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Lets kick off the first post with the biggest subject available: Life. Where When How and Why? Is a drive towards life, intelligence or even awareness build into the very fabric of the universe?

Life can only exist when there is an energy flow through an environment and that environment is diverse enough in materials. The earth is diverse enough in materials, and we have the sun as our energy source. But just as important as the energy source is the energy sink: the background of the sky, the universe.

The surface temperature of the sun is about 6000 degrees Kelvin. The background of the universe is about 3 degrees Kelvin. And in between those two is the earth. Perfectly positioned to develop life. And what is more: the earth rotates. It exposes its surface to the sun and to the background of the universe each day. Just perfect, why?

It should come as no surprise that we do indeed have the perfect situation. If the situation were less perfect, we would not be here to experience it. I.e. every life form will always find itself in a perfect environment! (Assuming that there are no sudden changes in either environment or energy flow.)

The location of the earth between the sun and the background of the universe is important. Closer to the sun and things would be so hot that the energy flow would destroy any compounds just as quickly as they would be created. Any further from the sun and the energy flow would only be dense enough to create very simple (non-aware) life forms.

The earth orbits the sun at a distance of roughly 150.000.000 Km. This distance is called 1 AU (Astronomical Unit). It has been estimated that for a star like our sun life is possible in between 0.5AU to 3AU. With only simple life forms at either end.

The earliest life forms are (always?) simple. It takes time to evolve to more complex life forms. I believe that there is an upper limit to the complexity of the evolving life forms that is set by the energy density. Everywhere where life is created, the complexity of that life will evolve to the maximum possible complexity.

I should point out that complexity and intelligence or awareness are not the same. Though I do expect any single organism of sufficient complexity to develop awareness and intelligence, it is not the same as complexity. Complexity is more similar to the full diversity of life forms and all of their interactions. This includes intelligence but also the number of species.

To me the most amazing thing is the seemingly discrepancy between this and the second law of thermodynamics. While the universe seems to be striving towards more complexity, the second law states that entropy will always increase. I know that these two do not necessarily exclude each other. Still, one wonders… is there the drive towards life, intelligence and even awareness backed into the very fabric of the universe? Is there a complement to the second law of thermodynamics that tells us that self-awareness must develop?


Originally posted at: 2016-10-27
Last modified on: 2016-10-28