Quantology
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Quantology
Evolution seen as a process of universal non-classical unfolding.
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The Ancient Origins of Consciousness: How the Brain Created Experience (by Todd E. Feinberg & Jon M. Mallatt)

How is consciousness created? When did it first appear on Earth, and how did it evolve? What constitutes consciousness, and which animals can be said to be sentient? In this book, Todd Feinberg and Jon Mallatt draw on recent scientific findings to answer these questions -- and to tackle the most fundamental question about the nature of consciousness: how does the material brain create subjective experience?

After assembling a list of the biological and neurobiological features that seem responsible for consciousness, and considering the fossil record of evolution, Feinberg and Mallatt argue that consciousness appeared much earlier in evolutionary history than is commonly assumed. About 520 to 560 million years ago, they explain, the great "Cambrian explosion" of animal diversity produced the first complex brains, which were accompanied by the first appearance of consciousness; simple reflexive behaviors evolved into a unified inner world of subjective experiences. From this they deduce that all vertebrates are and have always been conscious -- not just humans and other mammals, but also every fish, reptile, amphibian, and bird. Considering invertebrates, they find that arthropods (including insects and probably crustaceans) and cephalopods (including the octopus) meet many of the criteria for consciousness. The obvious and conventional wisdom--shattering implication is that consciousness evolved simultaneously but independently in the first vertebrates and possibly arthropods more than half a billion years ago. Combining evolutionary, neurobiological, and philosophical approaches allows Feinberg and Mallatt to offer an original solution to the "hard problem" of consciousness.


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The Strange Inevitability of Evolution - Issue 20: Creativity - Nautilus

The Strange Inevitability of Evolution - Issue 20: Creativity - Nautilus | Quantology | Scoop.it
Is the natural world creative? Just take a look around it. Look at the brilliant plumage of tropical birds, the diverse pattern and…
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A very well-written article that underscores the "mathematical" challenges faced by neo-Darwinian theory in accounting for the origin and early evolution of living things.

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Extinction and Evolution: What Fossils Reveal About the History of Life (by Niles Eldredge)

Extinction and Evolution: What Fossils Reveal About the History of Life

~ Niles Eldredge (author) More about this product
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Extinction and Evolution recounts the work and discoveries of Niles Eldredge, one of the world's most renowned paleontologists, whose research overturned Charles Darwin's theory of evolution as a slow and inevitable process, as published in On the Origin of Species in 1859. Darwin had concluded that evolutionary changes happened very slowly over millions of years. Eldredge's work, however, convinced him that Darwin was wrong and that major evolution of life forms does not happen to any significant degree until after a mass extinction event, thus disproving the traditional view of evolution.

Eldredge's groundbreaking work is now accepted as the definitive statement of how life as we know it evolved on Earth. This book chronicles how Eldredge made his discoveries and traces the history of life through the lenses of paleontology, geology, ecology, anthropology, biology, genetics, zoology, mammalogy, herpetology, entomology and botany. While rigorously accurate, the text is accessible, engaging and free of jargon.

Extinction and Evolution features 160 beautiful color plates that bridge the gap between science and art, and show more than 200 different fossil specimens, including photographs of some of the most significant fossil discoveries of recent years. This is a book with appeal to a broad general audience, including natural history readers and students.

 

 


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While gradualism is certainly implausible, so too is natural selection fueled by (classically occurring) mutations. Eldredge's conclusion regarding the importance of mass extinction events is consequently overzealous.

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Beyond Energy, Matter, Time and Space

Beyond Energy, Matter, Time and Space | Quantology | Scoop.it
Humans might think we can figure out the ultimate mysteries, but there is no reason to believe that we have all the pieces necessary for a theory of everything.
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Special issue: What is reality? - New Scientist

Special issue: What is reality? - New Scientist | Quantology | Scoop.it
The more we learn about reality, the less we understand it. Our special collection of articles explores how we define reality, what it could be and whether it exists
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Quantized vibrations are essential to photosynthesis, say physicists - physicsworld.com

Quantized vibrations are essential to photosynthesis, say physicists - physicsworld.com | Quantology | Scoop.it
High efficiency of reaction is "unambiguously" linked to non-classical behaviour
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One more nail in the coffin of those who deny that quantum dynamics play a crucial role in biological systems -- in this case, the mother lode of all energetic biological processes, photosynthesis.

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‘QBists’ tackle quantum problems by making science subjective | Science News

‘QBists’ tackle quantum problems by making science subjective | Science News | Quantology | Scoop.it
Advocates of a program called “Quantum Bayesianism” take a subjective approach to resolving the paradoxes of quantum physics.
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Part 1 of 2

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Haunted by His Brother, He Revolutionized Physics - Issue 9: Time - Nautilus

Haunted by His Brother, He Revolutionized Physics - Issue 9: Time - Nautilus | Quantology | Scoop.it
T he postcard contained only two words: “Hurry up.”John Archibald Wheeler, a 33-year-old physicist, was in Hanford, Wash., working…
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Can we unify quantum mechanics and gravity? - physicsworld.com

Can we unify quantum mechanics and gravity? - physicsworld.com | Quantology | Scoop.it
Sabine Hossenfelder has little doubt that we will be able to
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DNA Double Take

DNA Double Take | Quantology | Scoop.it
Your DNA and identity are not as entwined as once thought. In fact most people have multiple genomes floating around, from mutations and remnants of pregnancies or twins.
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The Surprising Origins of Life’s Complexity

The Surprising Origins of Life’s Complexity | Quantology | Scoop.it

Conventional wisdom holds that complex structures evolve from simpler ones, step-by-step, through a gradual evolutionary process, with Darwinian selection favoring intermediate forms along the way.
But recently some scholars have proposed that complexity can arise by other means—as a side effect, for instance—even without natural selection to promote it.
Studies suggest that random mutations that individually have no effect on an organism can fuel the emergence of complexity in a process known as constructive neutral evolution.

 

https://www.simonsfoundation.org/quanta/20130716-the-surprising-origins-of-lifes-complexity/


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Complexity and the Arrow of Time (by Charles H. Lineweaver, Paul C. W. Davies, Michael Ruse)

There is a widespread assumption that the universe in general, and life in particular, is 'getting more complex with time'. This book brings together a wide range of experts in science, philosophy and theology and unveils their joint effort in exploring this idea. They confront essential problems behind the theory of complexity and the role of life within it: what is complexity? When does it increase, and why? Is the universe evolving towards states of ever greater complexity and diversity? If so, what is the source of this universal enrichment? This book addresses those difficult questions, and offers a unique cross-disciplinary perspective on some of the most profound issues at the heart of science and philosophy. Readers will gain insights in complexity that reach deep into key areas of physics, biology, complexity science, philosophy and religion.

 

 


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John Searle: Our shared condition -- consciousness

Philosopher John Searle lays out the case for studying human consciousness -- and systematically shoots down some of the common objections to taking it seriously. As we learn more about the brain processes that cause awareness, accepting that consciousness is a biological phenomenon is an important first step. And no, he says, consciousness is not a massive computer simulation.


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Luciano Lampi's curator insight, July 29, 2013 10:57 AM

"Consciousness is not a massive computer simulatio." A consciência não é uma simulação com emprego massiço de meios computação. Concordam? Do you Agree?

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A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature's Deep Design (by Frank Wilczek)

A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature's Deep Design

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Artists as well as scientists throughout human history have pondered this “beautiful question.” With Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek as your guide, embark on a voyage of related discoveries, from Plato and Pythagoras up to the present. Wilczek’s groundbreaking work in quantum physics was inspired by his intuition to look for a deeper order of beauty in nature. In fact, every major advance in his career came from this intuition: to assume that the universe embodies beautiful forms, forms whose hallmarks are symmetry—harmony, balance, proportion—and economy. There are other meanings of “beauty,” but this is the deep logic of the universe—and it is no accident that it is also at the heart of what we find aesthetically pleasing and inspiring.

Wilczek is hardly alone among great scientists in charting his course using beauty as his compass. As he reveals in A Beautiful Question, this has been the heart of scientific pursuit from Pythagoras, the ancient Greek who was the first to argue that “all things are number,” to Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, and into the deep waters of twentiethcentury physics. Though the ancients weren’t right about everything, their ardent belief in the music of the spheres has proved true down to the quantum level. Indeed, Wilczek explores just how intertwined our ideas about beauty and art are with our scientific understanding of the cosmos.

Wilczek brings us right to the edge of knowledge today, where the core insights of even the craziest quantum ideas apply principles we all understand. The equations for atoms and light are almost literally the same equations that govern musical instruments and sound; the subatomic particles that are responsible for most of our mass are determined by simple geometric symmetries. The universe itself, suggests Wilczek, seems to want to embody beautiful and elegant forms. Perhaps this force is the pure elegance of numbers, perhaps the work of a higher being, or somewhere between. Either way, we don’t depart from the infinite and infinitesimal after all; we’re profoundly connected to them, and we connect them. When we find that our sense of beauty is realized in the physical world, we are discovering something about the world, but also something about ourselves.

 

 


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At the Far Ends of a New Universal Law | Quanta Magazine

At the Far Ends of a New Universal Law |  Quanta Magazine | Quantology | Scoop.it
A potent theory has emerged explaining a mysterious statistical law that arises throughout physics and mathematics.
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A Neuroscientist's Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious | WIRED

A Neuroscientist's Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious | WIRED | Quantology | Scoop.it
It's a question that's perplexed philosophers for centuries and scientists for decades: Where does consciousness come from? Neuroscientist Christof Koch, chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, thinks he has an answer.
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More important than the questions "What is consciousness?' and "How does consciousness work?" is the more basic, "WHY should consciousness exist at all?"   

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Tardigrades: The First Animal To Survive The Vacuum Of Space

When it comes to surviving in harsh environments, perhaps no known living organism is as durable as the tiny tardigrade. Although the largest adults of this fascinating species grows to ...
lloydmerriam's insight:

Truly a marvel of bioengineering perfection, and hardly one would expect could have evolved purely by haphazard accident subject to natural selection. Rather, tardigrades evolved to be so incredibly tough simply because "they could." 

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The Metaphysical Baggage of Physics - Issue 9: Time - Nautilus

The Metaphysical Baggage of Physics - Issue 9: Time - Nautilus | Quantology | Scoop.it
An issue on time would not be complete without a conversation with Lee Smolin. High school dropout, theoretical physicist, and founding…
lloydmerriam's insight:

I don't agree with Smolin's characterization of time, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the sound logic driving his argument (from a fatally  misleading, as it turns out, classical vantage point).

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A New Thermodynamics Theory of the Origin of Life | Simons Foundation

A New Thermodynamics Theory of the Origin of Life | Simons Foundation | Quantology | Scoop.it
An MIT physicist has proposed the provocative idea that life exists because the law of increasing entropy drives matter to acquire lifelike physical properties.
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Gell-Mann, Hartle spin a quantum narrative about reality | Science News

Gell-Mann, Hartle spin a quantum narrative about reality | Science News | Quantology | Scoop.it
The “consistent histories” approach to quantum physics removes any role for people in creating “quasiclassical” reality.
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Part 2 of 2

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Long-held assumption about emergence of new species questioned

Darwin referred to the origin of species as 'that mystery of mysteries,' and even today, more than 150 years later, evolutionary biologists cannot fully explain how new animals and plants arise.
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A Turing test for free will

Before Alan Turing made his crucial contributions to the theory of computation, he studied the question of whether quantum mechanics could throw light on the nature of free will. This article investigates the roles of quantum mechanics and computation in free will. Although quantum mechanics implies that events are intrinsically unpredictable, the `pure stochasticity' of quantum mechanics adds only randomness to decision making processes, not freedom. By contrast, the theory of computation implies that even when our decisions arise from a completely deterministic decision-making process, the outcomes of that process can be intrinsically unpredictable, even to -- especially to -- ourselves. I argue that this intrinsic computational unpredictability of the decision making process is what give rise to our impression that we possess free will. Finally, I propose a `Turing test' for free will: a decision maker who passes this test will tend to believe that he, she, or it possesses free will, whether the world is deterministic or not.

 

A Turing test for free will
Seth Lloyd

http://arxiv.org/abs/1310.3225


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Seven Ages of Science

Seven Ages of Science | Quantology | Scoop.it

Lisa Jardine traces the evolution of scientific endeavour in Britain over the last four centuries. We often hear how science has changed our world. In this series of seven programmes, Lisa explores how our world has changed science: pushing it in new directions, creating new disciplines and pioneering new approaches to scientific understanding. It’s a history of science that weaves science back into the fabric of everyday life and shows how the concerns of the scientist are the concerns of us all.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/seven


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Worms Can Pass a Trait Down for 100 Generations…Without Using DNA

Worms Can Pass a Trait Down for 100 Generations…Without Using DNA | Quantology | Scoop.it

A new paper in Cell reports that worms whose grandparents had the ability to fight viruses using a fleet of tiny RNA molecules retain these molecules even when they don’t have the genes for them. They can pass these molecules down for more than a hundred generations.


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Complementarity in biological systems: A complexity view

Niels Bohr and Max Delbruck believed that complementarity—such as wave–particle duality—was not limited to the quantum realm, but had correlates in the study of living things. Biological complementarity would indicate that no single technique or perspective allows comprehensive viewing of all of a biological entity's complete qualities and behaviors; instead, complementary perspectives, necessarily and irrevocably excluding all others at the moment an experimental approach is selected, would be necessary to understand the whole. Systems biology and complexity theory reveal that, as in the quantum realm, experimental observations themselves limit our capacity to understand a biological system completely because of scale-dependent “horizons of knowledge,” a form of biological complementarity as predicted by Bohr and Delbruck. Specifically, observational selection is inherently, irreducibly coupled to observed biological systems as in the quantum realm. These nested systems, beginning with biomolecules in aqueous solution all the way up to the global ecosystem itself, are understood as a seamless whole operating simultaneously and complementarily at various levels. This selection of an observational stance is inseparable from descriptions of biology indicates—in accordance with views of thinkers such as von Neumann, Wigner, and Stapp—that even at levels of scale governed by classical physics, at biological scales, observational choice remains inextricably woven into the establishment, in the observational moment, of the present conditions of existence. These conceptual shifts will not only have theoretical impact, but may point the way to new, successful therapeutic interventions, medically (at the scale of organisms) or environmentally/economically (at a global scale).

 

Theise, N. D. and Kafatos, M. C. (2013), Complementarity in biological systems: A complexity view. Complexity, 18: 11–20. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cplx.21453


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Vasileios Basios's curator insight, August 9, 2013 8:00 AM

REleated to my 2005 ZiF paper

 

Neil Theise's comment, August 12, 2013 10:10 AM
i would love to see this paper of your's, Vasileios, as well as your 2006 paper on Godel...? could i ask you to forward to me if you have pdfs? ntheise@chpnet.org thank you! and thanks for posting this :)