Friday, September 23, 2016

Is Stuart Kauffman secular creationist?

Stuart Kauffman has long been preaching the efficacy of self-organization to make up for the general lack of efficacy of natural selection to explain functional complexity.  In his case, he generally isn't always accused of being a secular creationist.  Since the growing demand for an Extended Synthesis (since the "Modern Synthesis" is finally faring poorly in the public eye) since the Altenberg 16 turning point, it is getting hard to even fault Kauffman for pointing out the elephant in the room.

From p. 150 of Stuart Kauffman's At Home in the Universe:
Is the "canon of selection" the "quintessential statement" about a lack of purpose behind human existence because it is really difficult to .  Kauffman seems to be implying elsewhere that a new canon needs to .   It seems like nearly half the serious thinkers are relegating selection to a minor role; even though the Prime Suspect for the crime of accidental design probably is not guilty, and no one can agree on what combination of the milieu of evolutionary causes is responsible for the functional complexity of life, there seems to be 98% agreement on one thing, it must be an accident.  Kauffman is one of the definitive majority here and he goes on to explain why in the next few paragraphs:  The order in life must be accidental because biology is so woefully unpredictable.  Biologists are so often thrown for a loop that it can't be design.  Sounds more to me like biology does not investigate laws in the sense that physics  does, but that it investigates a perpetually clever technology, a technology for which it has become dogma to posit a mysterious origin in some law-like process--the orthodox version having selection as the central engine in that process. They can't agree on how such a process works, only that it has somehow worked and this theory that it has somehow is as well established as the theory of gravitation.

This is rather like somebody having been sent to prison by the unanimous vote of jurors who believe incompatible versions (based on incompatible evidence) of how the defendant Q committed the crime.   They all agree that he must be guilty (due to there not being any preferable suspect) but there is not much agreement beyond that point.  Juror #1 believes in scenario A because fact X makes scenarios B and C implausible; juror #2 holds to scenario B because fact Y makes scenarios A and C implausible; and juror #3 is certain that scenario C is correct because fact Z makes A and B ludicrous.  But they can join arms and say they are assured of defendant Q's guilt because someone's version must be correct.  It must be correct because if facts X, Y, & Z rule out A, B, & C, then that means that we're back to square one and the real criminal is still out there, and that is a justice-stopper, ladies and gentleman.

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