Sunday, July 17, 2011

After Darwinism

Lynn recently introduced me to the ideas of Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris. She is a biologist who presents a framework for science that motivates the transition to environmental sustainability. The most interesting part of her talk was that Darwinism only describes the adolescent stage of human society development. After that, there must be cooperation to create a sustainable ecosystem.

I think she mischaracterizes entropy, though. Entropy is orthogonal to destruction vs organization. It is simply going from a higher energy state to a lower energy state. If you build something, like a house, you are adding organization, but you are putting a lot of energy in, so the entropy of the whole system is still increased, although the entropy of the house itself is decreased. The sun decreases entropy on the earth, but in the scope of the universe, entropy is still increased. It seems like people who talk about sustainability and ecology really like talking about entropy. I don't really get it.

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