334 years after Isaac Newton: The Stuart Kauffman Revolution
Einstein’s theory of relativity overturned Newtonian physics in the early
1900s. Nevertheless, “Newtonian” thinking has remained firmly entrenched in
science. Certainly, all scientists now agree that at the subatomic level and at
near light speed, quantum physics overtakes Newtonian physics. But this
has had very little effect on biology and has done nothing to overturn the
“reductionist” view of science, which says that everything is merely the sum
of its parts and all can be modeled by mathematics.
Stuart Kauffman and computer scientist Andrea Roli have written a new
paper that proves evolving biology in principle cannot be reduced to
computation. This is as devastating to materialistic science as Gödel’s
Incompleteness Theorem was to mathematics. In fact, it is equivalent -
because it shows that evolving organisms embody incompleteness.
Induction, not a deduction. And induction cannot come from deduction;
therefore biology is not strictly computational.
Thus Kauffman and Roli have pulled the rug out from under ultra-traditional
views of physics. (Not everyone is going to be happy about this.) Here, Perry
Marshall and Stuart Kauffman jazz improvise on the vast implications of this
new, holistic view of the universe.
You can read their paper “The World is Not a Theorem” at