read online kindle Complexity: Life at the Edge of Chaos –

Los Cient Ficos Vienen Afirmando Desde Hace Ya Varias D Cadas Que La Ciencia Del Siglo XXI Ser La De Los Sistemas Complejos Y Es Que En La Base De Todo Sistema Complejo Desde El Comportamiento De Las Mol Culas Hasta Las Medidas Que Deben Adoptar Los Estados Para Lograr El Equilibrio Con La Naturaleza Subyace Una Serie De Reglas Que, Una Vez Identificadas, Contribuir N A Unificar Ampliamente Las Ciencias De La Vida Roger Lewin Ha Querido Reunir Aqu Las Ideas De Los Aut Nticos Pioneros De Este Descubrimiento Para Que Podamos Seguir De Cerca La Hermosa Aventura En La Que Ya Nos Hemos Embarcado Todos Irremediablemente Desde Las Colinas Que Rodean El Ca N Del Chaco En Nuevo M Xico Hasta Los P Ramos Del Condado De Devonshire, Desde La Selva De Costa Rica Hasta Los Laboratorios M S Sofisticados De Estados Unidos, Conversando Entre Muchos Otros Bi Logos, Matem Ticos, F Sicos Y Qu Micos, Con Cient Ficos Tan C Lebres Como Edward O Wilson, Entom Logo Creador De La Sociobiolog A, Stephen Jay Gould, Protagonista De La Pol Mica Sobre La Noci N Del Progreso En La Evoluci N Biol Gica, James Lovelock, Cuya Hip Tesis De Gaia Ha Conmocionado El Debate Sobre El Orden Emergente, Murray Gell Mann, F Sico Ganador Del Premio Nobel Por El Descubrimiento De Los Quarks, O Chris Langton, Estudioso De Los Sistemas Complejos Adaptativos En Las Culturas Del Sudoeste Norteamericano, Lewin No S Lo Ha Levantado Un Aut Ntico Mapa Del Recorrido Realizado Hasta Hoy Por Lo Que Pronto Se Conocer Como Teor A De La Complejidad, Sino Que Ha Trazado La Apasionante Historia De La Lenta, Pero Obstinada, Conquista De Sus Descubridores I have been exploring the nature of Chaos theory for some time Perhaps the whole idea about randomness may be an illusion. Think of the the first bicycles or carsLots of experimentation to begin withAs time goes on and the world gets full of cycles or carsthe extremes get weeded out, a few forms survive, and subsequent innovation focusses on improvement on the remaining themes You go from generation of many themes to variation upon a few, just like the Cambrian explosion of lifepp.70 71 The basic argument is nothan the belief that there are fundamental rules that determine the qualities of systems so we have the Emergence of self organizing dynamics p.191 , from cells to the planetary system ie Gaia theory The Author towards the end saysfrom my gut I respond positively p.184 but what this stomach science produces is an excitable, overwrought, voluble book, chatty, the author may not describe the scientists he meets as shaggy haired demi gods playing guitars on top of mountains which they crush beneath their feet, but my impression was that this was how he regarded them, and perhaps that he hoped something of the charisma he invested in them, would rub off on to himself through association all of these scientists, he lets us know gently, he is on first name terms with In the book, as in history, surnames gradually evolve as the text progresses Good chunks of the book consist of people appearing to be amazed at things which are self evident ie that eco systems are systems, that because the component parts are in relation to each other, that changing one part will impact on the system as a whole, and that they have the properties of stable systems, unless they don t, in which case they are not But then again I am not a scientist, just a civilian I trust the judgement of my gut too, however that does not mean that I trust Lewin s gut, which is foreign to me, if we were ants we could exchange the contents of our stomachs and thus perhaps on a chemical level change each other s thinking Earlier, like a mighty burp, another scientist points out that the data is lousy just after Lewin gets excited about all mass extinctions being caused by asteroid strikes One part of the argument is about the collapse of complex societies which illustrates the same point We live in complex societies and so are interested in their decline and fall, however the data, while suggestive, is inconclusive, for instance part of the argument in Collapse How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed is about Easter Island, shortly after publishing, dating data from Easter Island was reassessed and shifted by several hundred years, in a stroke rendering it unlikely that human activity had been the main cause of the collapse of the island s ecology Elsewhere I have reviewed books discussing the end of the Roman empire which has been up for discussion since Saint Augustine, the data is like a dose of salts to any theory.Interestingly in the book Levin is told that English gentlemen don t like the idea of Emergence of self organizing dynamics but urban Jews do, or in other words this is about English empiricism versus German Idealistic philosophy or as Lewin has it Aristotle v Plato the bout of the aeon to be fought out in uncountable rounds.I suppose from this we can learn that in science it is not the case that one view always supersedes another, but that sometimes scientists orbit around the same ideas for centuries, not because of evidence but because of basic differences in outlook and world understanding between people eg here gradualism vs catastrophe.As a book about systems thinking, this has very little to offer save a vision of scientists growing successively shaggier view spoiler but apparently lacking large talking dogs with insatiable appetites hide spoiler Lewin, Roger Complexity Life at the Edge of Chaos, 2nd Ed 1999 A fine introduction and an interesting readThe science of complexity, a discipline unique to the computer age, was born of chaos and a growing sense that there is something amenable to scientific inquiry about complex systems that we are missing Before we had the number crunching power of computers, complexity could not be explored because the many variables resulted in astronomical calculations.In this revision of his book originally published in 1992, Roger Lewin explains what the science of complexity is all about through interviews with some of its most important practitioners and critics organized around some of the central ideas As such this is both a fine introduction to the subject and an interesting read Lewin includes 16 pages of photos of the scientists he interviewed captioned with a significant quote from each He has added an afterword on the application of complexity science to business, and an appendix about John Holland, whom he dubs, Mr Emergence Everything works toward an ecology is an old dictum of mine I have the sense that I came up with that myself, but I probably read it somewhere years ago At any rate, what is being said here is that complex systems work toward a state of equilibrium near a transition phase, near the edge of chaos This equilibrium can be an ecology Darwin s tangled web indeed it can be the entire planet, as in the concept of Gaia in which the Earth s biological and physical systems are tightly coupled in a giant homeostatic system quoting Stuart Kauffman on page 109.A central idea is that large, interactive systems dynamical systems naturally evolve toward a critical state physicist Per Bak, quoted on page 61 These systems include weather, financial markets, piles of sand, and most significantly, ecologies, so that evolution itself is seen as shaped by the dynamics of complexity Complexity is the interesting middle ground between order and the purely random, between the crystalized structure of ice and the Brownian motion of molecules I had a curious sense of understanding when I compared these three states with positions at chess First there is the even, static position, perhaps with bishops of opposite color in which no progress can be made, a draw the inevitable result Second there is the wildly chaotic position so complex that no one can completely calculate it, say the board after black takes white s queen knight pawn in the poisoned pawn variation of the Najdorf Sicilian In between are the interesting positions in which one side might have a small advantage or there might be a dynamic balance of advantages, space versus material, for example, in which a startling combination might be hidden.These states at the edge of chaos are seen here as analogous to the phrase transition states of matter, from liquid to gas, for example The idea is that there is a naturally occurring property of the physical world that forces complex systems into stable, readiness states near the edge of transition What is exciting is that these states, because they are so ripe for change can be influenced or manipulated into change with small resources Out of complexity comes something that could not be predicted by an analysis of its individual components, an emergent property of the system I would note that such a natural phenomenon would be attractive to those who believe in punctuated evolution e.g., Steven Jay Gould and to those who believe that social and political change typically comes suddenly and with great force.Central to what complexity science is saying is that reductionism which is the technique that has driven science to its present position of power and influence is limited Y ou have to look at the interactions as well as the parts, John Holland is quoted as saying on page 220 In other words, you have to take a holistic approach However, the use of the word holistic, a New Age shibboleth, is the just sort of thing that makes traditional scientists wince.Consequently, complexity science is not without its critics who argue that the fundamental mechanism of complexity exists only in a mystical sense and is therefore anathema to mainstream science Even its practitioners, such as University of Michigan complexologist John Holland, admit they are still searching for the fundamental mechanism of this new science He is quoted on page 214 as saying, Our present understanding is not much better than the child saying that Jack Frost explains the wondrous colors of autumn However most complexity scientists would say that the mechanism isn t mystical at all It s just not understood yet I would add that much of what we think we know about the world is based on relationships and phenomenon that we assume we understand, but really we don t For example physicists say that gravity curves spacetime, but they don t say how it curves spacetime Presumably gravitons do the trick, but they haven t been discovered yet So it could be said that gravity is mystical I like to compare this lack of understanding to the task of watching grass grow This also works for evolution Every day I look but at no time do I ever see the grass growing, yet after a while I know it has grown It seems that it always grows when I m not looking By the same token we see the results of complexity, but we do not yet see the inner workings of the process We may never see the process, but through complexity science we may yet understand it. I read this book as a followup to the excellent Complexity A Guided Tour, and I have to say it was a bit of a letdown While it does divedeeply into some of the ideas behind the field, a lot of the book s substance consists of scientists speaking off the cuff about their most grandiose visions for their work Frankly, it ends up coming off a bit kooky inthan a few places where researchers are not being as circumspect as a good scientist ought to be The pace also dragsthan a bit in places All in all, it s an okay read for someone with an interest in the field, but if you re looking for an engaging introduction, there s better out there.