energy flux and thus survive and reproduce. This competition for limited energy resources is the basis of natural selection, which edits the duplicated information based on its efficiency of energy use. Hence, the origin of biological complexity is the interplay between the organizing principle of energy flow, the accumulation of information in nucleic acids, and the winnowing of that information to optimize the use of the available energy flux for information propagation (Mathematical Formulations).
During the origin of life, biomolecular systems interacted directly with energy flux, resulting in the formation and polymerization of ribonucleic acids and their subsequent conformational changes to form catalysts to facilitate biochemical reactions (Ricardo and Szostak, 2009). Hence, energy flux was directly linked to the accrual of information within nucleic acids. Subsequently, systems evolved by which the nucleic acid information could be converted into the more flexible proteins permitting more complex structures.
Today, the primary energy source for terrestrial life is the flux of high-energy photons from the Sun through the biosphere. The high-energy photons are collected by plant chloroplasts, descendants of symbiotic cyanobacteria, and the energy used to split water to hydrogen and oxygen. The resulting hydrogen (reducing equivalents) is fixed to carbon to generate glucose. From plant glucose, solar energy flows in the form of reducing equivalents through the biosphere. Animals eat the plants, acquiring the carbohydrates and their stored reducing equivalents. Carbohydrate breakdown products then enter the mitochondria, descendants of symbiotic α-protobacteria, and the mitochondria strip the hydrogens off the hydrocarbons and react them with oxygen to generate water, releasing the stored energy (Wallace, 2007).
Therefore, it is the information-generating power of energy flux plus the information storage capacity of nucleic acids, winnowed by natural selection, that continually drives biology to increased complexity. Dobzhansky argued that, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,” but nothing in biology exists without energy flux. Therefore, to understand the origin of species and the ascent of man, we must understand how energy flows through the biosphere, creating the environment; how this energy flow increases biological information; and how the edited information results in complexity and thus man.
From this analysis, it is clear that the central aspect of an organism’s “environment” is energy flow. The energy environment of a biological system is the balance between the energy available to a system and the