Situation The underlying paradigm for cosmology is theoretical physics. It has helped us understand much about universal space, time, energy, and matter, but does not presently connect strongly to the emergence of life, mind, information and computation.
Problem Recent developments in cosmology, evolutionary developmental biology, and complexity sciences are providing new but scattered ways to understand our universe in a broader, 'meta-Darwinian' framework. This suggests that both selectionist evolutionary processes and replicative, hierarchical developmental processes appear to generate complexity at multiple scales.
Solution These results and hypotheses need to be explored, criticized, analyzed and possibly integrated into an expanded conceptual framework, by an interdisciplinary scholarly research community, Evo Devo Universe (EDU).
Benefits/Results. If validated, such a framework promises to advance our understanding of both perennially chaotic and intrinsically predictable physical dynamics, and of evolutionary and developmental process at all scales, including the human scale. If falsified in any part, this endeavor will improve our critical thinking about the generation and regulation of complex systems, and the role and limits of biological analogies in understanding our universe.
The underlying paradigm for cosmology is theoretical physics. The EDU research community explores how it might be extended by including insights from information and computation studies and evolutionary developmental (evo-devo) biology. In the neo-Darwinian paradigm, adaptive evolutionary development guides the production of ordered, complex and intelligent structures. More specifically, we can distinguish evolutionary processes which are stochastic and contingently adaptive and developmental processes which produce systemically statistically predictable structures and trajectories internal to the developmental cycle. By analogy with the evolutionary development of two genetically identical twins, would two initially parametrically identical universes each exhibit unpredictably separate and unique evolutionary variation over their lifespan, and at the same time, a broad set of predictable developmental milestones and shared structure and function between them? More generally, can we model our universe as an evolutionary developmental system?
For more, see the EDU Project page.
Listserves, People, Themes, Questions, Bibliography, and SIGs
For EDU notice and discussion lists, see Listserves. For current EDU community scholars and associates, please see the People page. For a list of research themes, see the Themes page. For some current research questions, see the Questions page. For a starter list of EDU-related publications by community scholars, and other publications of note, see Bibliography. For a list of primary special interest groups, see SIGs.
EDU 2008 in Paris, France, Oct 8-9
Our first international conference is now over, a watershed event for all participants. See the Conference 2008 page for EDU 2008 program, abstracts, slides, and some audio. Planning for EDU 2009 is now under way. We hope you can join us there.
- To establish an evo devo universe (EDU) research community to explore ideas, models, and questions involving evolutionary and developmental processes that may be operating in the universe as a system, which may itself exist within a more extensive cosmologic environment (the multiverse).
- To bring together select cosmologists, biologists, complexity theorists, nonlinear mathematicians, systems theorists, information theorists, computer scientists, philosophers, independent scholars, and bridge-building interdisciplinarians who have all addressed dimensions of this inquiry in previous publications.
- To identify a multidisciplinary global community of scholars with interest in exploring analogies of the universe as an evolutionary and developmental system, and of the universe as an information processing system, and in discriminating potential evolutionary and developmental processes and their interrelationships on either universal or subsystem scales.
- To conduct a three year inquiry, conference publication series, and open access overview of current thinking on the evolution and development of the universe as a system.
- To produce an original PhD inquiry into evo devo universe themes.
How can I participate in the project?
There are many ways you can contribute to the Evo Devo Universe (EDU) project.
- If you are a researcher in cosmology, biology, philosophy, complexity sciences or related field who is considering some of our Research questions, we will be glad to welcome you as a Research member of the community.
- If you are interested in doing bibliographic research, scholar recruiting, or community support, we will be glad to welcome you as an Associate member of the community. An early priority is to build a helpful bibliography and scholar network related to EDU themes. We thus welcome bibliographic and scholar recruitment suggestions.
- Academics, independent scholars and EDU Associates are encouraged to join the EDU-Talk discussion list, a moderated private list for scholars interested in exploring and critiquing models, hypotheses, questions, and speculations relating to the evolution and development of the universe and its subsystems. Please complete the brief EDU-Talk subscription form.
- Anyone may join our public EDU-Notices list. This moderated, announcement-only list is low volume and will keep you abreast of EDU Community activities (conferences, publications, etc.). Members may also post notices of important events, call for papers, publications, etc. on EDU-related themes (notices subject to moderator approval) .
- We greatly appreciate one-time or ongoing financial support and any help or advice related to fundraising for the project. Individual or institutional donations may be made to ASF, the nonprofit sponsoring this community, by PayPal or check.
- We warmly welcome initial funding of the project by The Complex Systems Institute, Paris (ISC-PIF)