Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Emergence of the Social

This is why Dawkins and his reductionism fails, not because he does not think of the system but because he forgets that random processes can produce ordered results. S.J. Gould criticised him for not thinking about the system and that was a valid criticism, but Dawkins thought that he could answer that. What he has never dealt with is the physical property of emergence.

Emergence is when a random system spontaneously becomes ordered - at a higher level than the one in which it is disordered. This is a macro-phenomenon from a micro-effect and Dawkins regardless of saying he would include work by Eigen in his ideas about how life started has carefully ignored all of the literature on chaos and emergence in all of his books. He never cites anyone with that sort of view such as Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. The core of the idea is actually present in Monod's book Chance and Necessity which shows a clear parallel to the Selfish Gene. Monod referred to this as "gratuity" that something else arises and the organism has access to other possibilities as an addition to the original effect. It is all about evolvability.

On another point I said a bit about politics yesterday and that Libertarians were wrong to think so much of the self when we are a social animal. But this also damns the socialists as emergence comes from the bottom. It is not a command and control effect and so existing socialist views are likely to fail. You need to harness movements from the ground upward and you have to let them evolve naturally.

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