From:"At Home in the Universe",
by Stuart Kauffman of the Santa Fe Institute

"If we and past aeons of scholars have not yet begun to understand the power of self organization as a source of order, neither did Darwin. The order that emerges in enormous, randomly assembled, interlinked networks of binary variables is almost certainly merely the harbinger of similar emergent order in whole varietes of complex systems. We may be finding new foundations for the order that graces the living world. If so, what a change in our view of life, and our place, must await us. Selection is not the whole source of order after all. Order vast, order ordained, order for free. We may be at home in the universe in ways we have hardly begun to comprehend."
Stuart Kauffman, At Home in The Universe.
. . .

"More and more, what I believe must be true is that there are mechanisms of self-organization extending from the largest scales to the smallest, and that they explain both the properties of the elementary particles and the history and structure of the whole universe.( . . . )

"To put it most simply, I think a successful theory that merges relativity and cosmology with quantum theory must also be a theory of self-organization."
- Lee Smolin, professor of physics at the Center for Gravitational Physics and Geometry at Pennsylvania State University,
quoted in "THE THIRD CULTURE" by John Brockman

. . .

dendritic form

Stuart Kauffman again:

"Whence the order out my window? Self-organization and selection, I think. We the expected and we the ad-hoc. We the children of ultimate law. We the children of the filigrees of historical accident.

"What is the weave? No one yet knows. But the tapestry of life is richer than we have yet imagined. It is a tapestry with threads of accidental gold, mined quixotically by the random whimsy of quantum events acting on bits of nucleotides and crafted by selection sifting. But the tapestry has an overall design, an architecture, a woven cadence and rhythym that reflect underlying law- principles of self-organization.


"How are we to begin to understand this new union? For "begin to understand" is all we can now hope for. We enter new territory . It would be presumptuous to suppose that we would understand a new continent when first alighting on it's nearset shores. We are seeking a new conceptual framework that does not yet exist. Nowhere in science have we an adequate way to state and study the interleaving of self-organization, selection, chance, and design. we have no adequate framework for the place of law in a historical science and the place of history in a lawful science.


"But we are beginning to pick out themes , strands in the tapestry. The first theme is self-organization. Whether we confront limpids spontaneously forming a bilipid membrane vesicle, a virus self-assembling to a low-energy state, the Fibonacci series of a pinecone's phyllotaxis, the emergant order of parallel processing networks of genes in the ordered regime, the origin of life as a phase transition in chemical reaction systems, the supracritical behavior of the biosphere, or the patterns of coevolution at higher levels-ecosystems, economic systems, even cultural systems- we have found the signature of law. All these phenomena give signs of non-mysterious but emergeant order. We begin to believe in this new strand, to sense it's power... "
. . .
excerpted from Hotwired threads:
. . .

Lee Smolin, professor of physics at the Center for Gravitational Physics and Geometry at the Pennsylvania State University, suggests that universes pass on their characteristics to their offspring with only minor changes. Universes that are successful in evolutionary terms are the ones that leave the most offspring. Provided that the random mutations are indeed small, there will be a genuinely evolutionary process favouring larger and larger universes.m100

. . .

Monday, 17 June 1996 Post No. 1 of 10 by Stuart Kauffman

"We live in a universe of staggering complexity. Stars cluster into galaxies that form clusters of galaxies in sheets and walls with vast gaps between them. On this blue pebble, life has proliferated upwards in complexity and diversity, giving rise to an explosion of molecular diversity, species diversity, niche diversity, the evolution of humans with language, a spawned web of technologies, laws, literature, and science. Understanding this vast unfolding is, in the most general sense, the provenance of science: "From quarks to the Boston Philharmonic," said Phil Anderson once at the Santa Fe Institute.

Oort "Why is the universe so complex? Lee Smolin, in his fine forthcoming book, The Life of the Cosmos, notes that current fundamental physical theory - the Standard Model of particle physics plus General Relativity - has about 20 adjustable parameters, the constants of nature. Smolin estimates that for almost all choices of parameter values, the universe would be too simple even to form carbon and stars. Why is the universe so complex? We have no real idea based on current fundamental theory, for we still do not know how the constants arose.

"Nor is the universe at equilibrium - vast chunks of the universe appear to be in motion relative to the rest. At the level of complexity of complex organic molecules such as proteins, the universe is necessarily non-ergodic - it cannot have equilibrated over all the possibilities. (The number of types of proteins 100 amino acids long, 1020, is hyperastronomical. (equal to the square of the number of hydrogen atoms in the universe).) The universe has not had time to "try" all proteins even once. Nor has it had time to try all other complex organic molecules, types of cells, species, ecosystems, economic systems, legal systems, or systems of knowledge, scientific or otherwise. The unfolding universe is vastly non-ergodic. It is the "becomingest" game in town. What laws, if any, govern this flow?

"( . . . )We appear to be on the cusp of a wonderful new era in science in which different new and beautiful laws governing collective behaviors at different hierarchical levels can be sought."

- Stuart Kauffman, see "At Home in The Universe"

New: "Investigations", Stuart Kauffman... must see


. . .
John Brockman's "Third Culture: Beyond The Scientific Revolution"
. . .
S.Kauffman takes on John Maynard Smith:
The Great Compexity Debate

Stuart Kauffman and Lee Smolin: Time in Quantum Cosmology