The Logic of Life

Robert Pascal, Addy Pross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In this paper we propose a logical connection between the physical and biological worlds, one resting on a broader understanding of the stability concept. We propose that stability manifests two facets - time and energy, and that stability’s time facet, expressed as persistence, is more general than its energy facet. That insight leads to the logical formulation of the Persistence Principle, which describes the general direction of material change in the universe, and which can be stated most simply as: nature seeks persistent forms. Significantly, the principle is found to express itself in two mathematically distinct ways: in the replicative world through Malthusian exponential growth, and in the ‘regular’ physical/chemical world through Boltzmann’s probabilistic considerations. By encompassing both ‘regular’ and replicative worlds, the principle appears to be able to help reconcile two of the major scientific theories of the 19th century – the Second Law of Thermodynamics and Darwin’s theory of evolution – within a single conceptual framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-513
Number of pages7
JournalOrigins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Darwinian evolution
  • Dynamic Kinetic stability
  • Natural selection
  • Persistence principle
  • Second law of thermodynamics
  • Thermodynamic stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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