I. Our Planatural Edition: A 21st Century PhiloSophia, Earthropo Ecosmic PediaVersion
C. An Earthumanity Era: A 2020s Global Cognizance Achieves a Knowsphere by Her/His Bicameral Self
Azarian, Bobby. The Romance of Reality: How the Universe Organizes Itself to Create Life, Consciousness and Cosmic Complexity. Dallas, TX: BenBella Books, 2022. The author is a science journalist with a neuroscience PhD from George Mason University, where he was a member of Harold Morowitz’s discussion group. His acknowledgements close with a quote (see below) from Harold’s The Emergence of Everything (2002) as an early glimpse of an epic 21st century revolution. In this prescient edition, Dr. Azarian provides a rare, insightful, wide-ranging survey to date. Three main sections, Origins, Evolution, and Transcendence, have chapters such as Our Cohesive Cosmic Story, Poetic Meta-Naturalism, the Biosphere is an Autocatalytic Set, Evolution is a Knowledge Creation Process, An Evolutionary Synthesis, A Unifying Theory of Reality and We are a Way for the Cosmos to Know Itself. A central theme is an animate presence of a universal self-organization which proceeds engender fractal-like scales of an emergent intricacy, organic beingness, and cognitive awareness. Here is a good glimpse so far which we seek to report and document. But a work remains to get on with it in this decade.
According to the prevailing scientific paradigm, the universe tends toward randomness; it functions according to laws without purpose, and the emergence of life is an accident devoid of meaning. But this bleak interpretation of nature is currently being challenged by novel findings at the intersection of physics, biology, neuroscience, and information theory. Generally known as “complexity science, it has led to new understandings of an oriented, emergent evolution. A revolutionary cosmic narrative is taking shape whereby simplest “parts” come together to form ever-greater “wholes” in a process that has no end in sight. (Publisher)
Ball, Philip. Organisms as Agents of Evolution: A New Research Review. templeton.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Biological-Agency_1_FINAL.pdf. The British science polyscholar posts a 40 page contribution in May to a Templeton subject Agency, Directionality and Function: Foundations for a Science of Purpose project. Its description (Google words) notes that into the 2020s, a new theoretic and evidential sense is in ascent, as not before, which views life’s long development from invertebrates to human cognizance as mainly due to innate proactive, self- and group serving behaviors. Short chapters herein include Agency as Autonomy, Thermodynamic Origins, Multicellular Collective Agency and Engineering and Ourselves. As this site records, other versions are autocatalytic, collectively intelligent, autopoietic self-maintenance. For example, prebiotic complexity (Egbert) seems to have its own motives, while a Bayesian theory occurs in physics (Fuchs). See also How Life Works: A User’s Guide to the New Biology by PB for his premier volume about life’s self-propelled quickening, cerebral evolution all the way to our observance and record. (November 2023)
Agency is the capacity to make goal-directed changes to one’s self and environment – seems to be a real and general characteristic of living organisms. Yet unlike other general features such as replication and metabolism, we lack widely accepted models or theories of what agency is and how it arises. Do modern biology and evolutionary theory need them? If so, what might they look like? (Introduction)
Physicists Rewrite the Fundamental Law that Leads to Disorder.
In this significant article, the British polyscholar science writer surveys a rush of current advances which altogether well imply an historic revision of 19th century thermodynamic theories By a novel inclusion of quantum information qualities, the entropic demise implied by the second law from Ludwig Boltzmann (1877) can be set aside and moved beyond. This wide=ranging entry builds its case by enjoining the thought and writings of key contributors such as Chiara Marletto and David Deutsch (constructor theory), along with Vlatko Vedral, Gilad Gour, Markus Muller and others.
The second law of thermodynamics is among the most sacred in all of science, but it has always rested on 19th century arguments about probability. New arguments trace its true source to the flows of quantum information. (Summary)
Bezgodov, Aleksandr and Konstantin Barezhev.
The Origin of Planetary Ethics in the Philosophy of Russian Cosmism.
The Russian philosopher authors are General Director and Research Director of the Planetary Development Institute, which is based in Dubai. Into March 2022, it is timely that I came upon this erudite volume based on a deep native wisdom of these Eastern Slavic peoples. From the 1890s to the 1950s, this stellar school conceived an organic, numinous, feminine milieu which requires our human/Earth participation. (See George Young 2010 herein for a historic review.) The epochal endeavor was distinguished by contributors such as Nikolai Federov, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Vladimir Vernadsky. Two chapters are Nikolai Umov: Anti-Entropy Ethics for Controlled Evolution and Ivan Efremov: Between Inferno and Harmony. An overall unitary, “panbiologic” animation and procreative destiny was traced from dark to light, relative chaos to order, with a quickening consciousness which peoples would spread across the galaxies.
This book seeks to formulate a Planetary Ethics as a moral basis and value code for a biocompatible, harmonious, and manageable civilization. Its essential content is extensively drawn Russian cosmists from the 1890s to the 1950s who made up this unique philosophical, scientific, and cultural phenomenon. By way of their joint planetary-cosmic consciousness, they developed a system of biocentric and humanistic values. Another facet was a spiritual rebellion of life against chaos, death, and limitation. The cosmists focused on a united humanity and a definitive relationship between human beings and a biouniverse still in the making. (Excerpt)
Bowick, Mark, et al. Symmetry, Thermodynamics and Topology in Active Matter. Physical Review X. February, 2022. This is an invited perspective review of a 2020 Kavli Conference with this title by Kavli Institute, UC Santa Barbara, MIT and Indian Institute of Science physicists. Two coauthors are Cristina Marchetti and Sriram Ramaswamy who were the main founders of this scientific notice of how particulate materials (e.g., colloids, bacteria) in both organic and inorganic media tend to self-organize into complex, dynamic forms. As a COVID remote meeting, many more authorities could present their work. Now ten years on, it is strongly evident that a common, robust spontaneity serves to vivify natural phenomena everywhere.
The Active Matter phrase refers to any collection of entities that individually use free energy to generate their own motion and forces. Through interactions, active particles spontaneously organize into emergent large-scale structures. This self-organizing paradigm is now applied to living and nonliving systems from subnuclear structures in the cell to collective motion at the human scale. The diverse phenomena they exhibit all stem from a dynamic assembly of discrete components that dissipatively break time-reversal symmetry. Here we review an array of current and emerging research directions as physical materiality, broadly conceived, comes to life. (Abstract, excerpt)
Canup, Robin and Philip Christensen, Co-Chairs.
Origins, Worlds and Life: A Decadal Strategy for Planetary Science and Astrobiology.
Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences,
The online posting is a thorough, graphic, 700+ page volume all about this ambitious 2023 to 2032 USA research project, with many global inputs. A paper edition will appear next year. It even considers “Planetary Defense” against astro objects. An Earthuman basis is conveyed by some 600 White Paper topical proposals across a wise span such as A Solar System Space Telescope, New Planetary Data Ecosystems Centers, and Cryogenic Comet Sample Return. Specific chapters cover Evolution of Protoplanetary Disks, Global Atmospheres, Magnetospheres, Moons, and Climate, on to Exoplanets, Dynamic Habitability and Life Elsewhere, along with program plans, equity concerns and so on. Many sections discuss spaceflight missions in this period and beyond
STATEMENT OF TASK: The Space Studies Board shall establish a survey committee to develop a comprehensive science and mission strategy for planetary science that updates and extends the Board’s current solar system exploration decadal survey, Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022. The new decadal survey shall broadly canvas the field of space and ground-based planetary science to determine the current state of knowledge and identify the most important scientific questions to be addressed during the interval. In addition, it will address relevant programmatic and implementation issues of interest to NASA and the National Science Foundation.
Cavagna, Andrea, et al. Natural Swarms in 3.99 Dimensions. arXiv:2107.04432. Eight physicists from Italy and Argentina including Irene Giardina provide a further quantitative basis for the universal presence of optimum member-group integral behaviors which can be rooted in statistical physics. A definitive explanation can they be derived from Renormalization Group theories about relations between nested active scales. As the authors note, their advance is the first time that such a specific connection has been made.
The dynamical critical exponent z of natural swarms is calculated using the renormalization group. To order \epsilon = 4-d, a novel fixed point emerges, where both off-equilibrium activity and mode-coupling inertial interactions are relevant. In three dimensions the critical exponent at the new fixed point is z=1.3, in fair agreement with experiments. (Abstract)
Chanu, Athokpam, et al.
Analysis of the Structural Complexity of Crab Nebula Observed at Radio and Infrared Frequencies using a Multifractal Approach.
We cite this entry by Jawaharlal Nehru University, School of Computational and Integrative Sciences, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research investigators for its self-similar content and as an example of deep human proclivities to carry out such studies wherever possible. A reference list harks back to Per Bak who in 1988 proposed a “physics of fractals” and “self-organized criticality.”
The Crab nebula exhibits complex morphological patterns at different observing frequencies. We carry out a systematic investigation using imaging data at radio and infrared frequencies. For our analysis, we use standard multifractal detrended fluctuation analysis (MFDFA). We find long-range, power-law correlations, as expected from the physics of supernova evolution. Consequently, its multifractal properties originate from the probability density function as well as different correlations of large and small fluctuation values. Our analysis thus provides a fresh perspective on the morphology of the Crab nebula from a statistical physics viewpoint. (Abstract excerpt)
Cornish-Bowden, Athel and Maria Cardenas. The Essence of Life Revisited. Theory in Biosciences. 141/2, 2022. We locate this entry by Aix Marseille University, CNRS biotheorists amongst various current endeavors to consider and maybe resolve the deepest issue of something more or nothing else. It opens with past views of inevitability or randomness, e,g, Jacques Monod vs. Christian deDuve, and onto how a understandings of an evident catalytic self-organization form life origin could reveal a natural emergence. The authors ask whether novel theoretical bases can lead to an answer, which seems to involve a finesse of both motive agencies and post happenings. See also, e.g., Emergence, Construction or Unlikely? by Stuart Bartlett and Michael Wong at arXiv:2303.08018 for more wonderings.
Czegel, Daniel, et al. Bayes and Darwin: How Replicator Populations Implement Bayesian Computations. BioEssays. 44/4, 2022. DC and Eors Szmathary, Institute of Evolution, Budapest, Hamza Glaffar, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Joshua Tenenbaum, MIT, continue their project to perceive and identify life’s developmental emergence as mainly a cerebral, cognitive learning advance. It is argued that every organism across all Metazoan domains must be primarily able to be aware of and predict their ever-changing environs. By this view, bodily evolution (Darwin) and proactive mind (Bayes) need proceed in a parallel way. Here, this 2020s version is informed and braced by probalistic, iterative, cognitive models or versions. Writ large, once again an outline of a self-educating, making, affirming, autocatalytic participant reality can become evident as a complementarity of past reference and open future.
Bayesian learning theory and evolutionary theory both formalize adaptive competition dynamics in variable environments. What do they have in common and how do they differ? In this paper, we discuss structural and process analogies at a computational and an algorithmic-mechanical level. We point out mathematical equivalence and isomorphism between Bayesian update and replicator dynamics. We discuss how these mechanisms provide similar ways to adapt to stochastic conditions at multiple timescales. We thus find replicator populations to encode regularities so as to predict future environments. As a notable result, a unified view of the theories of learning and evolution can be achieved. (Abstract)
Czegel, Daniel, et al. Novelty and Imitation within the Brain: A Darwinian Neurodynamic Approach to Combinatorial Problems. Nature Scientific Reports. 11:12513, 2021. DC, Eors Szmathary, Marton Csillag, and Balint Futo, Institute of Evolution, Budapest, along with Hamza Glaffar, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory post a latest version of their studies of life’s creaturely evolution as most involved with progressively gaining intelligence and knowledge so to best survive. See also Bayes and Darwin: How Replicator Populations Implement Bayesian Computations by this collegial team in BioEssay. (44/4, 2022.)
Efficient search in combinatorial spaces, such as those of possible action sequences, linguistic structures, or causal explanations, is an essential component of intelligence. Based our prior work, we propose that a Darwinian process, operating over sequential cycles of imperfect copying and selection of neural informational patterns, is a promising candidate. In teacher and learner settings, we demonstrate that the emerging Darwinian population of readout activity patterns can maintain and continually improve upon existing solutions A novel analysis method, neural phylogenies, is then proposed that displays the unfolding of the neural-evolutionary process. (Abstract excerpt)
da Costa, Luciano.
We cite this 2021 entry by the senior University of Sao Paulo complexity theorist (search) as a way to record his steady flow of wide-ranging, collegial papers since the early 2000s. Another reason is a present burst of studies over a topical span from enzymes to texts and cities. By this work, along with many other worldwide contributions, 21st century nonlinear systems science altogether seems to have reached an integral convergence. Into the 2020s, a consistent natural recurrence of common patterns and processes, forms and flows, has now become quite evident everywhere.
The neural criticality hypothesis states that the brain may be poised in a critical state at a boundary between different types of dynamics. Many studies show that critical systems tend to exhibit optimal computational property. Here, we provide an account of the mathematical and physical foundations of criticality. We then review and discuss recent experimental studies so to identify important next steps to be taken, along with connections to other fields. (2111.02803 excerpt)