“What is life?” is a question everyone considers. My search for the answer to this question drove me to become a scientist, a professional biologist. Throughout my career I have searched for a scientific basis for life and human behavior, having found conventional religions incomplete. Over the past three decades, as the principles of far from equilibrium thermodynamics have been discovered, they have become the basis of my religious beliefs, how I relate to the universe. Now, for the first time in human history, the process of life can be understood from a scientific point that can serve as a guide for human behavior. My faith is in the validity of science. The belief system that I will describe is known as Evolutionism, and I am an evolutionist.
Surprisingly, evolution has selected marijuana-like compounds to play a critical role in maintaining human health. The appropriate use of marijuana is good for you and its appropriate use is thus mandated by evolutionism since evolutionists strive to do what scientific facts suggest is healthy for themselves, their family, their community, their country, and their planet. Currently, I am deprived of my religious freedom. I cannot practice my fact-based religion because people of faith-based religions deny the truth about this unique plant, and make laws contrary to fact. Because I faithfully adhere to my religious principles, I am a criminal!
All people make marijuana-like compounds known as endocannabinoids. Whenever anyone gets hungry, they are giving themselves the "munchies" with the cannabinoids that they produce. In fact, cannabinoids control every system in the human body (cardiovascular, nervous, endocrine, immune, digestive, reproductive, excretory, musculo-sketetal). It is because of their all-pervasive activity that cannabinoids have an impact on so many illnesses.
Cannabinoids kill many types of cancer cells, protect against Alzheimer's disease, delay the onset and severity of auto-immune diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn's disease, and recently have been shown to both protect the heart from damage as well as to protect against arteriosclerosis. They relieve pain, stimulate the appetite, and promote sound sleep. Cannabinoids also regulate stress, learning, and open-mindedness. Hence, we can predict that many followers of faith-based religions are deficient in cannabinoid activity, and are impaired in their capacity for open-mindedness. As a result, they make laws that are contrary to fact and freedom.
Flowing energy intrinsically has a creative capacity. This physical reality has manifested itself as chemical evolution, life, and consciousness. As such, these principles constitute the foundation of a belief in an abstract higher creative force that has parallels with other religious beliefs. These concepts are of particular interest to a growing number of people in a broad spectrum of fields, in particular those devoted to personal growth, health, and the exploration of their minds.
The principles of evolutionism provide a foundation, based on sound scientific principles, for viewing life in a positive and constructive manner. On the other hand, they provide a unifying framework to challenge current laws that squander our resources and unconstitutionally restrict our basic human rights including religious freedom.
Basic Principles for Evolutionists
The universe has been expanding and cooling since the Big Bang. Regardless of what one posits to be responsible for these events, they appear to be governed by physical laws. Evolutionists see the Second Law of thermodynamics, as it pertains to far from equilibrium systems such as the Earth’s biosphere, as the driving force behind evolution.
In contrast those who deny evolution incorrectly apply the Second Law of Thermodynamics as it applies to equilibrium systems to justify intelligent design. Hence being an evolutionist does not exclude other religions beliefs unless they specifically exclude the belief in the evolutionary process.
We now understand that whenever far from equilibrium systems are considered, where there is a negentropic potential, a source, and an entropic sink, where disorder increases, there is the possibility for spontaneous organization (creativity). In other words, as long as the entropy of the universe increases, the entropy of subsystems can decrease (the second law of thermodynamics). For example, our sun emits a spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that is rich in ultraviolet light. This type of light is of relatively high frequency and hence has greater information potential (high frequency) than does lower frequency light. The biosphere is powered by the information potential extracted from the higher frequency light. The earth re-irradiates infrared light back into the space. Infrared light is of a lower frequency and therefore has less information capacity.
Evolution and all of its creative manifestations result from the process of acquiring and refining energy that comes from our sun and the expanding universe. Health is indicated by an organism's (population’s) distance from equilibrium. The further from equilibrium an organism (population) is, the greater its organization and state of health. Equilibrium is the state of maximum disorder or greatest entropy. Thus, as an organism (population) approaches equilibrium, health declines.
The opposite is also true. The shift from equilibrium moves an individual (population) towards health. Therefore, an intelligent life form would conclude that it must move further from equilibrium if health and survival were of value. We must uncover, as individuals, how to apply these thermodynamic principles to manage our ecosystems and individual lives in sensible, healthy ways.
What does this mean from a practical point of view? It is a personal search for an evolving understanding and application of the principles under discussion. It requires lifelong learning. This process becomes a fulltime perspective as one applies and refines the simple concept of moving further from equilibrium to all aspects of ones existence. Our life’s energy becomes more functionally applied as less energy is wasted on primitive nonfunctional organized structures that waste life’s potential.
All things that healthy individuals in a healthy society value conform to the paradigm that there is value in the move from equilibrium. Our planet, its ecosystems, nations, communities, families all evolve by these principles.
Dr. Robert Melamede is CEO and president at Cannabis Science. He is Associate Professor at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.