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Metahuman Science

Chris Lucas

"What a piece of work is a man ! How noble in reason ! How infinite in faculty ! in form and moving, how express and admirable ! in action, how like an angel ! in apprehension, how like a god ! the beauty of the world ! the paragon of animals !"

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1604, Scene 2

"Loving humanity is easy, but liking its individual specimens is jolly hard work !"

Rabbi Lionel Blue, 1990


Taking science beyond its current material limitations, and extending it to cover complex systems in all realms, requires a transcendence of some of the concepts that currently restrain it. Science is about our human relationships to the world about us, and as such suffers from many of the problems of prejudicial viewpoint that affect such relationships. Our objectivity can only be relative, based as it is upon world views that are often grounded in lower level human characteristics and historical constraints.

A metascience, able to consider all aspects of our universe, mental as well as physical, needs to be based on a metahumanity, a view of humanity that in itself dissolves the barriers that separate us from the physical world and limit us as individuals (the subject/object dualities). Science is ultimately a social activity, it relates to a consensus view of the world. This consensus can be made at a low metaphysical level or at a high one, in other words it can operate within a restricted world view or can grow to embrace the full possibilities of our reality. We will pursue the latter aim here.

Barriers to Thought

Our science operates within the philosophical ideas of our time, yet there is often a delay between new philosophies and their concrete effects upon human behaviour. Much of our current Western thinking is still based upon the philosophies of ancient Greece and the Renaissance, the ideas of the superiority of reason, the universality of Aristotelian logic, the dualisms of mind and body, the mathematically perfect versus the empirically imperfect, the geometry of Euclid, the superiority of the state over the church and fixed hierarchies of power, organisation or worth.

Such ideas have all been superseded in complexity philosophy by more advanced concepts, yet these ideas have not so far greatly influenced either the popular view of the world or the approaches we take within science. The scope of our world view depends to a large extent upon the axioms or assumptions that we accept as basic constraints. We have been gradually dissolving some of the old constraining axioms (in non-Euclidean geometry, in relativity, in quantum physics etc.) but many still remain and form barriers to more advanced scientific thought.

Redundant Modes of Thought

Let us list some of the mental approaches and assumptions that we may need to overcome:


First those directly affecting the way we pursue science. Many of these have proved highly useful in the past, but are no longer justified as universalities (based upon findings in either philosophy, science or both):

Although all these are important, for our purposes we will concentrate on only the last four, those aspects that relate to the contextual employment of scientific knowledge.


Secondly those functions related to general social behaviours and our motivations, in other words the social organisation under which our scientific world operates and is judged:

We will not try to treat all of these issues here, but will concentrate now on the last one as this is crucial to our wider view of mind and complex science.


Our human needs can be placed into three main groupings:

Primal or Basic Needs

These are those related to lower animal or plant behaviour, essentially concerned with the physical world and our physical existence. They include eating, drinking, breathing, growth, response, shelter/warmth, reproduction, security/survival, resting, waste disposal and health.

Social or Interpersonal Needs

Moving up to a higher level we have the more sophisticated needs associated with the emergence of mind and community in the middle and higher animals. These add to the list such needs as communication, display, status, belonging, curiosity, stimulation, pleasure, mobility, play, comfort and forward planning (resource stockpiling and simple goals ).

Abstract or Spiritual Needs

At the top of the needs hierarchy are those higher needs attributed to fully developed humans, and these are usually claimed to be applicable only to our species. They encompass, amongst others, arts, music, science, mathematics, religion, love, philosophy, truth, justice, ethics, history, beauty, compassion, sensitivity, companionship, equality, creativity, education, wisdom, unity, inner calm, insight or enlightenment, and freedom.

This latter grouping comprises what are called Metaneeds, since they go beyond or transcend the rest of the natural world. It will be noted that the chief desire of many people, money, is not even listed. This is quite deliberate since money itself is not an end need (like food), but simply a means to an end (thus just accumulating money is not even as clever as a squirrel hoarding its nuts...). The swapping of means and ends in this way leads us to confuse our actual needs with something that can generate only a limited potential for achieving them. Money cannot buy metaneeds since they are essentially internal to our minds (abstract qualities) and do not exist as 'things'. Wealth occasionally can be useful, since some material objects and services can help us develop or realise these higher mental capabilities, but its role is mostly restricted to being a social exchange mechanism for the balancing of those needs at the lower Primal and Social levels of our existence (trading material goods and labour, with money as simply a debt accounting measure).

Metamotivation and Metapathology

Given that our most valuable needs (what it means to be human) are these metaneeds, we can look into the motivations that we need to instil into people so that they may be realised. It seems clear that before we are able to pursue these higher needs we must make sure that the lower ones have been sufficiently met, and this is perhaps why we see so much emphasis in our societies on money and material goods. Yet we must realise quite clearly that such pursuits are just means to higher ends and are not the ends in themselves. By meeting only the Primal and Social needs we create (at best) not humans but merely fully satisfied animals. Metaneeds are subtle needs, they need a stable environment in which to grow, and this is what we seek by the satisfaction of lesser needs. Like a delicate flower, our creativity is easily destroyed, noise due to external or internal disturbance disrupts the intuitive concentration essential to metaneed expression. It is mainly for this reason that we should devote attention to stabilising our physical and psychological environment. The commitment to achieving these higher metaneeds is what we call Metamotivation, and we can examine our own priorities and lifestyle against our needs hierarchy, to determine what proportion of our time is dedicated to realising this aspect of our humanity.

The ability to pursue metaneeds should be our main aim in society, and we must resist aspects of culture that forces people into concentrating only on social aspirations or even worst just primal survival. The failure to enable our higher human needs is what is called Metapathology (Maslow) and it operates separately for each of our metaneeds (as far as they interest us). It manifests in internal conflicts between our desires to be fully human and the social frustrations and limitations that prevent the realisation of these needs. The diseases of metapathology are not treatable by chemicals, they are not physical level imbalances but abstract level ones. Just as we cannot treat social ills by bodily medicine (we must use social level methods, e.g. politics), the treatment of metapathologies must be by abstract level methods (e.g. self-actualization), combined if necessary with social ones.

To be Metahuman is to recognise the full contextual scope of our nature, to live in such a way as to achieve our highest possible human goals and to help others to do the same. In many ways metamotivated people treat the pursuit of ends as ends in themselves, in other works the means become the ends and satisfaction with the ongoing processes become our ultimate goals. In this evolutionary view the end ceases to be a fixed goal but becomes an ever expanding set of possibilities which can be continuously experienced - in other words it is not the winning but the taking part that is important. We see these metavalues in the behaviour of contented people everywhere, whether artists, gardeners, explorers, philanthropists, mystics or whoever. Each shows a transcendence of those values we have designated as the lower levels, and this indicates to us that all those higher values that best motivate and satisfy in other fields (the metavalues) should ideally form part of a value related science also.

Metahuman Science

Having defined metahumanity we can now look at how we can apply these ideas to science. We saw elsewhere that values could be objective, so we can relate our metaneeds and metamotivations to this by saying that these should comprise our scientific metavalues, the desired fitness goals of our metahuman science. In other words, we wish our science to give us the knowledge we need in order to best achieve these ends, and this gives an overall direction to our scientific enterprise. It will be noted that these values are not material ones, none of our scientific values are such since they comprise emergent properties of mind. By explicitly grounding our science in the non-material world we free ourselves from the delusion that science cannot speak about psychological or spiritual concepts - it already does so implicitly.

Current science is often regarded as a search for pure knowledge, value free facts, yet we know that facts without context are just noise and the scientific context itself imposes values. Science must say not only what there is, but also what this implies and not conceal or ignore valid contextual significances. Our required change here is to take account of not just a single set of values (relating to consistency, scope, prediction and so on - all abstract level scientific values) but to add in the other metavalues also. In both mind and world all these needs are inter-related and thus a complex science cannot act as if they are independent. We must formulate a scientific methodology that can incorporate and appraise values beyond those common to our sciences of the simpler aspects of life.

Metascience Axioms

We noted earlier a number of barriers to a wider view of science, and if we are to dissolve these obstacles we need to replace our original implicit scientific axioms or assumptions with a new explicit set that allows this more comprehensive view. We will list these here (informally), and note that by gradually adding back the old assumptions as additional local constraints we have the effect of restricting the scope of our science to the traditional boundaries, thus our new scheme is compatible to, but more general than, previous science.


One dimensional simplifications of an either/or nature are rejected as valid total system descriptions (e.g. living v non-living). Classification boundaries are allowed for investigation, but are not regarded as inherent system features nor having validity for overall decisions.

Contextual Truths

Truth is relative to the included scope of the system under study. Objectivity definition must specify the boundaries and constraints, the contextual limitations of any theory.

Causal Closure

Causality is determined by connectivity, and varies from simple linear cause-effect simplifications to complex networks of causal loops. The validity of a linear simplification is context dependent and this must be detailed.


Systems include emergent properties, the relations between levels, and the coevolution within a level. Systems have non-uniform structures in general, with non-equivalent parts. Reductionism is valid in the investigation of the parts but not the system properties.

Fuzzy Logic

This is a superset of traditional logic and allows partial truths and set membership, as well as traditional excluded-middle special cases. Traditional boolean logic is applicable only to special cases, and if used must be justified.


Includes the associations between variables, allowing facts to have values in conjunction with other facts and nonlinear effects on each other. Simplifications to single or independent variables are special cases and must be shown to be valid contextually.


Includes the static, chaotic and self-organizing phases of systems, in which deterministic and statistical science forms special cases.


Includes the transient effects of historical perturbations and memory canalizing the current possibilities and future development in state space (non-ergodic). Other alternative (non-real) paths are still valid subjects of scientific study for the investigation of system potential.


Includes all the different temporal scales, from the snapshot (unchanging assumption) often employed, to the long-term integration of all trajectories. Non-equilibrium systems are included and initial trajectories regarded as important and not discarded.


Allows sub-system diversity, contextual fitnesses rather than permanent solutions permit alternative valid theories in differing circumstances. Ethics incorporated as choices between fitness alternatives based on human values, allowing culturally relative scientific theories.


Permits creative growth into unknown state space, world line merging or splitting added to the conservation assumptions of conventional science. This permits scientific study of artistic (teleological) developments and possibilities, along with stochastic change.


Integrates emotions and senses with intellect, to give an intuitive multidimensional parallel perception, rather than a serial simplification of values. All forms of knowledge at all levels contribute to fitness, rational simplification is valid only as a part of the evaluative process.


Includes primal, social and abstract needs levels, full humanity affects scientific values and thus the fitness of theories. The emphasis on only material components is seen as a error of omission.


Includes positive and negative sum scenarios, properties are not assumed to be conserved (zero-sum) and only exchanged but exhibit synergistic interactions. Fitness is measured as the net transactional effect.

These axioms remove the constraints that prevented us applying science properly to mind subjects. They relate to incorporating our metavalues along with the lower values, thus taking science above the merely material and allowing us to investigate the higher levels of our collective reality in an objective way.


To evaluate scientifically systems based upon metaneeds (e.g. mind) we need to employ concepts of theory fitness that can cover complex value interactions, i.e. that can relate to multilevel values. We need also to recognise that at any level multiple aspects will exist simultaneously (the different needs listed earlier for example). We cannot isolate a single aspect (e.g. scientific prediction or energy) and maximise its fitness alone since changes to properties affecting that dimension may have knock-on effects on the other dimensions that use the same parts or are connected to them. For example, maximising our freedom implies that we have no responsibility or obligation to others but this conflicts with the other values e.g. justice, compassion and companionship. On a more material level, maximising engine power conflicts with minimising pollution and cost. These interplays of values mean that we cannot understand single aspects of any system in isolation, but must also understand how the variables interact and compromise in providing the overall multiple functions that are common to complex systems. This is a shift in perspective from normal science which concentrates on single contexts and assumptions of disjoint properties.

"Independence is a political, not a scientific, term."

Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, What is Life ?, 1995, pg. 26

Overall fitness relates to a correlation between the system and its environment, such that the operation of the combined whole achieves the best result for the system (and conversely the best result for the environment also - an Evolutionary Stable System). Thus a scientific theory must additionally take into account how the system function depends upon the context in which it is found. This is relatively easy with manmade systems, since they were designed to meet a need and the relevance of all the system features are known. For natural systems and especially mind, this is much more difficult. Their complexity often means that we oversimplify, making assumptions of independence between features that are at best dubious, and at worst so misleading that our theories prove worthless. Taking account of interactions naturally brings in the subject of values, since these relate to the goals of the system and thus the functions included. Our science must thus be expanded to include this teleological aspect, which in scientific terms merges the idea that our science has goals with the equivalent idea that the subjects of our science (including ourselves) also may have goals.

Metascientific Method

Scientific method nowadays relates to what is usually called the 'hypothetico-deductive method'. In this we detect a mismatch between our data and our worldview, a new hypothesis is then generated to explain this data. We make deductions from this hypothesis to arrive at some new predictions, experiments are then made to try to falsify those predictions. If instead the results verify the expectations, then we have confidence in our new hypothesis and it becomes a scientific theory or law. It should be noted that in practice 'scientific laws' are not applied in isolation but in conjunction with auxiliary statements or boundary conditions, and these relate to the contextual simplifying assumptions we mentioned earlier.

This is all fine as far as it goes, but for metascience we need to add a bit more, what we can call the 'hypothetico-deductive-evaluative (HDE) method'. These additions relate to how our scientific theories correspond to metahuman goals, in other words how do they help us to enhance our positive actions and reduce negative ones, and are they the best ones that can be used for this purpose. Science is about the systematization of all our knowledge, so already includes a number of concepts, e.g. descriptions (data), hypotheses (tentative conjectures), explanations, models (abstractions from reality), predictions, experiments (tests), theories, laws (theories of universal applicability). What is not yet included is alternatives, choices, values or fitnesses - those operations relating to possibility, variability, usefulness and context.


Most science restricts itself to finding a single theory that fits the facts. Alternatives are seen only when disagreements between scientists lead to differing hypotheses being proposed. Yet the first theory to be thought of is not necessarily the best, nor is the second or third. State space has many possibilities and an important aspect of metascience thinking is the identification of the full range of options in any situation. This is hard to do, and often the better options are screened off from us by our own assumptions (e.g. Einstein's Relativity was unthinkable within a Euclidean geometry assumption). Evolutionary thinking however, with the concept of a fitness landscape, can aid us in considering the wider possibilities and in choosing the option that maximises our goals. This idea is more difficult to apply in multidimensional contexts, but relates to understanding the elements of our theories, their combinations, interactions and criticality in achieving the desired result. It should be possible to formalise this theory space, but we will here only emphasise that multiple alternative theories always exist.


Rather than testing a theory in isolation (against limited data), it is better to test alternative theories against each other. These tests are then effective in choosing between optional theories within worldviews. This is an indeterminate view of science, in which theories don't reflect universal truths but take into account their local context or purpose, and how it relates to the contexts of other people and other aspects of our environment - this emphasises their generality and thus overall human value. This brings science into line with our general behaviour and implies that tests should be based upon multiple relevant values. If this is not the case, as in many traditional experiments, then it is up to the scientists involved to justify the additional constraints that they have chosen to place upon their experiments, and of course the generality of the results must be restricted therefore in the same way (to situations where those constraints and independencies hold).

It is these unspoken constraints that often allows science to appear exact, but such mathematical precision is frequently the result of employing such tight constraints that possibility is forced to conform to minute areas of state space, i.e. accuracy is inversely proportional to allowed freedom. Freedom of choice therefore implies that we must relax our obsession with absolute one-dimensional truth and this has major repercussions as to how we view science, in that we now recognise that scientific constraints are imposed values that may in themselves have no justification. We must explicitly examine these boundary conditions before acceptance, with a view to determining whether the options forced to be constant (the controlled conditions) are such that the results invalidate application of the theory in practice, in other words it proves to be a theoretical fabrication with no practical value.


For scientific tests, every outcome of an experiment must be measurable, in other words all the results must be taken into account. This allows for falsification and not just the accumulation of supporting data (as often seen in pseudo-scientific claims where contradictory data is suppressed). But in order to derive fitnesses we need also to include all the confirming instances, such that the relative probability of the result can be estimated. This doesn't mean double counting the same data by repetition of the same experiment, but does mean including experiments that provide different associations, so testing/verifying is done over more than one dimension. This mode of probability accumulation relates to the mode of operation of our neuronal networks, and says that a confirmation of one possibility weakens the probability of others. This aspect isn't made explicit in conventional science which rarely tries to quantify such probability issues.

Taking all the results into account means documenting all the knock-on effects also, in other words the inter-relationships between the variable of interest and others in the system. This aspect is also missing from conventional experiments which by concentrating only on the factors of interest (in theoretically isolated contexts), generate theories with unexpected side effects (e.g. in medical drug testing). The difficulty with testing only in the domain of interest is that complex systems comprise multiple domains (attractors) which manifest in different environmental contexts and at different points in the system life-cycle. Effects seen within one domain will generally not serve to predict effects in quite different situations, since interactions active elsewhere will have been absent in the testing domain. The more subtle and long term the spin-off effects, the less likely they are to be noticed, yet in complex systems such chaos related effects can be highly significant in overall system terms and do need to be included (not assumed negligible as a matter of course).


Traditional science was all about applying control, the predictions were to allow mankind to dominate nature, to force it to fit his many one-dimensional needs. In metahuman science this is no longer acceptable, since taking into account the fitness of nature, as well as human needs, requires that we maximise the benefits to all (positive-sum overall) and not just to ourselves in isolation (giving negative-sum overall). Science is about potentiality not actuality, it should show us the objective possibilities for action (and in the metascience view also highlight the effects of those possibilities on our values) but in itself science should not choose any of them for implementation. This divorce of control from science yet the inclusion of values incorporates ethics into science and restores choice back to humanity. Failure to allow scientific precision and methods in overall value assessment leads to such decisions being made instead on less objective grounds, and this must lead to prejudices and inaccuracies that could so easily be avoided. Scientific work can continue without considering values, but this needs to be made explicit and such science divorced from that direct simplistic influence in decision making that we see too often (since, by design, it fails to take account of valid contextual data). The faith placed in scientific pronouncements based on one-dimensional research is an erroneous one, due to the inevitable failure of these scientists to take into proper account the wider issues beyond their specialisms. A new breed of interdisciplinary contextual scientists are required.

Rather than the intrusive experiments of conventional thinking (or the isolated one-dimensional 'value free' reductions often employed) we should look to experimental forms that are non-intrusive (as far as possible). In other words observational experiments which collect data from real life operations without disturbing them in the process, or complex computer simulations where alternatives can be modelled in a multidimensional and coevolutionary way. The dangers of juxtaposing single-dimensional conclusions and assuming they can be applied to the multidimensional case cannot be stressed enough. This procedure is invalid in the case of nonlinear systems, the mathematical principle of superposition does not hold (e.g. f(x+y) is not equal to f(x)+f(y) and f(ax) is not equal to af(x) ), so if the best option for me is A and for you is also A this does not mean that the best combined option will be A (e.g. see the Prisoner's Dilemma scenario in Game Theory).

Process Values

Values relate not to 'things' but to 'processes', relationships, and by refocusing science onto processes instead of objects we can more easily relate our thinking to the hidden values that are behind our scientific assumptions. In general a process has a function, an evolution, and this forms a transformation from some initial state to a final one. Objects are a form of process (a static one in effect) where the input and output are equal, so will still be included in a process based science. The factors that drive processes include both the internal interconnections (information processing) and the external interactions (constraints and data). As we have seen these associations also give meaning or value to the process with respect to the context in which it takes place.

Putting values back into the assessment of the fitness of a theory means including these wider context implications also. In other words, we ask if the explanation helps us to make judgements that increase our own fitness and that of our world. The effective use of knowledge (and that is what science aims to provide, rather than just useless facts) means that it must be seen to be compatible with human needs, and here that means metaneeds also. A scientific theory must structure the world in a way that promotes positive-sum actions (if it is to be of benefit), and if two theories differ in this aspect then this criterion is a valid one by which to choose between them.

We must also take account of the global associations of any theory. Unlike supposedly 'value-free' theories, which maintain that position by being artificially divorced from context and thus single-dimensional, value related theories must integrate with all aspects of life. Thus if a metascientific theory is to be successful it must dissolve barriers between its field and the rest of our world and not increase them. In other words it increases the correlation between human and nature, by internalising what is 'out there' (now in relation to all the physical and mind levels - social and abstract) such that our actions better match the integrated fitness requirements of the whole.

Fitness Evaluation

Let us assume we have executed a traditional scientific process and arrived at a tested scientific theory. Before we proceed to apply it, we need to ask some additional questions relating to how it affects fitness. This is the 'evaluative' stage we have added to conventional science (we are assuming here that it follows the conventional sequence, but ideally it would integrate with the hypothesis stage onwards in order that we would test only the better theories) :

a) What is the scope of the theory, i.e. which constraints apply ?

Does it need some of the traditional scientific assumptions, and if so can a reformulation widen its generality (perhaps moving an existing axiom to a local constraint instead) ? This question helps us to understand the contextual limitations that result from our normal thought processes and the possible benefits of relaxing them. It makes explicit the boundaries of the proposed theory and indicates whether it is a systemic theory applicable to all levels or is restricted to specific modalities or subjects.

b) Which alternative hypotheses could be used ?

Here we explicitly widen the search space, using the characteristic of this theory to help prompt our imagination to discover alternatives. We can also use the identified scope to formulate more general hypotheses applicable to wider areas of our reality. Here we look to identify the best formulation of our theory, the one with potentially the greatest effect.

c) To which goals (needs) does the theory relate ?

Traditionally this could be pure knowledge, but we can ask what other's needs are potentially affected and what knock-on effects this theory may have on other existing theories and views of life. This aspect asks about the value of the theory for humanity, i.e. what use it can be. Does it force changes in social and/or scientific norms ? Can we use it to question current assumptions and our wider expectations ?

d) What values does it generate ?

How does it inter-relate to our current associations. Does it clarify any of our values, does it add any new ones ? Here we look to understand what practical effect the theory can have on our world view, in other words what additional fitness information it potentially supplies.

e) What are the fitness implications ?

Does the theory increase positive-sum options and/or reduce negative sum ? Does it help us to generate new life options and if so are these positive or negative in overall effect ? This relates to how the various values created interconnect and compromise in producing an overall fitness evaluation.

f) How integrating is it ?

Does it have a stabilising or destabilising influence on our society ? Does it help to unify matter, mind and spirit or separate them ? Does it reduce conflict, prejudice and specialisms or increase them ? This is the highest level holistic value, the global 'ought' and relates to a viewpoint that rates every level equally as contributing to universal fitness. This means that nature, society and individual must operate as one towards ends that meet all their fitness needs - this being assumed to result in the best overall result.

Some form of self-experimentation is needed in order to answer these questions, since they all relate to abstract (non-material) implications of the theory and are thus internal to our minds. Yet these are also open to objective examination, we can document and share our reasoning before arriving at a consensus scientific position as to the significance of any theory.

Value Science Example

Let us briefly try to illustrate these ideas by first considering a traditional scientific theory and applying these evaluative concepts retrospectively to it.

The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection

This states that organisms evolve gradually based on random genotypic variations causing fitness differences in phenotypes which are then preferentially selected for survival and reproduction (following the neo-Darwinian formulation).

Scope - Moving the need for a separate genome to a local constraint widens the theory such that it can apply to uncoded systems (e.g. ideas, immune systems, ecosystems and brains). Selection can be both natural and artificial and this allows a further widening to a general multilevel theory of change. Random variations can be combined with directed ones to widen further the possibilities. This theory is thus seen as a narrowly constrained version of a much wider general evolutionary theory and in its present form forcibly restricted to biology and genetic evolution.

Alternatives - We can question the assumptions of 'gradual', 'random', the causing of phenotype changes, preferential selection and so on, generating many alternative formulations for comparative testing, including the complexity science 'attractor' variant.

Goals - The traditional goal is just reproduction (of gene or individual to taste), but in a wider formulation it relates to our wider needs, thus the goals will vary with context. This multidimensional formulation better describes organism behaviour and this has major implication to such areas as sociobiology and society, since we can avoid simplistically biased assumptions as to the purpose of evolution and thus the purpose of life.

Values - Survival has a number of knock-on effects, especially in ecosystem terms. Preservation implies information continuity, the usefulness of knowledge (in whatever form). We see that in the natural world cooperation (sharing knowledge or trading resources) is at least as common as competition and more positive-sum.

Fitness - This relates to balancing our goals, to compromise between multiple values. We can reformulate natural selection in non-competitive terms by saying that that which adds fitness is selected, and this can be cooperation. This new emphasis allows us to look to synergistic aspects of systems in place of the traditional conflict viewpoint.

Integration - Fitness as a coevolutionary value helps integrate the world, and as this cannot be decided correctly 'context free' it helps relate behaviours to wider viewpoints. We can see that simplifications that leave out the wider context lead to divisive views of evolution, by creating disjoint fitness measures for separate parts.

All in all, adding a wider evaluative meaning to this theory seems helpful in avoiding a blinkered view of a concept that seems applicable well beyond its traditional boundaries. In such circumstances we would be wise to distrust a viewpoint that purported to show implications within this narrow biological field that would be rejected as invalid in analogous areas.

Metahuman Science Example

We can now try to apply our new scientific method to a traditionally unscientific theory, again ignoring its source for this exercise.

The Theory that Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Scope - We can extend the idea by adding other metavalues, of which beauty is just one dimension, for example justice, love, truth, music. Thus we extend the theory to be a general theory of relative value and could evaluate it accordingly.

Alternatives - We can easily add the alternatives that beauty is an absolute, that it is a social value or God given, that it involves more that just visual modes. We can perhaps more easily test such alternatives against each other than quantify a single theory of beauty in isolation.

Goals - In its present state it explicitly relates to only one metaneed, but in practice many others form part of the concept since beauty must be applied to something as an higher level value. This does force us to look beyond the material world and consider what exactly does a mental abstraction like this mean to us, in other words how do we regard beauty in our civilisation.

Values - The implication is that value can only be judged in an individual context. This allows that alternative viewpoints must be tolerated and generates a respect for diversity and novelty. It relates to the idea that people can validly have different contexts and thus aesthetic values that differ accordingly.

Fitness - If only individual fitness matters here, then we need to ensure that actions based upon this theory do not infringe the fitnesses of others. This is an effective test of the theory, since if this does not prove to be true the original concept is inadequate.

Integration - This theory is both apparently divisive and integrative in practice. Tolerance is implied and this must be stabilising, yet diversity will increase specialisms. Taking local alternatives into account however means that individuals have a better chance of achieving an optimum personal fitness, and this should lead to a higher integrated fitness.

Overall evaluation of this theory again raises issues that a simplistic viewpoint neglects. Relating the theory to overall fitness helps to ground it in testable consequences. We avoid the need to define such a vague concept (which has historically proved to be a unproductive task) by asking instead what are the practical implications of what we say, and this allows scientific methods to be applied to this non-material idea.


The idea of metaneeds, non-material measures of human values, shows us that the emphasis in traditional science on material animal issues leads to an inherent conflict between that science and humanity. The scientifically prized 'value-free' detachment discards those very properties that make science worthwhile in the first place. Metahumans, in contrast, are in tune with themselves, with their environment and with abstract possibility. They have no mismatch between mind, matter and spirit and can use an inherent integrated value system that covers all these levels of existence. We can employ science to successfully evaluate these issues if we extend its rules in such a way as to encompass social and metaneeds, and that is what we mean by Metahuman Science. The failure to adopt such a wider contextual view restricts science to disjoint dimensions, a dangerously narrow viewpoint leading to error, poor judgement and unbalanced research directions. Recognition of the idea that facts themselves generate contextual values however allows us to overcome old scientific prejudices and to better understand the meaning of the facts and theories produced by our scientific work.

This science takes more note of alternative possibilities, it includes context as part of the scope of a theory, it relates the theories to our human needs and values, but most importantly it removes the restriction that science must be about 'things' in allowing it to be applied to social and abstract issues. This is done by adding the concept of fitness, such that we can ask in any situation how the alternative viewpoints each affect overall fitness, taking into account not just a single creature (as in neo-Darwinism), but all the environmental and future consequences. This is a form of objective testing, and serves to ground social, psychological, philosophical or religious discussions in a concrete scientific framework, such that we are able to evaluate 'ought' questions and not just the 'is' focus of conventional science. This new perspective forces science to face the inter-relationships between its assumptions and those of the wider world of which it is a part, and perhaps can both reduce the conflict between science and the rest of human values and impose some validity checks on areas currently regarded as outside scientific thought.

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