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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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Recent Additions: New and Updated Entries in the Past 60 Days
Displaying entries 1 through 15 of 114 found.


The Natural Genesis Vision

The Genesis Vision > Historic Precedents

Buvet, Rene and Cyril Ponnamperuma, eds. Chemical Evolution and the Origin of Life. Amsterdam: North Holland, 1971. These proceedings of an international conference held at the University of Paris with both American and Russian presenters, is a good capsule of this quest some half century ago. From General and Theoretical Problems to Oligomers and Polymers, Photochemistry, Biological Structures to Exobiology and more, an initial, rudimentary scope was established. We note an opening address by the eminent pioneer Alexander Oparin who professes an innately fertile natural cosmos, see quote. Some other speakers, early in their stellar careers, were Harold Morowitz, Howard Pattee, Ilya Prigogine, Carl Sagan, Sidney Fox, Lynn Margulis and Stanley Miller. But circa 2019, as we review again, the western mindset now concludes and rules out any innate, vivifying source or orthogenesis.

It has now become quite clear that the origin of life was not the result of some “happy chance” as was thought till quite recently, but a necessary stage in the evolution of matter. The origin of life is an inalienable part of the general process of development of the Universe and, in particular, the development of our earth. Hence, the phenomenon is accessible to science. (3)

The Genesis Vision > Historic Precedents

James, William. Is Life Worth Living? International Journal of Ethics. 6/1, 1895. This entry is cited in a special Multiverse issue (Ann Alonso) on the Universe online site as the first time the word was used, see quote below. The philosophical psychologist (1842-1910) who thought and taught at Harvard University was an eminent scholar of his day. But as we read it, the paper also alludes to the fin de siècle closing of a scientific quest for a meaningful reality. James went on to profess a “pluralistic” model sans any inherent sense, a view which holds, and daunts to this day. And for another aside, some 125 years later we note that one can now draw upon a global cognitive repository and via Google retrieve this journal and full paper in a few seconds.

There were times when Leibnitzes could compose Theodicies, and when an established church could prove the existence of a "Moral and Intelligent Contriver of the World." But those times are past, and we of the nineteenth century, with our evolutionary theories and our mechanical philosophies, already know nature too impartially and too well to worship unreservedly any god. Visible nature is all plasticity and indifference, a multiverse, as one might call it, and not a universe. (10) These, then, are my last words to you: Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact. The "scientific proof" that you are right may not be clear before the day of judgment is Reached. (24)

The Genesis Vision > Historic Precedents

Sole, Ricard, et al. Criticality and Scaling in Evolutionary Ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 14/4, 1999. Some twenty years ago, this collaboration of RS, Susanna Manrubia, Micheal Benton, Stuart Kauffman, and Per Bak offered an early, prescient glimpse of a repetitive natural hierarchy composed of a reciprocal balance at each scale. Circa 2019, as this website documents, this once and future revelatory vision is now well confirmed.

Fluctuations in ecological systems are known to involve a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, often displaying self-similar (fractal) properties. Recent theoretical approaches are trying to shed light on the nature of these complex dynamics. The results suggest that complexity in ecology and evolution comes from the network-like structure of multispecies communities that are close to instability. If true, these ideas might change our understanding of how complexity emerges in the biosphere and how macroevolutionary events could be decoupled from microevolutionary ones. (Abstract)

The Genesis Vision > Current Vistas

Persson, Erik, et al. How Will the Emerging Plurality of Lives Change How We Conceive of and Relate to Life? Challenges. 10/1, 2019. As the Abstract explains, a dozen Swedish research scholars took part in an exploratory project to try to get our minds and hearts around imminent capabilities to conceive and begin a “second origin of life.” This is an unexpected, august opportunity which is actually there for the asking and respectful doing. As an initial report, it scopes out educational events, a summary book, public programs and more. Going forward, studies might consider astrolife via biosignatures, artificial and robotic intelligence, synthetic biomolecules and quite more. But in the larger advent of our phenomenal geonate moment, the epic appearance of nothing less than a Second Genesis ought to be appreciated.

The project “A Plurality of Lives” was funded and hosted by the Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies at Lund University, Sweden. The aim of the project was to better understand how a second origin of life, either in the form of a discovery of extraterrestrial life, life developed in a laboratory, or machines equipped with abilities previously only ascribed to living beings, will change how we understand and relate to life. Because of the inherently interdisciplinary nature of the project aim, the project took an interdisciplinary approach with a research group made up of 12 senior researchers representing 12 different disciplines. The project resulted in a joint volume, an international symposium, several new projects, and a network of researchers in the field, all continuing to communicate about and advance the aim of the project. (Abstract)

The Genesis Vision > Current Vistas

Wagner, Andreas. Life Finds a Way: What Evolution Teaches Us about Creativity. New York: Basic Books, 2019. The University of Zurich evolutionary biologist (search) follows up his Arrival of the Fittest (2015) by an emphasis on how life’s genetic advance might best be seen to take place on an active landscape of hills, valleys and mountains, as first cited by Sewall Wright in 1932. An appreciation of its deep potential to foster novel, viable improvements for better survivability and existence just now becomes evident. The presence of self-organizing energies from Ilya Prigogine and other forces are also seen at work. Later chapters then offer how these 21st century insights can aid the education and inspiration of children and onto innovative global cultures.

In these explorations I have discovered astonishing similarities between natural and human creativity. First, it is about things Charles Darwin could not know – that natural selection can face obstacles that it alone cannot overcome. And it explains the mechanisms of evolution that can overcome them. Second, it illustrates the similarities between human creativity and a modern, segmented view of Darwinian evolution. These similarities are not only numerous but also deep, as psychological, historical, and biological research will later testify. (4)

Evolution can manipulate such recipes easily because any one regulator recognizes not just one but hundreds of different DNA words. Together, all those DNA words – each a special kind of genotype – form a landscape of gene regulation. (50) The DNA text copied in a duplication may comprise a few letters, thousands of letters, or large parts of a chromosome with millions of letters. (74)

In Life Finds a Way, biologist Andreas Wagner reveals the deep symmetry between innovation in biological evolution and human cultural creativity. Rarely is either a linear climb to perfection--instead, "progress" is typically marked by a sequence of peaks, plateaus, and pitfalls. For instance, in Picasso's forty-some iterations of Guernica, we see the same combination of small steps, incessant reshuffling, and large, almost reckless, leaps that characterize the way evolution transformed a dinosaur's grasping claw into a condor's soaring wing. By understanding these principles, we can also better realize our own creative potential to find new solutions to adversity. (Publisher)

In evolutionary biology, fitness landscapes or adaptive landscapes are used to visualize the relationship between genotypes and reproductive success. It is assumed that every genotype has a well-defined replication rate (often referred to as fitness). This fitness is the "height" of the landscape. Genotypes which are similar are said to be "close" to each other, while those that are very different are "far" from each other. The set of all possible genotypes, their degree of similarity, and their related fitness values is then called a fitness landscape. (Wikipedia)

Planetary Prodigy: A Global Sapiensphere Learns by Her/His Self

A Learning Planet > Original Wisdom > An Anthropocosmic Code

Villasenor, Adrian. Toward an Integral Ecopsychology: In Service of Earth, Psyche, and Spirit. Integral Review. 9/3, 2013. The author has a doctorate in ecopsychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and is presently at the University of York concerned with the effects of inequality and deprivation on health, education and human development, especially in Mexico. This paper is a fine synthesis of natural, indigenous respects, broadly conceived, so as to guide 21st century sustainable and communal habitations. In regard, the richest resource may be the Anthropocosmic Vision of Confucian and Asian wisdom by way of an immanent and transcendent trinity of human, Earth and Heaven. Villasenor goes on to note cross-cultural affinities such as Vedic and Judaic teachings. The core concept is then a creative reciprocity between humanity and Heaven so as to advance both self and cosmic realization within an Earthly abide.

In this paper, I advance a proposal for an integral ecopsychology, defining it as the study of the multileveled connection between humans and Earth. The initial section expounds the critical moment we as a species find ourselves at. I then explore ways in which ecopsychology can dialogue with spiritual and religious wisdom, thus expanding the scope within integral philosophy. By way of aware consciousness, religious and spiritual wisdom can especially advise the anthropocosmic or “cosmic human” perspective. This contact is necessary for the study of the multileveled connection between humans and Earth. (Abstract excerpt)

Although I am aware of the several strands of integral philosophy (i.e., Aurobindonian, Wilberian, Gebserian), the integral approach advanced in this paper is mostly based on the work of Thomas Berry. In a way, the present research constitutes an extension of Berry’s integral ecology with the explicit inclusion of the psychological dimensions of our relation to the Earth. The confluence of Berry’s anthropocosmic or “cosmic human” perspective with current advances in ecopsychology conform the basis for my initial proposal of an integral ecopsychology, a formulation that would further equip us to face the challenges and gifts of the ecological crisis. (28)

A Learning Planet > Original Wisdom > The Book of Nature

Van Schaik, Carel and Kai Michel. The Good Book of Human Nature: An Evolutionary Reading of the Bible. New York: Basic Books, 2016. From our global vantage, a senior University of Zurich anthropologist and a science writer achieve a respectful view of biblical writings in five parts from Genesis: When Life Became Difficult to The New Testament: Salvation. By this unique survey, a diary-like record of humanity’s passage into sedentary tribal groupings trying to survive, procreate, and gain some meaningful sense via nascent cultures becomes evident. Our interest is a final chapter The Book of Nature: God’s Second Bible whence this endeavor from Greece, Augustine and famously Galileo that an Earthly abide and starry raiment, by way of scientific inquiry, could also be of revelatory import. Some centuries later, while mathematics and geometry are well advanced, lately as algorithms, the perception has been set aside and ruled out. But this resource website into our worldwise, multiVerse century, as we near the 2020s, seeks to revive the quest by way of a genetic scriptome that we participant peoples are made and meant to read.

The Bible is the bestselling book of all time, but so far no one has read it as a chronicle of our ancestors' attempts to cope with the trials and tribulations of life on Earth. Evolutionary anthropologist Carel van Schaik and historian Kai Michel contend that it was written to make sense of the epic transition from egalitarian hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies. Religion arose as a strategy to cope with epidemic disease, violence, inequality, and injustice that confronted us when we abandoned the bush. By way of cognitive science, evolutionary biology, archeology, and religious history, van Schaik and Michel take us on a journey from the Garden of Eden to Golgotha. The Book of Genesis marked the emergence of private property - one can no longer take the fruit off any tree. This novel perspective allows unexpected secrets to be drawn from Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Abraham and Moses, Jesus of Nazareth and Mary. The Bible may have a dark side, but by this view proves to be a hallmark of human indefatigability.

A Learning Planet > Original Wisdom > Rosetta Cosmos

Coecke, Bob. The Logic of Quantum Mechanics. Jennifer Chubb, et al, eds. Logic and Algebraic Structures in Quantum Computing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. We cite this chapter by the Oxford computer theorist because it advances how this basic physical realm can be seen to possess a literate, compositional quality.

We put forward a new take on the logic of quantum mechanics, following Schrödinger's point of view that it is composition which makes quantum theory what it is, rather than its particular propositional structure due to the existence of superpositions. This gives rise to an intrinsically quantitative kind of logic, which truly deserves the name ‘logic’ in that it also models meaning in natural language, the latter being the origin of logic, that it supports automation, the most prominent practical use of logic, and that it supports probabilistic inference. (Abstract)

A Learning Planet > Original Wisdom > Rosetta Cosmos

Coecke, Bob. The Mathematics of Text Structure. arXiv:1904.03478. The Oxford University computer scientist (search) leads a collaborative group there and beyond which studies in part how written literature is suffused by independent mathematical forms and narratives. This deep rooting can be extended even into physical quantum realms, as Diederik Aerts’ Brussels project (search), and Natural Language Processing are also finding. A prime basis for Coecke has been the lifetime work of the late McGill University Joachim (Jim) Lambek (1922-2014) who came to conceive “a compositional algebraic approach to grammar.” This is a subtitle for his 100+ page paper, From Word to Sentence, available at math.mcgill.ca/barr/lambek/pdffiles/2008lambek.pdf. BC, JL, and others collaborated around this sense of a compositional cosmos that can in some way be considered and treated as having a meaningful, textual content.

In previous work we gave a mathematical foundation, referred to as DisCoCat, for how words interact in a sentence in order to produce the meaning of that sentence. To do so, we exploited the perfect structural match of grammar and categories of meaning spaces. Here, we give a mathematical foundation, referred to as DisCoCirc, for how sentences interact in texts in order to produce the meaning of that text. We revisit DisCoCat: while in the latter all meanings are states, in DisCoCirc word meanings are types of which the state can evolve, and sentences are gates within a circuit which update the meaning of words. While the developments in this paper are independent of a physical embodiment (cf. classical vs. quantum computing), both the compositional formalism and suggested meaning model are highly quantum-inspired, and implementation on a quantum computer would come with a range of benefits. (Abstract excerpt)

A Learning Planet > Original Wisdom > Rosetta Cosmos

Takahashi, Shuntaro and Kumiko Tanaka-Ishii. Evaluating Computational Language Models with Scaling Properties of Natural Language. Computational Linguistics. Online July, 2019. University of Tokyo researchers contribute novel perceptions of how corpora and discourse can be seen to exhibit and be treated by the latest complexity sciences. See also Modeling Language Variation and Universals: A Survey on Typological Linguistics for Natural Language Processing by Edoardo Ponti, et al in this journal, June, 2019.

In this article, we evaluate computational models of natural language with respect to the universal statistical behaviors of natural language. Statistical mechanical analyses have revealed that natural language text is characterized by scaling properties, which quantify the global structure in the vocabulary population and the long memory of a text. We study whether five scaling properties (given by Zipf’s law, Heaps’ law, Ebeling’s method, Taylor’s law, and long-range correlation analysis) can serve for evaluation of computational models. Our analysis reveals that language models based on recurrent neural networks (RNNs) with a gating mechanism are the only computational models that can reproduce the long memory behavior of natural language. (Abstract excerpt)

The scaling properties of natural language are the universal statistical behaviors observed in natural language text. For example, Zipf’s law characterizes the vocabulary population with a power-law function for the rank-frequency distribution. Recent statistical mechanical studies revealed another statistical aspect of natural language, long memory. This refers to the way that sequences of characters or words in natural language universally exhibit clustering, bursty behavior. (2)

A Learning Planet > Original Wisdom > World Philosophy

McLeish, Tom. The Poetry and Music of Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. The York University, UK, Chair of Natural Philosophy, a newly created position to recover in the 21st century this original Newtonian pursuit, in regard considers ways to join artistic and scientific creativities. This revived two culture synthesis of “emotion and reason” can aspire to a “cortical lateralization” per Iain McGilchrist (2009) so as to join right and left brain complements in holistic unison.

A Learning Planet > The Spiral of Science

Dworkin, Jordan, et al. The Emergent Integrated Network Structure of Scientific Research. PLoS One. 14/4, 2019. A guiding premise for this website is a worldwide intellectual endeavor which is lately gaining revolutionary knowledge by its own sapient self. Its mission is to gather, report and document copious findings from cosmos to creativity. Here University of Pennsylvania neuroresearchers JD, Russ Shinohara, and Danielle Bassett indeed perceive an independent global learning process via many cumulative personal contributions. From their network neuroscience expertise, the dynamic process may appear to take on a cerebral topology. In regard, the prescient noosphere of Vladimir Vernadsky, Pierre Teilhard, and others in the last century seems at last in full manifestation.

Scientific research is often seen as individuals and small teams striving for disciplinary advances. Yet as a whole, this endeavor more closely resembles a complex system of natural computation, in which information is obtained, generated, and disseminated more effectively than by isolated individuals. But the structure of this integrated, innovative landscape of scientific ideas is not well understood. Here we use network science to map the landscape of interconnected topics covered in the multidisciplinary journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences since 2000. In regard, nodes represent topics of study and edges give the degree to which they occur in the same papers. The network displays small-world architecture, with dense connectivity within scientific clusters and sparse connectivity between clusters. Broadly, this work suggests that complex and dynamic patterns of knowledge emerge from scientific research, and that structures reflecting intellectual integration may be beneficial for obtaining scientific insight. (Abstract excerpt)

A Learning Planet > The Spiral of Science

Krenn, Mario and Anton Zeilinger. Predicting Research Trends with Semantic and Neural Networks with an Application in Quantum Physics. arXiv:1906.06843. University of Vienna, Center for Quantum Science and Technology physicists MK, now a postdoc (search) at the University of Toronto, and AZ, an esteemed theorist since the 1970s (see Wikipedia and his website), apply their polymath acumen to this subject field. Circa 2019, it becomes evident that global scientific endeavors are going on by own their worldwide selves, independent of individual contributors. A Semantic Network software program is proposed by which to data mine the vast resultant literature such as this eprint site. An actual cerebral process (sapiensphere) coming to her/his own knowledge remains to be seen. With daily threats of a climate, and/or nuclear Armageddon, an agreed advent of a planetary phase of salutary edification, a natural discovery in our midst, is vitally necessary. See also Quantum Teleportation in High Dimensions by the authors and Chinese colleagues at 1906.09697.

The growing number of publications in all scientific disciplines can no longer be comprehended by a single human person. As a consequence, researchers have to specialize in sub-disciplines, which makes it challenging to uncover connections beyond the own field of research. In regard, access to structured knowledge from a large document corpus could help advance the frontiers of science. Here we demonstrate a method to build a semantic network from scientific literature, which we call SemNet. We use SemNet to predict future trends and to inspire new seeds of ideas in science. In SemNet, scientific knowledge is represented as an evolving node/link network using the content of 750,000 scientific papers published since 1919. Finally, we consider possible future developments and implications of our findings. (Abstract excerpt)

A Learning Planet > The Spiral of Science

Krenn, Mario, et al. SELFIES: A Robust Representation of Semantically Constrained Graphs with an Example Application in Chemistry. arXiv:1905.13741. MK is now with coauthor Alan Aspuru-Guzik’s University of Toronto group. The Semantic Network machine learning approach he developed in Vienna with Anton Zeilinger (search) is employed along with graphic plots so as to distill themes, paths, and advances as the field of chemical research proceeds as a worldwide endeavor. The presence of a global activity going on by itself is quite evident, which is an historic shift beyond individuals and teams.

Graphs are ideal representations of complex, relational information. Their applications span diverse areas of science and engineering. Recently, many of these examples turned into the spotlight as applications of machine learning (ML). While much progress has been achieved in the generation of valid graphs for domain- and model-specific applications, a general approach has not been demonstrated. Here, we present a sequence-based, robust representation of semantically constrained graphs, which we call SELFIES (SELF-referencIng Embedded Strings), based on a Chomsky type-2 grammar, augmented with two self-referencing functions. SELFIES are not limited to the structures of small molecules, and we show how to apply them to two other examples from the sciences: representations of DNA and interaction graphs for quantum mechanical experiments. (Abstract excerpt)

A Learning Planet > The Spiral of Science > deep

Carleo, Giuseppe, et al. Machine Learning and the Physical Sciences. arXiv:1903.10563. An eight member international teamwith postings such as Flatiron Institute Center for Computational Quantum Physics (GC), MPI Quantum Optics (Ignacio Cirac) and Maria Schuld (University of KwaZulu-Natal) consider applications of novel deep neural net methods, broadly conceived, across statistical, particle, cosmic, many-body quantum matter, and onto chemical phases. See also NetKet: A Machine Learning Toolkit for Many-Body Quantum Systems at 1904.00031, and Neural Networks take on Open Quantum Systems in Physics Review Letters (122/25, 2019) by this extended group. As the project flourishes, by ready cross-transfers, one gets an inkling of a naturally cerebral ecosmos, just now trying to achieve via reinforcement learnings its own self-description, literacy, realization, and affirmative action going forward.

Machine learning encompasses a broad range of algorithms and modeling tools used for a vast array of data processing tasks, which has entered most scientific disciplines in recent years. We review in a selective way the recent research on the interface between machine learning and physical sciences. This includes conceptual developments in machine learning (ML) motivated by physical insights, applications of machine learning techniques to several domains in physics, and cross-fertilization between the two fields. After giving basic notion of machine learning methods and principles, we describe examples of how statistical physics is used to understand methods in ML. We then move to describe applications of ML methods in particle physics and cosmology, quantum many body physics, quantum computing, and chemical and material physics. We also highlight research and development into novel computing architectures aimed at accelerating ML. In each of the sections we describe recent successes as well as domain-specific methodology and challenges. (Abstract)

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