Renowned scientist Stuart Kauffman in Toronto TONIGHT (CFI Ontario)

For more information on tonight’s event, see: https://theframeproblem.wordpress.com/2008/02/07/renowned-scientist-stuart-kauffman-at-mcmaster-university-tonight-york-university-and-cfi-ontario-tomorrow/

This should be very interesting.

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Comments
5 Responses to “Renowned scientist Stuart Kauffman in Toronto TONIGHT (CFI Ontario)”
  1. autumnrhythm says:

    um..I didn’t understand 99% of what was said. Anyone else feel this way?

  2. This Busy Monster says:

    What he had to say wasn’t that complex. It breaks down to a few main points.

    First, he has come to the conclusion that the language and equations of science do not offer a complete description of everything that goes on in the biosphere, and the present conception of science and knowledge (which he dates back to DesCartes) likely can’t ever adequately do the job.

    Second, even though he can see the shortcomings, he isn’t sure what is required to bridge the gap. His attempts to use novel examples and philosophical ideas made it a little ard to follow, but the basic concepts have been around in different forms for thousands of years.

    Third, this presents an opportunity reach out to the spiritual types and acknowledge that the world is more than particles and numbers, but that it still doesn’t involve some fictional creator story. By appropriating some of the language, there may be an opportunity to bring people to some common understanding of what comes next in the growing world society.

    He strikes me as a scientist, who after years of experience has realized that there is something bigger than is conceived of by science, but not in some wacky cultish religious way, just that there are other questions that can be asked and answered.

  3. autumnrhythm says:

    “What he had to say wasn’t that complex” Thanks, cause I didn’t already feel like an idiot.

    But, thanks for the breakdown, it’s much clearer than his talk was (to me, anyway). The philosophical/literature references were the only things in the talk I understood, other than most of the end which seemed to be just restating his thesis in less scientific jargon. It’s everything he said relating to science and math that I didn’t get. I can tell from my little experience that he was trying very hard to “dumb it down” for us, but I think he overestimated some of us artsci’s.

  4. This Busy Monster says:

    Actually, I don’t think he dumbed it down at all. You can see over on Sandwalk that Larry Moran’s reaction was similar to yours.

    I think the problem was that almost everything he said was an analogy to help build the next idea. His analogies were often opaque, so it was hard to follow along. If you read a some of the things on the web, it was easier to figure out.

    I only meant that, ultimately, the idea he wants to get across doesn’t seem that complex, how he presented it was tough to keep up with.

  5. ronbrown says:

    I was planning on doing a review of it here, but I just don’t really have much to say. I’m really not remembering much for some reason. I remember it in fragments. I know he spoke extensively about emergent complexity, with emerging systems unamenable to explanation based on the lower level of analysis (e.g., you can’t explain economics if you’re only studying individuals); he spoke a bit about determinism and how it has been succeeded by quantum indeterminacy and by the point that emergent systems cannot be explained by reference to the lower-level consituents; I remember him saying something along the lines of letting natural environmental processes go on undisturbed unless you have a good reason to disrupt them. I recall him commenting on the issue of how science says what is, not what ought, but I can’t remember what he said about this—that is, how he dealt with the issue. I also can’t remember what exactly he said was sacred. Was part of the sacred simply nature? Hence him being pro-life and against disruption of the environment without good cause?

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