Going beyond Darwinian explanations

Jeremy England: “You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant.”

Ard Louis: “If England’s approach stands up to more testing, it could further liberate biologists from seeking a Darwinian explanation for every adaptation and allow them to think more generally in terms of dissipation-driven organization. They might find, for example, that the reason that an organism shows characteristic X rather than Y may not be because X is more fit than Y, but because physical constraints make it easier for X to evolve than for Y to evolve.”

Source: Quanta Magazine, January 22, 2014.

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