This series of papers extends Natural Selection beyond the Living World into Reality in general. It sees all “complication” not just as a summation of Parts, or even laws, but as a necessary development of things, involving the emergence of wholly new features, when it is usually, and correctly, encapsulated by the term Evolution.
Where with Life we have the mechanisms of qualitative change as variation based on mutation, plus selection via competition, this more general form drives change via selection between competing chemical processes, and the transformation of both context and potentiality.
Fitness to survive, reproduce and prosper in the form which drives Evolution, is replaced in the more basic form by advantage to conducive, complementary processes and the successive transformation of the underlying situations entirely without Life being either present or necessary.
This view of Reality runs entirely counter to the famed Second Law of Thermodynamics, and therefore, of course, requires justification. It is explained in terms of context, wherein the Second Law is a product of interludes of maximally constrained stability, while competitive advances in order occur in quite different situations of unconstrained, maximum opportunities for change. And these alternating phases turn out to be natural features of systems driven in cycles of any kind. The pattern involving longer periods of relative stability, interspersed with short interludes of radical, qualitative change, is, in fact, the norm in the trajectories of change in such systems.
And the Key Events in these processes are the eruptions into revolutionary episodes, which we call Emergences. Clearly, the most significant and undeniable of these has to be that which produced the very first Living Things. And this Event alone confirms that Selection in some form must have preceded Life! It was, in fact, the Source of Life on Earth.
Many important fallacies are addressed in these papers, including the usual mathematical definition of Probability, and its false use as a Cause(?) of Life. And, most crucially, we address the concept of Competition involving mutually conducive and mutually contending chemical processes, which are the necessary agents of Selection in these circumstances. The crux has to be the revolutionary Events called Emergences, which had clearly already occurred many times throughout the long history of Reality, prior to the Emergence of Life, and which are generally ignored by most current Science.
1. This paper attempts to define a more general form of Darwin’s Natural Selection, as it must have applied even before Life itself had emerged – that is entirely within inanimate Matter.
2. Of course, all the “living furniture” of Darwin’s Special Case cannot be employed when dealing only with inanimate matter and its processes. There can be NO heredity and NO random mutations, so what might drive Selection before Life?
3. We have to consider the World before Life as also subject to great activity and change, whether internally via volcanism, or driven by the heat of the Sun, the World must have been seething with chemical processes of one sort or another.
4. There would be chemical reactions, and even organic chemical reactions prior to Life, and these would NOT necessarily merely re-mix to give general randomness everywhere. Indeed, processes could be either mutually conducive or mutually contending in their required resources and delivered products, and this would affect their magnitude and dominance, and the nature of the mix would change significantly all the time.
5. Some of these processes would actually compete for the same resources, and any advantage to one process rather than its direct competitor would cause it to preferentially grow in significance.
6. Finally, the preponderance of mutually conducive processes could, and indeed did, then result in sequences of such things, and occasionally even in cycles. Now all of this is of definitely non-living processes, BUT it can no longer be said to be totally random and entirely without direction. Indeed, the probabilities of things would be changing all the time, caused by increasingly dominant forms transforming the context.!