An Open Question on Complexity
David Christian’s TED Talk on Big History was wonderful, but there’s a question I’ve been rolling my head about since I saw it. He was discussing complexity, the Second Law of Thermo-dynamics, and the development of natural systems (leading up, of course, into life systems and human life). He cited an example (a scrambled egg unscrambling itself) to show the how complexity develops, and how this is set against how reality actually works in nature. The egg forming is complexity, the egg scrambling (into “mush”) is entropy, ala the Second Law.
So here’s my question for the scientific community, including the complexity theorists …
Is complexity in nature more about the whole, unbroken egg or about the scramble itself, or to use another metaphor the grown garden or the tilled-up soil from whence it came? … Or are the products of order – what life produces, what we manufacture as humans through our technology, and the material world’s dynamics that produce ordered phenomena – themselves the real outcome of complexity in the world?
Just wondering; because if the “scramble” itself is the seedbed from which nature’s complexification comes, then aren’t we missing the point of things when we insist on seeing the “egg”, the “grown plant” … or in human terms, the ‘watch’ and the ‘airplane’ of design theories … as being the true effects and typifying examples of complexity?
That what I’d like people’s feedback on. As always, thanks for commenting. And, if you know of other people who’d be willing to take on this question, be sure to pass this post onto them. Thanks.