Re: Fw: Fw: economic irreducible complexity (fwd).critical phenoma and complexity

Joel Cannon (
Mon, 2 Dec 1996 14:35:25 -0600 (CST)

I recommend the article Brian Harper recommended by Philip Anderson,
and I believe his thoughts on fairness were very appropriate.

It is short readable and relevant. Anderson is one of the best
condensed matter theorists of the last half of the twentieth century,
and a large part of complexity theory comes from condensed matter
physics (Per Bak is also a condensed matter physicist) so what he says
is not to be take lightly. He also states there is one (and only one
book) that should be read on complexity theory. An excerpt with the
book reference:

the report of a workshop held in 1992, edited with
complete and frank reporting of the discussions by our first president
George Cowan, David Pines, and David Meltzer. This is the one book on
complexity which the scientific press has chosen to ignore completely,
especially Mr. Horgan. What it reveals is very far from the claims of a
"Theory of Everything" of which we are accused. There are at least six
distinct points of view presented, surrounded by lengthy and severely
critical discussion. Even Mitch Waldrop, the journalist who gave us our
most adulatory book, comes in for hard knocks. This book sounds to me
not at all like a bunch of hubristic gurus run wild, as Horgan portrays us,
but like a group of serious scientists doing their best to cope with a lot of
very hard problems, in the tentative and sceptical vein in which good
science is done.

Brian Harper suggested the following article:

> Surfing around on the web, I stumbled across an interesting reply
> to John Horgan's sham article written by Philip W. Anderson,
> one of the "big name" complexologists. You can find it at:

Joel W. Cannon
Dept. of Physics
Centenary College of Louisiana
P. O. Box 41188
Shreveport, LA 71134-1188

(318)869-5026 FAX