17 November, 2010

The Earth Simulator

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.

This paper is included here today!

Issue 15 of Shape