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Reply #36: I don't really want to come across as insulting, but... [View All]

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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 10:11 PM
Response to Reply #30
36. I don't really want to come across as insulting, but...
this

A lot of stuff at a quantum level is mysterious because it is difficult to see how it coheres with the behaviour (of atoms and molecules) that we see at larger scales. It is because what happens at larger scales of reality (which evolutionary biology examines) is very ordered that it neatly fits into the modern synthesis. Absent some need to examine quantum effects to account for particular outcomes in, say, protein synthesis, there is no compelling reason to bring quantum physics into the discussion, just as there is no compelling need to understand quantum effects to predict that a ball will fall to the ground if dropped from a tall building.


is "misinformed" as well.

I am so sick of scientific reductionists who seem to never have heard of Godel's theorem. Biology is not reducible to chemistry and chemistry is not reducible to physics. That said, there are quantum effects that make a difference in biology. People have spent the last 50 years trying to understand how chlorophyll keeps the charges created by light separated, collect them, and turns them into ATP energy. This utterly non-trivial QUANTUM process is at the heart of plant life. Tell me again how you don't need quantum mechanics.

The world has rightly moved on from the 19th century "Laplacian Dream" that if we just knew initial conditions, we could solve everything exactly. Right now, when people try to make molecular dynamics calculations of the shape and movement of proteins (which is a very important branch of structural biology - the study of exactly how enzymes work) they are forced to use approximate molecular orbitals that have been cobbled together from ab initio calculations that take weeks. The approximations are plugged into further approximations which take more weeks of runtime on large clusters. Tell me again how you don't need quantum mechanics in biology.

Bottom line, without atomic level understanding of enzyme mechanism, all the modern synthesis stuff is zoology - cataloging interactions without being able to predict or explain them. Reductionism has not been very helpful in all of this.

Just because someone opposes reductionism does NOT make them a creationist. You are making enemies with that kind of rhetoric.

arendt
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