Toward a general theory of evolution: Extending Darwinian theory to inanimate matter

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Abstract

Though Darwinian theory dramatically revolutionized biological understanding, its strictly biological focus has resulted in a widening conceptual gulf between the biological and physical sciences. In this paper we strive to extend and reformulate Darwinian theory in physicochemical terms so it can accommodate both animate and inanimate systems, thereby helping to bridge this scientific divide. The extended formulation is based on the recently proposed concept of dynamic kinetic stability and data from the newly emerging area of systems chemistry. The analysis leads us to conclude that abiogenesis and evolution, rather than manifesting two discrete stages in the emergence of complex life, actually constitute one single physicochemical process. Based on that proposed unification, the extended theory offers some additional insights into life's unique characteristics, as well as added means for addressing the three central questions of biology: what is life, how did it emerge, and how would one make it?

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalJournal of Systems Chemistry
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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