Determinism and freedom are seen to be relative concepts, with the latter appearing more abundantly in systems of organisms of higher complexity.24... The degrees of freedom manifested by any organism would be directly proportional to its level of complexity.
The earth is also viewed as a system made up of an astronomically large number of subsystems. The Gaia hypothesis best expresses this concept. This planet is seen to represent a complex system of self-organization capable of regulating its own environment, and thus creating and maintaining optimal conditions for the evolution of life. Earth's climate has remained remarkably stable over the past several billions of years during the development of lifeforms, even though the energy output of the sun has increased an estimated amount of at least 30%. This implies that the earth has the capacity to self-regulate itself, including not only the chemical composition of the atmosphere and the salt content of the ocean, but all other chemical and thermodynamic processes as well.25
Systems theory suggests that evolution occurs through an interplay of adaptation and creation. Adaptation alone is not the core of evolution, which requires some forward impetus. For example, simple lifeforms such as blue-green algae, which are perfectly adapted to their environment and unsurpassed in their reproductive capability, have proven their survival fitness over several billions of years. There has been no need for any well-adapted simple lifeforms to evolve into more complex organisms.26... Systems theory suggests that the environment is itself a living system capable of adaptation and evolution. Both the organism and its environment are in a state of co-evolution. There has been a progressive increase in complexity, coordination and interdependence, with the integration of organisms into multi-leveled systems. Each surviving organism represents a pattern of organization that is continuously interacting with its environment.27
Intelligence and Entropy
If it could be demonstrated that intelligence is evolving at the same rate that entropy is occurring, and matter and energy are interchanging, then evidence would exist suggesting a mutual interdependency. It would then follow that the rate of energy dissipation is proportional to the rate of intellectual evolution. This would in turn suggest that the evolution of intelligence is energy-dependent and requires the consumption of energy. From the opposite viewpoint, there is substantial evidence suggesting that intelligence is at least partially in control of energy utilization and can move matter to further its own ends, not the least of which is to ensure its own continuing evolution. What actually appears to exist is a reciprocal relationship with matter-energy perturbing intelligence, and intelligence controlling the utilization of matter-energy. The interdependency of matter-energy and intelligence might be diagrammed as follows.
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