Why We Need Disorder: A physicist’s perspective on the living world

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Science and Belief

10248755515_7859b0be20_k Cropped from From Chaos to Order By Sebastien Wiertz. Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

The Genesis creation story may seem to be all about God getting rid of disorder and turning it into order, but that’s not how a physicist sees it. In her lecture at the Christians in Science conference in Oxford a few weeks ago, Dr Rhoda Hawkins explained why.

Hawkins studies how unpredictable events on a microscopic scale can produce something very predictable and useful on a larger scale. For example, zooming out from an image of white noise produces a fairly even grey colour, or the random movement of gas particles can produce an overall temperature. So while in everyday language the word ‘random’ often means ‘purposeless’, in science it just means that something is unpredictable – and that unpredictability can be put to good use.

26231002464_541adaf3fb_kCells keep their shape with actin filaments (red) and…

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