Home

What’s Driving Evolution?


This site is about “Evolution and Emergent Complexity”  –  it is about how complex things can (without any external direction) naturally Self-Design and Reinforce themselves into Existence… 


Physics tell us that to understand the world we need simply to understand the dynamics of cause and effect; in reality however, the dynamics of simple cause and effect fail quite miserably when it comes to explaining “The Dynamics of Natural Evolution and Emergent Complexity”...

“So What?…” you might say.  Well understanding evolution could turn out to be more important than you might think; for it could be said that we are on the verge of a phase transition in human history, where our ever more interconnecting world means that we are fast leaving behind the old linear paradigm of simple cause and effect, and entering into a whole new age of  “Accelerated Evolution of Emergent Complexity”…

=======

This website is dedicated to “Understanding the Dynamics of Emergent Complexity”.  For close on 400 years now science has honed its understanding of the obvious dynamics of simple cause and effect; but the reality of everyday life is the really interesting stuff is increasingly the result of The (not-so-obvious) Dynamics of Emergent Complexity…


My journey to understand Complexity was kick-started in 1994 by the book  “Complexity – The Emerging Science at the edge of Order and Chaos”.  In this book the author suggested that complexity should not occur because it seems to defy the Second Law of Thermodynamics (SLOT) and the concept of maximizing “Entropy”.

I had come across the SLOT as a student and knew it dealt with the spontaneous distribution of energy, but could not remember much about the concept of entropy.  A little research revealed, much to my surprise, that seemingly “entropy” is generally associated with “disorder”; and that according to physicists everything in the universe spontaneously moves towards maximum disorder — which was certainly not my experience, nor my understanding of nature’s natural evolution to ever-greater complexity.

This apparent conflict between natural evolution and a fundamental law of physics sparked my curiosity.  I became curious to understand why physicists would believe such a thing, but furthermore, and more importantly, I began to wonder “what is the source of nature’s self-designing complexity?”


“So?…” have I managed to formulate any sort of an answer to this tricky question?

Well yes.  Since the SLOT effectively operates like a negative feedback system, in that it pulls (or dampens) a system to equilibrium, it should be no surprise that complexity results from resistance to this pull, and as it turns out it is the interplay of two different types of resistance that drives natural evolution away from a featureless thermodynamic equilibrium.

All spontaneously Self-Designing Complexity is simple the interplay of  Weak Negative Feedback and Strong Positive Feedback; simply the interplay of creative “Incompressible Dynamics” and reinforcing “Emergent Dynamics”

complexity-dynamics-101

  • Insufficient negative feedback allows the surfacing of “Incompressible Dynamics”,
  • Strong positive feedback reinforces symmetry-breaking and “Emergent Dynamics”,
  • And the interplay of both drives the “integration of co-emergent diversity” and the consequent emergence of “Complexity Dynamics”…