This is a first attempt to write down ideas which interest and excite me. This is a brief, preliminary, incomplete and inadequate outline. Obviously these theories demand careful elaboration, precise exposition, critical evaluation, and discussion. A lengthy task, but a start must be made.
1. It is evident that the complexity of our planet earth has increased since its origin, maybe 4.5 billion years ago. A biosphere has evolved from an initial assembly of elements and simple compounds. At least one member of the biosphere is now conscious, with the facility of intelligent information processing.
2. There is no evidence that earth's evolution requires an external designer or controller: all processes on the earth are intrinsic and spontaneous. Therefore the potential of self-assembly - autopoiesis - must be included in our studies of the properties of matter.
The mechanisms of autopoiesis are poorly understood. Our knowledge is best for the biosphere, but insights into pre-biotic evolution are beginning.
Autopoiesis: the theory of natural self-assembly: The Autopoietic Earth: Gaia Autopoietika.
3. Gravity is the great creative force, causing the aggregation of materials and energy release necessary for autopoiesis.
4. Why stop with earth? Physics and chemistry do not vary across the kosmos. Our sun is one of millions of similar stars in our galaxy alone, and there are millions of galaxies: the probability that earth is the only planet suitable for life is vanishingly small. What we perceive here may be a very small sample, but there is no reason to believe it is atypical or unique.
The Kepler spacecraft will be a test of this evaluation.
There is a high probability that life is abundant in the kosmos: conscious, intelligent life must be out there, and may well be common. We can but hope that eventually a means of communication across vast distances will be found; perhaps then we shall find a kosmos full of voices.
5. The increase in complexity from kosmic primordia to stars and planets extends autopoiesis back almost to the singularity which we believe was in the beginning.
An Autopoietic Kosmos - Kosmos Autopoietikos: the grandest of unifying theories.
6. In broadest outline, autopoiesis proceeds:
- from hydrogen gas to generations of stars, and synthesis of all other elements;
- from early, simple stars to later, complex star-systems, with planets of elements and compounds;
- from simple to complex planetary chemistry;
- from complex molecules to simple life;
- from simple to complex life, increasingly homeostatic [independent of the environment];
- in homeostasis increasingly complex neural structures, permitting functions of increasing sophistication; finally consciousness and intelligence.
7. From the theory of autopoiesis we may predict as follows - safe in the knowledge that no practical test is likely.
Given enough hydrogen, enough space, and enough time; first life and then conscious intelligence will develop by natural, intrinsic mechanisms.
8. Autopoiesis - to what end? A question we cannot answer. That the kosmos has meaning and purpose must be assumed, for now. That is the only item of faith I can accept in my kataphusin philosophy. It is the first axiom for any evidence-based theology.