From Complexity to Life: On The Emergence of Life and Meaning

Niels Henrik Gregersen
Oxford University Press, 28 nov. 2002 - 256 pages
This book brings together an impressive group of leading scholars in the sciences of complexity, and a few workers on the interface of science and religion, to explore the wider implications of complexity studies. It includes an introduction to complexity studies and explores the concept of information in physics and biology and various philosophical and religious perspectives. Chapter authors include Paul Davies, Greg Chaitin, Charles Bennett, Werner Loewenstein, Paul Dembski, Ian Stewart, Stuart Kauffman, Harold Morowitz, Arthur Peacocke, and Niels H. Gregersen.

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Table des matières

Toward an Emergentist Worldview
2 Randomness and Mathematical Proof
3 How to Define Complexity in Physics and Why
4 The Emergence of Autonomous Agents
5 Complexity and the Arrow of Time
6 Can Evolutionary Algorithms Generate Specified Complexity?
7 The Second Law of Gravitics and the Fourth Law of Thermodynamics
8 Two Arrows from a Mighty Bow
9 Emergence of Transcedence
10 Complexity Emergence and Divine Creativity
11 From Anthropic Design to SelfOrganized Complexity
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Page 229 - Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Page 73 - ... the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and...
Page 185 - Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for joy?
Page 185 - Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
Page 76 - ... among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.
Page 73 - ... of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins — all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding...
Page 23 - Solomonoff model a theory that enables one to understand a series of observations is seen as a small computer program that reproduces the observations and makes predictions about possible future observations. The smaller the program, the more comprehensive the theory and the greater the degree of understanding. Observations that are random cannot be reproduced by a small program and therefore cannot be explained by a theory. In addition the future behavior of a random system cannot be predicted....
Page 219 - The observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable but they take on values restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life can evolve and by the requirement that the Universe be old enough for it to have already done so.

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