Integration of Ecology and Economy: Compensating the Public for use of public property; i.e., natural resources

John C. Champagne jchampag at
Sat Nov 30 02:53:43 EST 1996

I wrote:

> >Gaia Brain:  Integration of Human Society and the Biosphere
> >
> >  The History of Life
> >
> >An obvious trend throughout the history of life on earth is the nearly
> >continual, albeit unsteady progression from simpler, small-scale
> >organization to more complex and large-scale organization. 

On Fri, 29 Nov 1996, L.A. Moran wrote:

> This is as far as I got. Since it is obviously wrong I assume that most
> of the rest of your posting is equally flawed.
> I suggest that you read S.J. Gould. Try his latest book "Full House". A
> large part of this book is devoted to explaining why your view of evolution
> is not correct.

I think Gould's metaphor of a drunkard comming out of a bar and 
staggering randomly down the sidewalk, and occasionally bumping up 
against that wall, the limit of minimum necessary complexity, could be 
modified.  The level of minimum necessary complexity, (the most simple 
arrangement that is possible while preserving the condition of life), 
seems to not have been approached since the begining of life.  There has 
been a racheting up of complexity since that first manifestation of 
living systems.  (Admitedly, our knowledge on this point is quite 

 Chemistry --> autocatalytic RNA --> bacteria --> eukaryotes --> 

     multi-celled organisms --> social organization --> culture -->

I am not aware of any evidence that there has been a change in a 
direction opposite that indicated by this chain; i.e., once a particular 
level of organization has been reached, it persists, creating a new 
'floor' of minimum complexity, (or, a new 'wall', in Gould's metaphor).

(Of course, this intricate complexity will collapse if energy ceases to 
flow into the system.)


Walter Cronkite for President!  Franklin Thomas for President!
Pass in on... They would do it if we ask.

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