self organization
Thu, 14 Oct 1999 11:22:33 EDT

I, Bertvan said:
>> far, Kauffman's explanation seems to be nothing more than "it
>> self-organized", which explains nothing. However, he is at least
> >for alternatives to RM&NS, and perhaps will eventually be able to explain
> >what "self-organize" might mean. Otherwise it will be indistinguishable
> >"supernatural".

>I'm not qualified to give a complete description of self-organization, but I
>can give some examples:

>1. The growth of crystals.
>2. Brick-shaped refrigerator magnets all tossed into a box and shaken
>together (the self-organization will not be as neat and complete as that of
>a crystal, but still visible).
>3. The way uniformly-sized marbles will form close-packing patterns on the
>bottom of a flat box if they are shoved gently together.
>4. Tornados.
>5. All chemical reactions that produce chemicals combining parts of the
>6. The formation of hydrogen atoms from naked protons and passing electrons.
>7. The formation of at least some polymers (I think).
>8. The V-shaped flight-formations of migratory birds.
>9. Dog packs.
>10. Economies.
>11. Human societies.
>12. The layering of denser and less-dense materials during the formation of
>a planet so that, for the most part, the denser materials are at the center,
>and the less-dense materials (water, gasses, etc.) are at the surface.
>13. The growth of a living organism.

>What makes a system self-organizing is that, while it may take its energy
>from outside itself, the information used in organizing is, in effect,
>spread throughout the various components themselves. No outside force
>(organizer, "designer," etc.) decides how the components will fit together,
>and neither does any one component in the system organize all the rest of

>Of course, we rabid and radical evolutionists would want to add:

>14. Life on Earth.

Hi Chris,

No one has called you a "rabid and radical evolutionist". I merely agree
with a growing number of scientists who regard "Random mutation and natural
selection" as an inadequate explanation of macro evolution. Why such a
hysterical reaction to a difference of opinion? You have honestly and
frankly stated you are a materialist. I respect your right to express such a
philosophy, and wouldn't argue with you about it. Can't you also respect the
right of others to disagree?

Now for your explanation of "self organization". Most of the examples you
gave are better understood than merely that "they self organize". Human
societies and economies are influenced by the free choices of individuals.
Individual choices are what bring about changes in human societies. If
enough people become skeptical of RM&NS, the concept will cease to dominate
our society. I know you have stated you regard "free will" as an illusion.
Such a belief is your privilege, of course, but it is not a majority view.
Dogs and migratory birds, in my opinion, also have a measure of "free will".
Otherwise their behavior would be completely predictable. Economies are
also the result of individual choices. Many people, including Marx, have
tried to reduce economies to deterministic formulas. In my opinion none have
succeeded . Meteorologists try to gain understanding of tornadoes beyond
that "they merely self organize". Until Kauffman is able to discover
mechanisms by which life "self organizes", as meteorologists are trying to
discover how tornadoes "self organize", it will remain a attempt to declare a
materialistic explanation for an unknown process.

You Say:

No outside force
>(organizer, "designer," etc.) decides how the components will fit together,
>and neither does any one component in the system organize all the rest of

There is no possible way you can know that " no organizer decides (or has
decided) how the components will fit together". Many people have opinions
on the matter, but no one knows for certain. The lack of tolerance
Darwinists show for any difference of opinion may be their eventual undoing.
I can't resist hoping so.