Life as Field Being - Part I
Life as Field Being - Part I
Abstract and Overview of Paper
Recent experiments of the past 20 years in physics and biophysics are producing results that cannot be explained with the traditional worldview of science and philosophy. A new worldview is required. The old worldview of "matter as a fundamental reality" does not work. Not only is a new view of reality required, we also need to change protocols of inquiry to cope with it. This paper will give reason and necessity for a new worldview that "life is the fundamental reality" and make suggested changes in protocols of inquiry to cope with it.
The idea of "matter being fundamental" has led us astray. Matter doesn't do anything. It is non-active, but acted on. Matter is rearranged by cause and effect. It comes down to mechanisms. Thus, the science of physics deals with what is probable. Physics has been the fundamental science.
In contrast, Life requires a science that deals with the improbable. In the observation of living processes, we see that Life does not function in any of the ways traditionally thought. Life works by living entities choosing and initiating acts based on values. Life is creative and fundamental.
No longer can we believe that physics is the most fundamental science from which all else can be derived. A new science is required; one from which physics can be derived as a special case. The new fundamental science will be a science of Life itself built on the premise that is it life that creates matter.
The fundamental subject matter for the new science is energy and energy flows. Evidence of such energy has been found in abundance as zero point energy in the Sea of Dirac. Fields of energy flows create living entities. What we perceive as non-living matter is a result of life-itself taking habit. Except for artifacts, reality is alive, and even for artifacts there is life within. Strictly speaking there is no totally non-living anything.
To understand what biophysics is revealing today, a new form of logic and thinking are also required. Due to crises in mathematics at the end of the 19th century more research was done on logic in the 20th century than in all previous known history. The results show new logics/formalisms never seen before that can be used to meet the requirements for Life-itself.
For instance, life uses both poles of categorical contrasts. Traditional logics were constructed in such a way that would cause collapse if there were inconsistency. Traditional logics were designed for argument. Therefore they required truth-preservation. Life is creative and can quickly move beyond current truth. Logic for Life must be able to grow and evolve. Thus traditional logics cannot handle the requirements of Life.
To this day, infinitesimal calculus is the primary, if not the only, formalism used for scientific inquiry. The infinitesimal calculus is founded on real numbers. Thus it produces real numbers, creating the illusion that science must be quantitative. Life, however, is not computational. Thus we need new formalisms based on forms of order other than numbers in working with life and living processes.
Life is holistic. All life is connected; probably in the Dirac Sea. Life is energy processes in energy fields. Life is fundamental. Life is field being.
Life as Fundamental, Life is Field Being
Paper Presentation for Field Being Conference
By Norm Hirst
To be alive is to be able to act. There is nothing in our history of ideas, whether philosophical or scientific, that deals with living self-acting entities. Everything in our philosophy and science is an attempt to imitate life with non-living entities not capable of action. We will talk about life as energies within the electronics nature of living organisms. Mysteries such as how can bodies of so many parts be holistic. The answer is the living processes within it are holistic. The living processes within it are "metastable" and constantly have to be maintained by energy. If the living processes are gone, all that's left is hardware. What is coming out in today's research requires understanding how they are free to act and combine in societal unities. Bear in mind as we go, the subject of this paper cannot be approached in the old style of simulation by computation.
I shall talk of the “Laws of life” referring to the laws by which living entities function. Such entities may include the cells in our bodies, you and me, or you and me as cells in society, the ecosystem, the economy, or planet earth as a cell in the universe. There will be many differences of details but throughout there will be organizing principles that characterize life.
Fifty years ago I became convinced that there was going to be an urgent need to understand values. At MIT I studied values with Robert Hartman, a visiting professor developing value theory as formal axiology for a science of value. While I agreed with Hartman’s theory I thought it needed grounding. That is to say there was nothing in contemporary knowledge at that time to provide support. There were applications of the theory that were amazingly successful but nothing was known about reality that indicated they should be. I accepted grounding the theory as my life’s work.
I had studied physics gaining experience with an actual science. I studied the philosophy of science to help me understand science in general. I studied mathematics to understand the driving force behind scientific inquiry. I studied the theory of logic to understand the limitations of mathematics. I discovered the limitations of logic itself. I then studied the most modern theory of formalisms and discovered that logic, as we know it, is simply one amongst many possibilities for doing meaningful formalisms. What people today believe is rational is simply one choice. Believing that philosophy itself was a way of exploration I turned to it. Mainstream substance philosophy offered a worldview, a metaphysics that further entrapped us. Way down deep human knowledge developed in a way that became committed to errors that destroy life.
Recent experiments of the past 20 years in physics and biophysics are producing results that cannot be explained with the traditional worldview of science and philosophy. I believe that the non-substantialist turn is now essential if life is going to continue on this planet. This is the paradigm change that many have talked about. It is occurring now. I imagine many people must find it unnerving. I find it a cause for hope.
There is nothing in human knowledge, as we’ve known, it that provides any theory involving self-acting entities. Life is composed of self-acting entities. A new worldview is required. Physics has been seen as the fundamental science. No longer can we believe that physics is the most fundamental science from which all else can be derived. Not only is a new view of reality required, we also need to change protocols of inquiry to cope with it.
The old worldview of "matter as fundamental reality" does not work when applied to life and living processes. The idea of "matter being fundamental" has led us astray. Matter doesn't do anything. It is non-active; therefore it has to be acted upon by external forces. Matter is rearranged by cause and effect. It comes down to mechanisms. Thus, the science of physics has dealt only with mechanisms, not life. Quantum physics provides an exception that is not restricted to mechanisms, but it also is not adequate to explain life.
The new worldview will be based on life as fundamental. At this fundamental level we will refer to life-itself. As living entities are manifest they will have certain fundamental characteristics in common that give them life along with their differences that make them unique. Processes in the primordial matrix create them. This primordial matrix and its processes are the source of life; thus we call it Life-itself.
This paper will give reason and necessity for a new worldview that "life is the fundamental reality" and make suggested changes in protocols of inquiry to cope with it. Life is holistic. All life is connected. Life is energy processes in energy fields. Life is fundamental. Life is field being.
As we go forward we have to question many ideas of physics and other long-held beliefs about what is necessary and universal.
- For example in physics: the second law of thermo dynamics does not apply to living organisms because the energy of living organisms is in a non-thermal form. If it were thermalized, it would produce several thousand degrees Kelvin.
- Non-living things are seen as moving towards a collapse of order, but life-itself constantly moves to increase order.
- In life, there is no single space-time. Life is fractal.
- Life-itself is paradoxical. Mathematics in its deepest foundation is inherently paradoxical; however mathematicians take drastic steps to avoid the paradox showing up.
- Long held philosophical beliefs such as Darwinian style evolution and Creationism both come into question, because nothing fundamental in life is either random process or competitive, rather it is guided by a fundamental principle or integral process that is cooperative. A reality with matter as fundamental had led us down many paths that are no longer serving us.
- Creationism seems unsatisfactory because it implies a God. Based on past Sunday school notions of God many, today, don’t want to hear about God. Today God is far more plausibly understood by the concept of panentheism.
- We must question the rejection of Aristotle’s final cause; rejected because it was believed the future could not effect the present which in the case of non-living cause and effect is true. Living processes are not functioning by blind cause and effect and can set goals for the future. although some living processes can be simulated by computation.
- Science need not be limited to quantitative formalisms. The long dominance of the infinitesimal calculus has misled us. There are other formalisms and forms of order being developed for a science of Life-itself.
- From the earliest philosophers speaking of God, their views were panentheistic. There came a time when the paradoxes of panentheism could not be resolved. At that time, the concept of God was split into theism and pantheism. Now with greater logical sophistication, panentheism is being restored, and it will be further understood by the logic of Life-itself.
This paper is divided by topics and sections as follows:
- Section A will present the new reality that is replacing the old reality.
- Section B will present what is required to develop effective working knowledge of the new reality.
- Section C will present an outline of Subject Matter for which we have to account using new philosophies and logics.
Section A: The New Reality Replacing the Old Reality: Key New Discoveries Need New Theoretical Foundations
Inherited beliefs have created hell on earth. There is no end to war, and with today’s weapons, war is mass murder. To dismiss hundreds of thousand dead as collateral damage is obscene. It reduces much of what is believed to soul-destroying absurdities. Those of us whose souls have been destroyed can do no more than live meaningless lives.
But there is hope! The last few decades have been a tipping point. So much has been discovered exposing the false illusions we have come to believe that we need not go on in hell. Unfortunately it is not making the news. We can create a new mind, a new way of knowing and thinking!
In the face of what is being discovered today; primarily in physics revealing new aspects of reality we've never known, and in biophysics revealing the existence of Life-itself and what Life-itself requires of all life, there are several developments that need to be integrated. They include the following described in more detail below.
- In physics it has been found that space is filled with zero point energy now called the Dirac Sea.
- The Dirac Sea may be the locus of a primordial matrix (womb). That which is manifest is born in the primordial matrix and remains connected to it
- The processes in the primordial matrix are the processes of Life itself. These processes exhibit ”logic” unlike any we have ever known.
- The universe is itself created by Life itself and is itself living, displaying the very principles and characteristics of living systems.
- For practical purposes manifest realty can be divided into two domains; a living domain that is still creative and a domain that has taken strong habits. We might call them living and non-living.
- Inherited beliefs enable us to understand the non-living very well; thus our success with technology. They also blind us to the living domain.
- Processes in the living domain are based on entities capable of initiating their own acts based on values. Force, cause and effect, are only relevant to the non-living domain where powerful habits make free choice impossible.
- Life works by creating societies of living entities with maximum freedom subject only to coherence conditions for that society.
- Biophysics is the study of living entities/organisms. Discoveries made since the 1970’s contradict much of conventional biology.
- Life requires an enormous variety. All life is connected. There are coherence conditions to harmonize tremendous diversity. These are value laws.
- The ecological system is a living society. To not recognize the need for biodiversity is a fatal blunder that may end life support on this planet.
Thanks to technology we can make observations that can help us see these processes in action as never before. For example:
- Transfer of brain wave patterns from one person to another even though the receiver is in an isolation chamber
- Non-local connections as in twin particle experiments
- Remote viewing
- Watching the processes in bodies through ultra-sound or polarized light as they live
- Discovering the liquid crystalline nature of living tissue
- Discovering that living organisms emit biophotons
- Discovering the zero point energy sources that physicists refer to as the Dirac Sea
There have been 30 years of testing in the first of two categories showing that people are connected in ways that make no sense whatsoever, given our current foundations of thinking. Being able to watch processes in living organisms as they live has brought into question much of conventional biology. The last three categories are discoveries of the last decade that begin to reveal what has been hidden ways of life.
Casual observations about life are full of anomalies about how living entities function that cannot be explained with traditional philosophic and scientific worldviews. Turning to living reality we find many strange and miraculous happenings previously ignored because they didn't fit into the dominant world-view assumptions. To recognize living processes, a non-substantialist perspective is required.
For example a butterfly being born, trying to get out of its cocoon, involves a fierce struggle. A "helpful" person may decide to cut a hole in the cocoon so the butterfly can escape. When they do, the process stops and the butterfly dies. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
James Surowiecki in his book “The Wisdom of Crowds” provides examples of processes that defy current understanding, and at the same time they demonstrate that we are all connected.
- In 1968 the submarine Scorpion was lost. Based on its last position report the navy estimated it to be within a circle twenty miles wide and thousands of feet deep. The navy began searching but did not succeed. A navy officer, John Craven, had a different idea. He assembled a team including mathematicians, submarine specialists and salvage men. He then concocted explanations of what might have happened. He then asked each man for his best guess as to the most likely explanation. He then used some mathematics, Bayes’s theorem, to build a composite picture. That produced the group’s collective estimate of where the Scorpion was. The Scorpion was found 220 yards from where the group had said it would be.
- Within minutes of NASA's Challenger explosion, seen on television, investors started dumping their stock in the four companies that built the shuttle. By the end of the day three of the firms had recovered to within 3% of their beginning value. Only Morton Thiokol was down 12%. As we now know, Thiokol was responsible for the part that failed.
The 1970s was a period of paradigm-smashing experiments giving evidence of psychic transfer.
- In 1970 two physicists, Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff of the Stanford Research Institute, did an experiment that demonstrated a linkage between organisms of their internal states in ways we've never understood. It is known that exposure to flashing lights cause certain characteristic brain waves. The experiment was done with two subjects, one as receiver and the other as sender. The receiver was placed in a sealed, opaque and electrically shielded chamber. The sender was placed in another room and was subjected to bright flashes of light at regular intervals. The sender’s brain waves would exhibit the flashing light characteristics, and then so would the receiver’s.
- In another experiment, investigators in California were working on remote viewing. In remote viewing the sender is sent to some location from which they try to send, by mental telepathy, what they see. Then the receiver describers it and may even draw a picture of it. A suspicious and hostile sheriff visited. He wanted to know what kind of nonsense they were up to and whether or not there was anything illegal about it. They explained what they were doing. Then they had him sit down as the receiver. He turned out to be absolutely their best receiver. As you can see, there is a mental telepathy going on between people, a deep communication of "inner" relations of which many are unaware.
- Remote viewing experiments grew ever more thought provoking. Remote viewers were simply given latitude and longitude of the location they were to view. Such experiments were successful. One that went wrong ultimately provided a shocking surprise. The location was a new public swimming pool. The viewer drew a water purification plant and storage tanks. Later a newspaper article was discovered showing a picture of that location. It was identical to the viewers drawing. It was dated 1913. Could it be that the Akashic field is real?
Recent Biophysics discoveries (Made possible by technology of ultra sound or polarized light)
Our bodies are 70% water. It is now known that water can form crystals. Biowater, the water in our bodies does so and makes the connective tissue liquid crystalline. This, in turn, provides for extremely fast proton jump conduction. It used to be thought there was only electricity/electron flow. Now it is known there is proticity or proton flow. We are powered by electricity and proticity.
Proticity is so fast that all our (an average) 70 trillion plus cells connected through the connective tissue function simultaneously. There are no parts; we are organisms, and organisms function holistically. It may seem as if there are parts. We think of the heart as a pump, the liver as a purifier, and so on… Today it is known that the heart is more than just a pump, for in it’s pumping, it adapts to the whole organism. What appear to be heart problems may not find their cause within the heart itself. (Unfortunately our medical model is divided into organ specialties; thus they do not observe, nor can they treat, whole organism disease. "When all you have is a hammer, all your problems look like nails.")
Other Counter-Intuitive Happenings Needing Explanation:
Traffic signs are being removed in 7 European cities to good effect. European traffic planners are dreaming of streets free of rules and directives. They want drivers and pedestrians to interact in a free and humane way, as brethren -- by means of friendly gestures, nods of the head and eye contact, without the harassment of prohibitions, restrictions and warning signs. Results are traffic flows better and there are fewer accidents. www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,448747,00.html
Personal paranormal experiences begging to be explained. In graduate School at the University of Texas, I awoke and started preparing to go to a morning class when the feeling that I must not go to class overwhelmed me. I stayed home to work until I received a call directing me to turn on the TV. That was the morning of the "Sniper in the Tower." Had I gone I would have been walking across his target area just as he started shooting. I've had several such experiences and I take them very seriously.
Finally the living reality appears to include value laws.
In 1950s and 60s, Robert Hartman, world renowned value philosopher who was specializing in value theory, put forth the hypothesis such value laws existed . It was fifty years ago that I met Dr. Hartman. From him I learned that so little progress had been made towards understanding values. In 1943 G. E. Moore wrote his third book trying to define “good”. He decided that goodness is not a natural property but it depends entirely on the natural properties that the thing said to be good has. But, how did it depend? Hartman proposed that good means the thing has all the properties it is supposed to have. But who decides what all the properties are. The person who calls it good, of course! Thus the judgment of goodness is in the mind of the beholder, and it may be different for every beholder.
Values exist and function in the living. This reveals a reason why we understand so little. Twenty-five centuries ago Greek materialists decided that all that could really exist was matter and space. Change was just a rearrangement of matter. There is no life there. I am astonished to find that in spite of all that has been discovered in today’s physics and biophysics the idea of a material universe still hangs on. Just the other day I read an article suggesting that freewill is just an illusion and asking if we can escape the limitations of living in a material universe. It is time to notice that today’s leading edge research has laid those ideas to rest.
Hartman developed a test of value sensitivity, the Hartman Value Profile test ( HVP), which verified that humans base their actions on the perception of value. Many verifications of the test were conducted, including construct validity. The test was shown to be significant in a majority of cultures. However, although I worked with Dr. Hartman during the 50's to promote his understanding, it wasn't until recently that knowledge of reality was available to me to ground it. With life as fundamental, the value processes come into focus.
The HVP is a test of value perception, of embedded value profiles. It doesn’t reveal what one values. It is a test of perception. Analogous to vision, one's focus can be tested without, in any way, disclosing what you see. One's focus is simply a test of how well one's eyes are working. The HVP is simply a test of how well one’s value sense is working. In Hartman’s axiology (value theory) values are not external ideals to strive for. Values are internal and are creating our experience. They are embedded in and shape experience. They function hierarchically. The lowest form, systemic, is the classification of rules/laws. For example ideals are systemic values. The highest form of value is intrinsic values involving all forms of love and aesthetics. A middle range is extrinsic. These are values of classification (hierarchies) and conceptual fulfillment.
If people lacked an internal value sense, the test would be meaningless. However, in various societies and cultures around the world the test produces meaningful results. Each one of us will have a different and unique profile. There are no comparisons with averages, though different societies/cultures show different characteristics.
On this basis I say values are real and operative in our lives whether we know it or not. How they operate as laws needs further clarity. Such laws don't tell you what to value, but given the values you have, the laws can guide you to effective action in valuation. In the physical world there is the law of gravity. In values there is a law of hierarchy. In value conflicts, intrinsic takes precedence. Next comes extrinsic. Lastly comes systemic. However in today's dominant social practice, the hierarchy is inverted. In the name of justice (a systemic value) there is the death penalty, an intrinsic disvalue. In so doing, a noble goal is exposed to inverted logic and results in a loss of value. Once again, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Sometimes the result of our value decisions may not show up for years and when they do we will have long since forgotten the decision. That's why people don't often think such operative laws exist.
This is all a different reality from what we have known. How do we account for it?
Old and New World View Compared
Here I'd like to introduce philosopher Nicholas Rescher's contrasting descriptions of Substance Philosophy and Process Philosophy so that you might consider how Process Philosophy is more living than Substance Philosophy as I present this paper further supporting the non-substantialist turn.
Concerning process metaphysics, philosopher Rescher says: “… process metaphysics propounds certain characteristic stresses of emphasis in contrast to those of substance metaphysics, as follows:
- discrete individuality
- condition (fixity of nature)
- uniformity of nature
- unity of being (individualized specificity)
- descriptive fixity
- classificatory stability
- passivity (being acted upon)
- interactive relatedness
- wholeness (totality)
- activity (self-development)
- unity of law (functional typology)
- productive energy, drive, etc.
- fluidity and evanescence
- activity (agency)”
Another comparison of old and new worldview comes from psychologist Eleanor Rosch who in 1996 characterized the current state of human knowledge and what I would call the world of technology, or machine world, as follows:
"In the analytic picture offered by the cognitive sciences, the world consists of separate objects and states of affairs, the human mind is a determinate machine which, in order to know, isolates and identifies those objects and events, finds the simplest possible predictive contingencies between them, stores the results through time in memory, relates the items in memory to each other such that they form a coherent but indirect representation of the world and oneself, and retrieves those representations in order to fulfill the only originating value, which is to survive and reproduce in an evolutionarily successful manner”.
Good grief! This is an accurate description of much current thinking. If I believed this is all there is I would be screaming in anguish. I would be wondering if it is worth it. Perhaps what we are witnessing today is many people screaming in anguish.
This kind of knowledge she calls analytic knowledge. I call it machine-like information that is disconnected from the wholeness of life, a non-living thing with no context from which to generate appropriate meaning.
Dr. Rosch has also described the world of life:
By contrast, "primary knowing" arises by means of "interconnected wholes, rather than isolated contingent parts and by means of time-less, direct, presentation" rather than through stored "re-presentation." "Such knowing is open rather than determinate, and a sense of unconditional value, rather than conditional usefulness, is an inherent part of the act of knowing itself," said Rosch. Acting from such awareness is "spontaneous, rather than the result of decision making, and it is compassionate…since it is based on wholes larger than the self."
In the context of primary knowing, analytic knowledge can be beneficial. Without primary knowing analytic knowing can be fatally flawed. Today all social institutions are failing. Without knowledge of life, analytic knowing produces “work arounds” that are ill adapted and exacerbate the catalogue of existing problems.
Reality consists of two domains:
- The domain of non-living processes
- The domain of living processes
Processes definition: In the non-living domains, one could think of process as simple mechanical processes such as gears turning gears. However, in the living processes domain, the notion of process we want is one of multiple entities asserting their will interactively to create new conditions.
Non-living processes function like Machines
Machines are multiple components interconnected to form an operating system. It may be as small as two gears or as large as a computer with billions of components. The components are deterministic in that they have no ability to initiate acts. How they act depends on outside forces; in response they will function as they are designed to function. Outside forces may simply make them move in space, e.g., gravity or collisions. Or outside forces may be input signals, e.g., logic circuits in computers have several modes of operation depending on the combination of on/off inputs.
Since the components are deterministic, given the current state of a computer I can calculate the next state, and the next state, and the next state, and so on, forever. But frankly I would rather not. It would be tedious, boring and take forever. Its better to leave it to the computer!
Living processes function like Societies
Societies are composed of living entities. Living entities are not passive; they initiate their own acts. Living entities are, in turn, societies of living entities. You and I are societies of cells, our cells are societies of molecules, and you and I are living in human societies.
All living entities are societies, which means they are non-deterministic. They are free to choose and initiate acts. Their choices are made in the context of their entire society. It can be said that humans are entities with more than 70 trillion cells, all living in a pure democracy: there are no bosses, no controllers, and no command and control hierarchies.
Even molecules are now known to choose and initiate their own acts. Standard biology has believed that the molecules packed in the cells are just being jostled about in random motions. Occasionally two will bump into one another and their shape locks them together. It has now been observed that the molecules are emitting signals. Having found a companion they move together
Each cell has maximum freedom subject only to our body’s coherence conditions. Coherence conditions seem paradoxical since they provide unity with maximum freedom. In general there are no accepted definitions of coherence other than quantum coherence. I believe the central point of coherence is to allow the existence of many connected interacting elements to have maximum freedom to act without interference. I believe that coherence conditions imposed by Life-itself are value laws.
Now to get an idea as to how Life itself works
Dr. Mae Wan Ho a prominent biophysicist, has used advanced technology to observe living organisms as they live. After 27 years of laboratory observation she describes a human as a society of 70 trillion cells functioning with no controllers or set points, unlike computers. A living society might be described as a super jazz band including instruments as small as 10-9 meters to as large as 1 meter and performing in 72 octaves. Our bodies are not doing computations, or logic as we know it, nor anything our technology-oriented world is prepared to understand.
In a press release, from The Institute for Science in Society, Dr. Ho says:
“Quantum Jazz is the music of the organism dancing life into being. We are all quantum jazz players, in the very substance of our being.
Like the little fruit-fly larva, the Daphnia, and any other small creature, we too, would be resplendent in all the colors of the rainbow when observed under the polarizing microscope at a special setting that lets you see right through to the tissues and cells and especially the molecules, as they are busy being alive, and keeping the organism alive.
Organisms are thick with spontaneous activities at every level, right down to the molecules, and the molecules are dancing, even when the organisms sit still. The images obtained give direct evidence of the remarkable coherence (oneness) of living organisms.”
Even if we could know the complete state of an organism we could not predict its next state.
Biophysics versus Biology:
Before I knew the results of the past two decades, I started to study biology. The world of life and primary knowing is what we now need to learn. To learn about life it would seem we should turn to biology.
Unfortunately biology as we know it has been misdirected by the standard reductionist -Newtonian science paradigm. As a number of biologists, such as Robert Rosen and Mae-Wan Ho, have written, biology as a science begins by a reductionistic destruction of the living organization. That is, we study dead tissue! Yet it is the living organization that holds the keys to Life. Now such devices as ultrasound can non-invasively study the living organization. It is time to begin anew, and such a new beginning has already taken place in laboratories around the world.
Biology should be to health care what physics is to engineering. Unfortunately, the condition of biology is described below by Robert Rosen , a mathematical biologist:
“… there is no point at all in trying to approach biology from the familiar directions. That is, not if one truly wishes to cope with the fundamental question, “What is life?” Contemporary biology has concerned itself almost exclusively with the endlessly fascinating epi-phenomena of life, but the secrets are not to be found there, …
At the moment, biology remains a stubbornly empirical, experimental, observational science. The papers and books that define contemporary biology emanate mainly from laboratories of increasingly exquisite sophistication, authored by virtuosi in the manipulation of laboratory equipment, geared primarily to isolate, manipulate, and characterize minute quantities of matter.”
One might stop to consider how not improving on this method remains "good science."
In her talk presented 13 May 2000 at Planetwork, Global Ecology and Information Technology a conference held at the San Francisco Presidio on Living Systems, the Internet and the Human Future, Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D. said in referring to Darwinism:
“Frankly, I think that story is going to look a little bit foolish as physics continues with its understanding zero point energy, non-locality, the fundamental role of consciousness and the replacement of particles with information as the fundamental units of matter. I sure hope these concepts will creep into biology, because most macro- and microbiologists are still working at the Newtonian level of mechanics. They see molecules with certain shapes bumping into each other, with this and that happening by accident, and evolution mechanically replacing those organisms that don't work well with others that do -- that fit into the system like cogs into wheels, which was interpreted as being the fittest in human terms of strongest, most powerful, and best able to wipe out competitors.”
Mae-Wan Ho said:
“… Until quite recently, the typical way to study living organisms is to kill and fix them, or smash them up into pieces until nothing is left of the organization that we are supposed to be studying. This has merely reinforced the Newtonian mechanical view of organisms that has proved thoroughly inadequate to account for life. The situation is changing now with great advances in the development of non-invasive technologies within the past twenty years. We can ‘listen in’ to nature without violating her.”
In the dominant worldview, physics is thought to be the most basic science. Biology developed with the scientific protocols thought to be appropriate to science modeled on physics.
To quote biophysicist and biochemist, Szent Gyorgi: (Discoverer of Vitamin C)
“ There is a basic difference between physics and biology. Physics is the science of probabilities. If a process goes 999 times one way, and only once another way, the physicist will not hesitate to call the first the way. Biology is the science of the improbable and I think it is on principle that the body works only with reactions that are statistically improbable. If metabolism were built of a series of probable and thermodynamically spontaneous reactions, then we would burn up and the machine would run down as a watch does if deprived of its regulators. The reactions are kept in hand by being statistically improbable and made possible by specific tricks that may then be used for regulation. So, for the living organism, reactions are possible which may seem impossible, or at least, improbable to the physicist…. If Nature wants to do something she will find a way to do it if there is no contradiction to basic rules of Nature. She has time to do so. (Living Nature also often works with more complex systems than the physicist uses for testing his theories.)"
A Science of Possibilities for Life-itself:
In December of 2001 I wrote: “It is shocking to realize that the future of human kind, whether we will live in peace or perish in a holocaust, depends on the opinions of whomever happens to be in power. Opinions may be right or wrong, leading edge or backwards, enlightened or unenlightened. Whatever the opinions are, they guide the actions taken by world leaders for better or worse. Our lives hang by fallible opinions! There must be a better way.”
A Report on the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy began with the question, “What have we learned from philosophy in the 20th century?” The answer turned out to be “nothing”. To quote from the report,
“The failure of philosophy in this century has not been the lack of fecundity – witness the great diversity among forty-some branches represented at this Congress, but its inability to link Knowledge, Action and Valuation”.
I am not surprised because the dominant "substance" metaphysics in philosophy only allows for focus on inert material and ideals. It excludes awareness of the inherent, invisible processes of life-itself where we can now begin to see that values are operative and impact knowledge and action.
Values function only in living contexts. And there is virtually no understanding of the living contexts within substance philosophy. In substance philosophy the assumptions are that our bodies are material and biochemical entities functioning in machine-like ways. Recent discoveries in biophysics reveal how that is completely untrue.
There is a need for New Science for Life-itself. This will clearly not be a science that will be used to predict. The science applicable to life does not yet exist. Szent Gyorgi says it must be a science of improbabilities. A science of the improbable seems hopeless. But what we really must know is what Life itself requires of us. In principle, how do living organisms work? Opinions are not enough! We need a new scientific understanding of life. We know the threat to our ecosystem (life support) from global warming. But do we know that our ecosystem is alive, and as alive, do we know that it requires biodiversity to maintain its energy to stay alive? The crisis of our time is that we now have the technology to seriously interfere with nature in ways that can threaten all our lives.
The new science required is one from which physics can be derived as a special case. The new fundamental science will be a science of Life itself built on the premise that it is life that creates matter. Strictly speaking there is no totally, non-living anything Continue To Part II