, the processes of quantum superposition is involved so that energy can “travel simultaneously through all possible paths” for maximum efficiency…This is written into the math of quantum theory, which describes the position of a quantum particle in terems of probabilities…
    So unless evolution is superb at calculating probabilities and then implementing them with some kind of a magical foresight, Darwinism as we know it, reaches another chasm impossible to overcome…
    Unless you have faith?

    Life uses quantum mechanics in the same way all matter uses quantum mechanics. Life is not a special case. All evolution sees is a chemical it makes allows for the reduction of carbon to oxygen bonds. Evolution has no idea that any quantum events are occurring.

  33. J-Mac: his is written into the math of quantum theory, which describes the position of a quantum particle in terems of probabilities…
    So unless evolution is superb at calculating probabilities and then implementing them with some kind of a magical foresight, Darwinism as we know it, reaches another chasm impossible to overcome…

    You seem to be assuming that a physical process needs to be capable of solving the equations of physics in order to be described using those equations.

    Do you think that apple trees need to calculate the inverse square law in order for apples to always hit the ground?

    If not (as I would assume) then I don’t see the difference here, and I think you’re quite deeply confused about the difference between classical mechanics and quantum mechanics.

  34. Kantian Naturalist:
    Do you think that apple trees need to calculate the inverse square law in order for apples to always hit the ground?

    I don’t know why, but I suspect that J-Mac will miss the point and insist that the quantum mechanics math is too complicated.

  35. Kantian Naturalist: You seem to be assuming that a physical process needs to be capable of solving the equations of physics in order to be described using those equations.

    I’m not assuming… I know that plants use mathematical equations in quantum photosynthesis to calculate the ratios between light absorption and energy storage for the optimal energy use rate…
    Not only that, mutant plants either can’t do it or their calculation of light absorption process vs starch reserves is disrupted…
    Thank you Dr. Behe and Dr. Lonnig for exposing the Darwinian Devolution!!!
    I owe you both more than lunch!!!

    How do you like that Kantian?

  36. Entropy: I don’t know why, but I suspect that J-Mac will miss the point and insist that the quantum mechanics math is too complicated.

    Apparently it isn’t for plants who have used it long before humans were consciously aware of it

  37. Kantian Naturalist: Do you think that apple trees need to calculate the inverse square law in order for apples to always hit the ground?

    Don’t be silly, the apple does, not the tree.

  38. Quantum mechanics is just a description of the regularities observed at the atomic and subatomic level.

    That it is discordant with billiard ball determinism is surprising and inconvenient for some philosophies. But it is just a description, and not even a “final” description.

    As Newtonian mechanics was quite sufficient for aiming Howitzers and rockets to the moon, QM is sufficient for designing computer chips. But it is not a philosophy, even if some of its expounders engage in philosophy.

    Creationists want science to tackle “why” questions. This is lurking behind the word “design.” Not that patterns in nature are complex, beautiful and elegant, but that they are intended buy an intender.

    QM does not reveal whyness, only howness.

  39. petrushka: Creationists want science to tackle “why” questions.

    Most, if not all, humans want “why” questions answered and any serious philosophy attempts to. This is not restricted to creationism.

    There are also philosophies that attempt to explain some “why” questions away. They are not philosophies without “why” questions, but a sort of attempt at an answer to those questions, because those questions really need an answer.

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