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Is Biology Scary?

by on December 23, 2019

By saying the biological uses a subjective, interpretative mode of description are we paving the way for the political and capricious? How far a leap is it from codifying the explanatory role of the non-objective to totalitarianism? The beauty of Popper, of the scientific method is the reduction of the subjective.

“The Chicago perspective also launched the idea that the origin of life depended on two complementary modes of description, not just the description provided by classical physics that works so well for machines. Pattee summed it up thus: ‘Life itself could not exist if it depended on such classical descriptions or on performing its own internal recording processes in this classical way.’ This follow up on Rosen, who had really shaken things up earlier by asking, ‘Why could in not be that the ‘universals’ of physics are only so on a small and special (if inordinately prominent) class of material systems, a class to which organisms are too general to belong? What if physics is the particular, and biology the general, instead of the other way around?'” [Gazzaniga p.227]

Biology the general is a fleetingly exciting idea to those of us who manage / navigate the subjective uncertainty of human behavior every day (which is really everyone).

Gazzaniga explains, later, that what he proposes is a study of emergence. A study of second and third order effects of a system. There can be an objective study. An objective collection of relationships. Of facts.

Does this eliminate the scary part of the subjective? Probably not.

[Or is this doubt a failure to understand complementarity? Gazzaniga quoting Feyman that no-one truly understands Quantum]

Our behavior as humans, creatures evolved as we are, has a role in setting the course. The subjective exists. Normative guideposts impact life.


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