|Searching for configurations|
The foregoing is an introductory preamble to some remarks made by Denis Alexander in his book "Creation or evolution? Do we have to choose", remarks I would like to showcase. As I have worked through this book what piqued my interest most recently is Alexander's section on "natural selection" in chapter 4. Now, as I have said before unless the informational front-loading of the spongeam exists (which I actually doubt) then conventional evolution is not going to be the underlying mechanism of change in evolution: The evolutionary search space is simply too large to be explored by the parallel resources of non-quantum trial and error processes such as is envisaged in ordinary evolution. But having said that Alexander describes some other biological processes in his book which are known to exist and which work using the universal search, find, reject and select structure and these mechanisms are not controversial (I think). Alexander refers to these biological versions of "natural selection" in the following general terms:
....we see the same principle of abundance and selection operating time and again.....Jesus himself used the same idea in his famous parable of the sower who needs to scatter far more seed than ever will germinate and lead to a good crop (Matthew 13:13ff).
He then goes on to give some real biological examples (See pages 103 to 105):.
1. In the development of the brain neurons send out many "exploratory feelers" to other neurons and only the fruitful connections are kept, the others die.
2. Particularly fascinating was Alexander's description that "During the development of B cells a specialised region of our genome undergoes intensive random cutting and rejoining of the pieces of DNA that encode different parts of the antibody protein. This results in the production of millions of different anti bodies, each one specific for a particular type of invader...."
3. Further, Alexander describes how when B cells replicate in response to an invader the antibody on the surface of the B cell changes during replication via a mutation mechanism. The B cells with the antibodies that best bind to the invader are kept and the rest are eliminated.
All very interesting, very interesting indeed. I might go as far as to call these quasi-intelligent processes; that is, they are a goal controlled searches - or what I refer to as "back-loading". However, these processes use "real" materials as the search feelers rather then the tentative and readily expendable feelers of quantum mechanics. Of the latter kind of search feeler we have to turn to the exciton which transfers energy in photosynthesis. See here for the following Wiki entry (My emphases) :
In 2007 a quantum model was proposed by Graham Fleming and his co-workers which includes the possibility that photosynthetic energy transfer might involve quantum oscillations, explaining its unusually high efficiency.
According to Fleming there is direct evidence that remarkably long-lived wavelike electronic quantum coherence plays an important part in energy transfer processes during photosynthesis, which can explain the extreme efficiency of the energy transfer because it enables the system to sample all the potential energy pathways, with low loss, and choose the most efficient one.
This approach has been further investigated by Gregory Scholes and his team at the University of Toronto, which in early 2010 published research results that indicate that some marine algae make use of quantum-coherent electronic energy transfer (EET) to enhance the efficiency of their energy harnessing.
There we have it: Quantum searching.
There we have it: Quantum searching.