Saturday, December 1, 2018

Philosophy Wire: Unpredictability in life.

Scientists theorized that they could manipulate a protein one mutation at a time and predict its evolution. They sought to prove it. And failed. They do think, however, that they've found a fundamental truth underlying unpredictability in a biological system. Basic physical limitations make uncertainty the norm, they reported in a paper published online Oct. 23, 2017 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In their paper, Sailer and Harms suggest that physics, particularly thermodynamics, is at play. Each mutation alters the protein in a small, but nonlinear way. This means that the effect of each mutation depends on all mutations that occurred before.

"[…] we showed, fundamentally, is that even if you know a lot about a system, about a protein, you cannot predict how it evolves because of the physics of the system", Harms said. "There are physical rules that limit evolution and its predictability." [1]

We live in a sea of matter.
In an unpredictable world.
We live in a world of chaos.
And yet, we try to find order.
And we do. Because we create it.

We reduce entropy. We create. We make order. We fight against this cosmos every minute. And the world tries to destroy us back.

Stars explode. Black holes get created. Galaxies are formed. And yet, in a poor home, a man loves his girls. A woman adores her husband. A child looks up into his parents. And they all sit together and eat on Sunday noon.

And the stars stop exploding.
The black holes evaporate.
Even for a nanosecond, the cosmos is happy and calm again…

(c) Philosophy WIRES - Commenting world news from philosophy's perspective…

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