This article concludes the special issue on Biosemiotic Entropy
looking toward the future on the basis of current and prior results. It highlights certain aspects of the series, concerning factors that damage and degenerate biosignaling systems. As in ordinary linguistic discourse, well-formedness (coherence) in biological signaling systems depends on valid representations correctly construed: a series of proofs are presented and generalized to all meaningful sign systems. The proofs show why infants must (as empirical evidence shows they do) proceed through a strict sequence of formal steps in acquiring any language. Classical and contemporary conceptions of entropy and information are deployed showing why factors that interfere with coherence in biological signaling systems are necessary and sufficient causes of disorders, diseases, and mortality. Known sources of such formal degeneracy in living organisms (here termed, biosemiotic entropy
) include: (a) toxicants, (b) pathogens; (c) excessive exposures to radiant energy and/or sufficiently powerful electromagnetic fields; (d) traumatic injuries; and (e) interactions between the foregoing factors. Just as Jaynes proved that irreversible changes invariably increase entropy, the theory of true narrative representations (TNR theory) demonstrates that factors disrupting the well-formedness (coherence) of valid representations, all else being held equal, must increase biosemiotic entropy
—the kind impacting biosignaling systems.