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Truly Natural Selection (Part 4) Inanimate Competition

SERIES: Truly Natural Selection
AUTHOR: Jim Schofield


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. But, perhaps the pre-Life processes of “Truly Natural Selection” have not been given sufficient attention so far in this series of papers. There is a definite step-function of change in selection once Life has occurred, and we cannot merely extrapolate backwards from Living Selection to the whole prior history of developments in Reality.

2. The holist approach, though evidently correct, has never developed a “tool” for the analysis of its processes. In the hands of great artists it still does indeed reveal very profound aspects or moments of holistic Reality. But unlike its opposite Plurality, it doesn’t give us a useable methodology. It remains woollily explanatory without supplying any applicable method.

3. Though no variation and competition involving organisms is available in the non living World, there are factors which though very different, still suffice to allow selection and consequent developments to take place.

4. The proof is there too! From Supernovae to the Origin of Life itself – these all appeared in a non-living Universe. And a thorough-going study of such things reveals that, as well as incremental changes there are also cataclysmic, creative Events which produce significantly different, and altogether NEW, things.

5. The Key elements are processes which use resources and deliver products, and these can relate to one another in important ways. They can be mutually conducive (positively assisting one another), or mutually contending (inhibiting each other – in fact competing)

6. And the result of these relationships is that the conducive processes proliferate, while the contending ones are massively pruned! This means that out of chaos a measure of order naturally emerges. Selection of the conducive processes also changes the mix dramatically – the actual ground of the situation. The mixes become much less random and diverse, and certain things begin to dominate.

7. Now we are not dealing with living things, but inanimate processes, and yet certain sets of such processes will tend to dominate and replace seeming randomness with a kind of direction and stability. These universal processes of accelerated change resulting in Stability are termed Emergences. And the greatest ever of these took place within non living matter. It was the Origin of Life on Earth.

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