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Lecture 12

HISTORY 2720 Lecture 12: Lesson 12 - Complexity of LifePremium

3 pages36 viewsSpring 2018

Course Code
Samuel White

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The Complexity of Life
Hist 2720: Big History
Does evolution have a direction?
Darwinian Evolution: Core Principles
Evolution proceeds from causes, not toward goals - driven from behind and not pulled
Evolution is directed by chance mutations and events - there is no plan
No Teleology
Adaptations emerge from random mutations - no design
Adaptations satisfy needs for survival, don’t optimize
No Design
Not constrained by ethics or morality
Benefits particular genes, not life as a whole
No Higher Purpose
Increase of extremes over time
1. Size of the largest organisms
Refinement of eyesight, other senses, nervous system
Human brain a new level of complexity, as measured by power density - the amount of
energy we need to produce to keep our brain going
2. Intelligence of smartest organisms
From one or a few to million upon millions of species
3. Increasing biodiversity
Among cells (prokaryotic cooperation)
Within cells (endosymbiosis)
Multi-celled organisms
Cooperation within species
Cooperation among species
4. Cooperation
So how does evolution appear to produce greater complexity?
More diverse parts
Arranged in more particular ways
Arising in more particular conditions
Using more energy
And showing new emergent properties
Or in terms of complex systems…
Life exists in the biosphere, like skin on balloon. Mile or two up/down.a.
How many species? Don't know - a LOT. Estimated up to 1,000,000 species. About
1,000 defined. Almost always you can catch new species.
Biodiversity -I.
Big History Project: Life in All Its Forms
Evolution and the Spread of Complexity
Hist 2720: Big History
If evolution doesn’t have a goal, why does it appear to drive greater complexity?
Lesson 12
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 05:40 PM
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