I. Our Planatural Edition: A 21st Century PhiloSophia, Earthropo Ecosmic PediaVersion
B. Anthropocene Sapiensphere: A Major Emergent Transitional Phase
The Emergence of Everything.
New York: Oxford University Press,
The esteemed George Washington University philosopher biologist views the evolution of the universe, earth, life and mindful human as a 28 stage sequence. These run from Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing? and Making a Nonuniform Universe through Multicellularity, Language, Hominization, and onto Spirit and Science. Rather than reducing the cosmos to blind mechanism, a persistent emergence from the origin to planetary formation, animal sociability and our mindful quest can be revealed.
Murphy, Nancey and Warren Brown.
Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will.
Oxford: Oxford University Press,
Murphy is professor of Christian Philosophy and Brown professor of psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary. The work is another contribution to an historic, welling conceptual shift from an insensate, atomist materialism (‘Newtonian, Cartesian’) to a lively creation from which emerges proactive, encephalized, ‘self-directed systems.’ As a surmise, no, we are not at the whim and mercy of neuronal mechanisms and can indeed enact our own free will and behavior. And by this vista, one may add, does such an evolution appear to progressively manifest an intentional, considerate ‘downward causation.’ (See also Evolution and Emergence edited by Nancey Murphy and William Stoeger, SJ (Oxford UP 2007).)
One goal of this book is to defeat causal reductionism. That is, we need to show that there are systems that act as causes in their own right – not merely as an aggregate of micro-level causal processes. (10) Thus, escaping the modern reductionist paradigm requires something like a Gestalt switch that recognizes, in addition to mechanisms, the existence of dynamical systems. (10)
Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False.
Oxford: Oxford University Press,
One wonders whether in the 16th century anyone was aware of a Copernican revolution that this planet earth, also unknown to the day, orbits the sun, not the other Ptolemaic way around. A similar epochal revision is underway today, again unbeknownst, of cosmic and evolutionary proportions between a waning, insensate, mechanical model, and a 21st century genesis synthesis of innately fertile worlds, emergent life, complex entities and reflective thought. In this rare volume, the esteemed New York University philosopher carefully tries to broach and lay out the case. We append the book summary, definitions, and quotes as entry and content.
After a decade of mulling over, Nagel seems in wonderment, almost apologetic, that no one has stepped up to burst the old, confining, untenable bubble. Although he does not refer to Copernicus or Ptolemy, the differences are just as stark. A vested worldview has ruled for centuries as a scientific naturalism, a mechanistic reduction of everything and everyone to chemical and physical laws. Living systems and conscious cognition are but an accidental tangent, of no further account or hopeful destiny. At its present extreme, from the (male-dominated) sciences to the humanities, any greater reality and creation is stridently denied, opposed, even prohibited.
But the author argues that this scheme, from Rene Descartes to Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, is strained beyond all belief and credulity. If sentient organisms from original protocells to we persons arise from and abide in this certain universe, then such an appearance begs, must spring from, be traceable to, some immanent source and essence. The current divisive poles of atheistic materialism or divine intervention can then be surpassed by an admission and witness of oriented “teleological” principles. Yes, Nagel astutely cites “teleology” as most forbidden, and the best concept to describe and advance. The dichotomy of causal, indifferent laws or external actions can be resolved by: “A teleological account that….there are also principles of self-organization or of the development of complexity over time that are not explained by those elemental laws.” (59)
How real is this? Brief reviews posted on its Amazon page say more about the reviewer. Copernican folks are delighted that a senior scholar at last went public with this mini-manifesto, while a Ptolemaic old guard dismisses and doesn’t want to hear about it. For example, in the leading journal Biology and Philosophy can be found these 2012 papers: “Three Kinds of New Mechanism” by Arnon Levy, and especially “Upper-Directed Systems: A New Approach to Teleology” by Daniel McShea, a Duke University biologist, who deems it necessary to once more discredit such folly, and closes with “Against Teleology and Goal-Directedness” section.
Teleology is any philosophical account that holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. Orthogenesis, progressive evolution or autogenesis, is the hypothesis that life has an innate tendency to evolve in a unilinear fashion due to some internal or external "driving force". The hypothesis is based on essentialism and cosmic teleology and proposes an intrinsic drive. (Wikipedia)
The modern materialist approach to life has conspicuously failed to explain such central mind-related features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, and value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology. Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history, either. In Mind and Cosmos, he does suggest that if the materialist account is wrong, then principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic. In spite of the great achievements of the physical sciences, reductive materialism is a world view ripe for displacement. Nagel shows that to recognize its limits is the first step in looking for alternatives, or at least in being open to their possibility. (Publisher)
Physico-chemical reductionism in biology is the orthodox view, and any resistance to it is regarded as not only scientifically but politically incorrect. But for a long time I have found the materialist account of how we and our fellow organisms came to exist hard to believe, including the standard version of how the evolutionary process works. (5) But it seems to me that, as it is usually presented, the current orthodoxy about the cosmic order is the product of governing assumptions that are unsupported, and that it flies in the face of common sense. (5)
If contemporary research in molecular biology leaves open the possibility of legitimate doubts about a fully mechanistic account of the origin and evolution of life, dependent only on the laws of chemistry and physics, this can combine with the failure of psychophysical reductionism to suggest that principles of a different kind are also at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather that mechanistic. I realize that such doubts will strike many people as outrageous, but that is because almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science. (7)
I am drawn to a fourth alternative, natural teleology, or teleological bias, as an account of the existence of the biological possibilities on which natural selection can operate. I believe that teleology is a naturalistic alternative that is distinct from all three of the other candidate explanations: chance, creationism, and directionless physical law. (91) The idea of teleology as part of the natural order flies in the teeth of the authoritative form of explanation hat has defined science since the revolution of the seventeenth century. Teleology would mean that some natural laws, unlike all the basic scientific laws discovered so far, are temporally historical in their operations. (92) Teleology, by contrast would admit irreducible principles governing temporally extended development. The teleology I want to consider would be an explanation not only of the appearance of physical organisms but of the development of consciousness and ultimately of reason in those organisms. (92)
The Universe as a Saturated Phenomenon: The Christian Concept of Creation in View of Modern Philosophical and Scientific Developments.
Theology and Science.
The prolific Russian-British physicist and theologian continues his cosmist reconception whereof human beings, by virtue of an “articulating consciousness,” possess an infinite numinous importance. This view is a radical 21st century corrective to “inadequate Bibilcal hermeneutics or scientific theories” which deny or exclude any such a phenomenal role and purpose. Search for his other writings and a new March 2015 book The Sense of the Universe: Philosophical Explication of Theological Commitment in Modern Cosmology.
One implies the historicity of the universe as a whole as its contingent givenness to humanity in its entire span of time and space; that is, as a humanly historical relation and communion. This historicity has a different origin, following not from physical causality but rather originating in intentional consciousness as the intrinsic and mysterious unity of subject and object, being and non-being, spirit and matter. It is interesting to note that Christian cosmology is built upon a premise that it is the fate of humanity that determines the fate of the universe and the whole history of the universe becomes seen as part of the history of salvation. (251)
In conclusion, one can only repeat that the great mystery of creation is the creation of human consciousness in the divine image, with its ability to articulate the universe. However, the universe as a whole is not an object-pole in relation to human hypostatic subjectivity, but is that inerasable and saturating background of existence that forms this subjectivity to the extent that the latter is able to comprehend its own createdness and relate the whole world to God. The saturating givenness of creation makes it impossible to think and speak of creation as separated and antecedently detached from the facticity of consciousness. The theological archetype of this inseparability is in the Incarnate Christ who, while being in human flesh of the universe, always remained with the Father, thus holding the entire universe through his loving insight as that “all in all” which humanity archetypically experiences in its attempts to grasp creation cosmologically. (256)
Evolution and the Emergent Self: The Rise of Complexity and Behavioral Versatility in Nature.
New York: Columbia University Press,
Imagine a cosmic genesis perspective some seven and eight decades after Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s 20th century milieu. A University of Texas at Austin zoologist can now describe a universe known to be filled with habitable bioearths, life’s processional advance as tracked by energy, information, and self-organization vectors, and by this vista especially seen as a phenomenal “personalization” of manifest, regnant selfhood. Indeed in a final coda, this 21st century scenario is seen to well align with and fulfill Teilhard’s evolutionary and spiritual prescience.
The universe uncovered by the latest science may be a garden rather that an existential desert. Life may be springing up in solar systems scattered all over the cosmos. Intelligence may be a major theme of evolution wherever it has had time enough to play out its possibilities. As I will describe in the following chapters, a high-information pathway is one of the basic strategies of life, and it leads repeatedly to an emergent self: a consciousness that seeks to express itself in complex communication and social relations. This may be a universe for life, where the lights that dot the night sky are like a field strewn with wildflowers. The evolutionary processes we find here on Earth may be common all over the cosmos, and for those so inclined, this makes a religious view of evolution also possible. (4)
The Machine Conception of the Organism in Development and Evolution.
Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.
The now University of Exeter philosopher continues his project, first put forth in a 2013 Organisms ≠ Machines paper in this journal, to show how much the life sciences are pervaded by inappropriate mechanical metaphors. It is curious that more scholars do not have a problem with the constant, customary use of machinery, industrial, factory, engineering terms to describe proteins, cellular activities, flora and fauna, onto people and planet. A strong case is made for the pervasive use of these metaphors and just how inaccurate and counterproductive they are. One wonders why more scholars have not taken on and corrected this gross dichotomy.
Although both organisms and machines operate towards the attainment of particular ends - that is, both are purposive systems - the former are intrinsically purposive whereas the latter are extrinsically purposive. A machine is extrinsically purposive in the sense that it works towards an end that is external to itself; that is, it does not serve its own interests but those of its maker or user. An organism, on the other hand, is intrinsically purposive in the sense that its activities are directed towards the maintenance of its own organization; that is, it acts on its own behalf. The intrinsic purposiveness of organisms is grounded on the fact that they are self-organizing, self-producing, self-maintaining, and self-regenerating. (2)
Although the parts acquire their function by virtue of being present in the machine as a whole, they retain their own distinctive properties regardless of whether or not they are integrated in the whole. By contrast, the parts in an organism are neither causally independent of, nor temporally antecedent to, the whole they constitute. Instead, they exist in a relation of collective interdependence, relying on one another for their generation, maintenance, and renewal. An organism maintains its integrity and autonomy as a whole by regulating, repairing, and regenerating its parts, whereas a machine relies on outside intervention not just for its construction and assembly, but also for its maintenance and repair. (2)
The True Creator of Everything: How the Human Brain Shaped the Universe as We Know It.
New Haven: Yale University Press,
Two decades into the 21st century, the Duke University neuroscientist and biomedical engineer (see his collegial lab site) can envision a universe to human, “braincentric cosmology” traced by the evolutionary emergence of our awesome cerebral faculty. Within this vista, historic literary, artistic, mythic, scientific, and academic cultures are viewed as mental conceptions due to homo sapiens’ unique intellectual endowment. His often used “human universe” phrase implies a natural, iconic affinity between an encompassing cosmos and our global sapience. Ilya Prigogine’s non-equilibrium, self-organizing thermodynamics, John A. Wheeler’s bit to it, participatory physics and much more are cited as evidence. Another micro-personal to macro-cosmic parallel is a proposed common cast between general relativity and “relativistic” neural electromagnetism.
Nicolelis then factors in an informational quality which has lately been given a primary place. In its computational guise, both discrete digital and wave analog modes, here due to Claude Shannon and Kurt Godel, distinguish a bicameral cognition. Although brains are seen as “organic computers,” they are graced by these archetypal complements. Another chapter identifies our individual work stations with their myriad close and far web linkages as “brainets” which are a worldwide continuation of nature’s necessity to achieve a re-presentation and self-witness. In regard, our premise that humankind is now proceeding to learn and gain knowledge on her/his own receives a strongest affirmation to date. Circa 2020, this work glimpses a once and future triality of person, Earth and heaven as a temporal genesis. But as the final quote notes, even with this innovative scenario in place, we are not there yet. A phenomenal revolution from male machine to someone in gestation remains to be told.
Having made a major detour that took us to the distant shores of thermodynamics and the birth of the information age, we can now return to what Ronald (Cicurel) and I really meant. Basically, we proposed that living systems dissipate energy to self-organize and embed information into their organic matter to create the islands of reduced entropy that try to put the brakes on the drive toward inexorable randomness to which the universe seems to be evolving. (37)
Because the human brain is capable of expressing Shannon and Godelian information, there is a unique challenge for the traditional scientific approach. This particular object we call a human brain occupies a very special position among the natural sciences. In a brain, the external information (digital and formal) will never be able to fully account for the whole reality depicted by the internal information (analog and integrated). It is the internal information that includes the uniqueness that emerges from the brain’s amalgamation of information and matter, arguably the most powerful computational endowment bestowed on us by evolution. (46)
In my view, the recursive interaction between these two classes of brain signals, the digitally generated action potentials and the analog electromagnetic fields that result from them moving through nerves, is at the heart of our brain’s unique abilities. These features provide the physiological glue needed to fuse all the neocortex into a single organic computational entity capable of combining our mental capacities. This would happen because the far-from-equilibrium combination of analog fields could conspire to create what I call the neuronal space-time continuum. In this frame, neuronal space and time could become fused just as Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity did for the entire Universe. (79)
Given all these examples, I can now propose my operational definition of a brained as a distributed organic computer composed of multiple individual brains that become synchronized – in the analog domain – by an external signal such as light, sound, language, chemicals, or electromagnetic waves and, as a result, is capable of producing emergent collective social behaviors. Like individual brains, such distributed mentation utilize organic memory storage to hold Godelian information while transmitting Shannon information, and are capable of collective learning through a mechanism similar to Hebbian plasticity, scaled to the level of entire brains that interact with each other. (160-161)
According to this view, the human universe is defined by the collective amalgamation into a single ever-growing entity of every single act of living, observing, thinking, reflecting, creating, remembering, wondering, loving, understanding, singing, talking, writing, and composing that emanated from every human brain that has ever lived. (241) Based on his theories, John A. Wheeler came to his own braincentric speculation that the universe can be described as a participative cosmos, since all that happens in it depends on the cumulative observations performed by all intelligent life-forms that inhabit its confines. (241)
However I would like to emphasize that a braincentric cosmology does not imply supporting any anthropocentric definition of the universe. Indeed, nothing in this new cosmology presupposes that humankind occupies or plays any exceptional role in the cosmos. Such a braincentric view does not at all negate the existence of an external natural world. Rather the opposite: it simply proposes that the universe provides the pool of potential information used by our human brains to generate mental representations of it. Thus by definition the braincentric cosmology assures the existence of a tangible universe out there. (169)
From Modernity to Cosmodernity: Science, Culture, and Spirituality.
Albany: SUNY Press,
The author is a Romanian-French physicist-philosopher and founder president of the International Center for Transdisciplinary Research in Paris. He is the author of many works of synthesis across spatial fields, and temporal unities with perennial wisdom. As physical theories can be modified by their affinity with biological systems, by this Cosmodernity vista an integral cosmic genesis is revealed as a self-creation of active participants. With Paul Davies, such a “cosmic bootstrap” requires its human epitome to realize a greater creation and bring to fulfillment. In so many words, the heart essence is an infinite, “self-consistent” repetition, a universal language by way of “The Human Being: The Most Perfect of All Signs” (Chapter Nine). A companion work from the humanities is Cosmodernism (2011) by Christian Moraru.
Obviously, quantum cosmology suggests the idea of the spontaneous emergence of the universe as a result of physical laws. The universe seems able to create itself and also to self-organize, without any outside intervention. The most appropriate image for visualizing this autoconsistent dynamic of the universe would be that of the Ouroboros – the snake that bites his tail – an ancient Gnostic symbol and also a symbol of the achievement of the Great Alchemical Work. (109-110)
Systemic and quantum thinking, which are based on quantum physics but go beyond the narrowness of science, conceive of the universe as a vast whole, a vast cosmic matrix, where everything is in perpetual movement and energetic structuring. The real movement is the movement of energy. Objects are but local configurations of matter. But this unity of the world is not static; it implies differentiation, diversity, contradiction. The world is in a state of eternal genesis. (197)
Dance to the Tune of Life: Biological Relativity.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press,
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.
Brain, Mind, and the Structure of Reality.
Oxford: Oxford University Press,
An extraordinary synthesis drawn from a lifetime of professorial theory and practice in EEG neuroscience research at Tulane University. In so doing, the work ranges from technical studies of neural anatomy and dynamical function to “analogous” domains of human societies and onto a mindful, conducive universe. A steady theme is an affinity of our fractally self-organized brains and their abiding cosmic context. A reason posed is the universal presence of “complex adaptive systems” due to interacting components and an emergent capacity to learn from experience. Thus is achieved a robustly supported 2010 realization that we indeed contain a microcosm in our heads, a once and future insight yet to be fully appreciated. In such regard, it all implies that consciousness must, as tradition sensed, have an intrinsic natural source and essence. Compare with Giulio Tonino herein, whom Nunez cites, for s similar take on an inferred “informational” quality which arises from a universal “Ultra-Information.”
Three central ideas permeate our discussions. First, consciousness is closely associated with the brain’s nested hierarchical structure, also the hallmark of complex physical and social systems. This nested hierarchy is believed to enormously enhance brain complexity and scope of behavior, analogous to social networks embedded in cultures. Second, I suggest that any serious scientific study of consciousness must be carried out in the context of a more general study of reality. …the third idea – more emphasis must be placed on modern physics in consciousness study….rather it stems from the acknowledged role of information in both the brain and the physical sciences. (v-vi)
I suggest here that (1) brains are highly complex adaptive systems, and (2) the features required for healthy brain function have some common ground with know complex adaptive physical and social systems. With these tentative ideas in mind, I propose the human global social system as one of several convenient brain analogs. (63)
New York Times.
A full page placement with these few lines of Yoko Ono’s New Year sentiments and advice for a distraught and percipitous world.
Truth or Beauty: Science and the Quest for Order.
New Haven: Yale University Press,
Dr. Orrell is an “applied mathematician and author” whose 2001 Oxford University thesis was “Modeling Nonlinear Dynamic Phenomena.” Of breakthrough significance, a crack in the cosmic egg, the work strongly indicts from our late, global vista an olden Ptolemaic physics which is mechanical, atomistic, determinist, an Apollonian reduction to a fault. As a result, extant reality has been written off as a sterile, insensate machine, whence life and persons are a random inconsequence. This “tragic” yet prevalent view is seen at the base of violent militarist cultures, an individualist social atomism, crashing economies, and an ineffective climate science unable to predict. Orrell then deftly explains the main reason why. This science project from its Greek onset to the present day is exclusively masculine in personnel and purview. A particulate taking nature apart, down into matter, back in time, outward in space, loses life along the way as it disappears into colliders and stringy mutliverses. Rather than a paradigm or worldview, a narrative “aesthetics” is cited, such as this mechanist scheme, that then tacitly, myopically, channels and constrains.
David Orrell goes on to aver a 21st century Copernican revolution in process able to appreciate cosmic and earthly nature as a vitally complex, fractally scaled, dynamic development is imperative. Closer to true reality, as a better guide Orrell seeks to avail complementary gender-like archetypes. With Iain McGilchrist (search), these divide or integrate options align well, in a historical train, with brain hemisphere attributes. The vested male method uses the Left analytical side only, thus objects without field, dots but not connections, trees without forest. A series of dichotomies are listed whereon once, and future Right proclivities are whole vs. part, context or abstract, possibility beyond predictability, and so on. With British scholar Owen Barfield (1898-1997), a recapitulation of person and history from aboriginal Right to long Left maturation to a potential resolve in their Whole brain unity is apparent. The argument does waffle toward its finale that a predictable orderliness may yet elude and not be accessible or there. But a brave, informed manifesto of the kind needed to move beyond nothingness to something actually going on.
Human beings have long been trying to explain the natural world by reducing it to number. The metaphor, since at least the seventeenth century, has been of the world as a beautiful machine. To understand the machine, all we need is to take it to pieces – for example by smashing protons together at high speed – and figure how they relate. But the approach isn’t working as well as it once did. In many respects, it seems that the phenomena we are dealing with are best seen not as part of an elaborate machine but as part of a complex organic whole. (11)
The relationship between gender and aesthetics is frequently discussed in areas such as art and literature, but what does it tell us about science? Ever since Plato described women as originating from morally defective souls and Aristotle excluded them from his Lyceum, science has been a game dominated by men. This has affected both the kind of questions scientists ask and the way they interpret the answers. Nuclear weapons, atom smashers, and even the concept of reductionist science all reflect a gendered response to the world. This chapter traces the history of gender bias in science, explores the role played by the militarization of science following the Second World War, and shows how these related factors have shaped the scientific aesthetic. (116)
Kepler aimed to show that “the machine of the universe” is “similar to a clock.” Rather than upgrading our models or computers, we need to change our aesthetic – from seeing the world as a machine to seeing it as a living system. Otherwise, our wait for an accurate Model of Everything for climate change is likely to continue until we can get the answer by looking out the window. (216) The division between physics, which evolved with engineering, and biology, which evolved with medicine and agriculture, is as old as science. However, scientists are discovering that physical and biological systems have much in common – the line that separates animate from inanimate is losing some of its definition. Indeed, the most remarkable feature of the universe is the way that its forces are balanced so as to support complexity and life. Like a living organism, all the parts of the universe operate as a cohesive whole. (239)
The left brain favors rational intellect over intuition, linearity over complexity, stability over change, analysis over a holistic approach, and objectivity over subjectivity. In aesthetic terms, it favors simple symmetry and straight lines. To say – in a rational, objective kind of way – that science tilts in favor of the left brain would not be a risky statement. What would the implications be for different areas of science, including physics, biology, and economics, if our scientific quest for beauty engaged both side of our brain? This final chapter argues that be adopting a new scientific aesthetic, we may come to a greater understanding of our place in the universe. (261)
In the same way that electrons or sound phonons can be seen as waves or particles, living systems are structured around a hierarchical sequence of modules, which also have a dual atomistic/holistic nature. (273) Other examples of these hierarchically structured organic systems, known as complex adaptive systems, include the growth of a city, the Internet, the economy, the biosphere – and perhaps the universe. (273) Since the focus is on organizational principles rather than reductionism, these methods can be applied at any scale. One way to get a sense of how they differ from classical techniques is to relate them to brain lateralization. It is as if our collective right brain has suddenly fired up and decided to engage more fully in science, and not just in the role of muse, inspiration, or subservient partner. (274)