This is incomplete; I will fill this essay in when I have clarified my thoughts on this topic.

This will be about how Darwinian evolution built on Mendelian recombination can make possible life which, locally, goes against entropy.

The principles of Darwinian evolution and Mendelian inheritance have been understood for some time now, and recent work on non-biological evolution (of a population of abstract structures, such as computer programs) has shown how the recombination or crossover that occurs in multivariate Mendelian inheritance systems provides a powerful underlying field for Darwinian evolution; the rapidity with which an evolving population adapts to produce individuals of high fitness in the population's environment is made possible by the combination of partial solutions from each of several ancestors. In response to its environment, a population developes a ``library'' or ``toolkit'' of genetic information which can be combined to produce individuals with high fitness in at least some aspects of their performance. These individuals not only have high fitness in their phenotype (expression, or extent, of their genetic material) but also hold in their genotype (representation, or intent, of their genetic material) information which may be useful in future generations.

It appear that this may be means by which life can exist against entropy; by which systems may build up their organization rather than run down to a heat death. It is something in the mathematics of selection (with proportionate passing on of the genotype) and recombination, that makes this possible. I don't claim to understand it yet, bu my intuitive view of it is as a ratchet-like system, which having made a step forward is unlikely to go back on that step.

[John's essay index]
Contact me

For other essays, see the index to this collection; and for some other thoughts, my thoughts index.

[John's home] Last modified: Sun Jun 10 22:28:51 GMT Daylight Time 2007