Quantum Biology?

by | May 7, 2018

I came across a YouTube video about quantum biology and was compelled to watch it.  I thought biology was all about chemistry until I saw the video Steve Meyer showed at his Signature in the Cell book release party that clearly showed a functioning process using machinery.  Being a designer of processes and machines, I was aware of the enormous complexity required to achieve the functionality that exists in life.  So could quantum field theory explain how natural causes can do intelligent work; the missing “vital dust” needed to create beginning life?  I’d better check it out.

The early thinking about quantum physics regarding life was that quantum effects are normally lost in the “macro noise” at “life” temperatures and configuration, so none probably existed. However, there have been a few mysteries that might be explained by quantum phenomena.  One example is that quantum effects may have something to do with electron transfer in photosynthesis which is much more efficient than thought possible1.  Another is called “visual phototransduction”, the converting light to an action potential.2 And another is quantum tunneling in enzymes.3 There is no hint regarding how quantum field physics can create intelligence or to perform intelligent work.

This is not surprising.  If there was a way to make life less complicated, it would be less complicated.   It appears quantum effects may be used in life like we use quantum effects in electronics – time and research will tell.  But no conclusions described in this web site are diminished, namely: natural causes cannot achieve all possible outcomes, life is a process that requires machinery, and machines require logical processing capability.

It seems that life might be a good place to learn more about quantum theory where discoveries of its implementation are found.  I seriously doubt that man would have invented neural networks without its discovery in life.

© 2018 Mike Van Schoiack

  1. Lee, Hohjai (2009). “Quantum coherence accelerating photosynthetic energy transfer”. Chemical Physics. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-95946-5_197.
  2. Lambert, Neill; Chen, Yueh-Nan; Cheng, Yuan-Chung; Li, Che-Ming; Chen, Guang-Yin; Nori, Franco (2013-01-01). “Quantum biology”. Nature Physics. 9 (1): 10–18. Bibcode:2013NatPh…9…10L. doi:10.1038/nphys2474. ISSN 1745-2473.
  3. Nagel, Zachary D.; Klinman, Judith P. (2006-08-01). “Tunneling and Dynamics in Enzymatic Hydride Transfer”. Chemical Reviews. 106 (8): 3095–3118. doi:10.1021/cr050301x. ISSN 0009-2665.
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