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The science of complexity and related research

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Friends you'd rather not make [Dec. 8th, 2008|09:39 pm]
The science of complexity and related research


A recent article in New Scientist provides a heads up for lovers of complexity science. 

This intelligence report by a NS reporter has it that the next target for Intelligent Design and creationists are neuroscience. Attacking things such as mainstream science's inability to tackle the "hard problem of consciousness" and criticising reductionist-materialistic causation they could well be taken to be proponents of some kind of complexity science, and herein lies our problem.

The workings of the brain is still not fully understood and complexity science and philosophy could well have a role in revealing its workings. But our theories risk being misrepresented and tainted by association with creationism. A theory such as "punctuated equilibrium" was earlier used to argue in favour of ID, but the theory was well enough known not to be tainted by that. It could be different for the many theories that for instance claim to shed light on the hard problem of consciousness. (How something self-aware arises from matter)

It wouldn't be the first time that something from complexity theory has been misused. Fractals and chaos theory inspired everything from new age religion to sloppy analogies in the social sciences, but creationists tend to carry a bit more "punch". Those of us in the US may want to think twice about who we lend our support to. We who live outside the US will recognize creationism as mainly a US movement, but it reminds us to be even a bit more clear and thorough about how we represent our ideas. 

[User Picture]From: epweissengruber
2009-04-08 12:40 am (UTC)

Nice to see you posting again

I really enjoy these links.

Just a minor quibble. "Workings" is a plural word. Your sentence should read "The workings are ..."

I am an English teacher on parental leave and have few opportunities to exercise my pedantry.

Please keep up the posts.
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