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Abiotic Evolution - Diagram by Erich Jantsch
The above shows the first of a series of three integrative diagrams on Cosmic evolution by Erich Jantsch. In his book The Self Organizing Universe, Jantsch, an astronomer and futurist influenced by systems theorist Illya Prigogine, unifies the various fields of science and human knowledge in a single evolutionary framework. The above diagram incorporates the same events as the standard cosmological diagrams such as the one shown above, except that here, following the original Big Bang (the diagonal line to the left), there is the distinction between the macro and micro scales. This distinction only appears with the beginning of the matter-dominated era. Prior to that the universe was undifferentiated, with no distinction between macro and micro structures. Following recombination and decoupling (the universe becoming transparent to radiation), cosmic evolution progresses through the convergence of macro-evolution (here referring to cosmological scale, not evolutionary theory and speciation) through the condensation of background radiation into galaxies, stars, and planets (including the abiotic Earth), and micro-evolution through the building up of sub-atomic particles, atoms, molecules, and crystals and rocks. This diagram therefore shows the "phylogeny of matter", which necessarily precedes the phylogeny (family tree) of life. At the same time, it would be misleading to think of these processes in isolation. Life for example affects mineral and planetary evolution as much as the abiotic affects the biotic world. The physicist John Wheeler even goes so far as to suggest that consciousness (the act of observation) affects the universe itself (the participator universe, which ties in with quantum physics and the problem of observation and measurement). Hence the above diagram would need to be supplemented by a back and forth feedback between different emergent orders of complexity. MAK110729, revised 120706. (diagram copyright, Pergamon Press).