Was quantum mechanics use by biological systems predicted by evolution?

As most of the readers at TSZ already know, quantum mechanics, but especially a fairly new branch of it – quantum biology, are some of my favorite subjects and a part of the many hobbies I have. Quantum biology is not only fascinating but it is clear that it is going to be, and it already is in many cases, the science of the not so distant future.


Let’s just quote one article:

” …by applying quantum mechanics to biology, we’re beginning to unravel some of science’s biggest and longest running mysteries. The burgeoning field of quantum biology is today, helping us to understand bird migration, photosynthesis, and maybe even our sense of smell…”

The use of quantum mechanics in bird migration, photosynthesis, and even our sense of smell have already been confirmed by scientists. Other areas of interest of biological systems possibly using quantum mechanics are: embryo development (use of quantum information in cell differentiation), mutations, self-assembly processes, such as the bacterial flagellum and so on…

One of the most fascinating implications of quantum mechanics in biological systems is the use of quantum mechanics in human consciousness proposed by Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff over 20 years ago. More and more experiments seem to confirm their theory.

However, what is quite mind-boggling is not the fact that evolutionists can no longer deny the many quantum effects on life systems. They begin to insert quantum mechanics in their evolutionary speculations as if quantum mechanics use by birds to navigate, by photosynthesis to harvest sunlight for energy, and humans in the sense of smell, are not only a normal part of evolutionary theory. They begin to pretend as if quantum mechanics had always been predicted by evolutionary theory… Evolutionists begin to pretend that life systems use quantum mechanics to gain evolutionary advantages…

How did the life systems evolve to use quantum mechanics? It is another of the many mysteries that don’t fit and can’t be explained by evolutionary theory…

But I propose the mechanism of directed, non-random mutations via quantum entanglement and random, quantum selection, since quantum mechanics with the spooky actions of sub-particles being in two places at the same time…

The evolutionary circus continues to roll as if nothing has ever been wrong and can ever be wrong about the theory that is not even wrong…

Who can argue with that?

55 thoughts on “Was quantum mechanics use by biological systems predicted by evolution?

  1. This reminds me of a wonderful argument by a creationist. Pointing out that some birds have feather colors that depend not on pigments, but on diffraction colors (iridescence) caused by very closely spaced ridges on the feathers, the creationist argued that these could not have evolved because birds do not understand the relevant physics.

  2. Joe Felsenstein: …the creationist argued that these could not have evolved because birds do not understand the relevant physics.

    And you think birds do understand the relevant physics?

  3. Mung: And you think birds do understand the relevant physics?

    Not only that, birds use quantum coherence and are able to maintain it constantly (unlike intelligent scientists, one would hope, in the lab) to be able to navigate and this ability must have evolved by random, undirected processes. How else? All one need is faith:

    The Quantum Robin
    “Robins and Radiofrequencies A key experiment, performed as a diagnostic test for the involvement of radical pairs in magnetic sensing, may shed light on this question of spin-decoherence. Ritz and the Wiltschkos subjected caged robins to time-dependent magnetic fields to see whether their ability to detect the Earth’s magnetic field could be disrupted. The idea behind the work came from previous observations that a radical pair’s dance can be modified by an oscillating magnetic field at the correct frequency. Just as an operatic soprano can, reputedly, shatter a wine glass by singing at the pitch that matches its natural resonance frequency, so one can interfere with the choreography of a radical pair using a magnetic field of the appropriate frequency. What Ritz and his colleagues found was truly remarkable. When subjected to a radiofrequency magnetic field oscillating at 1.3 MHz (1.3 million cycles per second) some
    3,000 times weaker than the natural magnetic field, the birds were no longer able to orient themselves magnetically. At half or at double that frequency, the radiofrequency field had to be 30 times stronger to have a similar disruptive effect on the birds’ magnetic compass.
    If these experiments can be successfully repeated in another laboratory (independent replication is the gold standard in scientific research), these results provide the most convincing evidence so far that the compass is radical pair-based. There are solid physical reasons why radical pairs subject to the Earth’s magnetic field in Frankfurt should resonate near 1.3 MHz and why other proposed magnetic sensory mechanisms should not be sensitive to this frequency. The reason the results are so striking is that the radiofrequency magnetic field that produces this resonance is incredibly weak. There are (at least) two ways to understand the birds’ pronounced sensitivity at 1.3 MHz. First, spin-decoherence could be exceedingly slow. It requires time for a radical pair to respond to a magnetic field: the weaker the field, the longer is needed for it to have a significant effect. A decoherence time of a microsecond is long enough for the Earth’s field to affect the singlet-triplet dance. A radiofrequency field more than a thousand times weaker would require the decoherence to be more than a thousand times slower to produce a similar effect. Such a leisurely leakage of electron spin-coherence is unprecedented in many years of laboratory studies of radicals. Microsecond decoherence is relatively routine; a thousand microseconds would require some pretty unusual conditions. This is why radical pair magnetic sensing has intrigued quantum physicists. If this explanation is correct and the reasons for the slow decoherence can be understood, it may be possible to make much more efficient quantum devices. ”

    The quantum needle of the avian magnetic compass

  4. I checked the article cited by the end of J-Mac’s block quote. It isn’t the bird controlling anything, or displaying any knowledge of quantum mechanics. It’s a protein’s tryptophan (one of the 20 amino-acids found in proteins), interacting with FAD (a very common cofactor). The interaction was simulated at the quantum level to see if that could account for the precision that the protein exhibits in detecting the Earth’s magnetic field. Nothing like the woo-woo that J-Mac writes. All normal phenomena, but that nobody had simulated at the quantum level. The article is a case of “we cannot explain this precision using those old simulations based on classical mechanics simplifications, so let’s see if we get some insight simulating at the quantum level, oh, look, we do get some insight!” It’s about how some biological molecules work, not about birds learning quantum mechanics and then applying their principles.

    J-Mac doesn’t understand what (s)he’s reading, so (s)he reads woo-woo into it out of ignorance, illiteracy, and personal preferences for what things should be about. Not too surprising given that J-Mac thinks that (s)he can quickly learn quantum mechanics by simply “googling” some “keywords” with a little help from her/his kids.

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