Physics of Biology


Quantum Weirdness and Living Systems: A Personal Perspective

Authors: Edward J Steele

Two related issues are discussed from the point of view of a molecular-cellular immunologist of 47 years standing. The author began training as a scientist at Adelaide University in the late 1960s. Initial interests were in Immunochemistry and in antibody-mediated mechanisms involving Secretory IgA of intestinal protection against infectious diseases (Cholera). Later, in post-doctoral studies this matured through Autoimmune mechanisms to molecular mechanisms of Somatic Hypermutation in antibody diversification and immunity, and more recently in Genomics, Evolution and Cancer. Part and parcel of this thinking led to the emergence of non-Darwinian (Lamarckian) evolutionary soma-to-germline mechanisms of evolutionary progress and adaptation. More recently, he has fully accepted the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe (H-W) Cosmic Biology Paradigm (1970s -> ) because it is, in his opinion, a correct and precise overarching theory to explain and understand the origin of, and further evolution of, life on Earth and thus throughout the Cosmos. All other theories of Life on Earth need to play second fiddle to H-W theory and its subsidiary explanations. So this paper takes H-W thinking about life in the Universe into two further domains, both of which can indeed be studied here and now on Earth in a rigorous manner. Thus after 47 years publishing in conventional refereed journals and books, the author confronts the two big issues at the interface between Biology and Physics. He is convinced they will increasingly dominate thinking as the 21st century unfolds: a) Quantum Weirdness and Living Systems, b) Biological Transmutation (or "Cold Fusion" in Biology). Both these topics are related. Both evoke strong emotional and intellectual reactions. Both need to be confronted in a cool and rational way. Normally Physicists have purchased a mortgage on all types of rational discussions in this domain - with very few (if any) biologists daring to tread on this sacred physical ground. So I am now daring to tread into the assumed generality of Quantum Mechanics. I do this from the point of view of the biological experiences and historical perspective of the author just outlined. There will be no mathematics, just discussion and arguments in plain English prose. This essay arose when I finally addressed the question - "What do I have to lose in a reputational sense from confronting such issues"? My answer - absolutely nothing. At least nothing that is important to me at my age and stage in life.

Comments: 11 Pages.

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Submission history

[v1] 2017-06-30 10:29:24
[v2] 2017-06-30 21:15:05
[v3] 2017-09-20 20:23:36
[v4] 2017-09-21 05:48:00

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