On The Path To Freedom by Sayadaw U Pandita

By Sayadaw U Pandita

At the route to Freedom is a set of Sayadaw's dhamma talks given to Western yogis on the Mahasi Centre, Myanmar (Burma) in 1986-1987.

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So the ink in the center of the petri plate has fewer microstates, hence lower entropy, and is less probable than the higher-entropy, diffuse distribution to which the ink drop evolves. In other words, by random collisions, the ink system flows from the less probable to more probable macrostate. This one-way flow is the statistical-mechanics version of the second law in classical thermodynamics, the one-way increase in the entropy of a closed system. In the generally accepted view, classical thermodynamics has been successfully reduced to the random collisions of many particles under Newton’s laws of motion.

Hearts, by virtue of the organization of structure and processes that they have due to their evolution by natural selection, do have causal consequences as hearts. Hearts are thus real entities. So, too, are organisms and the biosphere. All are part of the furniture of the universe. But the above argument turned on the proposal that the physicist could not deduce the detailed, specific evolution of this biosphere. If she could, then she could predict the evolution of the heart and ascribe it its function without digging for fossils, which would stand as experimental confirmations of her theory.

In any case, since Darwin’s time, natural selection has become a poster child for reductionist thinking. The modern synthesis, brought about by Ernst Mayr, Theodosius Dobzhansky, and others in the 1930s, united evolutionary theory with genetics; with the rise of molecular biology in the 1950s, genes changed from theoretical entities to specific sequences of DNA. We can now draw causal arrows from complex traits and behaviors to interactions among genes, from genes to molecules, from molecules to chemistry, and on down.

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