Scientists Discover Missing Law of Nature That Explains Evolution
Scientists and philosophers have unveiled what they are referring to as a “missing law of nature.” This significant discovery, published in the PNAS journal, is attributed to a multidisciplinary team from prominent U.S. institutes and universities.
The new law claims to describe the behaviors of complex systems across the universe, addressing a gap in the established physical laws.
Beyond Known Physical Laws
Physical laws like gravity and thermodynamics are well-known, yet they have not been able to comprehensively explain the behavior of complex systems in the universe.
This limitation has persisted for years. The new discovery aims to provide explanations where traditional physical laws have been inadequate, opening avenues for a deeper understanding of universal behaviors and processes.
Introduction of a New Concept
In the detailed paper, the multidisciplinary team unveils a law that explains that evolution is not only restricted to life on Earth, but extends to massively complex systems from planets to atoms.
It articulates that these systems naturally evolve to states of increased diversity and complexity, marking a significant stride in our comprehension of natural processes and systems.
The Scope of Evolution
The research establishes that evolution is not an exclusive characteristic of biological entities. The Carnegie Institution for Science affirms that complex natural systems, whether living or nonliving, are formed from different components like atoms and molecules.
These systems undergo natural processes leading to various configurations, and a select few survive through a process called “selection for function.”
The Law of Increasing Functional Information
The newly introduced law, termed “the Law of Increasing Functional Information,” postulates that systems evolve when diverse configurations undergo selection for one or more functions.
Astrobiologist Dr. Michael L. Wong emphasizes the role of ‘selection for function’ as a critical component of this proposed law, indicating a systematic process of evolution applicable to diverse natural configurations.
Building on Darwin’s Concepts
Their work builds upon Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, enriching and expanding its scope. The team identified three distinct types of ‘selection for function’ in nature: stability, dynamic systems nurtured by ongoing energy supplies, and novelty.
These categories represent the intricate pathways through which diverse systems, both living and nonliving, evolve and diversify over time.
Examples in Evolutionary History
The concept of novelty is evident in the historical evolution of life. Processes like photosynthesis and the evolution of multicellular life exemplify cells adopting new behaviors.
In the mineral kingdom, evolution is equally evident. The Earth’s minerals have evolved from a mere 20 at the solar system’s inception to almost 6,000, thanks to ongoing physical, chemical, and biological processes.
Extending Beyond Biological Evolution
Co-author Robert M. Hazen explains that Darwinian theory is a special instance within a broader natural occurrence.
He stresses that the theory of selection for function isn’t restricted to biological systems but is applicable to stars, atoms, and minerals. Each is subject to selective pressures, leading to the evolution of myriad configurations across the natural world.
Implications of the Discovery
The introduction of this law opens doors to a deeper comprehension of the universe’s existence and the distinct characteristics of life compared to other complex evolving systems.
In an era where autonomous AI systems are under scrutiny, having a law that outlines the evolution of both natural and symbolic systems could provide critical insights and guidelines.
A Universal Phenomenon
Life is often highlighted as the quintessential example of evolution, but Dr. Wong emphasizes that it’s not an exclusive instance.
The new law illuminates the ubiquitous nature of evolution, which is manifested in a variety of complex systems across the universe. This realization invites further exploration and understanding of the intricacies of the cosmos.
Insights and Future Exploration
The discovery suggests a systematic and universal pattern of evolution extending beyond biological life. It illustrates a consistent process where natural and even symbolic systems are subjected to selective pressures, leading to their evolution.
This knowledge could potentially influence strategies for artificial evolution and offer profound insights into the cosmos’s multifaceted nature.
A New Chapter in Understanding the Universe
The unveiling of this new law marks a significant milestone in the ongoing quest to understand the universe’s intricacies.
It provides a foundational basis for future research and exploration, promising to deepen our insights into the evolution of complex systems. Each discovery, like this one, adds a valuable piece to the intricate puzzle of the cosmos.