Biological systems use Quantum Mechanics continually, at the smallest scale. That’s what I think, but I think this, because it’s obvious: molecular biology is all about transporting protons and electrons. Those “elementary particles” are not little balls. They are fully Quantum objects, here, there and everywhere. Quantum Physics describe their behavior. I used to find the Quantum weird, because I was taught that it was weird. But no more: it’s Classical Mechanics which I find weird.

For example, Classical Mechanics has edges: objects terminate with a border. But what is the border made of? Quantum Physics says there are no borders, just fuzzy zones of waning influences.

Quantum Entanglement & Coherence Does Not Just Hold DNA Together. It Enables DNA To Communicate With Its Environment, Both Ways.

Quantum Entanglement & Coherence Does Not Just Hold DNA Together. It Enables DNA To Communicate With Its Environment, Both Ways.

This is from a biological paper from Rutgers in 2014, “Improvement of DNA and RNA sugar pucker profiles from semiempirical quantum methods”

That the Quantum is fundamental for biology is proven for chlorophyll. Basically Quantum Non-Locality inside the chlorophyll molecule enables to find the lowest energy outcome for electrons excited by light in a way which is (classically) magical.

From Nature:


“On the face of it, quantum effects and living organisms seem to occupy utterly different realms. The former are usually observed only on the nanometre scale, surrounded by hard vacuum, ultra-low temperatures and a tightly controlled laboratory environment. The latter inhabit a macroscopic world that is warm, messy and anything but controlled. A quantum phenomenon such as ‘coherence’, in which the wave patterns of every part of a system stay in step, wouldn’t last a microsecond in the tumultuous realm of the cell.

Or so everyone thought. But discoveries in recent years suggest that nature knows a few tricks that physicists don’t: coherent quantum processes may well be ubiquitous in the natural world. Known or suspected examples range from the ability of birds to navigate using Earth’s magnetic field to the inner workings of photosynthesis — the process by which plants and bacteria turn sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into organic matter, and arguably the most important biochemical reaction on Earth.

Biology has a knack for using what works, says Seth Lloyd, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. And if that means “quantum hanky-panky”, he says, “then quantum hanky-panky it is”. Some researchers have even begun to talk of an emerging discipline called quantum biology… laboratory physicists interested in practical technology are paying close attention. “We hope to be able to learn from the quantum proficiency of these biological systems,” says Lloyd. A better understanding of how quantum effects are maintained in living organisms could help researchers to achieve the elusive goal of quantum computation, he says. “Or perhaps we can make better energy-storage devices or better organic solar cells.”

Massimo Pigliucci, a biology PhD paid as a chaired philosopher, and esteemed enough as a philosopher of science to be invited as a speaker to exclusive conferences for top physicists desperately looking for ideas, somewhere, somehow, anywhere, sort of concurred with me:

Massimo: “There clearly is a logic to evolution, albeit not a Newtonian one.”

Indeed. As I said so many times before. And we can see this ever more precisely. Newton anticipated several things, but not the Quantum. The Quantum is at the core of physics (= nature), and thus biology. It is just a matter of time, probably only a few years, before the formal scientific proofs are rolled out that Quantum processes guide evolution itself (several teams are at work).

Not to say that “natural selection” does not play an important role. But the Quantum provides with much more intelligent design. Intelligent design is what the Quantum does, teleologically, even across light years (Einstein Podolski Rosen Thought Experiment, now a real experiment across more than ten kilometers).

The Quantum can influence, at a distance and globally. The Quantum sounds very much like one of these gods of lore our primitive ancestors believed in.

At the core of DNA are hydrogen bonds which are sensitive to the environment of said DNA. My guess (philosophical moment) is that the Quantum will provide that life force, or complexity driving principle, that Lamarck hoped for, and Darwin was taught when he was a student at Edinburgh around 1821 CE.

Synred objected: “Intelligent design is what the Quantum does, teleologically, even across light years (EPR)?”Frankly, that sounds silly to me. Time will tell.

I lay my traps, and mammoths fall into them. Nothing changed much that way, in 50,000 years. I replied this to Synred:

Changing the chemical environment around the double helix affects the hydrogen “bonds”. The word “bond” is misleading: a hydrogen “bond” is actually delocalized and interacts with what is outside of the DNA (this, interacting outside, beyond classical limits, is what the Quantum does). The (Quantum) tunnel effect had already been demonstrated with some enzymes.

It may sound silly to you, as it did to Einstein, 80 years ago, but it has been demonstrated, ad nauseam. Surely if a Quantum influence can cross light years, it can cross a fraction of a nanometer.

The whole mystery of Quantum Physics, the core of the debate, ever since the 1920s, has been teleology. The Quantum acts teleologically.

Teleologia is a word coined by the German philosopher Christian von Wolff in 1740. Greek teleos “entire, perfect, complete,” genitive of telos “end, goal, result, at a distance” (see tele-), + -logia (logic).

The Public Relation failure of philosophy is partly due to the fact that too few philosophers know real recent science (Goethe and Helmholtz used to, and contributed to the advancement of science).

Thus all too many  Twentieth Century philosophers created their own jargon, not anchored in the study of reality (also known as science). Instead of using scientific semantics, and the notions attached to it. The divorce between philosophy and science is only apparent. Top scientists such as  Poincaré and Gödel were also top philosophers, but most philosophers are blissfully unawares of this.

Once in Princeton University, a (then famous) philosopher came, and gave a talk. His main theme was that logic did not progress since the Greeks. Gödel was in the front row. The speaker was unaware of the Gödel incompleteness theorems.

No wonder Gödel became crazy (he starved himself, being at least in part heartbroken from the death of his wife; but the lack of appreciation of the sort exposed above played a role).

So here we are, getting full circle on the theory of evolution. Around 1800 CE, Lamarck demonstrated, with the careful study of mollusks, that biology (a word he coined) evolved. On top of the well-known artificial and natural selections, Lamarck posited two potential forces: a sort of Elan Vital (which Bergson revitalized later), and, or, a force towards greater complexity.

The young Lyell and Darwin were taught Lamarck’s evolution in Scotland, as English universities were in the grip of the Christian Church. Which, naturally enough, hated Lamarck and his evolving life, millions of years old.

That there is a force towards greater complexity is common sense: four billion years ago, life was immensely simple. Now some of the simplest animals around, such as aplysia, the swimming sea mollusk, famed for its memory and 600 neurons, is immensely complex, much more so than any art ever crafted by human beings.

Quantum Physics operate at a distance, it operates by finding (sometimes), at a distance, the lowest energy solution. It computes, mimicking what looks like the most primitive form intelligence could take.

Being teleological, the Quantum is fully capable, given enough time, of helping chance & necessity evolve a little bit of intelligent design. (Nobel Laureate Jacques Monod wrote, in his famous book, that evolution came from chance and necessity. But, central to necessity is the Quantum.)

And of course evolution was bound to stumble on it, and embrace it, all the more as it is the mother nature who gave birth to her.

Patrice Ayme’  

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18 Responses to “QUANTUM LIFE FORCE”

  1. SDM Says:

    If physics is the workings of nature -matter and energy, and quantum physics the most accurate explanation of how nature operates at the most basic levels, then is it not only logical that quantum would apply to biology? The chlorophyll -photosynthesis process would appear to be a prime example for further inquiry for a quantum application inquiry. Light being used to produce organic matter- how much more basic to the essence of carbon based life could there be?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Agreed 100%. Thanks. It’s the simplest, clearest PHILOSOPHICAL reasoning. Scientists can figure out the details.
      Lamarck, thus, was right, and I forgot to put a link to one of my Lamarck essays. I shall have to do that.


  2. Synred Says:


    I don’t disagree with that, but only with quantum computing type effects are able to ‘design’ replacing God and/or the Elan Vital.

    If a quantum computation can occur in biological systems (perhaps very quickly before it gets ‘decohered’) that can produces an increased efficiency then it can be selected on. If QM ‘calculations’ can provide an advantage and their occurrence is heritable, evolution would exploit them.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      I was re-reading Feynman’s QED. He insisted that most of ‘history of physics’ as taught by physics professors was mostly mythology. Including what he himself taught…

      That QM does not decohere at room temperature is a newly uncovered mystery. QM computation provide with unpredictable, teleological aspects which baffle physicists.


      • Synred Says:

        QM at room temperature is pretty radical. As I don’t understand the experiments that well so, and let the experts sort themselves out. I’ll have to await further evidence. It is interesting.

        If ‘teleological’ effects are being claimed, I’m going to be very suspicious of the experiments.

        Keeping in mind that “survival of the fittest” is a bit of ‘winners write the history books’ hindsight.

        No it’s not. I don’t think, these ‘winners’ are writing history books, they just surviving by dumb luck.


      • Synred Says:

        ‘At a distance’ I have not too much problem with. ‘Goal’ is another matter.


  3. Brodix Says:

    I was only trying to develop that line between determinism and randomness. Order and chaos. Signal and noise.

    The evident problem being that when we try to find the foundational basis for the order, it doesn’t boil down to some basic atom(ism), or TOE, or God.

    As Patrice pointed out above, order would be a function of efficiency and I riffed off that, that as efficiency is about the lowest possible energy, which necessarily means distilling away all excess energy and as this energy does contain myriad other signals implanted in it, there seems to be a perpetual process of extracting signal from the noise creating more noise.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      You have never studied Quantum Mechanics. It shows. I have taught it in famous universities: Stanford, Berkeley. It also shows.
      Sorry to have to use the Authority Principle. I do not do this usually, but I was peeved by your lack of understanding of the precision of language in my work (which you exhibited on Massimo’s site). My argument against Einstein PV 1905 is precisely because he used (VERY) sloppy language (ever since adopted by all physicists).
      Quantum Physics is not classical physics, it eschews noise. When it interacts with noise, it becomes classical.


  4. 1truegarcol Says:

    QM is becoming the “healing crystal” in the manner of Deepak Chopra.
    “Likely” is not “Is”.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Never heard of Deepak Chopra. It’s assuredly not one of the advanced sciences. Maybe you should take advanced courses in biology and quantum mechanics, instead of taking your inspiration from popular stuff written for making lots of money from ignorant idiots. Just some friendly advice…

      A good way out is to take a subscription to New Scientist, a very decent weekly magazine from Britain, which publishes in the US. It’s full of state of the art, common sense science, a good antidote to stupid rejoinders.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Philosophy is about “likely”. Science claims “is”… until it is likely demonstrated that “is” is not exactly what it was.


    • Gmax Says:

      QM is the world


  5. ianmillerblog Says:

    I am not quite clear what you mean when you say a hydrogen bond is delocalised. I would think most chemists would consider the hydrogen bond as an energy well when the hydrogen atom bonded to a nitrogen, oxygen or fluorine atom is directed towards a lone pair of a corresponding atom in another molecule. There has been a recent example of a hydrogen bonded to boron forming an energy well when it is directed towards the centre of an aromatic ring, so that is inconvenient with regard to my original definition, but nevertheless MOST hydrogen bonds fit. The energy well is clearly directional, as seen in crystal structures of ice, (HF2)- and others. In other words, it behaves similarly to a covalent bond, but it is an order of magnitude weaker than most, and more so than some. It is important for the double helix because there are so many of them.


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