QR4.8.3 Evolving Not Designed

Darwin’s great idea was that the human species was naturally selected by evolution over millions of years rather than made by a divine intelligence as it is today. The conditions necessary for species to evolve are identified as:

1. Generation. Species generate offspring that carry on their traits.

2. Variation. The offspring’s traits vary, for example by mutation.

3. Selection. Offspring that survive are selected to continue their traits.

Evolution is essentially an iterative method that tries out various biological patterns and selects those that survive to define the future. It contradicts the orthodox religious view of a divine creator with a preconceived plan.

If the quantum world explores every option and selects one to be a physical event, Darwin’s theory can then apply if species is replaced by quantum entity, so a photon is subject to evolution as it has:

1. Generation. The photon process generates “offspring” by instantiation.

2. Variation. Photon instances vary in properties like location and direction.

3. Selection. One instance is selected to restart the photon in a physical event.

When a photon cloud passes through Young’s slits to hit a screen point, it generates many instance variants, one of which triggers a server restart that selects how the photon is reborn. Light finds the fastest path to any destination by a quantum evolution, where the instance that restarts the server first is “more fit”. It succeeded accidentally but that the photon as a whole finds the fastest path wasn’t an accident at all, as some instance always finds the fastest way.

By trying every option, photons combined into electrons, a new entity “species” that behaves differently from light. An electron occupies the channels of a node axis as a species occupies a niche in nature, so it is constantly bombarded by competitors for its quantum niche as a species faces competition in a biological niche. The electron structure is only stable if it survives to exclude other entities from its niche. In the evolution of matter, stability replaces biological survival.

Quantum randomness is a problem for both physical realism and conventional theology. It is pointless in a clockwork universe because it introduces errors in the machine, as what use is a clock that gives random time or a machine that does random things? Randomness is equally unhelpful in a god-designed universe because it interferes with the divine plan, hence Einstein didn’t like the idea that God plays dice with universe. To evolve requires randomness which denies God’s supremacy in theism and denies the supremacy of physical laws in physics. A God that exerts control by rolling dice is as embarrassing to theology as physical laws that work by random choices is to science, but are these the only options?

Quantum realism accepts what physical realism and theism reject because the evolution of matter needs randomness no less that the evolution of life does. In biological evolution, species generate gene blends and what survives is selected to carry on. In the evolution of matter, quantum entities generate processing blends and what is stable is selected to carry on. In both cases, evolution needs randomness to succeed so the world of matter is finding what survives, just as life is.

In current science, evolution began with life but in quantum realism, a grand evolution began when the universe did, as electrons, neutrinos, quarks, protons, neutrons and atoms evolved long before life did. Why differentiate the evolution of matter from the evolution on life, if the same principles of generation, variation and selection operate? Even if biological evolution is restricted to our tiny earth, the grand evolution continues throughout the universe, as stars continue to make matter to this day. Without stars creating heavy atoms like carbon, we couldn’t have evolved so the lesser evolution of life requires the greater evolution of matter, and both are ongoing.

The standard model assumes the big bang created “fundamental particles” of matter but in quantum realism, matter had to evolve from photons because there were no divine shortcuts. Higher elements had to be made in the matter factories we call stars or in a supernova sacrifice. What drives our universe to evolve isn’t dead matter following fixed laws or the plan of a divine being but the nature of quantum reality. That the grand evolution of the universe was built-in at its quantum birth suggests a living universe evolving up not a dead universe running down.

That a river is finely-tuned for crocodiles to live in doesn’t mean it was designed for them but that crocodiles evolved to live as rivers allowed. In the same way, the physical world evolved as it did because the quantum environment allowed it. The physical universe wasn’t fine-tuned to evolve any more than crocodiles were fine-tuned to in rivers. It inherited the ability to evolve from its quantum origin so it is fine-tuned because it evolved not because it was designed so. Evolution, like life, always finds a way. Again, that our universe is evolving suggests it is alive, so is it unpredictable?