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  • OVERSHOOT LOOP: Evolution Under The Maximum Power Principle
    the Second Law of thermodynamics to enhance local energy gradient dissipation Development and Evolution of the Universe by Stanley N Salthe 2010 Self replication or reproduction in biological terms the process that drives the evolution of life on Earth is one way a system dissipates an increasing amount of energy over time As Jeremy England put it A great way of dissipating more is to make more copies of yourself A New Physics Theory of Life by Natalie Wolchover January 22 2014 Power is energy dissipation for a purpose proportional to forces x flows work rate entropy produced Maximum Power and Maximum Entropy Production Finalities in Nature by S N Salthe 2010 A surplus resource is stored power 3 Originally formulated by Lotka and further developed by Odum and Pinkerton the MPP states that biological systems capture and use energy to build and maintain structures and gradients which allow additional capture and utilization of energy One of the great strengths of the MPP is that it directly relates energetics to fitness organisms maximize fitness by maximizing power With greater power there is greater opportunity to allocate energy to reproduction and survival and therefore an organism that captures and utilizes more energy than another organism in a population will have a fitness advantage The maximum power principle predicts the outcomes of two species competition experiments by John P DeLong 2008 Also see The continuing importance of maximum power Charles A S Hall 4 Concise Example of Coalitional Killing and Kin Selection 5 Not only are human societies never alone but regardless of how well they control their own population or act ecologically they cannot control their neighbors behavior Each society must confront the real possibility that its neighbors will not live in ecological balance but will grow its numbers and attempt to take the resources from nearby groups Not only have societies always lived in a changing environment but they always have neighbors The best way to survive in such a milieu is not to live in ecological balance with slow growth but to grow rapidly and be able to fend off competitors as well as take resources from others To see how this most human dynamic works imagine an extremely simple world with only two societies and no unoccupied land Under normal conditions neither group would have much motivation to take resources from the other People may be somewhat hungry but not hungry enough to risk getting killed in order to eat a little better A few members of either group may die indirectly from food shortages via disease or infant mortality for example but from an individual s perspective he or she is much more likely to be killed trying to take food from the neighbors than from the usual provisioning shortfalls Such a constant world would never last for long Populations would grow and human activity would degrade the land or resources reducing their abundance Even if by sheer luck all things remained equal it must be remembered that the climate would never be constant Times of food stress occur because of changes in the weather especially over the course of several generations When a very bad year or series of years occurs the willingness to risk a fight increases because the likelihood of starving goes up If one group is much bigger better organized or has better fighters among its members and the group faces starvation the motivation to take over the territory of its neighbor is high because it is very likely to succeed Since human groups are never identical there will always be some groups for whom warfare as a solution is a rational choice in any food crisis because they are likely to succeed in getting more resources by warring on their neighbors Now comes the most important part of this overly simplified story The group with the larger population always has an advantage in any competition over resources whatever those resources may be Over the course of human history one side rarely has better weapons or tactics for any length of time and most such warfare between smaller societies is attritional With equal skills and weapons each side would be expected to kill an equal number of its opponents Over time the larger group will finally overwhelm the smaller one This advantage of size is well recognized by humans all over the world and they go to great lengths to keep their numbers comparable to their potential enemies This is observed anthropologically by the universal desire to have many allies and the common tactic of smaller groups inviting other societies to join them even in times of food stress Assume for a moment that by some miracle one of our two groups is full of farsighted ecological geniuses They are able to keep their population in check and moreover keep it far enough below the carrying capacity that minor changes in the weather or even longer term changes in the climate do not result in food stress If they need to consume only half of what is available each year even if there is a terrible year this group will probably come through the hardship just fine More important when a few good years come along these masterfully ecological people will not grow rapidly because to do so would mean that they would have trouble when the good times end Think of them as the ecological equivalent of the industrious ants The second group on the other hand is just the opposite it consists of ecological dimwits They have no wonderful processes available to control their population They are forever on the edge of the carrying capacity they reproduce with abandon and they frequently suffer food shortages and the inevitable consequences Think of this bunch as the ecological equivalent of the carefree grasshoppers When the good years come they have more children and grow their population rapidly Twenty years later they have doubled their numbers and quickly run out of food at the

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