Rethinking Science

Rethinking Science

Ran into an interesting article today that better states some of my thoughts on evolution.

“Stuart A. Kauffman studies the origin of life and the origins of molecular organization. Thirty-five years ago, he developed the Kauffman models, which are random networks exhibiting a kind of self-organization that he terms “order for free.””

“While it may sound as if ‘order for free’ is a serious challenge to Darwinian evolution…I don’t think he was wrong at all. I have no doubt that natural selection is an overriding, brilliant idea and a major force in evolution, but there are parts of it that Darwin couldn’t have gotten right. One is that if there is order for free — if you have complex systems with powerfully ordered properties — you have to ask a question that evolutionary theories have never asked: Granting that selection is operating all the time, how do we build a theory that combines self-organization of complex systems — that is, this order for free — and natural selection? There’s no body of theory in science that does this. There’s nothing in physics that does this, because there’s no natural selection in physics — there’s self organization. Biology hasn’t done it, because although we have a theory of selection, we’ve never married it to ideas of self-organization. One thing we have to do is broaden evolutionary theory to describe what happens when selection acts on systems that already have robust self-organizing properties. This body of theory simply does not exist.”

Indeed, without self-ordering, the laws of thermodynamics would take over and entropy would dominate. There would be little opportunity for natural selection to occur.

Kauffman has released a new book, “Reinventing the Sacred”. It is evidently a step beyond scientific reductionism into a new scientific world view. The article goes on “This emerging view finds a natural scientific place for value and ethics, and places us as co-creators of the enormous web of emerging complexity that is the evolving biosphere and human economics and culture.”

The author suggests “[the world] all on its wondrous own, is so awesome and stunning that it is God enough for me and I hope much of humankind.”

For myself, I have to say that even more amazing is that this wondrousness and mystery is just a side effect of the even deeper fulless that is much more vast and stunning.

Kaufmann is quoted:

“One view of God is that God is our chosen name for the ceaseless creativity in the natural universe, biosphere, and human cultures. Because of this ceaseless creativity, we typically do not and cannot know what will happen. We live our lives forward, as Kierkegaard said. We live as if we knew, as Nietzsche said. We live our lives forward into mystery, and do so with faith and courage, for that is the mandate of life itself. But the fact that we must live our lives forward into a ceaseless creativity that we cannot fully understand means that reason alone is an insufficient guide to living our lives. Reason, the center of the Enlightenment, is but one of the evolved, fully human means we use to live our lives. Reason itself has finally led us to see the inadequacy of reason. We must therefore reunite our full humanity. We must see ourselves whole, living in a creative world we can never fully know.”

I would say we can know the world as we are that. But we can never know all of its intricacies. The unfolding of the web of life and being is so vast and interrelated, we could never grasp it all at once. We can spend 20 years with a mate and still be discovering aspects of them – and thats just one person. It’s enough just to know oneself, for in oneself is everything.


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  1. Davidya

    Curiously, right after I wrote this I read something about energy beings communicating psychicly. They were suggesting that they were units of consciousness attuned to group mind, being as if a flock. As such they understand the pattern of circumstances not possible in the individualism and history of a person. So perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps it is possible to know the unfolding. But it’s not so easy as a human. (laughs)

  2. Pingback: Is God Real? « In 2 Deep

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