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Religion and philosophy
|Alma matter||University of Pittsburgh|
University of Idaho
|Note||Patch covers a lost eye from accident in youth. |
“In a universe where cosmic expansion maintains a disequilibrium between potential and thermal forms of energy, this means that putting smaller entities together to form larger entities will generate entropy through the conversion of potential energy to heat. Hence, the potential energy wells into which natural processes tend to flow are correlated with the buildup of structure … Dissipation is the driving force of the universe’s building up or integrative tendency. Entropic dissipation propels evolutionary structuring; nature’s forces give it form.”
Wicken extended the work of American mathematical physical chemist Alfred Lotka (1922) and Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger (1944) on the thermodynamical nature of life to argue that thermodynamics, particularly the second law, is the “go” of life. 
American ecological thermodynamicist Eric Schneider cites Wicken as being the most influential person in the development of his ideas in regards to the publication of his 2005 book Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life, co-written with American science writer Dorion Sagan.  Wicken, no doubt, is one of the more deeper thinkers of the last several decades.
Organic vs. inorganic
In 1981, Wicken summarized: 
“Even now there are serious conceptual discontinuities in the evolutionary theory, were its philosophical mission of unifying organic and inorganic nature is not fully realized. Whereas organic nature is pictured as purposive, self-serving, and, at least in its highest expressions, conscious, inorganic nature is conceived as behaving according to the blind mechanistic principles of chance and necessity.”
This seems to be digging around in the origin of life / unbridgeable gap area.
It seems that Wicken was attempting to write (or may have written) an 1989 book on the thermodynamics (and information theory) of socioeconomic evolution, but no copies of the book seem to exist. 
Religious and philosophical beliefs
“How should we best understand ourselves in the new, evolutionary cosmos? What are the problems with the kind of genetic reductionism espoused by neo-Darwinism? How are those problems resolved by the "relational" understanding of life made available by thermodynamics and ecology? How do we generate meaning-structures in this relationally-constituted cosmos? Finally, how do these developments enrich our understandings of responsibility—to each other and to our private conceptions of God?”Wicken here seems to allude to the idea that he has a "private conception of God"?
Jeffrey Wicken is the son of American metallurgical engineer Oscar M. Wicken (1913-2005).  Wicken attended Penn State University and majored in chemistry but received his BS degree in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 1965, his MS degree in chemistry, with a thesis on “Procedures and Methodology for Determining the Binding Ratios and Association Constants of the Glucose: Glucose Oxidase Apoenzyme System”, from University of Idaho in 1968, and his PhD from University of Pittsburgh in 1971. He was appointed an assistant professor of chemistry at Behrend College of Penn State University Erie in 1974.  In the 1980s, Wicken was a lecturer at Behrend College, in the sciences and engineering division, and was often voted by students as best lecturer.
In the 1970s, Wicken turned to theoretical biology and thermodynamics because his small college lacked research facilities in molecular biology.  Beginning in 1976, Wicken published thirty-five papers and culminating in his most-popular 1987 book Evolution, Thermodynamics, and Information.
In 2012, Danish chnops-ologist (bio-logist) Richard Egel published an essay on Wicken’s legacy. 
1. Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1987). Evolution, Thermodynamics, and Information: Extending the Darwinian Program (abs) (pg. 72). Oxford University Press.
2. Schneider, Eric D. and Sagan, Dorion. (2005). Into the Cool - Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life, (pgs. 104-06). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
3. Email conversation (2005) between Libb Thims and Eric Schneider.
4. Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1989). "Toward an Evolutionary Ecology of Meaning." Zygon 24, no. 2, June: 153-184.
5. Research of Alston S. Turchetta, Penn State University Library department; communication to Libb Thims 06 Sep 2011.
6. Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1989). Information Theory and Thermodynamics in Biology and Socioeconomic Evolution. Pergamon.
7. Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1981). “Chance, Necessity, and Purpose: Toward a Philosophy of Evolution” (abs), Zygon, 16(4): 303-22.
8. Oscar M. Wicken (obituary) – Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration.
9. Photo of Jeffrey S. Wicken (thread) – Hmolpedia.
10. Photo of Wicken Wicken at the height of his publishing career; Courtesy of Jessica Wicken (29 Sep 2012).
11. Egel, Richard. (2012). “Life’s Order, Complexity, Organization, and its Thermodynamics-Holistic Imperative” (abs), Life, 2(4):323:63.
|Wicken's 1987 book Evolution, Thermodynamics, and Information, wherein he attempts to do "semantic house-cleaning", as he calls it, of the Brooks-Wiley theory of evolution. |
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1976). “The Chemically Organizing Effects of Entropy Maximization” (abs), J. Chem. Educ. 53(10): 623.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1979). "The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion" (abs), Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77:349.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1979). “Entropy and Evolution: A Philosophical Review”, Perspective in Biology and Medicine, 22: 285-300.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1981). “Causal Explanations in Classical and Statistical Thermodynamics” (abs), Philosophy of Science, 48: 65-77.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1983). “Entropy, Information and Nonequilibrium Evolution” (abs), Systematic Zoology, 32: 438-43.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1984). “Autocatalytic Cycling and Self-Organization in the Ecology of Evolution”, Nature and System, 6:119-35.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1984). “The Cosmic Breath: Reflections on the Thermodynamics of Creation” (abs), Zygon, Vol. 19, Issue 4, pgs. 487-505.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1985). “Thermodynamics and the Conceptual Structure of Evolutionary Theory”, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 117: 363-83.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1986). “Evolutionary Self-organization and Entropic Dissipation in Biological and Socioeconomic Systems” (abs), Journal of Social and Biological Systems, 9(3): 261-73.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1986). “Entropy and Evolution: Ground rules for Discourse.” Systematic Zoology 35: 51-73.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1987). “Entropy and Information: Suggestions for a Common Language” (abs), Philosophy of Science, 54(2): 176-93.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1988). “Theology and Science in the Evolving Cosmos: a Need for a Dialogue” (abs), Zygon, 23(1): 45-55.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1988). “Thermodynamics, Evolution, and Emergence: Ingredients for a New Synthesis” , in: Entropy, Information, and Evolution: New Perspectives on Physical and Biological Evolution (pgs. 160-63), Weber, Bruce H., Depew, David J., Smith, James D. MIT Press.
● Wicken, Jeffrey. (1997). “Toward an Evolutionary Ecology of Meaning”, in: Beginning with the End: God, Science, and Wolfhart Pannenberg (ch. 10, pgs. 256-88). Open Court Publishing.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1989). “Toward and Evolutionary Ecology of Meaning” (abstract), Zygon, 24(2): 153-84; Presented at the Second Pannenberg Symposium, 15-17 Nov. 1988, at the Chicago Center for Religion and Science.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1998). “Evolution and Thermodynamics: the New Paradigm” (abs), Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 15(5): 365-72.
● Wicken, Jeffrey Stephen (published: 1968) – WorldCat Identities.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (published: 1987-1989) – WorldCat Identities.
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