Dear Bob,

thank you for your response. What you said in the core - heterogeneity -
resonated with the first suggested example I began this session with: the
puzzle of registering the heterogeneity of cancer, both in the
molecular-biological and histological level, both in space and time. It
appears that exactly this elusive property of matter, liveness, from the
single cell to entire eco-systems, which implies intelligence throughout
all scales (as Brian Ford states) is what we still cannot in system(s)
biology put on the feet of statistical mechanics and classical
physics.Aren't tumors such intelligent clusters of heterogeneous cell
computers interacting within internaly secured invasive networks that
escape our medical enigma code breakers placed in our synthetic drugs and
radiation devices? Also such undesired life is not easy to kill.  And yet
cancer cannot win the battle unless our own internal systems surrender and
become allies of the invador.
And yet, healthy systems have some sort of regularity, layered structure
and hierarchies as those we observe in a skin biopsy sample.Genetic
mutations do not remain local at the damaged spot; they are signaled to
other "mentally weak" cells which are turned into traitors,also perhaps
even via non-local induction. Are wandering "bad" cells and accelerated
replication the only sources of growing agressive cancers? Here is perhaps
where biosemiotics and phenomenology could help along with creating new*
heterogeneous* SOC models, as you mentioned. You are right, the call for
devising a mathematics that can handle heterogeneous sets,
vectors,matrices, categories and other sorts of organisation in biology
simultateously was already spread by Bob Root-Bernstein in his opening
article to our 2012 edition of integral biomathics (see last link in my
signature). We do not have such an underpinning mathematics and its related
computation yet. Therefore we remain still stuck in the old system
biological models rooted in physics at best.

Many of us hope that the right answers to all this will be given once we
understand quantum gravitation and master quantum computation. But I have
my doubts in such hopes too.

The questions I ask are those of an ex product planner colecting customer
feedback to devise a new product. Perhaps we can succeed in doing that
together. Thank you for this.

All the best,



2015 JPBMB Special Issue on Integral Biomathics: Life Sciences, Mathematics
and Phenomenological Philosophy
(note: free access to all articles until July 19th, 2016)

2013 JPBMB Special Issue on Integral Biomathics: Can Biology Create a
Profoundly New Mathematics and Computation?

2012 Integral Biomathics: Tracing the Road to Reality


On Tue, May 31, 2016 at 12:43 AM, Robert E. Ulanowicz <>

> > And yet, SOC is only one of the theoretical options that can resonate
> > together. What I am interested to know is: do yo think that SOC is a good
> > point to start from when moving from physics to biology?
> Dear Plamen:
> Most renditions of SOC with which I am familiar involve single homogeneous
> variables. I am of the opinion that physics is preoccupied with
> homogeneity, whereas biology is all about heterogeneity. Therefore, I am
> skeptical whether descriptions in terms of homogeneous variables (e.g.,
> matter, energy, charge, mass) can ever be sufficient descriptors of
> biological systems. Mind you, they may still be true (e.g., Bejan's
> constructual law), but because they do not explicitly embody
> heterogeneity, they will always be inadequate long-term descriptors of
> living systems.
> The common assumption has been that one can advance from homogeneous
> variables to heterogeneous systems via the formulation of intricate
> boundary-value statements connecting the many dimensions, but this is
> usually impossible for both epistemic and ontological reasons. (One is
> unable because of combinatorics to predicate the full link-up conditions
> [epistemic], and the underlying many equations possess insufficient
> stability to track complex systems [ontic].)
> Somehow, explicit account needs be taken of system heterogeneity, such as
> is done with some network metrics. The world of complexity is one of
> *massive* heterogeneity. Physics, the study of the homogeneous, can't cut
> it alone. (As Stu Kauffman puts it, we have reached the end of the "Era of
> Physics". Not that physics won't still advance, but that not every event
> and behavior in the complex world needs to be referred back to it.)
> My personal opinion, of course.
> Best wishes,
> Bob
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