In the first four installments of this series, I looked at evidence leading us to reject the machine metaphor and Darwinism as an inadequate theoretical perspective on life.
This evidence mainly consisted in examples of unexpected plasticity, or adaptive capability, in whole-organism behavior.
In installment five, I began exploring an alternative view of life as an emergent phenomenon within an overall framework of physical emergence that has been developed by investigators in condensed-matter physics over the past half century.
Last time, I began the task of exploring specific ideas that have been proposed by various scientists as an alternative explanation of the intelligent agency and adaptive capability that constitute the essence of life.
In particular, I looked at UCLA physiologist F. Eugene Yates's notion of homeodynamics. This theory, or heuristic, borrows concepts from nonlinear dynamics in order to provide a more adequate description of the actual behavior of living systems than that offered by traditional computational and cybernetic models and theories.