Monday, May 23, 2022
Mitochondrial Health

Mindscape 175 | William Ratcliff on Multicellularity, Physics, and Evolution



Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/seanmcarroll
Blog post with audio player, show notes, and transcript: https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2021/11/29/175-william-ratcliff-on-multicellularity-physics-and-evolution/

We’ve talked about the very origin of life, but certain transitions along its subsequent history were incredibly important. Perhaps none more so than the transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms, which made possible an incredible diversity of organisms and structures. Will Ratcliff studies the physics that constrains multicellular structures, examines the minute changes in certain yeast cells that allows them to become multicellular, and does long-term evolution experiments in which multicellularity spontaneously evolves and grows. We can’t yet create life from non-life, but we can reproduce critical evolutionary steps in the lab.

William Ratcliff received his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He is currently Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Georgia Tech. Among his awards are a Packard Fellowship and being named in Popular Science‘s “Brilliant 10” of 2016.

Mindscape Podcast playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrxfgDEc2NxY_fRExpDXr87tzRbPCaA5x
Sean Carroll channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/seancarroll

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20 thoughts on “Mindscape 175 | William Ratcliff on Multicellularity, Physics, and Evolution
  1. You got much interesting discussion. I wonder if you can have an episode about modern totalitarian regimes? Groupthink and pressure to not be allowed speaking out without being put names on an bullied.

  2. Logically, fruits and vegetables growing in the wild and not being consumed would fall to the ground, in the case of tree fruit, thus it is conceivable that some of those fruits would have rolled or been washed into a natural depression and subsequently fermented. One of the byproducts of fermentation is Carbon Dioxide, which is heavier than air. So it is an integral mechanism of fermentation to cut off oxygen to itself as it ferments a substance by displacing oxygen with the heavier CO2.

  3. I've become interested in the time it took to become multi cellular life on earth, its shocking how long there was just single celled life, before the Cambrian explosion. all of a sudden It seems to be practically impossible for there to have been complex life on mars, past single celled. Once you learn how symbiosis was critical to becoming an intelligent species, life elsewhere becomes even more special and possibly rare.

  4. Kudos, I can only imagine the breakthroughs in biology which will happen as a result of this line of reasoning. Also, there could be cultural ramifications because it is kind of hard to argue against evolution, when you can do experiments using it.

  5. This conversation evolved pretty much like a snowflake yeast. Could there be such a thing as an entangled conversation? Or is that the definition of a mental illness? Or a co-dependency? Or a liturgy?

  6. Physics proves a supernatural realm, Creator, instant or infinitely fast light at the CMBR and the big bang false. Since God created the visible light on days 1 to 3 of creation as an expansion in the non-physical realm, and stars and starlight in this realm, then over laid space on top of these expanding them simultaneously at this instant velocity, they could not be affected by time as time is relative to the physical realm. Light was already extant and didn't travel 13.8 billion light years in the physical realm as it was already established in the supernatural outside of time.
    The cosmos is patently almost 6000 years old. If the cosmos had been here the probably 100 billion years or more that the big bang postulates, space would not be cold and zero pressure since the cosmos cannot expand without an outside force or Creator and supernatural non-physical realm.
    Since it can be proven that the CMBR traveled infinitely fast, do you think you might reasonably adjust your worldview to reflect the science?

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