Kauffman and Dembsky

nemonemini at cosmiverse.com nemonemini at cosmiverse.com
Sat Dec 15 11:52:27 MST 2001

 > The "harmony in nature" argument predates Heraclitus by several
> millenia. We can see one example in the Canaanite liturgy
pertaining to
> their origin myths.

You are no doubt right here, but I think Heraclitus is interesting
because of his ambiguity, almost as if prior to the differentiation
of science, philosophy, and the kind of 'sage of consciousness'
appearing simultaneously in places like India. He is, incidentally,
one of the first formulators of the idea of dialectic.
But your point is well-taken, there is almost always an earlier echo
of what flowers in Greece later in the earlier period of the
Sumerians and onward.
The point about the design argument is that it has become polarized
between positivistic scientism and the stubborn (modern)
That's recipe for everyone getting it wrong as these extremists drive
out the middle.

In any case, I think Kauffman is merely being openminded about the
question, and seems to have taken a lot of heat for his quite minor
transgressions including telling it straight about Darwin's theory in
At Home in the Universe.
It's also worth looking at Kevin Kelly's Out of Control, with its
chapter on PostDarwinism. Kelly notes how many people in the complex
systems field have really ditched Darwin and are on the lookout for
more complex accounts. You'd think the real researchers would have a
better public, but after all these years it is still Dawkins making a
bundle with his 'Selfish Gene'. (There was an article today about
that. It seems this work has outlasted almost everything else in the
pop science field. Yet its known limitations have been pointed out
almost ad infinitum).

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