There were many confident-sounding statements in the previous post about which I’d suggest a general reader check in with mainstream expert friends and colleagues to weigh in on before accepting. The specific suggestion that I made that natural selection can explain high-information entities like life and mind without negentropy is a complete mischaracterization of what was written and a straw man argument.
The causal explanation for why the laws of our universe are apparently exquisitely fine-tuned to allow for the formation of many billion trillions of stars (and life) cannot, I believe, be explained away by “negentropy” alone. The causal explanation for development of non-designed high-information entities like the human mind cannot, I submit, be explained away by thermodynamics alone. I believe naturalistic emergent explanations are needed and fundamental to explain and understand the development of these higher-level phenomena that quarks and energy flow underlie and sustain.
The puzzle of scientifically explaining life on Earth pre-Darwin seems analogous to me here. Natural selection explained the development of non-designed high-information entities, and at this point, we know of no other process that can explain the development of higher-level high-information entities like cells, bodies, and minds. One could say that energy flow and negentropy explain why you chose to read this right now, but wouldn’t one agree that higher-level fundamental explanatory explanations would be missing? For the analogy to biological natural selection to hold, cosmological natural selection would require cumulative change via differential survival of variants.
I do not intend to post further on this particular exchange. For readers interested in the underlying possibility of cosmological natural selection, I stand by my original publication in Scientific American Blogs and the links to other writers listed in this exchange. Physicist Lee Smolin popularized the idea of CNS in his book “The Life of the Cosmos,” in which he also promoted his idea for a possible mechanism. For anyone interested in videos and writings I’ve done on the intersection of meaning and science, my website is lawrencerifkin.com. I thank Mr. Crawford for stimulating my responses and for his writing ability, and John Messerly for creating this forum for reflection and understanding. I hope this exchange stimulated thought, without needing to “take sides.”
And now, I am off to my very favorite bit of negentropy, the high-information system, exquisitely fine-tuned entity, that I prefer to think of as the love of my life.