Hi Stan, Stan: Abiotic dissipative structures will degrade their gradients as fast as possible given the bearing constraints. They are unconditional maximizers. Life that has survived has been able to apply conditions upon its entropy production, but that does not mean that it has enacted energy conservation or energy efficiency policies. Its mode is still maximizing, but within limits.
Terry: Your phrases "given the bearing constraints" and "within limits" are the critical issues to be focused on in my opinion [as I noted in my response to Guy]. But I do indeed argue that living processes can and do enact entropy rate regulating mechanisms. This is of course an empirical question, and I have seen studies suggesting both results. My point is only that autogenesis (which I use as a proxy for the simplest life-like dynamic) is a dissipative system that regulates the boundary constraints on its rate of dissipation, and that this non-linearity is a critical game-changer. In particular, for this discussion, I argue that this constraint-ratcheting effect—where a distinctive dynamical configuration can change the boundary constraints on its own constraint dissipation tendency—is what makes reference and significance possible. The resulting higher order synergy constraint is neither a physical nor chemical constraint, but a formal constraint. Because of this it is thereby substrate transferrable so that reference and significance are maintainable despite complete replacement of physical substrates, i.e. via reproduction. Without this property biological evolution is not possible. — Terry
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