Conference proceedings article

Anticipatory mechanisms in evolutionary living systems


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Publication Details

Author list: Holmberg, S. C.

Publisher: American Institute of Physics (AIP)

Place: Liege

Publication year: 2010

Start page: 324

End page: 333

Number of pages: 10

ISBN: 978-073540858-6



This paper deals firstly with a revisiting of Darwins theory of Natural Selection. Darwin in his book never uses the word ""evolution"", but shows a clear position about mutability of species. Darwins Natural Selection was mainly inspired by the anticipatory Artificial Selection by humans in domestication, and the Malthus struggle for existence. Darwin showed that the struggle for existence leads to the preservation of the most divergent offspring of any one species. He cited several times the canon of ""Natura non facit saltum"". He spoke about the origin of life from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed. Finally, Darwin made anticipation about the future researches in psychology. This paper cites the work of Ernst Mayr who was the first, after 90 years of an intense scientific debate, to present a new and stable Darwinian paradigm as the ""Evolutionary Synthesis"" in 1942. To explain what is life, the Living Systems Theory (LST) by J. G. Miller is presented. It is showed that the Autopoietic Systems Theory of Varela et al is also a fundamental component of living systems. In agreement with Darwin, the natural selection is a necessary condition for transformation of biological systems, but is not a sufficient condition. Thus, in this paper we conjecture that an anticipatory evolutionary mechanism exists with the genetic code that is a self-replicating and self-modifying anticipatory program. As demonstrated by Nobel laureate McClintock, evolution in genomes is programmed. The word ""program"" comes from ""pro-gram"" meaning to write before, by anticipation, and means a plan for the programming of a mechanism, or a sequence of coded instructions that can be inserted into a mechanism, or a sequence of coded instructions, as genes of behavioural responses, that is part of an organism. For example, cell death may be programmed by what is called the apoptosis. This definitively is a great breakthrough in our understanding of biological evolution. Hence, it is possible to formulate a new principle of evolution, i.e. the principle of Double Anticipatory Loop (DAL) of evolution: Biological evolution is driven by interaction between a mindless environment that is passively selecting the fittest inhabitants and purposeful anticipatory living systems, which are actively selecting and creating their own environment. Evolution on the genome level is trigged by environmental stress but guided by an inherent program. © 2010 American Institute of Physics.


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