This is a good intro to self-organized systems, but I think you should have provided a link to its presentation on the Biology forum instead of posting it there and here both. Double posts, even with different titles and in different contexts, are not encouraged here.
This paper is frought with holes. It starts with the observation that systems with an energy difference lead to an equilization of energy. Then it takes that concept and suggests that a mechanism which results in the unequilzation of energy requires an organizing feature. That's fine, but the organizing feature or property is still easily understood under reducible physical laws. So this organizing feature or property still maintains the same properties as the original observation, that an energy difference leads to an equilization of energy. There is no magical "organizing" property yet identified. Take for example rain. If everything were in thermal equilibrium we'd have no rain. Rain and weather is driven by energy from the sun. The sun's energy in turn is driven by fusion reactions. All this proves is that local reductions in entropy are common place, not unique or the result of a property of a system called "organizing" as the author would have you believe.
I would disagree with his discussion regarding emergence. The above are not emergent phenomena with the exception of "the 'mind' ". The others are all reducible to their constituent parts and often are by scientific models using control elements. Mathematical models that produce convection currents, and eddies for example, are commonly modeled using control volumes with "Computational Fluid Dynamics" software such as Sinda-Fluent. All thermodynamic and fluid dynamics can be reduced to, and modeled by control volumes, such as bath tub drains as the author refers to. Such things are not "emergent", since they can easily be reduced to their constituent elements and thus they are nothing more than "the sum of the parts" that the author claims they are not. Similarly, models for such things as forest patches, weather predictions, galaxie formation and any other phenomena are modeled successfully using the concept of control volumes, though it is often not refered to as such. Regarding "cellular dynamics", if this refers to the spread of a disease, the growth of a mold, or any similar dynamic where the future state of the system can be modeled using mathematical models that reduce the "control mechanism" to "control volumes", then such phenomena are also nothing more than the sum of their parts, and not emergent as the author would claim.
Is there anything past "Complexity at the Edge of Chaos" that is worth reading? Sorry if this seems like a self-indulgent post, it probably is.
I'd have to disagree with you here.
While we can probably explain the function of a car engine in a car with quantum mechanics, it would probably be pointless and equally difficult.
Instead, we need to go up a level or two, until we see the engine for what it is.
The function of this engine also lies outside the human mind, because an alien, with the proper knowledge, could figure out what the engine does.
There are all these layers in the universe, sometimes even objectively, if such a thing exists.
The car engines parts, everything from plugs and metal pieces down to each electron, these are "levels", emergent levels of reality.
It all depends on how you look at it, and since the existence of an objective layer is very much debatable, I think emergence is a very real and interesting subject.
Hi octel. I think the question of whether some phenomenon is an emergent one or not shouldn't be that a conscious observer can distinguish some difference between a thing (control mechanism) (ex: the flow of water down a drain) and its constituent parts (control volumes) (ex: the small chuncks of water which make up the flow). The question we should ask is, can the control volumes make up and predict everything about the control mechanism without having to invoke any additional properties or "causal actions" which lie outside of the ones immediately acting on each control volume. If no additional properties or actions need to be applied, then the control mechanism is strictly the sum total of all the control volumes. If we look at all the examples provided of emergent phenomena in the paper, we find scientists and engineers using computational models to reduce each of those to their constituent parts and modeling them using known natural laws such as conservation of mass, energy, etc... So although I can understand that there are very complex interactions going on which one might want to attribute to a higher organizing property, I simply don't see that as necessary to describe the phenomena given. In fact, I see that as a detriment to understanding an "emergent phenomenon".
When it comes to emergence, I think the philosophy community puts too much emphasis on this very esoteric concept. I haven't seen a particularly useful definition of it, though I've seen a few such as Chalmers try. The author of the paper suggests this:
Yes, it's very "nebulous". Sure, "the whole may exhibit patterns and structures that arise . . . from the behaviour of the parts". Why use this as a definition of "emergence"? It sounds as if there's something special about it, and to then suggest the whole is greater than the sum of the parts completely contradicts the statement that the patterns arise from the behavior of the parts. The fact is, that as long as we don't examine quantum mechanical behavior, if we step up one level from there, then there doesn't appear to be any additional levels needed to explain any universal structure (except the mind).
I just do not understand your thread question in relation to this paper you cite. You missed this statement:
Reasons why biological or abiotic systems might evolve towards self-organized criticality are explored.You seem to have missed the word "evolved".
This paper was written by a biologist, most of the references are to biologists that study complex systems. There is no inference from the author about a supernatural "creator" involved in any of the mechanism that lead to complex behavior of biological systems. In short, the answer to your thread question is , "no", well supported by the paper you cite.
Rad, you should post some kind of a question, along with an argument of your own, or at least a paraphrasing of what you think the argument is in this paper, in addition to the link. Otherwise, how are we to know what direction the discussion should move in?
All you did was criticize te paper from the U of NM. There are several website I could have choosen on SOS. You have failed to answer ny question as to whether organization suggest a creator.
What came first, organization or a creator?
Rad, I'm going to close your thread for now, as there doesn't seem to be any real direction to it. In our Philosophy Forum Guidelines, which you may want to review again, members are discouraged from posting one-liner questions or nothing but a link. This is an interesting topic, and I've added your link to our link directory, but a thread should have some form of thesis or at least a full paragraph describing what the poster thinks is suggested by the link, with some relevant excerpts. Think of it as an outline if you were writing a paper. It doesn't have to be anything that formal, but just something to discourage one-line responses and critiques that are not in-line with what you hoped to address. Unfortunately, we've seen both already.
Separate names with a comma.