increasingly complex forms.s It'shard to imagine how we could test these theories of evolution applied to earlycosmology, but it's clear that the physical laws of our universe are preciselywhat they need to be to allow for the evolution of increasing levels of order andcomplexity.eEfuch 4 rechnotogylnffrmtion in hdrdware and so[tware designsEiioch 3 arainslnlofl$lbn in neural patterns'fr:],51;1-@och 2 aionsyiliiforrnation in ouaEdOcfi 7 Physics and chemistry.'i;iormation in atomic structuresThe Six Epochs of EvolutionEvolution works through indirection: it createsa capability and then uses that capability toevolve the next stage.\\i:;iti:a,:Pmut"a'itl' inttttigunt pto""""es and knowledge
tu6:,il1(; Irrr SIN(;trt.AntlY Is Nn,q.xlipoclr'lwo: lliology and DNA, ln the second epoch, starting several billiony(,ilts illl(,, .ltr-lrott-bitsctl cornpounds became more and more intricate untiltonrplt'x ;rggrcgittiorts tlf tlolecules formed self-replicating mechanisms, andlili. originatccl. Ultimately, biological systems evolved a Precise digital mecha-rr isrrr ( I)NA ) to store information describing a larger society of molecules. Thisnrolcculc ancl its supporting machinery of codons and ribosomes enabled arecorcl to be kept of the evolutionary experiments of this second epoch.Epoch Three: Brains. Each epoch continues the evolution of informationthrough a paradigm shift to a further level of "indirection." (That is, evolutionuses the results of one epoch to create the next.) For example, in the thirdepoch, DNA-guided evolution produced organisms that could detect informa-tion with their own sensory organs and process and store that information intheir own brains and nervous systems. These were made possible by second-epoch mechanisms (DNA and epigenetic information of proteins and RNAfragments that control gene expression), which (indirectly) enabled and definedthircl-epoch information-processing mechanisms (the brains and nervous sys-tems of organisrns). The third epoch started with the ability of early animals torecognize patterns, which still accounts for the vast majority of the activity inr brains.lo Ultimatetry, our own species evolved the ability to create abstractmental moclels of the world we experience and to contemplate the rational.implications of these models. We have the ability to redesign the world in ourn minds and to put these ideas into action.Epoch Four: Technology. Combining the end<'rwment of rational and abstractthought with our opposable thumb, our species ushered in the fourth epochand the next level of ilrdirection: the evolution of human-created technol-ogy. This started out with simple mechanisms and developed into elaborateautomata (automated mechanical machines). Ultimately, with sophisticatedcomputational antl communication devices, technology was itself capable ofsensing, storing, and evaluating elaborate patterns of information.