Third Transition in Science: to include Evolving Biospheres

From EGO, to ECO

((Blog Updated July 18, 2021))

Summary: We are entering THE AGE OF VALUE CREATION. Do you enter it too?

That requires a totally different mindset from what are the main mantra’s of our present governments, politicians and businessmen, and unfiortunately also most scientists deeply embedded in vested interrests, funding systems and peer reviews. I do not blame any of them but i take the step to bring certain new directions to their attention. I am retired and independant, so I do not care if they agree or not. These mantra’s are based on the #NeoLib (market will solve all problems) faerytale, which is running against its boundaries. For instance things are failing in Health Care, Law, Education,Agriculture, Culture, Law enforcement, Banking, Defense and maintenance of Flora and Fauna. Also the infrastructues of Tranport of goods and people, Tranport of Information (FttH etc) and Transport of Energy are not maintained well everywhere or are seriously lacking. Reason #neoLib is based on Value Extraction, at the expense of People and Nature. Sure, it was a great motor for the economy and society but it is now running at its end

The point is that young people all over the world are concerned an curious what will happen after the Pandemic, which has harmed them and left them lonely and depressed, and after the floods in Europe and other large and small unexpected climate catastrophies. I see it as my task to help them look in new directions they can explore themselves 🙂

The recent paper from Kauffman and Roli, you can download below, marks a major breakthrough in Science. My impression is that it will also have huge impact on our society. In line with the slogan about the Third Transition in Science displayed above.

It is called: “The Third Transition in Science: Beyond Newton and Quantum Mechanics” –A Statistical Mechanics of Emergence–

  1. Here is what a review of it said:


The Third Transition in Science: Beyond Newton and Quantum Mechanics — A Statistical Mechanics of Emergence | by Stuart A. Kauffman & Andrea Roli | ArXiv

[…] It is fundamental to the Newtonian Paradigm that the set of possibilities that constitute the phase space is always definable ahead of time. All of this fails for the diachronic evolution of ever new adaptations in our or any biosphere.
[…] Therefore, with respect to all diachronically emerging adaptations via seizing affordances, no numbers. No integers, no rational numbers, no equations such as 2+3=5. No equations so no irrational numbers. No real line. No equations with variables. No imaginary numbers, no quaternions, no octonions. No Cartesian spaces. No vector spaces. No Hilbert spaces. No union and intersection of uses of X and uses of Y. No first order logic. No combinatorics. No topology. No manifolds. No differential equations on manifolds. Further, without an Axiom of Choice, we cannot integrate and take limits on the differential equations we cannot write.
[…] These facts mean that we are, surprised or not, at the third major transition in science.


2. Here is the formal summary of the paper as submitted to ArXiv :


The Third Transition in Science: Beyond Newton and Quantum Mechanics — A Statistical Mechanics of Emergence

Stuart A. KauffmanAndrea Roli

Since Newton all of classical and quantum physics depends upon the “Newtonian Paradigm” (NP). Here the relevant variables of the system are identified. The boundary conditions creating the phase space of all possible values of the variables are defined. Then, given any initial condition, the differential equations of motion are integrated to yield an entailed trajectory in the pre-stated phase space. In the NP the set of possibilities that constitute the phase space is always definable ahead of time. All of this fails for the diachronic evolution of ever new adaptations in our or any biosphere. The central reason is that living cells achieve Constraint Closure and construct themselves. Living cells, evolving via heritable variation and Natural selection, adaptively construct new in the universe possibilities. The new possibilities are opportunities for new adaptations thereafter seized by heritable variation and Natural Selection. Surprisingly, we can neither define nor deduce the evolving phase spaces ahead of time. The reason we cannot deduce the ever-evolving phase spaces of life is that we can use no mathematics based on Set Theory to do so. The ever-new adaptations with ever-new relevant variables constitute the ever-changing phase space of evolving biospheres. Because of this, evolving biospheres are entirely outside the NP. One consequence is that for any universe such as ours with one or more evolving biospheres, there can be no final theory that entails all that comes to exist. We face a third major transition in science. We must give up deducing the diachronic evolution of the biosphere. All of physics, classical and quantum, however, apply to the analysis of existing life, a synchronic analysis. We begin to better understand the emergent creativity of an evolving biosphere. We are on the edge of inventing a physics-like new statistical mechanics of emergence.

Subjects:Physics and Society (physics.soc-ph); Biological Physics (
Nature is strong and self creating


3. Let me explain my personal interest in this breakthrough paper. Since I was very young in the 1950’s I was amazed at how I and others could take apart/ down ‘things’ into smaller and smaller pieces and then learn how the ‘thing’ worked. I could then repair parts if needed and put the device back together, getting more curious each day. Family and friends started to bring things to me to repair. In the 1960’s lots of news came about atomics and physics finding smaller and smaller particles & waves to comprehend our world and extract value= energy from atomic reaction. Then I started to imagine explorations in the other direction: upwards synthesis. Necessary since for instance if you take living things apart and put them together again, sometthing is gone: LIFE. What would happen if we mix and combine components into greater and greater complexity. I leaned to design and construct networks and help build them for and between companies in Europe. Indeed, running up the stairs of the Tower of Babel. From signals, signs, words, information, data, meaning, imagination, images, and the top level: sociology, biology, wisdom and nature.

Yes, I studied emergent behaviour like in social media but also in ant-hills and how trees communicate in woods. All of this is part of the new “Complexity Science” where we have to find non-mechanic and non quantum explanations. This connects wonderful with the paper described in this blog. The “network effects” that are at work in society and ecosystems (biospheres) I have described in another blog [1]. There I defined a forth network effect which shows how value is created by combining = synthesis (see the direction !) people with diverse skills, to cooperate when they share understanding and a common goal. This value generation which can be attributed to “Synergy”. A very recommendable book about that is written by prof. Peter Corning [2]. I am curious why Stu and Andrea have not mentioned Synergy in their historic paper.

Nature does not ask permission

I am curious what leading edge scientist like Corning, Wolfram, Haramein, Barabasi, Yaneer Bar-Yam, E.O. Wilson, Nowak, Szathmáry, Alexandre Lemille and Csermely will comment on this paper. Maybe we should organize a Second Solvay Conference about the Post Transition Science?

Yes, I am impressed and delighted that we are making a transition to the Era of Systems Biology, Circular Economy and Regenerative Ecologies. If we survive, that is.

Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

[1] Van Till, 2015,

[2] Peter Corning, 2018, “Synergistic Selection” – How Cooperation Has Shaped Evolution and the Rise of Humankind -; World Scientific Publishing Co.


For my readers in Brazil: Greed & Extraction vs EcoSystem

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1 Response to Third Transition in Science: to include Evolving Biospheres

  1. konstapel says:

    Kijk is naar de groep van Peter Rwolands van de Universiteit va nLiverpool. Zij zijn ver vooruit in het verbinden van het fundament naar boven:

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