Haluk Levent wrote – Kauffman: “Life is an organization” | Science and technology articles 4

As I finished the first article on technology, I said that I would discuss automation and its socio-economic effects in the next article. But before I get into the tech stuff, I thought I should write my take on a few key points that are close to my heart. We can consider this as a ground clearance that should be done before entering into technology discussions. An article or two will deal with these basic concepts again.

In the article I wrote last week, I realized that I had written a paragraph in a different way. My dear friend Emrah Aydınonat, giving the right to have a doctorate in economic thought from Erasmus University, objected as soon as the article was published. Thanks to Emrah, I thought I needed to clarify a small point. In a paragraph of the article, we can understand that the basic sciences are free from ideology. Of course, that wasn’t what I meant. In addition to the articles that Emrah pointed to later, the articles that emerged in the early 20th century “Mach”schism and Lenin “Materialism and empirio-criticism” Take the book as an example. This example can be seen as proof that quantum physics and the basic sciences are also loaded with ideology in the idealism/materialism debate, one of the oldest debates in philosophy.

In fact, the subject I had planned to cover today will actually lead to an article that questions the link between basic science and ideology. The latest book by Kauffman, the theoretical biologist we recently lost “A World Beyond Physics (FÖBD)” He talks about a theory that explains how life came about. Moreover, it explains this theory in a way that is suitable for a popular science book that explains it in a simple way that we can all understand. The origin of life has been a topic of interest for centuries. Philosophers, theologians and finally scientists have proposed a multitude of explanations. Kauffman’s book is one of them.

I tend to see Kauffman as a link in the CP Snow-Ilya Prigogine-Isabelle Stengers-Roger Penrose-Lee Smolin chain. They are known for their work in different fields of basic sciences such as physics, chemistry and biology. The common characteristics of these scientists are that they have strong equipment and dominance outside their area of ​​scientific expertise. For example, Nobel chemist Prigogine and philosopher Stengers created their signature works. “Order out of Chaos” In his book, they make inferences and references ranging from biology to social science. It can be said that the complex structure of cases can only be grasped with the knowledge of different disciplines, that is, when it is necessary to look behind the aggregate structure, approaches and methods belonging to different disciplines are needed.

In the introduction to FÖBD, Kauffman compares physics and biology based on an anecdote he shared with fellow physicists. Physicists resort to simplifications to find laws; biologists study how life has become complex. Clearly we need both. In fact, Kauffman reveals that life is a complex process of thermodynamic and chemical evolution in FÖBD. With a definition that can be expressed briefly, according to Kauffman’s theory “life is an organization”. We can read this as a basic science contribution to the question of where autocratic regimes, which clog people’s vital vessels and show that they are enemies of life by their actions, come from organizational allergy, although ‘at the cost of a little forcing: the organization keeps people alive.

We can say that we now have a solid scientific theoretical explanation of how cells and the complex metabolisms formed by cells could have evolved from inanimate matter. Of course, the important element of the intermediate stage, the protocell, has not yet been observed outside the laboratory. They are also the deep ocean vents, shallow pools of water, etc., from which life might have originated. A discussion space that includes approaches based on different predictions, such as

Theoretical explanations of how life began have several important implications. First, it is possible to deepen the old debate between creationism and the theory of evolution. It should be emphasized that as our theoretical inferences regarding the biological, physical and chemical dimensions of evolution deepens and our knowledge expands with various experimental observations, metaphysics will take a major hit in one of the areas where she feels strongest, and this has social consequences.

The technological implications of the expanding pool of scientific knowledge in this area are also emerging. Although the Genome project still has a long way to go at the functional level, reading the genetic structure of man and making the genetic map has opened a great door. After this gate, the development of CrisPR technology brought humanity to purgatory. Understanding the secrets of life and the evolutionary process will open the gates to hell and heaven. We must discuss the possible socio-economic consequences of these technologies, the synthetic cell produced entirely on a computer, the transfer of this cell to another point on the internet, and the fifth industrial revolution, which is known by the motto of the human – machine integration. They are among the topics we will be discussing in the coming weeks.

Third, its meaning in terms of method should be considered. The methodological commonality of the chain running from Sonw to Smolin above. “science of complexity” It wouldn’t be wrong to call him. There is no doubt that the science of complexity, which is gradually developing in the social and economic sciences, has increased our understanding of the world and society with an expansion based on imbalance and nonlinear understanding, unlike the fundamental approach determined by equilibrium, linearity and the initial conditions prevailing in the dominant economy. After referring to the similarities between the evolution of the biosphere and the evolution of the economy throughout his book, Kauffman also devoted his epilogue to the evolution of the economy.

After defining the economy as a network of complements and substitutes, as in the biosphere“context dependent” underlines the great unpredictability of the evolution of this network. The area of ​​interest of evolutionary economics, in particular “forced closure” The future will no doubt tell if it can bring a new methodological initiative with the concept of

Previous articles by Haluk Levent:

Science, technology and reality

The link between science and technology

Technology, society and economy

Women in the Turkish labor market

The concept of the predatory state

Parallel Universes – The Unwritten History of an Economic Theory

Leave a Comment