I talked last time about left-handed amino acids and right-handed sugars. This was one of the examples of ‘emergence’ Stuart Kauffman mentions in his book Reinventing the Sacred. I now want to talk about his computing example, because I really don’t get this one.
[Third in a series on Stuart A Kauffman’s Reinventing the Sacred which began with Reinventing the sand dune.]
I spoke last time about what I thought was one of Stuart Kauffman’s points in Reinventing the Sacred. This was that although you could explain for example a sand dune in terms of subatomic particles (by way of grains of sand and then silicon and oxygen ions), you couldn’t do the same thing if you started with a living organism. The living organism is an emergent real entity while the sand dune is not.
I have just finished reading Stuart A Kauffman’s Reinventing the Sacred. I agree with some of it, but with some of it I profoundly disagree. It could be that I disagree most profoundly with the profoundest part of it.
The last few chapters are quite moralising. But it’s not really the sentiments I reject. Kauffman’s heart seems to be in the right place. It’s his logic that worries me, some of which could be quite dangerous logic.
They only need one more miracle. That shouldn’t be difficult. There are over a billion Catholics in the world. Surely a big enough sample to yield a single random inexplicable remission?
The real miracle would be if no ‘miracle’ happened. But that’s by the by.
Should present-day Germans apologise for the Holocaust? Should present-day (white) Americans apologise for slavery and racial segregation? Should present-day (white) Australians apologise for the historic maltreatment of Australian Aborigines?
In Chapter 9, What Do We Owe One Another? / Dilemmas of Loyalty, Sandel reaches what could be the crux of his argument.