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V. Life's Evolutionary Development Organizes Itself: A 2020s Genesis Synthesis

E. A 2020s Teleology Turn: Life’s Evomic Development of Personal Purpose

This new April 2022 section will be an open home to gather and report many diverse views and documentations which are lately coming together so to verify this true once and future integral evolutionary orientation. This large Chapter V, and the whole website, now contains a compelling amount of revolutionary EarthWise findings that such an actual orthogenesis can no longer be denied.

But a vested neoDarwinian scheme since the 1950s and before of only random mutations and contingent selection has excluded, and quite prohibits, any directional development at all going forth on its phenomenal, innate own. Into the 21st century however, efforts toward a revised Extended Synthesis have grown for many reasons, as the Chap.V litany cites. As this Natural Genesis (as an alternative to selection) worldWise resource avers, a deeply fertile, ecosmos, (rather than morbid mechanism) provides a deep fertility suffused with self-organizing codes. (Might it be an EarthWinian uniVersion).

This historic, once and future, admission is quite overdue and can be newly based on an increasing, convergent flow of evidential findings, as the Chap. V lead listing gathers. Many novel aspects from physical self-organization to proactive agency come together to allow and support an admission that something lively going on by itself can no longer be avoided.

An historic Teleology Turn can be well indicated by three significant occasions and contributions. In June 2021, the Linnean Society of London, since 1788 the premier naturalist endeavor (see its site and journal) sponsored an Evolution on Purpose: Teleonomy in Living Systems conference. The meeting website contains Abstracts for 20 frontier presentations by leading scholars such as Stuart Kauffman, Eva Jablonka, Denis Noble, Nathalie Gontier, Eugene Koonin, Stuart Newman, Denis Walsh and James Shapiro.

Into 2022, in the USA a similar project was conceived by the Templeton Foundation with a general Biological Research on Purpose title (see Alan Love herein). Its website (biologicalpurpose.org) opens with this note: There is a growing recognition that biological phenomena which suggest agency, directionality, or goal-directedness demand new conceptual frameworks that can translate into rigorous theoretical models and discriminating empirical tests. () Some subject areas are Directionality in Genomica and Macroevolution and Evolutionary Origins and Transitions of Agency.

Thirdly, a 2022 volume, Self-Organization as a New Paradigm in Evolutionary Biology, edited by Anne Dambricourt Malasse (Springer, July), collects and surveys how the presence of procreative vitalities can regain conducive substantial roots. In regard: This book shows how self-organization has become integrated in modern biology. It then presents emergent evolutionary models such as the sciences of complexity, non-linear dynamical systems, fractals, attractors, epigenesis, systemics, and morphogenesis. A prime contributor is the theoretical biologist Stuart Newman.

Further afield see Integrating the Life Sciences to Jumpstart the Next Decade of Discovery by Maude Holford and Ben Newmark in Systems Biology and Earthuman Integrations sections about a National Science Foundation project to identify and foster 2020s convergent syntheses. A special issue of Integrative & Comparative Biology (61/6, 2021) contains some 30 papers which lately describe a nested, sequential, recurrent scale which persists and quickens across life’s long emergent development.

Evolution on “Purpose:” Teleonomy in Living Systems.. Google tltle words. . This the name of an international June 2021 two day online meeting sponsored by the Linnean Society of London, since 1788 the premier naturalist endeavor. The main organizer was the biocomplexity theorist Peter Corning. The full site contains Abstracts for 20 presentations by leading scholars such as Stuartt Kauffman, Eva Jablonka, Denis Noble, Nathalie Gontier, Eugene Koonin, Stuart Newman, and James Shapiro. Various titles are Three Laws of Teleonometrics by Bernard Crespi, The Orgin of Goal-Directed Organization by Francis Heylighen, Teleonomy, Agency and Unity of Purpose by Samir Okasha and Teleophobia by Denis Walsh.

Living systems exhibit an internal teleology, the full implications of which have not been explored. This meeting will address various aspects of this phenomenon, including its scope and meaning, and its many forms and facets. Although it is now widely accepted that living systems exhibit an internal teleology, or teleonomy, the full implications of this distinctive biological property have yet to be explored. This online conference will seek to address various aspects of this important phenomenon, including the origins and history of the teleonomy concept, its scope and meaning, and its many forms and facets. Possible topics may include: an historical review of teleological thinking; teleolpgy in evolutionary theory; the nature of teleonomy and agency, genomes, semiotics, modeling teleonomic processes, in epigenesis, physiology, behavior natural selection and onto human evolution.. (Conference summary)

Teleology — the explanation of phenomena by appeal to the goals that they subserve — is widely thought to have been expunged from biology. The reasons offered for its putative banishment are numerous and varied — historical, conceptual, theoretical, metaphysical — and they are all wrong. There is no defensible reason for the teleophobia that holds contemporary biology in its grip. Furthermore, this fixation has had a deleterious effect on evolutionary theory. It has aided and abetted the shunting of organisms with natural purposes from evident developmental thinking. (Denis Walsh)

Dambricourt Malasse, Anne, ed.. Self-Organization as a New Paradigm in Evolutionary Biology. International: Springer, 2022. The editor is a senior paleo-anthropologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research. We have not yet seen its Table of Contents, but have already reviewed a significant chapter by Stuart Newman herein. As the book summary alludes, the volume is a first edition of a 2020s genesis synthesis within a revolutionary procreative ecosmos uniVerse with a spontaneous fertility all the way to a planetary progeny transition who might be able to realize and discover.

A new evolutionary synthesis is proceeding to integrate the scientific models of self-organization developed during the later 20th century based on the laws of physics, thermodynamics, and mathematics. This book shows how self-organization is now becoming integrated across a 21st century versions from life’s origins to our human phase. The first part pays attention to the modern observations in paleontology and biology, which include major theoreticians of the self-organization (d’Arcy Thompson, Henri Bergson, René Thom, Ilya Prigogine). The second presents different emergent evolutionary models including the sciences of complexity, the non-linear dynamical systems, fractals, attractors, epigenesis, and systems approaches with examples of the sciences of complexity and self-organization such as embryogenesis-morphogenesis phenomena. (Publisher)

Johnston, Iain, et al. Symmetry and Simplicity Spontaneously Emerge from the Algorithmic Nature of Evolution. PNAS. 119/11, 2022. Seven theorists mainly posted at Oxford University including Ard Louis and Chico Camargo consider how life’s ascendant occasion might be better understood as involving and due to computational processes. We note in this new section for its sense of some manner of code-script in effect. But the work still cites neoDarwinian “random mutations” which are then selected. See also Evolutionary Dynamics, Evolutionary Forces, and Robustness: A Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics Perspective by Riccardo Rao and Stanislas Leibler in PNAS (119/13, 2022.) A reader was Gunter Wagner, see his latest paper Body Plan Identity: A mechanistic Model with James DiFrisco in Evolutionary Biology (March 2022).

Engineers routinely design systems to be modular and symmetric in order to increase robustness and facilitate later alterations. Biological structures also frequently exhibit modularity and symmetry, but their origin is less well understood. However, evolution, unlike engineers, cannot plan ahead, and so these traits must also afford some selective advantage. Here we introduce a nonadaptive hypothesis based on an algorithmic picture of evolution. It suggests that symmetric structures arise because they require less information to encode and are more likely to appear through random mutations. Algorithmic information theory can thus predict that many genotype–phenotype maps are biased toward phenotypes with low descriptional complexity. We test and show that protein complexes, RNA structures, and a gene regulatory network exhibit an exponential bias toward simpler, more symmetric phenotypes. (Abstract excerpt)

Love, Alan and Max Dresow. Organizing Interdisciplinary Research on Purpose. BioScience. 72/4, 2022. University of Minnesota biologists provide an initial outline on this epochal, 20 million dollar, endeavor. Its biological purpose.org home site describes Cluster Projects such as Directionality in Genomics and Macroevolution and Evolutionary Origins and Transitions of Agency. Some typical researchers among many are Anya Plutynski (Agency in Development), Adi Livnat (Genomic Directions), and Richard Watson (Evolutionary and Organismal Goal-Directedness). A Scientific Board of Advisors includes Renee Duckworth, Walter Fontana, and Gunter Wagner.

There is a growing recognition that biological phenomena which suggest agency, directionality, or goal-directedness demand new conceptual frameworks that can translate into rigorous theoretical models and discriminating empirical tests. This project addresses the demand through a novel, interdisciplinary, large-scale program that combines philosophers, theoreticians, and experimentalists. (Project synopsis)

Call for Papers: Teleology for the 21st Century: Teleology used to be one of the central topics in metaphysics until well into the 19th century, but it is rarely discussed today. This lacuna is unfortunate, because the nature of goal-directedness has important implications about biological and human functions, naturalism, social science, the philosophy of mind, and much more. We are looking for innovative papers that shed light on what teleology is, either from a general metaphysical standpoint or in connection with some specific debate.

Newman, Stuart. Self-Organization in Embryonic Development. arXiv:2108.00532. This eprint posting by the veteran New York Medical College living systems theorist will be a chapter in Self-Organization as a New Paradigm in Evolutionary Biology, (Springer, July 2022). Search this site and his PubMed bibliography for many collegial pagers since the later 1990s. His lifetime endeavor has been to theorize, seek out and articulate the generative presence and effects of natural self-organizing forces across evolutionary and organism embryonic gestations. See also Form, Function, Agency: Sources of Natural Purpose in Animal Evolution by SN in EcoEvoRxiv (January 7, 2020) and Interplay of Mesoscale Physics and Agent-like Behavior in the Parallel Evolution of Aggregative Multicellularity by Juan Arias Del Angel, et al (with SN) in EvoDevo (11/21, 2020) for other recent entries.

"Self-organization" has taken hold in developmental biology such as in embryonic stem cells. While Immaneul Kant first introduced the phrase to describe the goal-directed properties of living systems, in modern use it has stood for complex forms and patterns than emerge through dynamical material processes. These effects also provide evolutionary templates for embryonic forms and morphological motifs of metazoan lineages. Embryos and organ primordia of animal species generate forms that thus esemble the outcomes of these physical effects. Using the examples of gastrulation, somitogenesis, and limb skeletal forms, I provide instances of, and a conceptual framework for, the relationships between basic physical and evolved types of developmental self-organization. (Abstract excerpt)

Rao, Riccardo and Stanislas Leibler. Evolutionary Dynamics, Evolutionary Forces, and Robustness: A Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics Perspective.. PNAS. 119/13, 2022. We cite this entry by Simons Center for Systems Biology, IAS, Princeton University and Laboratory of Living Matter, Rockefeller University, NYC researchers as a 2020s instance of how theories about life’s occasion and oriented, emergent course to our Earthuman retrospect are gaining deeper roots in an increasingly conducive physical substrate. Thus a genesis synthesis grows in depth, veracity and ecosmic expanse,

Any realistic evolutionary theory has to consider 1) the dynamics of organisms that reproduce heritable traits, 2) stochastic variations in these traits, and 3) the selection of those organisms that better survive and reproduce. Here, we introduce a general model of reproduction, variation and selection dynamics. Treating them as a nonequilibrium thermodynamic process better clarifies various forces that characterize evolution. One of Some of the detailed predictions of our model can be tested by quantitative laboratory experiments, similar to those performed in the past on evolving populations of proteins or viruses. (Abstract)

From a physicist’s point of view, evolution is an example of a nonequilibrium stochastic dynamical system. One of the main reasons why it is very different from dynamics studied in physics or chemical physics is that the reproduction of organisms is tightly connected with relatively precise, long-time inheritance. This allows the existence of stable variants that can better survive and reproduce than others, and thus allows organisms to evolve. Since the so-called evolutionary Modern Synthesis was deeply anchored in population genetics, mathematical models of evolutionary dynamics have mostly dealt with genetic variations. (5)