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The Evolution of Matter(?)

  1. Jan 23, 2009 #1


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    At first I was completely against the use of the term evolution to describe non-living things changing... such as stars and planets etc..

    But, when I thought about it, it became increasingly obvious that life is composed of matter and that matter had evolved in order to produce life as we know it.

    Then I googled my questions about "the evolution of matter" and was surprised to find a number of papers on that very same topic.

    My main question is... can we call the evolution of matter a result of "natural selection"? And the answer is beginning to look like ,yes we can. what do you think?

    Here are some of the ideas and links to the thousands of papers on the net regarding the evolution of matter.

    Gustave Le BON
    The Evolution of Matter

    Translated by F. Legge
    The Walter Scott Publishing Co., Ltd. (London)
    Ch. Scribner’s Sons (New York)


    The Quantum Evolution of Matter:
    The Mechanical Unit of Complexification
    A Sketch

    George L. Farre
    Department of Philosophy
    Georgetown University
    Washington, D.C. USA 20057

    http://www.library.utoronto.ca/see/SEED/Vol2-2/2-2 resolved/Farre_abstract.htm

    There's plenty more of these if you take a look.
    (this thread may belong somewhere else... please feel free to move it ... thank you)
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  3. Jan 23, 2009 #2


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    "Evolution" is just an adjective. The word existed before Darwin's theory and so it is perfectly applicable to describe change.
  4. Jan 23, 2009 #3


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    Thanks chemisttree... maybe move this to the bin then?!!
  5. Jan 23, 2009 #4
    Well can we call it natural selection? Was there a point in which particles were created at random and the only stable particles formed from it were protons and electrons (or quarks in general)?
  6. Jan 24, 2009 #5


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    Look at the evolution of life. Natural selection results in an organism with traits that will adapt best to a specific environment. It also seems to go in a direction toward complexity or conglomeration. It appears that life started out as something less than a single cell and evolved from there into more complex combinations of cells working together because that configuration survived and interacted better with the environment. Can we say the same thing about the evolution of matter?
  7. Jan 24, 2009 #6
    So long as you don't confuse the two concepts I really don't think it matters, most people are able to tell the difference between the evolution of the stars and the survival of those most able to adapt, commonly called the fittest.

    Not really but most people don't mix biology and star formation. :tongue2:

    Besides overall the Universe, as far as we can tell, appears to be headed in the opposite direction ultimately.
  8. Jan 24, 2009 #7


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    I wonder if we can call it "the evolution and survival of processes" with regard to the formation of the elements and the establishment of natural laws. The natural laws of condensation, coagulation , gravity and so on did not just appear overnight... they had to evolve out of a process of natural selection as well.

    edit) this would have to include the process of entropy. There had to be a natural selection of this process as well.
  9. Jan 24, 2009 #8
    See thats the problem, I don't think there was any choice. Matter didn't choose to be attracted by gravity, it has always existed. So one would think that the early universe would be almost identical every time because it lacks any variation compared to complex chemical bonding which causes us to exist.
  10. Jan 24, 2009 #9


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    I'm not sure if anyone knows or not but I don't think gravity has, as you suggest, "always existed"... what's your source for this statement.

    Also, entropy may not have "always existed".

    My suggestion is that these processes developed in the face of necessity or through "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest" processes.

    In the link below they're talking about how the universe started from a "low entropy state".

    oops.... http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0512070

    I'm not sure how one would measure the state of entropy that was taking place 13 billion years ago... but it seems probable to me that during the BB and soon afterwards there was absolutely no entropy. My guess is that there would be no gravity as well and especially no coagulation. So, these states and processes had to develop or "evolve" at some point due to conditions and some criteria that allowed (or resulted in) the universe surviving.
  11. Jan 24, 2009 #10
    In order for there to be "natural selection" there must be reproduction with variation. Because atoms don't reproduce (each atom formed "separately" as far as I know, one does not cause another to form), it doesn't make sense to say that they evolve in the same sense that life does.
  12. Jan 24, 2009 #11
    Take a look at these two links:
    Fecund universes

    Perhaps it is not that matter itself that is evolving, but the evolution of different universes whose parameters dictate the formation and stability of matter? The fine-tuned universe theory states that if theses parameters were far from those of our universe, the formation of matter, elements, chemicals and life would be very unlikely. This goes along with the anthropic principal.

    The fecund universes theory by Lee Smolin says that universes with stable fundamental constant parameters (fine structure, strong coupling, particle masses) could give birth to new universes via black holes with slightly different parameters. This suggests that the more stable and "successful" universes would have more "offspring", and that they would be slightly different than the parent universe, possibly leading to a kind of universal evolution.

    I hope at least some of this helps.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009
  13. Jan 25, 2009 #12
    In a sense yes, but often creationists like to compare the two so I'm wary of using them in the same sentence. That said you could stretch evolution to say it was a form of negative entropy, creating order from disorder, but again you are anthropomorphising it too much, it is essentially just what happens given the initial variables x and y,z etc. Of course the Earth is not a system that is enclosed, like the Universe is, so it is not a system that stands on the laws of entropy.
  14. Jan 25, 2009 #13


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    That's pretty damn cool.

    And it still reflects the idea of natural selection and survival of the fittest.

    Its not anthropomorphic to look at the evolution of a universe in terms of natural selection etc... if anything... if there is a bias... it is "biopomorphic".

    But, biomorphoic doesn't describe the process of "successful" selection and formation of matter or natural laws because life (bio) is part and parcel with the formation and natural selection of forms with in nature. Life is simply an extension of the evolution of a universe. Using the terms that were developed to describe the evolution of life does not mean we are showing bias or "biopomorphism"... it just means we do not have other terms for the "macro/micro processes" of universal evolution.
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