Category Archives: Evolution

The nuptial effect

Every day, on average, 2-3 physicists get married.  On Saturday I’ll be attempting to push that average to as high as 3-4. So (for our regular readers), there’ll be a longer gap between posts than usual.  The future Mrs. Physicist … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Combinatorics, Evolution | 22 Comments

Q: Why doesn’t life and evolution violate the second law of thermodynamics? Don’t living things reverse entropy?

Physicist: In very short: nope. The second law of thermodynamics is sometimes (too succinctly) stated as “disorder increases over time”.  That statements seems to hold true, what with all of the mountains wearing down, machines breaking, and the inevitable, crushing … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Biology, Entropy/Information, Evolution | 12 Comments

Q: Is the final step in evolution an ascension into an energy-based lifeform?

Physicist: Awesome question!  The very short answer is: nope. Energy beings are an old staple of sci-fi (a good one), but they’re almost certainly impossible, or at least, it’s almost certainly impossible for life (as we know it) to evolve … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Biology, Evolution, Physics | 15 Comments

Q: Does the 2nd law of thermodynamics imply that everything must eventually die, regardless of the ultimate fate of the universe?

Physicist: The 2nd law of thermodynamics states that in any closed system entropy will increase over time. The exact rate at which entropy increases is situation dependent (e.g., being on fire or not). As a quick aside, one of my … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Biology, Entropy/Information, Evolution, Paranoia, Philosophical | 9 Comments

Q: Is it of any coincidence that mathematics is able to describe physical reality – given that both are inventions of the human mind?

Physicist: There’s a lot of math that doesn’t describe physical reality at all, and even some (few) mathematicians who feel that “applicability” is just another word for “impurity”.  The ability of math to describe reality is just a consequence of … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, -- Guest Author, Evolution, Math, Paranoia, Philosophical | 1 Comment

Q: Do aliens exist?

Physicist: Yuppers.  In as much as the probability that they don’t is effectively zero. The statistics on this are a little weak, since we only have one real data point.  If you define intelligent life as tool-using, then (based on … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, -- By the Physicist, Astronomy, Biology, Evolution, Physics | 6 Comments