Can We See The Edge - is now available on the Journal
27 November, 2010
17 November, 2010
How Plurality Misleads
Here we go again!
In the introductory paragraph the article The Earth Simulator in the recent New Scientist (2784), Philip Ball first mentions the bankers as the cause of the recent Bank Crash, and subsequent world-wide recession, but within the same sentence switches to the real culprit - “the complexities of a system…which allows this…to morph into ..an unavoidable.. systems collapse”.
Now this “necessary admission of the truth” then goes on to suggest the only way that we could avoid such a reoccurrence in the future, albeit in another area, but with similar consequences. That new way, it seems, says we must harness the number crunching power of modern computing with our emerging understanding of the Physics of Complex Systems, to enable us to rebuild our theories of Economics from the bottom up.
But, that crisis wasn’t caused by ignorance, but by knowledge and dishonesty. The perpetrators didn’t “lose their shirts” by themselves backing very dodgy long shots! On the contrary, they made damn sure they would walk away early with pockets stuffed with money, while others would be left to foot the bill, and ultimately (as is crystal clear now with the new Tory government) the ordinary people would have to pay in lost jobs, lost services and poorer education.
And therefore the “solution” proffered here must be seen for what it is - another tired and wilfully dishonest means of tidying away the real truth, and blaming it on mere natural and unchangeable Complexity.
For the suggestion about bringing in Complexity Theory will do nothing except make it easier for the same type of thieves to succeed again, without being sussed until it is too late, and they are already cruising out the subsequent crisis in the South Seas.
There is a system to blame however, but it is nothing natural.
It is the Capitalist System, and its crises are due, as always, to the unavoidable declining rate of profit. Where are they to get the funding from to finance the necessary innovation, and the expected returns on investment? Surely, only by telling lies!
The experts have to “use” that system to persuade, those who invest money on other people’s behalf (like pension funds for example) to “back this new certainty”, and while building the coffers of the Funds they work for, can do very nicely for themselves while they are at it.
Now, this is not a political paper. But it is, nevertheless, essential to demolish the seemingly authorative advice given by these “well-informed” people. We have to sweep away the papering over and be clear on what really happened.
But, in addition, we must also be informed of the total lack of substance in the promises made here about Science enabling us to avoid such “mistakes” in the future.
Now, I do not know who Philip Ball is, and why he should be in a position to be able to supply the solution to this problem. But, I doubt that he is as well qualified, and experienced as myself to pronounce on the methods that he is proposing.
I ended up as a Director of Information Technology in a College of London University, after previous posts in Hong Kong and Glasgow, where I was an expert in the application of computers to all kinds of serious research - from computerising complex kit such as Gas Liquid Chromatographs, and sophisticated Engineering rigs, and in difficult Physiological investigation via new taxonomies in Zoology, and even in the Teaching of Dance using Multimedia Resources (for which I and my colleague won a BIVA award).
For a time I was involved in helping researchers into… guess what? Chaos and Complexity Theory, and have recently published a Theory of Emergences after many years of personal research.
It is therefore not by chance that only one week before the issue of this particular New Scientist containing this article was published I was moved to severely criticise the whole standpoint revealed in the above position, and to tackle it from their own supposed ground. This resulted in the paper The Myth of Simulation: Pluralistic “holism” and the Real thing.
18 October, 2010
23 September, 2010
1.These are Philosophical Diagrams, developed by this author to aid in the communication of complex ideas, and because of this he is ideally placed to explain them.
2.They are not mere illustrations of ideas in an alternative form, but were designed as essential tools as part of a polemic against the current philosophical consensus in his area of study – Science.
3.Because they deal with Philosophy, it has been necessary to deliver, both in words and diagrams, means, which show relationships, and whereas the overwhelming tendency in this area has been to do this solely by means of Equations, a wider and better means was required.
4.The process commenced with attempts to deliver the Processes and Productions of Abstraction, and here the whole trajectory of that effort is delivered.
5.Crucially, such diagrams would have to deal with both the USE of abstractions, and their crucial role in EXPLANATION.
6.This had to be a new kind of diagram, and as this paper shows, went through a whole series of forms until an adequate solution was found. It had to include both Processes (usually as “arrowed lines”) and Products (presented as labelled circular areas)
7.The main aim of these diagrams was to identify the different processes & productions associated with Science, on the one hand, and Mathematics, on the other. It was clear from the outset that these were very different and definitely separate.
8.The basis of everything illustrated has to be Reality, as the source & confirmation of all the associated abstractions. From this starting point all conceptions had to flow and be validated by frequent returns to this primary source.
9.Categories such as Objective Relations, Models and Equations had to be related, as did processes such as The Scientific Method for confirmation, extension or rejection of the Models.
10.A clear split between Explanatory Models and purely Formal Models was evident, and the process had begun. But the first effort was clearly not good enough because it delivered only what was already known.
11.The next stage attempted to deal with repeated use of the abstraction processes, and how these allowed more general (on the one hand) and more universal (on the other) extractions from evidence in Reality. Interestingly, the term Coherence was shown to be different in Explanation from its role in universal Equations.
12.Further diagrams separated out the Scientific Method and the crucial process, which I have termed Mathematical Speculation, which centres most developments on Equations as source rather than Reality.
13.Finally, I present the culmination of these studies with a diagram in which the ground of everything – the background of the diagram, is Reality. And MAN is positioned at the centre as the source of all processes. Between that thinking initiator and Reality is a ring containing all Productions (abstractions), and between Man and these Productions via Reality are the actual Processes.
14.The success of these diagrams was not a formal solution to a problem of representation, but HOW the diagram can be used in tracing what people are doing with their thinking and arguments.
22 September, 2010
16 August, 2010
Yet another article has appeared but this time adding a rather different gloss to the usual consensus interpretation of Natural Selection, but instead of the usual cashing in on a world celebrated anniversary, this one does add something of real value.
In Accidental Origins published in a recent issue of New Scientist (2751), reporter Bob Holmes introduces us to Mark Pagel, who along with his colleagues, has uncovered a fatal flaw in the assumption of large numbers ofvery small, incremental steps which alone are supposed to deliver the crucial process of species change via Natural Selection. Though many others have questioned this tenet of Natural Selection, Pagel is different because he uses the same standpoint and methodology as his opponents to demolish their position. He uses a mathematical analysis of data derived from available evolutionary sequences to show that they could not have happened in the assumed way. But importantly, the significance of his results also, in fact, reaches well beyond Natural Selection to a whole range of “theories” based on the same sort of assumptions throughout present day Science, and so his contribution is significant for Science in general.
Something else must happen to result in what we correctly term a New Species: something which is NOT gradual and incremental, but immediate, qualitative & significant!
Now Pagel et al draw the conclusion that a single accidental event must be the cause, but that merely precipitates even bigger questions. What sort of single change could produce a new species at a single stroke? It must, surely, be impossible when seen as a single accidental mutation! We must replace both Pagel’s and the usual interpretation of such an “event” with something of an entirely different order.The Change must be brought about by a short but “revolutionary” Event, and such, of course, do indeed exist, and we have come to call them Emergences.
But such are not usually seriously addressed in academic circles. They are considered to be too much driven by ideological assumptions and indeed are often entirely discounted. But their reality is unanswerable by such purely prejudicial reasons for dismissal. The absolutely Key example of such a kind of revolutionary Event must be the Origin of Life on Earth from purely inanimate matter. And no-one could possibly put that down to a single accidental event, could they?
Now, this short paper is not mere kite-flying. The author – a physicist/mathematician, philosopher and teacher of 50 years experience, has been writing on these very matters for over 10 years and has, in the last 12months, described his conception of the Inner Trajectory of an Emergence, as the first step to a world-wide investigation into scientific method and the necessary formulation of an holistic alternative. Such a purpose has already produced a reformulation of Miller’s brilliant and holistic experiment into the Origin of Life. And this would itself begin to define a whole new approach to such questions, and lay the foundations for a Holistic Science.
But clearly until I can produce these reviews in good time and while the source is still "fresh", the increasing pile of offerings has remained in my out tray (but never left it).
It is clear that this apparent waste cannot be allowed to continue, so we are now going to publish most of our reviews even if they are a bit late to be current with the latest issue of New Scientist. And, on thinking about it, they will still be relevant to the issues which have dominated Science News and Comment for very extended periods. In fact some crucial arguments have been going on for many years.
Certainly, this first review will not be rendered passe by unavoidable delays. Pagel's contribution (revealed in yet another New Scientist article and addressed in our first review) has turned out to be an extremely significant contribution to criticising many of our basic assumptions with regards to Evolution. In fact at least four successive papers have already been produced by this author and Pagel's work is definitely undermining many sacred cows in this important area of study.
The paper I have decided to publish here as Review No. 1 is entitled The End of Incrementalist Evolution and it hopefully will get our readers thinking and perhaps get the relevant materials for themselves.
NB: The Special Issue of the Shape Journal on Emergences in Evolution is now at an advanced stage of preparation, and is likely to be the next one published. And in this proposed publication the relevance of Pagel's important contribution will be revealed in full along with a whole series of other related contributions from current publications.
11 August, 2010
I will be posting some diagrams on Fuzzy Logic and Dichotomous trees in the next few days, for those interested in the paper on gleaning Coherence from Incomplete Sequences.
26 July, 2010
20 July, 2010
03 July, 2010
15 June, 2010
As so many of my philosophical ideas revolve around this theory of Emergence, we have decided to publish a special issue of the Shape Journal, dedicated to its explanation and exploration. Watch this space...
25 May, 2010
But why does this remarkable second case happen? What is the engine of such developments, and what determines the trajectory of that process?
In order to address these questions this paper attempts to address reality as it is, without Mankind! But to do so, we must bury our usual methodology, which sees every discovery in terms of how we can exploit it for our own ends. We must instead become observers and interpreters, and never users. We must develop what we are clearly already aware of, but rarely pursue - disinterested Science.
Now a single tiny and isolated particle of Matter in a completely empty space cannot display, or even have, any properties at all. We have to realise that such things can only appear in aggregates. It is only when many such fragments come together that we not only get bigger pieces, but also qualities begin to be evident: the fragments relate to one another. And these qualities will be different at every stage of the enlarging aggregate. They will not only change in magnitude, but also in properties. Initially, then the property of Gravity - the mutual attraction of particles of Matter for each other, must be the initial drive. But notice, we could extrapolate all the way from the very first tiny aggregations seamlessly to a single all-consuming Black Hole into which the whole Universe could be unremittingly drawn, to vanish completely back up its own Physical Singularity! That is the simplest extrapolation of Gravity. But, of course, we know better. Vast aggregations collapse Matter into ever closer forms, until in the largest aggregations they burst into stars. Millennia of studying the Heavens have revealed a whole series of different forms of stars which clearly form a sequence of phases, and even include cataclysms such as Supernovae.
Clearly, apart from the observable evidence in the sky, there is a more complex and detailed trajectory involving many other modes or phases. And what is crucial about these phases is that they change the game. These natural developments transform their own producing ground every single time! So how do such a variety of very different and indeed new forms get driven into existence merely by Gravity?
05 May, 2010
Firstly, the erroneous claims of the mathematicians of Chaos that their new area will ultimately contain the explanations for crucial Emergences such as that of the Origin of Life on Earth, must be debunked. Formal Mathematics cannot explain anything: it merely describes, never explains, and hence can never address such an important question. Secondly, these studies must actually investigate what really happens within such events as Emergences - NOT as mathematical forms only, but as Real Science. Since when did we credit our tools with creating the masterpieces by themselves!
The question, which has motivated this author for over 15 years, is considered to be by far the most important one in Science, which is now regularly coming up against the consequences of its own basic assumptions, tenets and even "beliefs". The chaos that is today's sub-Atomic Physics, is finally heading for its ultimate demise at its own hand. The "final proofs" of its current theories expected from the experiments on the Large Hadron Collider, will not be forthcoming. Indeed, by far the most likely outcome from this mammoth experiment will be an evident failure in this regard, causing a general flight from maintaining any trust in these odd believers in Parallel Universes, Physical Singularities, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, time flowing backwards, and even colliding Branes producing our Universe out of precisely Nothing. They will finally, and justifiably, be laughed out of Court.
It was decided, therefore, to include these older papers as an introduction to the studies into Emergence by this author. For though this is an important area, it is very little supported within current research, outside of the denizens of the Santa Fe Institute, who think that Mathematical Chaos will alone provide all the answers necessary. There appear to be very few who agree with this author. Nevertheless, the line of research that will appear ONLY in the Shape Journal, has recently arrived at a new Theory of Emergences, which for the first time goes into the various phases of such an event. At the same time, such vital research cannot be a one-man show, and even hostile criticism will help refine these new ideas. Of course, even better would be the contributions of other like-minded experts, who are not merely mathematical physicists, but true explanatory scientists, who also realise that the study of Emergences is the crucial area in the absolutely imperative re-establishment of Real Science as the only sound path towards Truth.
I'm currently trying to sell my large collection of Chinese Stamps
23 April, 2010
15 April, 2010
"...No figurative content is either discerned, or was intended, and though most people “see” windows and doors to somewhere (?) or even nowhere, the real content seems to reside in amazing texture and meaningful “detail”. The substance of the works seems to reside in the almost furry or “blurred” edges of his deceptively simple areas, which seem to articulate directly and sensitively into adjacent “new space”, which is itself packed full of its own colour-based activity.
29 March, 2010
Introducing the Soma Strand
These images are from a paper forthcoming to the Shape journal, as part of the "A Structure of Diagrams" series. Here diagrams and models were used to solve a complex three dimensional problem based on tessellation.
14 March, 2010
03 March, 2010
It cannot be dealt with by a single paper, or even a series of them. It is about our fundamental assumptions concerning the World about us and our understanding of it. It inevitably therefore will display the unavoidable errors that will occur when one part of Reality (Mankind) attempts to explain either that all-embracing World, their own automatic origin, or finally their current place within that World. Clearly, no straight (or Royal) road to Knowledge can be viewable, or even available from within the continuing process itself. Indeed, Man has to promote himself outside of the process in the position of a God, in his attempts to address it. There is no way that the bulk of his attempts will be anything other than fictions and rationalisations. And from the exact same ground, any condemnations of Mankind’s errors in this area will involve a similarly arrogant super-promotion.
Such a trajectory was, and still is, unavoidable, and every gain made in this gigantic task will, of course, be partial and propped up with many formal inventions. How could it be otherwise?
But, that does not mean that Mankind should, “Give up now, you’ll never do it!”
On the contrary, it is the most important purpose ever generated by this evolving World.
So, any paper commencing the task of looking at our assumptions and methods will have to start somewhere, and wherever we choose will immediately and inevitable reveal contradictions. But, that is still the only way we can remedy our misconceptions and improve our attempts. What else can we do?
This author commenced writing about such questions some 14 years ago, under the title, Levels, and it is clear that the currently existing Universe is NOT a single monolithic structure. Not only is it spatially divided, but it has also generated a whole series of Levels of Existence, each with its own entities, properties, relations and even laws.
Life is just such a Level, as is Consciousness, and the real task will have to be addressing these innovatory changes of Level, as well as explaining the more mundane relations within particular Levels.
Nevertheless, we must make a start, and perhaps the best issue, which cannot but expose the essentials of such a World, must be that of The Superstructure and The Base. The main criticism of Marxism by its conservative opponents was that they could not even explain their own existence, never mind that of the rest of Reality.
So we will start there!
In this current period SHAPE is involved in publishing a series of papers addressing these and related issues. They include:-
The Second Law of Thermodynamics
Formalising the Heavens
Truly Natural Selection
The Superstructure and the Base
Order Out of Chaos
Paths to Chaos or Paths to Glory?
These papers were either purposely selected, or specially written, for this period in the establishment of SHAPE as a new kind of Journal.
It will NOT be re-hashing old ideas, but on the contrary making original contributions on all the questions that it addresses. It will, therefore, seek to represent the cutting edge of research, and though most of the early contributions will be from the pen of Jim Schofield, the whole idea is to generate a whole school of contributors keen to tackle these crucial questions.
Instead of playing the role of a conduit for the publishing of all and any papers on these issues, it is intended to deliver coherent, comprehensive and new contributions to a 21st century view of the World!