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Entropy, information and evolutionary selection

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We show that the second law of thermodynamics for a general non-equilibrium system can be expressed as a relationship between physical information change over time, entropy production and physical information fluxes. We show that a steady state system far from thermodynamic equilibrium must embody some structural information. It must import physical information from external sources of free energy or structure to compensate for entropy production due to the loss of information from the dissolution of existing structures. Nevertheless, the second law is also consistent with an accumulation of physical information in the form of increasingly complex ordered structures ("order out of chaos"). We display a corresponding but contrasting axiom for evolutionary biological and economic systems. This sheds light on the role purposive decision-making (selection) behavior and/or human preferences as a determinant of the direction of evolutionary change, and also on the role of selection in biological evolution

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