Quantum Evolution

Review of BBC4’s The Secrets of Quantum Physics 31st Oct 2019 (Episode 2: Let There Be Life).

What do photosynthesis and the metamorphosis of tadpoles to frogs have in common? They can both be explained by quantum physics.

Or more specifically quantum tunneling (where quanta can be anywhere at any time: they are not constrained by time, space or any boundary) and quantum entanglement where all quanta (and that means everything) are always interconnected . . . somehow beyond time and space. Yes, beyond time and space as is conventionally taught.

Physicist Jim Al-Khalili does a wonderful job of explaining the physics in an accessible and enjoyable way, using bouncing balls amongst other props and camera/editing tricks. Just as importantly he emphasises the normality of all these quantum effects. They may be weird to the logical mind but they are totally natural.

If quantum tunneling can explain genetic mutations at the heart of evolutionary change, as he is experimenting on in his own lab, perhaps it also explains other facets of evolution. Including the evolution of consciousness and, indeed, the transcendent mode of consciousness that we talk about on this website.  Why restrict ourselves to logic and emotions when our minds can work at the same level of natural effectiveness as photosynthesis and metamorphosis? The research reported on in this programme is based on the accepted quantum principles of entanglement and tunneling. It seems perfectly reasonable, to me at least, that if they explain the near-instantaneous nature of photosynthesis they could probably explain how a transcended consciousness can be aware (of ideas, say) beyond time and space.

What’s even more interesting and relevant is that I didn’t intend to watch this programme: I didn’t even know it was on. I was watching a programme about Prince Charles’s Duchy on another channel and, during the commercial break, idly switching between channels just out of curiosity. When I saw and heard quantum effects being described I stopped, listened in  . . . and stayed on the new channel. Just like a tunnelling quanta might enable a photon to initiate a photosynthesis process. As above, so below, as Chris and I will often say.

Now I find that not only had I missed the first part of this programme but there had also been a first episode  . . . and it was first shown in 2014! Thank goodness for repeats and for i-Player! With that help so one ‘chance’ encounter has opened up a whole new avenue for exploration.

We keep hearing that the future of research is multidisciplinary. Here is the reason: the important things of life are happening at the quantum level: and that underpins absolutely everything: all disciplines, all subjects, all aspects of life. That is why this is such an important and ground-breaking programme. Congratulations to the BBC on its commissioning, production and repeat broadcast. More like this please.

Now we need all teachers and lecturers at all levels and in all subjects to show it to their class . . .

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