The origin of species by means of natural drift | HUMBERTO MATURANA-ROMESIN & JORGE MPODOZIS | 2000


In this article we propose that the mechanism that gave rise to the diversity of living systems that we find today, as well as to the biosphere as coherent system of interrelated autonomous living systems, is natural drift. And we also propose that that which we biologists connote with the expression natural selection is a consequence of the history of the constitution of the biosphere through natural drift, and not the mechanism that generates that history. Moreover, we do this by proposing: a) that the history of living systems on earth is the history of the arising, conservation, and diversification of lineages through reproduction, and not of populations; b) that biological reproduction is a systemic process of conservation of a particular ontogenic- phenotype/ontogenic- niche relation, and not a genetic process of conservation of some genetic constitution; c) that a lineage arises in the systemic reproductive conservation of an ontogenic-phenotype/ontogenic-niche relation, and not in the conservation of a particular genotype; d) that although nothing can happen in the life history of a living system that is not permitted by its total genotype, whatever happens in it arises in an epigenetic manner, and it is not possible to properly claim that any features that arises in the life history of an organism is genetically determined; e) that it is behavior what guides the course of the history of living systems, not genetics; and f) that that which a taxonomist distinguishes when he or she claims that an organism belongs to a particular species, is a particular ontogenic phenotype/ontogenic niche relation that occupies a nodal position in the historical diversification of lineages.

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The Sense of Should: A Biologically-based Framework for Modeling Social Pressure. | Jordan E. Theriault, Liane Youn and Lisa Feldman Barrett


• We develop a model of social pressure, based on the metabolic costs of information.
• We propose that conformity regulates the predictability of social environments.
• We suggest that the experience of obligation stems from anticipated uncertainty.
• We integrate disparate theories of mental inference with an embodied account.
• We discuss the emergent consequences of others’ expectations motivating behavior.

Keywords: Allostasis | Predictive Coding | Evolution | Metabolism | Affect | Social Pressure


What is social pressure, and how could it be adaptive to conform to others’ expectations? Existing accounts highlight the importance of reputation and social sanctions. Yet, conformist behavior is multiply determined: sometimes, a person desires social regard, but at other times she feels obligated to behave a certain way, regardless of any reputational benefit — i.e. she feels a sense of should. We develop a formal model of this sense of should, beginning from a minimal set of biological premises: that the brain is predictive, that prediction error has a metabolic cost, and that metabolic costs are prospectively avoided. It follows that unpredictable environments impose metabolic costs, and in social environments these costs can be reduced by conforming to others’ expectations. We elaborate on a sense of should’s benefits and subjective experience, its likely developmental trajectory, and its relation to embodied mental inference. From this individualistic metabolic strategy, the emergent dynamics unify social phenomenon ranging from status quo biases, to communication and motivated cognition. We offer new solutions to long-studied problems (e.g. altruistic behavior), and show how compliance with arbitrary social practices is compelled without explicit sanctions. Social pressure may provide a foundation in individuals on which societies can be built.

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The diabesity epidemic in the light of evolution: insights from the capacity–load model | Jonathan C. K. Wells | Diabetologia

The global nutrition transition, which embraces major changes in how food is produced, distributed and consumed, is associated with rapid increases in the prevalence of obesity, but the implications for diabetes differ between populations. A simple conceptual model treats diabetes risk as the function of two interacting traits: ‘metabolic capacity,’ which promotes glucose homeostasis, and ‘metabolic load’, which challenges glucose homoeostasis. Population variability in diabetes prevalence is consistent with this conceptual model, indicating that the effect of obesity varies by ethnicity. Evolutionary life history theory can help explain why variability in metabolic capacity and metabolic load emerges. At the species level (hominin evolution), across human populations and within individual life courses, phenotypic variability emerges under selective pressure to maximise reproductive fitness rather than metabolic health. Those exposed to adverse environments may express or develop several metabolic traits that are individually beneficial for reproductive fitness, but which cumulatively increase diabetes risk. Public health interventions can help promote metabolic capacity, but there are limits to the benefits that can emerge within a single generation. This means that efforts to curb metabolic load (obesity, unhealthy lifestyles) must remain at the forefront of diabetes prevention. Such efforts should go beyond individuals and target the broader food system and socioeconomic factors, in order to maximise their efficacy.

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This article surprisingly reveals the existence of a very precise spiral rhythm in the emergence of the evolutionary leaps that mark the history of the universe.

The proposed hypothesis is very simple: just as in any musical instrument successive second harmonics (1/3 of the vibrating unit) progressively generate new sounds; these same second harmonics generate all the major evolutionary novelties in universal dynamics as a whole. It is truly surprising that such a simple proposal is found to be precise and categorical when cross-checked against historical data. Let us see.

Fitting our ‘periodic table’ of rhythms to the date of the appearance of matter –the Big Bang– and of organic life, we see that every single instant of the emergence of successive taxonomic degrees of human phylogeny is marked out with utter precision: Kingdom: animal, Phylum: chordata, Class: mammal, Order: primate, Superfamily: hominoid, Family: hominid and Genus: homo! The same then occurs with all the stages of maturation of our primitive ancestors: H. habilis, H. erectus, archaic H. sapiens, H. sapiens and H. sapiens sapiens! Once more, the precision of our hypothesis is repeated in the successive transformations that humanity has experienced in its more recent history: the Neolithic, Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Modern Age and the emergentPostmodern Age! If, as we see it, all these stages resoundingly fit the provisions of the ‘periodic table’ of rhythms that we have proposed, it is more than likely that our hypothesis may also provide the key to glimpse the successive phases yet to be deployed in the years to come in an ever-accelerating process that will eventually lead to a moment of infinite creativity –Omega– within a couple of centuries.

All this is, indeed, unexpected and surprising, but is now almost certain when we verify that the same hypothesis that has behaved with utter precision when applied to the process of global evolution, also does so when cross-checked against the process of development of the individual human being! Within the same time frame, with the same pattern of folding and unfolding, and passing through the same stages, our ‘periodic table’ of rhythms periodically marks out –step by step– the successive phases embryologists, developmental psychologists and spiritual teachers talk of, thus confirming the old idea of phylogenetic-ontogenetic parallelism and pointing very specifically to an astonishing fractal and holographic universe.

It is impossible, absolutely impossible, that all this accumulation of linked “coincidences” –in both the field of overall development and that of individual human development– highlighted in this paper is the product of mere chance. The conclusions that emerge from all this clash head on with many assumptions of predominant materialistic science. Our proposal, which provides a better fit to the presented data, points to the non-duality of energy and consciousness, as posed by many traditions of wisdom. From these pages, we invite all our readers to participate in this emerging experiential and theoretical research in which dazzling prospects can be glimpsed.

Keywords: Crisis darwinism, integral paradigm, alternative hypothesis, divergent-convergent spiral evolution, accelerated rhythm, teleology, singularity, omega point, syntropy, musical harmonics, stationary waves, quantum leaps, evolutive discontinuity, fractal time, holographic universe, big history, macrocosmos (paleontology, anthropology, history), microcosmos (embriology, psychology), ontogeny-philogeny, spectrum energy-consciousness, spiral dynamics, chakras, perennial philosophy, non-duality.

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