If I think of a process like say evolution. I can in some sense map the process of evolution to an algorithm. But my point is that evolution in some sense yes is modelled by this but this missed out one important detail.

As the physicists would call it units and dimensions. We have some fundamental dimensional constants which "interact" with each other. To quote Carl Bender about another constant in physics:

About often we treat H bar and this being small but you and I know that H bar is not small that's equal to what okay because it depend if R is as a number that contains units so depending on what system of units you choose H bar may be gigantic or it may be small you can't say that H bar is a small number or a big number in MKS units yeah it's 10 to the minus 34 but that's not a small number because it contains dimensions which make that number either big or small okay but it's often very very powerful to think of H bar at being a small number and we have to make that precise which we will and when you do that is where wkb theory comes from that's where that's where does it baby if you put if you treat other numbers in

What does the physicist do to give life to something like information? He uses Boltzmann constant! This may not be a fundamental constant however:

The question as to which constants are "fundamental" is neither straightforward nor meaningless, but a question of interpretation of the physical theory regarded as fundamental; as pointed out by Lévy-Leblond 1977, not all physical constants are of the same importance, with some having a deeper role than others.

I presume Boltzmann constant should be present in the equation describing evolution. My question is what if one changes the ratio of the fundamental constants in this equation? Is it possible to realize the anthropic principle in some restricted sense? Where can I read more on such ideas?

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    There is no equation describing evolution, and Boltzmann's constant is not fundamental, it is a conventional proportionality factor. Changing it will have the same effect as switching from kilograms to pounds.
    – Conifold
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 16:47
  • @Conifold interestingly once you use this argument you again are prey to what is mentioned in the post. You are mapping a dimensional constant to a "proportionality factor." You argue Boltzmann's constant is not a fundamental constant. In which case I challenge you to express it in other fundamental constants which have units and dimensions. Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 16:50
  • I do not argue, you can read it under the link, as well as what the difference is.
    – Conifold
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 16:51
  • Please cite what precisely in the link I do not find Wikipedia a credible source Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 16:51
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    For some physicists rotational quantities are in a sense more fundamental and mysterious even than translational (dimensional) kinematic quantities (remember the difficult curl instead of easier gradient?), thus even the ratios of fundamental constants are changed in a possible world, the important dimensionless angle of 2pi (a wonderful closed compact circle) must still be honored and constrain such a speculated evolution equation if it exists at all at the macro regressional algo level... Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 17:43

2 Answers 2


Like h-bar, Boltzman's constant is for scaling. Boltzman's constant relates temperature, which is basically an arbitrary scale, to molecular kinetic energy (h-bar relates mass-energy to matter-wave frequency).

You might be interested in this answer about picturing evolution as a real-pattern that algorithmically applies selection pressure relating to possible outcomes How does biological evolution work in the block universe/b-theory of time? We can recover freewill in a deterministic universe, just by considering how a subjectivity makes decisions on the basis of incomplete information.

This answer talks about the distinction between time and ordering events: Do preceding events cause subsequent ones in a four-dimensionalist world?

See this answer on Universal Constructor theory a bridging paradigm to unite evolution and permutations of sub-systems: Have philosophers speculated on how chaotic forces meeting together can result in order?

And this one on Entropy and information: What is the philosopher's take on information and thermodynamic entropy?

  • "Boltzman's constant relates temperature, which is basically an arbitrary scale, to molecular kinetic energy" - this is not true. See BBGKY hierarchy Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 14:23
  • @MoreAnonymous: What do you see the implication of that being here? That saying that is approximation in a specific regime? "instead of calling it temperature directly we use a constant conversion factor between the energy of a molecule and a degree of absolute temperature called a degree Kelvin. The constant of proportionality is k" -Feynman, lectures in physics. In terms of statistical 6.30pm & the grounding of our understanding of what temperature is, I think my statement stands, & so does Feynnan.
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 16:16
  • Its not arbitrary scale. If one had different time scales Boltzmann's constant would indeed be different in BBGKY hierarchy. Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 16:54
  • @MoreAnonymous: You are saying Kelvin isn't fundamentally arbitrary in relation to other SI units?
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 16:56
  • Actually its quite clear to me in an instance of Blackhole thermodynamics. If I do the operation if I double the boltzmann constant I must also double the Planck length square to get the same entropy. Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 17:11

Your question assumes there is an equation that describes evolution, and that Boltzmann's constant should appear in it. I suggest neither assumption is justified.

Let me paraphrase your question in the following way- supposing evolution could be modelled in some way by an algorithm, and supposing fundamental physical constants are taken into account by the algorithm, is it likely that varying the values of the physical constants would change the output of the algorithm in a way that suggested human life might not have evolved if the values of those constants had been different?

If that is what you meant by your question, then the answer is yes.

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    When I was younger, I wrote a "genetic algorithm" that "evolved" a population which had "genes". Each sample in the population would encode the value of some convex function, and each round of "evolution" consisted in exchanging genes between 2 samples, or flipping a gene at random, or creating a new sample from 2 old ones. There was a fitness test that decide which samples would survive in each generation. That was remarkably effective, albeit slow, to find the minimum/maximum of my convex function...
    – Frank
    Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 0:28

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