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A New Universal Law of Nature: Evolution Beyond Biology

A New Universal Law of Nature
Pigeon bones are displayed in Charles Darwin's former home Down House, Kent, southern England[ Image Credit: Reuters] | A New Universal Law of Nature: Evolution Beyond Biology


  • Proposed by nine scientists and philosophers, this law extends beyond Darwin’s theory of evolution, encompassing systems from atoms to stars.
  • The “Law of Increasing Functional Information” asserts that complex systems evolve towards greater patterning, diversity, and complexity.
  • This law provides a comprehensive framework applicable across various scales, filling gaps left by traditional scientific laws.
  • Celestial insights reveal how stars’ elemental composition has shaped the diversity of the cosmos over billions of years.
  • Earth’s evolutionary journey, from multicellularity to diverse life forms, exemplifies this law in action, showcasing life’s incredible diversity.
  • The concept of “functionality” emerges as a crucial factor, influencing the stability of minerals, dynamics of stars, and adaptability of life forms.
  • Three universal selection mechanisms drive the development of traits, from basic survival strategies to groundbreaking evolutionary innovations.
  • The law’s implications for extraterrestrial life shed light on potential organic chemistry on celestial bodies like Saturn’s moon Titan.
  • This monumental leap in understanding evolution as a universal process sets the stage for unravelling the mysteries of life’s evolution on Earth and beyond.

In a groundbrеaking dеvеlopmеnt, a group of ninе sciеntists and philosophеrs have proposеd a rеvolutionary еxpansion of Charlеs Darwin’s thеory of еvolution. This nеw law of naturе transcеnds biological еvolution, offering a univеrsal framework that applies to systеms at various scalеs, from atoms to planеts and stars. This paradigm-shifting concept, known as the “law of incrеasing functional information,” shеds light on the profound patterns of divеrsity and complеxity that shape our univеrsе.

The Essence of the Law

Thе law posits that complеx natural systеms, both living and non-living, progrеss towards statеs of hеightеnеd pattеrning, divеrsity, and complеxity. It undеrscorеs thе notion that еvolving systеms еmеrgе from intеracting building blocks, such as atoms or cеlls, and that procеssеs, likе cеllular mutation, lеad to a multitudе of configurations. Evolution, according to this law, takеs placе whеn thеsе configurations undеrgo sеlеction for usеful functions.

Universal Applicability

The authors highlight that while we have well-established laws governing forces, motion, gravity, and energy, these fail to elucidate why the universe consistently tends towards greater diversity and complexity. This law offers an explanation for this phenomenon across various scales – from the microscopic realm of atoms to the grandeur of celestial bodies.

Celestial Evolution

In the context of stars, the law provides remarkable insights. Initially, the universe consisted of only two elements, hydrogen and helium, after the Big Bang. Subsequent stellar generations, in their fiery cores, synthesized an array of heavier elements like carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. These elements were then scattered into space upon the stars’ explosive deaths, seeding the cosmos for further complexity.

Earth’s Evolutionary Tapestry

On our home planet, life’s journey towards complexity is evident. From the advent of multicellularity to the emergence of diverse life forms, evolution has sculpted Earth’s biological tapestry. The law of increasing functional information offers a lens through which we can comprehend the incredible diversity of life that has emerged over eons.

The Role of Functionality

Essential to this law is the concept of “functionality.” Nature favors configurations that exhibit useful functions, whether it be the stability of a mineral crystal, the dynamic structure of a star, or a life form’s adaptive advantage. This perspective reshapes our understanding of why certain configurations endure and thrive.

Universal Selection Mechanisms

The authors introduce three universal concepts of selection: endurance, the persistent nature of active processes, and the emergence of novel characteristics as adaptations to the environment. These mechanisms drive the development of traits, from basic survival strategies to remarkable evolutionary innovations.

Implications for Extraterrestrial Life

This new perspective also has profound implications for our exploration of other worlds. For instance, it offers a fresh lens through which to understand the potential organic chemistry on Saturn’s moon Titan, providing insights into how unfamiliar systems may evolve over time.

The law of increasing functional information represents a monumental leap in our understanding of evolution as a universal process. From the microcosm of atoms to the vast expanse of galaxies, this law unveils the profound interconnectedness of the cosmos. By embracing functionality as a guiding principle, we embark on a new era of scientific exploration, poised to unlock the mysteries of life’s evolution on Earth and beyond.

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