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Posts Tagged ‘Reinventing the Sacred

Physics into physics won’t go

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I’ve read Chapter 4 of Stuart A Kauffman’s Reinventing the Sacred several times in the hope that I’ll finally get the point. But I still don’t. The chapter is called The Nonreducibility of Biology to Physics. But each time I read it I end up thinking that if he’s right that biology isn’t reducible to physics then physics isn’t reducible to physics either.

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Not thumping but pumping

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One of the frustrating things about Reinventing the Sacred is that it keeps flip-flopping between condensed accounts of areas of science and mathematics I don’t understand well enough and logical leaps which don’t seem justified. So I keep flip-flopping in turn between wondering if it’s my ignorance that’s the problem and wondering if the logical leaps really don’t make sense.

[Follows Reductio ad Professor Plum as fifth in a series on Stuart A Kauffman’s Reinventing the Sacred which began with Reinventing the sand dune.]

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Reductio ad Professor Plum

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I found myself talking last time about a lot of things I don’t really understand: Alonzo Church’s proof of the ‘halting problem’ displayed by Turing machines, and Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem. All because Stuart Kauffman’s book Reinventing the Sacred leaves me cold and confused.

[Fourth in a series on Stuart A Kauffman’s Reinventing the Sacred which began with Reinventing the sand dune.]

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Heath Robinson goes to Church

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Stuart Kauffman

Stuart Kauffman

I talked last time about left-handed amino acids and right-handed sugars. This was one of the examples of ‘emergenceStuart 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.]

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Left over right and right over left

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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.

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Reinventing the sand dune

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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.

Stuart A Kauffman

Stuart A Kauffman

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.

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