II. Planetary Prodigy: A Global Sapiensphere Learns by Her/His Own Self
3. The Book of Naturome
A 21st century phenomenal knowledge by our global humankinder can be seen to have a familiar, traditional identity. Two books of revelation have long been said to inform our religious encounters. One is God’s received word – the Bible, Torah, Koran; the other God’s works in the evidences of cosmic and Earthly creation. In 1987 Pope John Paul II wrote to George Coyne, SJ, Director of the Vatican Observatory, stating that “the matter is urgent” for a rapprochement between theology and science. In the first lecture set up in response, Danish historian Olaf Pedersen advised that the best means to achieve this may be to recover the venerable concept of Nature as a literal testament.
Codex Sinaiticus. http://www.codex-sinaiticus.net/en/. A new website online in July 2009 as a digital version of the oldest known Christian Bible, via a joint project of the British Library, National Library of Russia, St. Catherine’s Monastery, and the Leipzig University Library. Its several hundred large (~15 X 14 inches) leaves of prepared animal skin are attributed to a number of scribes, along with signs of post editing. The endeavor, hailed for its historic significance, evinces the importance of a scriptural basis for Abrahamic Western culture. But what, if anything, has been revealed or learned since? The two cultures of postmodern humanities and a Ptolemaic physics, in their quandaries, lately deny any creation or purpose. However might we peoples just now imagine, decipher, and read an ordained, salutary 21st century natural testament?
Codex Sinaiticus, a manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the middle of the fourth century, contains the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament. The hand-written text is in Greek. The New Testament appears in the original vernacular language (koine) and the Old Testament in the version, known as the Septuagint, that was adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians. In the Codex, the text of both the Septuagint and the New Testament has been heavily annotated by a series of early correctors.
Opening the Book of Nature.
A website for a California-based ministry with this title name, which was a onetime 2007 posting. Our interest is its Nature as a Great Book page with over 50 citations to this effect across two thousand years. The entries are drawn from the Abrahamic faiths and beyond, along with ecologists and poets. They course from the Bible, Origen, St. Ephraim the Syrian, St. Augustine, Muslih-uddin Sa’di Shirazi, St. Bonavanture, Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart, Dante, Martin Luther, Dogen Kigen, Shakespeare, Galileo, William Penn, Longfellow, Baha’u’llah, John Ruskin, John Burroughs, George Washington Carver, Martin Buber, Aldo Leopold, Fritjof Schuon, Matthew King, Lakota Nation, to Pope John Paul II.
Ablondi, Fred. Reading Nature’s Book: Galileo and the Birth of Modern Philosophy. New York: Peter Lang, 2016. A Hendrix College philosopher revisits and reminds of this iconic 17th century discernment of an edifying mathematical literacy by which to read and avail a natural creation. See also The Found and the Made by Dan Brugier (Transaction, 2016) for another paean to an innately textual nature made for us to learn to read.
Allahyari, Mehdi, et al. A Brief Survey of Text Mining. arXiv:1707.02919. A University of Georgia, Athens, GA, computer informatics team of MA, Seyedamin Pouriyeh, Mehdi Assefi, Saied Safaei, Elizabeth Trippe, Juan Gutierrez, and Krys Kochut review the latest automatic summary methods to retrieve and distill meaningful content from the vast flow of online literary corpora, broadly conceived. A companion piece is Text Summarization Techniques at 1707.02268. And to reflect, a natural narrative is implied whence our human role may be to learn to read, write, comprehend and continue this procreative realm written in a genetic language.
The amount of text that is generated every day is increasing dramatically. This tremendous volume of mostly unstructured text cannot be simply processed and perceived by computers. Therefore, efficient and effective techniques and algorithms are required to discover useful patterns. Text mining is the task of extracting meaningful information from text, which has gained significant attentions in recent years. In this paper, we describe several of the most fundamental text mining tasks and techniques including text pre-processing, classification and clustering. Additionally, we briefly explain text mining in biomedical and health care domains. (Abstract)
The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts.
New York, Knopf,
In her latest erudite treatise, the British polyscholar worries that the religions of the first Axial Age – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in the west and eastern Hinduism, Buddhism, and Chinese beliefs have sorely lost their way as they became removed from an original numinous wisdom. These early texts have now been mistranslated, misunderstood and co-opted to serve all manner of counter mayhem. Herein ecumenical sections proceed from Cosmos and Society to Mythos, Logos, Sola Scriptura and Sola Ratio as it surveys the long arduous course of our human expressions. Her claim is that archaic passages out of context, as fundamentalists revert to, nor centuries of mechanical science (Bacon, Newton) or philosophy (Nietzsche), which have come to atomic and cosmic naught, will ever serve and save us today.
In recent decades, neurologists have discovered that the brain’s right hemisphere is essential to the creation of poetry, music and religion. It is involved with the formation of our sense of self and has a broader, less focused mode of attention than the left hemisphere, which is more pragmatic and selective. The right hemisphere has a holistic rather than an analytical vision; it sees each thing in relation to the whole and perceives the interconnectivedness of reality. It is at home with metaphor, in which disparate entities become one, while the left hemisphere tends to be literal and to wrest things from their context so it can categorize and make use of them. (5)
Barton, David. Literacy: An Introduction to the Ecology of Written Language. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994. How might we altogether imagine a textual cosmic literacy? An ancient truth avers that we are immersed in a natural scripture, which we yet do not know how to read, a perception which inspired the Renaissance revolution of Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton. Although postmodernity lauds ‘grammatology,’ it rejects in their despair any such abiding narrative. This present book is a lucid tome all about writing and reading systems and their achievement.
Berry, R.J. God’s Book of Works. London: T & T Clark, 2003. In his Gifford Lectures, a scientist employs the popular two books concept of God’s scriptural word and the created realm as complementary expressions of the same truth.
Biagioli, Mario. Galileo’s Instruments of Credit. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. The concluding long chapter, The Supplemental Economy of Galileo’s Book of Nature, provides novel insights into how this metaphor of a natural revelation which complements Divinely inspired scripture was deftly employed in order to keep the clerical inquisitors at bay while defending scientific exploration.
The book of nature was not a single topos but a constellation of closely related topoi he used from 1612 to 1641: the "grand book of the universe," the "open book of the heavens," the "book of nature," the "grand book of the world," and the "book of philosophy." What tied these images together was their role in Galileo's attempt to legitimize his brand of natural philosophy by casting nature as a material inscription of God's logos - a "text" that was simultaneously opposed to the Aristotelian corpus and complementary to the Scripture. (226)
Bono, James. The Word of God and the Languages of Man. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995. A study of the pervasive but cryptic image of a Divinely authored natural testament in the medieval mentality.
Genes, Memes, and the Chinese Concept of Wen: Toward a Nature/Culture Model of Genetics.
Philosophy East & West.
The author is a Tuskegee University philosopher with an Oxford University doctorate, and a previous post at Zhejiang University in China. The article first notes how the traditional Chinese organic cosmology is deeply literal and textual in kind, as expressed by “wen,” a term for fluid pattern, structure, writing, and poetics. Such qualities then serve to “auto-generate” a dynamic biological becoming, distinct from western moribund mechanism. In such wisdom, dual natural realms abide of extant, overt worlds, and their intrinsic, descriptive source.
Brandt, Christina. Genetic Code, Text, and Scripture: Metaphors and Narration in German Molecular Biology. Science in Context. 18/4, 2005. In this international journal from the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University, a Max Planck Institute for the History of Science scholar provides an insightful review of decades of cross-fertilization between bioinformational and linguistic realms, with an emphasis on the work of philosopher Hans Blumenberg and biochemist Gerhard Schramm.
In addition, the metaphor of a “genetic code” and the comparison of the genome to text and alphabet remain within a long occidental tradition according to which nature and the world are seen as entities accessible through writing or encrypted as cipher. Thus, the metaphor of a “genetic text,” which offers in the first instance a description of cellular mechanism as processes of reading and writing, holds strong connotations to the notion of “Scripture” which is central to the western religious canon. The metaphor of the “Book of Nature,” which as a part of Western tradition has gone through many changes, is also present in the code concept of modern life sciences. (631)
Butner, Jonathan, et al. When the Facts Just Don’t Add Up: The Fractal Nature of Conversational Stories. Social Cognition. 26/6, 2008. By applying dynamic systems theory, University of Utah psychologists are able to parse conversational reports so as to quantify an inherent thematic repetition, as per the extended quote. We note in this section for it lately seems, via worldwide mindkind, that universe to human natural creation likewise nests and repeats the same story over and over, as it reflects the intrinsic genomic code everywhere. Here, in such an organic gestation at its earthly nativity, could be a once and future great illumination for us.
Fractals are a mathematical description of a pattern – that a pattern repeats across resolutions of time. (672) On the theoretical side stories that are fractal in time involve a patterned and meaningful distribution of facts and interpretations that is neither random nor linear. (672) A story structured fractally in time would also contain a repeating pattern that is overlaid across many resolutions, in this case, resolutions of time. If we think about temporal resolutions of a story as words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs, then examining any one resolution (e.g., sentences) would result in a coherent pattern that seems to repeat, but also branch in a seemingly irregular manner. (674) If one were to change the resolution to another temporal unit, say phrases, again won would witness a coherent repeating pattern similar to the previous one. Change the resolution again, for example, to words, and one would still see a similarity – this is a self-similarity function in resolution. (674)