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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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Introduction
Genesis Vision
Learning Planet
Organic Universe
Earth Life Emerge
Genesis Future
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Recent Additions: New and Updated Entries in the Past 60 Days
Displaying entries 1 through 15 of 115 found.


The Genesis Vision: A Creative Organic Universe

The Genesis Vision > Historic Precedents

Rochberg, Francesca. Before Nature: Cuneiform Knowledge and the History of Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016. The UC Berkeley professor of Near Eastern studies is cited on Wikipedia as a circa 1500 BC Assyrian-Babylonian scholar. This volume gives a sense of how early human beings, in this cradle of civilization, might have originally wondered about these august environs whence they came to find themselves. In so doing, they began to express across pictogram to alphabetic etchings. As I enter this some three and a half millennia later, how tragic it is that our anthropo birthplace is now beset by blind mechanized slaughter and destruction, especially of children. Men seem to have learned nothing, nor able to do anything else over all these ages.

In the modern West, we take for granted that what we call the “natural world” confronts us all and always has—but Before Nature explores that almost unimaginable time when there was no such conception of “nature”—no word, reference, or sense for it. Before the concept of nature formed over the long history of European philosophy and science, our ancestors in ancient Assyria and Babylonia developed an inquiry into the world in a way that is kindred to our modern science. From a modern, Western perspective, a world not conceived somehow within the framework of physical nature is difficult to imagine. Yet, ancient investigations of regularity and irregularity, norms and anomalies clearly established an axis of knowledge between the knower and an intelligible, ordered world.

Cuneiform script, one of the earliest systems of writing, was invented by the Sumerians. It is distinguished by its wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets, made by means of a blunt reed for a stylus. The name cuneiform itself simply means "wedge shaped". Emerging in Sumer in the late fourth millennium BC, cuneiform writing began as a system of pictograms. In the third millennium, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract as the number of characters in use grew smaller. The system consists of a combination of logophonetic, consonantal alphabetic and syllabic signs. (Wikipedia)

The Genesis Vision > Current Vistas

Grosz, Elizabeth. The Incorporeal: Ontology, Ethics, and the Limits of Materialism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017. The Duke University professor of gender, sexuality, feminist, and literature studies is a leading remediative scholar for these vital fields and beyond if we might peaceably survive and abide. Although often aligned with postmodernism, this latest volume over 25 years joins several themes and voices to foster an immaterial essence of life, love and individuation. In regard, she cites guidance from the French philosophers Luce Irigaray (1930- ) for an advocacy of real gender differences, and Gillis Deleuze (1925-1995) for a metaphysical, vitalizing immanence. As a result, the text alludes to a deeply meaningful milieu, if we could just allow, distill, and appreciate.

The book chapters cover precursors from the Stoics, Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) to Deleuze, Gilbert Simondon (1924-1989) and Raymond Ruyer (1902-1987), as they each sense an ineffable movement. For Simondon it is the “preindividual,” while Ruyer views an “embryogenesis of the world.” Henri Bergson (1859-1941) would have been included, she notes, whom informed these French scholars, but earlier writings (2011) presented his vision of an elan vital, fertile matter and life’s becomings. While a natural materialism is held to, Grosz makes a distinction and synthesis that it is actually graced by a creative idealist source. To wit, in a February online interview by Kathryn Yusoff in Theory, Culture & Society she offered her lifetime project as a “feminist vision of cosmological proportions.”

I propose here neither a new form of dualism nor a new reductive version of monism in advocating for a materialism that understands its reliance on ideality or an idealism that is committed to the material organization and conditions for ideality. I do not want to privilege ideality over materiality, but to think them together, as fundamentally connected and incapable of each being what it is without the other to direct and support it. Ideality frames, directs, and makes meaning from materiality; materiality carries ideality and is never free of the incorporeal forms that constitute and orient it as material. (12)

With ideality comes the possibility of collective social life, a kind of magical or religious thinking that seeks the orders of connection that regulate the universe itself and the elaboration of increasingly more complex prostheses or technologies that extend and transform materiality exponentially. Without ideality, a plan, a map, a model, an ideal, a direction, or a theme, materiality could not materialize itself. (12)

The Genesis Vision > Current Vistas

Noble, Denis. Dance to the Tune of Life: Biological Relativity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017. The author, now in his 80th year, is an eminent British life scientist, systems biology pioneer, in search of a revised evolutionary synthesis to include holistic living entities and systems in their conducive environs. He was once Chair of Cardiovascular Physiology at Oxford University, see his Wikipedia bio for many credits, along with 50 references. Dr. Noble is also editor of Progress in Biophysics & Molecular Biology, often a forum for this witness. His mission is to counter a vested view that has turned Darwin’s vision into a modern synthesis of random mutation, gene determination, and post selection only. The innovative essay opens by rooting life in quantum and relativity physics as an affine source for whole emergent organisms. It goes on to commend biological networks, multi-scales, nucleotide and cellular activities, and more, as a relativistic theory of evolution across many levels and phases rather than one bottom base. In 2014 James Shapiro and Noble founded The Third Way of Evolution website (Google, search) as a resource space for a growing number of leading theorists with a similar inclination.

In this thought-provoking book, Denis Noble formulates the theory of biological relativity, emphasising that living organisms operate at multiple levels of complexity and must therefore be analysed from a multi-scale, relativistic perspective. Noble explains that all biological processes operate by means of molecular, cellular and organismal networks. The interactive nature of these fundamental processes is at the core of biological relativity and, as such, challenges simplified molecular reductionism. Noble shows that such an integrative view emerges as the necessary consequence of the rigorous application of mathematics to biology. Drawing on his pioneering work in the mathematical physics of biology, he shows that what emerges is a deeply humane picture of the role of the organism in constraining its chemistry, including its genes, to serve the organism as a whole, especially in the interaction with its social environment. This humanistic, holistic approach challenges the common gene-centred view held by many in modern biology and culture.

The Genesis Vision > Current Vistas

Volk, Tyler. Quarks to Culture: How We Came to Be. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017. It is worth notice for our natural philosophy resource that this “grand synthesis” by the New York University systems environmentalist (search) appears at the same time as Geoffrey West’s opus Scale: the Universal Laws of Life. Both works attest to and validate a sequential, nested, repetition in kind from universe to human. Volk sights a “combogenesis” with a dozen main phases over physical, biological, and societal stages whence simpler units symbiotically join into new viable wholes. A generative aspect, akin to West’s complex adaptive system, is added by way of an “alphakit” model that serves in a creative genetic or linguistic way. As it proceeds, nature’s emergence might be seen (to me) as a dual interplay of genotype and phenotype. The author of Gaia’s Body (2003) then looks toward an ecologically stable biosphere and maybe noosphere if peoples and nations might similarly rise to a peaceable Earth community.

As these volumes and others describe a sequential, recurrent scenario from basic matter to our witness with an integral veracity not possible earlier, they begin to fulfill the perennial quest to identify and qualify this vista. To his credit, contrary to dismissals, Volk affirms human beings as the intended, anthropocentric goal and purpose of the entire emergence. By these achievements, the prescience of James G. Miller, Pierre Teilhard, Kenneth Boulding, Ludwig Bertalanffy, many more versions, on back to a mythic, correlative essence of microcosm = macrocosm wisdom may at last come to fruition. A step further, we latecomer Earthlings might even be the participatory agency by which a self-organizing (genesis) cosmos achieves its own sapient observation and selection. I have met both Volk and West, their impressive contributions merit a broad audience and application.

Our world is nested, both physically and socially, and at each level we find innovations that are necessary for the next. Consider: atoms combine to form molecules, molecules combine to form single-celled organisms; when people come together, they build societies. Physics has gone far in mapping the basic mechanics of the simplest things and the dynamics of the overall nesting, as have biology and the social sciences for their fields. But what can we say about this beautifully complex whole? In Quarks to Culture, Tyler Volk answers these questions, revealing how a universal natural rhythm―building from smaller things into larger, more complex things―resulted in a grand sequence of twelve fundamental levels across the realms of physics, biology, and culture. He introduces the key concept of “combogenesis,” the building-up from combination and integration to produce new things with innovative relations. He explores common themes in how physics and chemistry led to biological evolution, and biological evolution to cultural evolution. The resulting inclusive natural philosophy brings clarity to our place in the world, offering a roadmap for those who seek to understand big history and wrestle with questions of how we came to be.

The Genesis Vision > Current Vistas

Walker, Sara Imari, et al, eds. From Matter to Life: Information and Causality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. With Paul Davies and George Ellis as coeditors, this significant collection gathers current notice across many areas of an innately fertile cosmos from which arise sapient organisms. The project began as a 2014 Information, Causality and the Origin of Life workshop at Arizona State University and has now grown to this volume. Its significant theme is an addition of an informational quality and vector, aka J. A. Wheeler’s “It from Bit,” as a novel explanatory source and agency. Wide-ranging considerations are engaged in chapters such as Constructor Theory of Information and Life by Chiara Marletto, Digital and Analogue Information in Organisms by Denis Noble, Causality, Information, and Biological Computation by Hector Zenil, et al, Life’s Informational Hierarchy by Jessica Flack, Major Transitions in Political Order by Simon Dedeo, and especially (How) Did Information Emerge? by Anne-Marie Grisogono. These and more are a stellar array of “methinks” views, but one wonders if an actual “cosmic elephant,” a phenomenal presence on its own, can be imagined and allowed, as some contributors have denied elsewhere. A common translation from many technical abstractions would help, and as this site attempts, a witness of this generative source as a natural, uniVerse to human genetic code.

Recent advances suggest that the concept of information might hold the key to unravelling the mystery of life's nature and origin. Fresh insights from a broad and authoritative range of articulate and respected experts focus on the transition from matter to life, and hence reconcile the deep conceptual schism between the way we describe physical and biological systems. A unique cross-disciplinary perspective, drawing on expertise from philosophy, biology, chemistry, physics, and cognitive and social sciences, provides a new way to look at the deepest questions of our existence. This book addresses the role of information in life, and how it can make a difference to what we know about the world.

The Genesis Vision > Current Vistas

West, Geoffrey. Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life, in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies. New York: Penguin, 2017. Geoffrey West, a theoretical physicist, has been a pioneer advocate of the complex systems movement since the 1980s. With senior posts at Los Alamos Laboratory and the Santa Fe Institute SFI, he assembled a research team to study dual evolutionary domains. For biological and ecosystems, from the 1990s James Brown and Brain Enquist were main members, while in the 2000s and 2010s, Luis Bettencourt, Deborah Strumsky, Jose Lobo (search each) and others illumed human societies. At a conference in 2002, I chatted with the author and asked if he was contemplating a book. Indeed he was, for something seems to be going on, but its time was not ready. Some 15 years later, this 475 page volume was worth the wait, for it is a robust fulfillment of this 30 year revolution whence the same form and flux is found to repeat in exemplary kind across 50 orders of magnitude from a microbe to a metropolis.

Although a technical treatise (see our Chapter IV for a long glossary), its achievement via worldwide resources merits wide attention. In regard, it concludes with a Vision of a Grand Unified Theory of Sustainability if these natural lineaments can be socially and environmentally carried forth into practice. For example, anthropologist Robin Dunbar’s (search) nested groupings from five to over a hundred are seen to manifest a fractal self-similarity. I visited SFI in 1987, which was just starting up but with the incentive that such a universality, a term West uses, was there to be found. In the 1960s general systems theory was of this mind, just as the perennial quest to distill common correlations from heaven to human has been. In regard, Philip Ball’s writes a good review in Nature for May 11, 2017 (545/154). By a nascent sense of a creative organic universe in the air, one could imagine a cosmic genetic code in steady, recurrent effect. See also Tyler Volk’s new Quarks to Culture: How We Came to Be (search 2017) for a concurrent perspective.

The examples shown in Figures 1-4 are just a tiny sampling of an enormous number of such scaling relationships that quantitatively describe bow almost any measurable characteristic of animals, plants, ecosystems, cities and companies scales with size. You will be seeing many more of them throughout this book. The existence of these remarkable regularities strongly suggests that there is a common conceptual framework underlying all these very different highly complex phenomena and that the dynamics, growth, and organization of animals, plants, human social behavior, cities, and companies are, in fact, subject to similar generic “laws.” (5)

Viewed through this lens, cities, companies, plants, animals, our bodies, and even tumors manifest a remarkable similarity in the ways that they are organized and function. Each represents a fascinating variation on a general universal theme that is manifested in surprisingly systematic mathematical regularities and similarities in their organization, structure, and dynamics. These will be shown to be consequences of a broad, big-picture conceptual framework for understanding such disparate systems in an integrated unifying way, with which many of the big issues can be addressed, analyzed and understood. (15)

This remarkably systematic repetitive behavior is called scale invariance or self-similarity and is a property inherent to power laws. It is closely related to the concept of a fractal. To varying degrees, fractality, scale invariance, and slef-similarity are ubiquitous across nature galaxies and clouds to ours cells, your brain, the Internet, companies, and cities. (92)

A Learning Planet: An Integral Knowledge by Humankind

A Learning Planet > Original Wisdom > Rosetta Cosmos

heunen, Chris, et al, eds. Quantum Physics and Linguistics: A Compositional, Diagrammatic Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. An early, initial volume with chapters that sense a deep inherent affinity by way of a mathematic and geometric finesse between these universe and human realms. It opens with An Alternative Gospel of Structure: Order, Composition, Processes by Bob Coecke (search). The grand implication would be an innate nature which is a textual composition, made and meant for we literate peoples to read, comprehend, avail, and continue.

New scientific paradigms typically consist of an expansion of the conceptual language with which we describe the world. Over the past decade, theoretical physics and quantum information theory have turned to category theory to model and reason about quantum protocols. This new use of categorical and algebraic tools allows a more conceptual and insightful expression of elementary events. Recent work in natural language semantics has begun to use these categorical methods to relate grammatical analysis and semantic representations in a unified framework for analysing language meaning, and learning meaning from a corpus. A growing body of literature on the use of categorical methods in quantum information theory and computational linguistics shows both the need and opportunity for new research on the relation between these categorical methods and the abstract notion of information flow.

A Learning Planet > Original Wisdom > Rosetta Cosmos

Kartsaklis, Dimitrios, et al. Linguistic Matrix Theory. arXiv:1703.10252. A Queen Mary University of London, a Greek postdoctoral physicist, Sanjaye Ramgoolam, an Indian string theorist, and Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh, an Iranian lady computer scientist, contribute to descriptions of a natural correspondence between geometric mathematics and language structures. As the quotes cite, the project involves and infers a cross-fertilization between these disparate fields. Along with other versions (Krioukov, Barabasi), by this witness the extant cosmos becomes (once again) a vital narrative, while our human literature gains a correlative rooting within physical reality.

Recent research in computational linguistics has developed algorithms which associate matrices with adjectives and verbs, based on the distribution of words in a corpus of text. These matrices are linear operators on a vector space of context words. They are used to construct the meaning of composite expressions from that of the elementary constituents, forming part of a compositional distributional approach to semantics. We propose a Matrix Theory approach to this data, based on permutation symmetry along with Gaussian weights and their perturbations. We characterize the cubic and quartic departures from the model, which we propose, alongside the Gaussian parameters, as signatures for comparison of linguistic corpora. We propose that perturbed Gaussian models with permutation symmetry provide a promising framework for characterizing the nature of universality in the statistical properties of word matrices. The matrix theory framework perceives language as a physical system realizing a universality class of matrix statistics characterized by permutation symmetry. (Abstract excerpts)

As a last note, we would like to emphasize that while this paper draws insights from physics for analysing natural language, this analogy can also work the other way around. Matrix models are dimensional reductions of higher dimensional quantum field theories, describing elementary particle physics, which contain matrix quantum fields. An active area of research in theoretical physics seeks to explore the information theoretic content of quantum field theories. It is reasonable to expect that the application of the common mathematical framework of matrix theories to language and particle physics will suggest many interesting analogies, for example, potentially leading to new ways to explore complexity in QFTs by developing analogs of linguistic complexity. (22)

A Learning Planet > Original Wisdom > Rosetta Cosmos

Kenna, Ralph, et al, eds. Maths Meets Myths: Quantitative Approaches to Ancient Narratives. International: Springer, 2017. As noted under Kenna 2016, these are the proceedings of a 2014 Coventry conference about how statistical physics and complex network theories can similarly parse all manner of prose from folk tales to the Iliad and Les Miserables. For example, a lead chapter, Cognitive and Network Constraints in Real Life and Literature, by the anthropologist Robin Dunbar finds parallels between storytelling and common social structures. Some other entries are Mapping Literate Networks in Early Medieval Ireland by Elva Johnston, and Peopling of the New World from Data on Distributions of Folklore Motifs by Yuri Berezkin.

A Learning Planet > Original Wisdom > The Book of Nature

Lowe, Bryan. Ritualized Writing: Buddhist Practice and Scriptural Cultures in Ancient Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 2017. hile western Abrahamic adherents are referred to as peoples of the book, a Vanderbilt University professor of religious studies illumes how a presence and significance of carefully crafted, copied, and revered sacred writings similarly distinguishes East Asian religions.

A Learning Planet > The Spiral of Science

Mozilla Science Lab. https://science.mozilla.org. A fledgling site by the Mozilla group to help facilitate researcher, developer, and librarian collaborations to Maximize access to papers, data, code and materials so anyone can read and contribute. Its emphasis is on worldwide openness and inclusion. Anyone can become a Fellow (I would add a Mellow), participate in an event such as Global Sprint 2017 in June, either online or in person, or join a Study/Learning Group. Three women, Stephanie Wright, Zannah Marsh, and Aurelian Moser, with luminous creative credits guide the effort.

Transforming Science: Mozilla Science Lab is a community of researchers, developers, and librarians making research open and accessible. We’re empowering open science leaders through fellowships, mentorship, and project-based learning.

Mozilla: is a free-software community created in 1998 by members of Netscape. The Mozilla community uses, develops, spreads and supports Mozilla products, thereby promoting exclusively free software and open standards.

A Learning Planet > The Spiral of Science

Dong, Yuxiao, et al. A Century of Science: Globalization of Scientific Collaborations, Citations, and Innovations. arXiv:1704.05150. From our late vantage Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA scholars survey the past 115 years of scientific activities and findings. A progression then becomes evident from an early incipient, individual stage, mainly in the US, UK, and Germany, to expansions after WWII to Japan, Israel, onto China, India, Australia, and lately over oceans and continents. But as the Abstract cites, and our website avers, into the 21st century an historic change has occurred from loners and small groups to large international teams fostered by the vast Internet. But we add it has not yet dawned, here or anywhere, that this transition to a worldwide sapiensphere could actually be learning and discovering on her/his own.

Progress in science has advanced the development of human society across history, with dramatic revolutions shaped by information theory, genetic cloning, and artificial intelligence, among the many scientific achievements produced in the 20th century. In this work, we study the evolution of scientific development over the past century by presenting an anatomy of 89 million digitalized papers published between 1900 and 2015. We find that science has benefited from the shift from individual work to collaborative effort, with over 90\% of the world-leading innovations generated by collaborations in this century, nearly four times higher than they were in the 1900s. We discover that rather than the frequent myopic- and self-referencing that was common in the early 20th century, modern scientists instead tend to look for literature further back and farther around. Finally, we also observe the globalization of scientific development from 1900 to 2015, including 25-fold and 7-fold increases in international collaborations and citations, respectively. (Abstract)

In this work, we study the evolution of science over the past century according to three dimensions. First, we examine the evolving process of collaborations between scientists of different career-ages, institutions, and countries. Second, we characterize referencing behavior over time, with an emphasis on both its individual and collective dynamics. Finally, we investigate the rise and fall of scientific impact across the planet since 1900. Our study is performed on a large-scale scholarly dataset comprised of more than 89 million publications, 795 million citations, and 1.23 billion collaboration relationships spanning from 1900 to 2015, making this the largest-scale and longest-spanning analysis yet performed on academic data. (1)

A Learning Planet > The Spiral of Science

Zha, Yilong, et al. Unfolding Large-Scale Online Collaborative Human Dynamics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 113/14627, 2016. Chinese systems theorists further quantify how the instant multitude of worldwide communications and publications display the same natural complex network invariant topologies and fluidity.

This paper uncovered a universal double–power-law distribution of interupdate times for articles in Wikipedia and unfolded the seemingly complex collaborative patterns into three generic modules related to individual behavior, interaction among individuals, and population growth. The model is analytically solved and fully supported by the real data. As this model does not depend on any specific rules of Wikipedia, it is highly applicable for other online collaborative systems like software development and email communication. Similar scaling properties and models were reported for earthquake recurrence times, suggesting that interacting natural and social systems share universal collective mechanisms. (Significance)

Large-scale interacting human activities underlie all social and economic phenomena, but quantitative understanding of regular patterns and mechanism is very challenging and still rare. Self-organized online collaborative activities with a precise record of event timing provide unprecedented opportunity. Our empirical analysis of the history of millions of updates in Wikipedia shows a universal double–power-law distribution of time intervals between consecutive updates of an article. This unfolding allows us to obtain an analytical formula that is fully supported by the universal patterns in empirical data. Our modeling approaches reveal “simplicity” beyond complex interacting human activities. (Abstract)

A Learning Planet > Mindkind Knowledge

Funabashi, Masatoshi. Citizen Science and Topology of Mind: Complexity, Computation and Criticality in Data-Driven Exploration of Open Complex Systems. Entropy. 19/4, 2017. A Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Tokyo researcher considers how a self-organizing component could enhance the effectiveness of such public collaborative endeavors. In regard, since these universal propensities are well established as cerebral qualities, ought we realize, and avail the nascent formation of a communal and global noosphere beginning to learn on her/his own?

Recently emerging data-driven citizen sciences need to harness an increasing amount of massive data with varying quality. This paper develops essential theoretical frameworks, example models, and a general definition of complexity measure, and examines its computational complexity for an interactive data-driven citizen science within the context of guided self-organization. We first define a conceptual model that incorporates the quality of observation in terms of accuracy and reproducibility, ranging between subjectivity, inter-subjectivity, and objectivity. Next, we examine the database’s algebraic and topological structure in relation to informational complexity measures, and evaluate its computational complexities with respect to an exhaustive optimization. Conjectures of criticality are obtained on the self-organizing processes of observation and dynamical model development. Example analysis is demonstrated with the use of biodiversity assessment database—the process that inevitably involves human subjectivity for management within open complex systems. (Abstract)

A Learning Planet > Mindkind Knowledge

Oliveira, Arlindo. The Digital Mind. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2017. The Instituto Superior Tecnico (IST), Lisbon, professor of computer science and IST president, has a 1994 doctorate from UC Berkeley. Akin to Cesar Hidalgo’s Why Information Grows (2015) and Yuval Hatari’s Homo Deus (2016), the work views life’s evolution to human nature as an emergent cognitive procession. By this track, a next phase may be synthetic intelligences, neuromorphic realities, and so on, aka as a technological singularity. We quotes from the author’s synopsis on his website, click on this book.

Although electronic computers are recent and have been around for only a few decades, they represent just the latest way to process information and create order out of chaos. Before computers, the job of processing information was done by living organisms, which are nothing more than complex information processing devices. Computers execute algorithms, sequences of small steps that, in the end, perform some desired computation. Evolution is, in itself, a complex and long- running algorithm that created all species on Earth. The most advanced of these species, Homo sapiens, was endowed with a brain that is the most complex information processing device ever devised. But brains also enabled humans to develop science and technology to a point where it is possible to design computers with a power comparable to that of the human brain. These digital minds may one day rival our own, become our partners and replace humans in many tasks. They may make humans obsolete and even a threatened species or they make us super-humans or demi-gods. (Edited excerpts)

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