New Criticals

First, it presupposes a mistaken view of what it means to “reduce to mechanisms” as the only form of “good, scientific objectivity.” I mentioned this briefly already and will expand further on this point in future posts.
Second, and more importantly, it fails to understand that “chance” in nature is constrained by the physical conditions of the evolution of the universe. You see, we’re pretty certain that the universe is expanding and that expansion is helping to maintain a disequilibrium between kinetic and potential energy. This allows dissipative processes, like stars and people, to continue to be “energetically favorable.” This isn’t super complicated. Think about the sun. It’s way hotter than the rest of space. Therefore the particles in the sun have much greater average kinetic energy than the particles in space (all I just said is that the hotter ones are moving faster). But the sun and space are in thermal contact, just like ice and water. What happens if you leave them together long enough? Yea, they ought to become the same temperature. So the sun is radiating out into space because  it's hot as hell and it "wants" to make space the same temperature as it so it can settle down and stop radiating...but space keeps expanding, and its actually getting the sun keeps radiating. Does it really "want" to stop?

Let’s make the jump into statistical mechanical reasoning: The sun, and any non-equilibrium structure (you’re hotter than the room too) is a locus of improbability in the basic distribution of stuff in the universe. What happens to improbable configurations as time goes by? They “dissipate” into more probable configurations, all by themself. Nothing magical, just the process of the improbable becoming the probable. The structures or processes performing the dissipation, however, may persist so long as the fuel source or “gradient” that feeds the dissipation is sufficient to pay the cost of maintaining the internal organization required to continue the process of dissipation. All fuels represent probabilistic compressions of chemical or some other form of energy. The sun is fueled by the fusion of hydrogen into helium, and so the sun has some life-expectancy value just like you, mortal. And just like the sun, you get to exist because you are an organized process designed to equalize the improbability in the distribution of energy between a fuel source and an entropy sink (thats what food and shit really are!) The fact, however, that dissipation is probabilistically likely in the first place is due to our mother, the expanding sink of space, which we have wrongly characterized as a cold, indifferent void. Once we have had time to unpack these ideas in greater detail it should become possible for you to understand how thermodynamics has provided the physical rationale for, and prescribed the direction of, the evolution of life on earth.