Thermodynamic noise

In science, thermodynamic noise is laymanized term employed to explain physical environmental variations or changes of an organism or molecule in a second law or entropy-like theme.

The term “thermodynamic noise”, supposedly, was introduced in 1953 by Scottish animal geneticists E. Reeve and E. Robertson, as a vaguely described unknown quantity affecting developmental stability at the level of the organism. [1]

In 2011, American philosopher Alexander Rosenberg, who has been parlaying the term recently (Ѻ) to argue for a second law based Darwinian-like selection model at the atomic molecular level, described thermodynamic noise as follows: [2]

“Thermodynamic noise constantly makes more and more different environments—different temperatures, different pH, different concentrations of chemicals, different amounts of water or carbon dioxide or nitrogen, or more complicated acids and bases, magnetic fields, and radiation. As a result, there will be a corresponding selection for more and more different molecules.”

1. (a) Reeve, E.C.R. and Robertson, E.W. (1953). “Analysis of Environmental Variability in Quantitative Inheritance”, Nature 171:874-75.
(b) Willmore, Katherine E. and Hallghrimsson, Benedikt. (2011). “Within Individual Variation: Developmental Noise Versus Developmental Stability”, in: Variation: A Central Concept in Biology (§:10, pgs. 191-; esp. pg. 193). Academic Press.
2. Rosenberg, Alex. (2011). The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions (thermodynamic noise, 6+ pgs). W.W. Norton & Co.

Further reading
● Popa, Radu. (2004). Between Necessity and Probability: Searching for the Definition and Origin of Life (pg. 55). Springer.

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