Presentation on theme: "DON'T THINK ABOUT A WHOLE ORGANISM: FRAMING THE QUESTION IN SCIENCE DON MIKULECKY PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF PHYSIOLOGY AND SENIOR FELLOW IN THE CENTER FOR."— Presentation transcript:
DON'T THINK ABOUT A WHOLE ORGANISM: FRAMING THE QUESTION IN SCIENCE DON MIKULECKY PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF PHYSIOLOGY AND SENIOR FELLOW IN THE CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF BIOLOGICAL COMPLEXITY-VCU http://www.people.vcu.edu/~mikuleck/
WHAT IS FRAMING THE QUESTION? Based on the work of George Lakoff Cognitive Linguistics Frames are the mental structures that shape the way we see the world Facts, data, models, etc. only have meaning in a context Leads us to a scientific application of framing : Rosens theory of complexity
Framing the question Dont think of an elephant Impossibility of avoiding the frame In science the dominant frame is reductionism and the associated mechanical thinking The dominant modern manifestations include molecular biology and nonlinear dynamics
An Example of Reframing the question to get an answer : The work of Robert Rosen What is life? Why is an organism different from a machine?
THE MODELING RELATION: A MODEL OF HOW WE MAKE MODELS, A SCIENCE OF FRAMING NATURAL SYSTEM FORMAL SYSTEM NATURAL SYSTEM FORMAL SYSTEM ENCODING DECODING CAUSAL EVENT MANIPULATION
WE HAVE A USEFUL MODEL WHEN ARE SATISFACTORY WAYS OF UNDERSTANDING THE CHANGE IN THE WORLD OUT THERE
THE MODELING RELATION: A MODEL OF HOW WE MAKE MODELS NATURAL SYSTEM FORMAL SYSTEM NATURAL SYSTEM FORMAL SYSTEM ENCODING DECODING CAUSAL EVENT IMPLICATION
WHAT TRADITIONAL SCIENCE DID TO FRAME THE MODELING RELATION NATURAL SYSTEM FORMAL SYSTEM NATURAL SYSTEM FORMAL SYSTEM CAUSAL EVENT MANIPULATION
WHAT TRADITIONAL SCIENCE DID TO FRAME THE MODELING RELATION NATURAL SYSTEM FORMAL SYSTEM NATURAL SYSTEM FORMAL SYSTEM MANIPULATION
WHY WHAT TRADITIONAL SCIENCE DID TO THE MODELING RELATION MADE THE PRESENT SITUATION INEVITABLE: WE MORE OR LESS FORGOT THAT THERE WAS AN ENCODING AND DECODING
WHY WHAT TRADITIONAL SCIENCE DID TO THE MODELING RELATION MADE THE PRESENT SITUATION INEVITABLE: IT FRAMED THE QUESTIN THE REAL WORLD REQUIRES MORE THAN ONE FORMAL SYSTEM TO MODEL IT (THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL MODEL)
WHY WHAT TRADITIONAL SCIENCE DID TO THE MODELING RELATION MADE THE PRESENT SITUATION INEVITABLE: WE ARE TOO AFRAID OF BELIEFS (SCEPTICISM IS IN) WE DEVELOPED THE MYTH OF OBJECTIVITY
WHAT IS SCIENCE? HAS MANY DEFINTIONS SOME OF THESE ARE IN CONFLICT SCIENCE IS A BELIEF STRUCTURE SCIENCE OF METHOD VS SCIENCE OF CONTENT
WHY IS OBJECTIVITY A MYTH? (OR: WHY IS SCIENCE A BELIEF STRUCTURE) THE FORMAL SYSTEM DOES NOT AND CAN NOT TELL US HOW TO ENCODE AND DECODE. (MODELING IS AN ART!) THE FORMAL SYSTEM DOES NOT AND CAN NOT TELL US WHEN THE MODEL WORKS, THAT IS A JUDGEMENT CALL EVEN IF OTHER FORMALISMS ARE ENLISTED TO HELP (FOR EXAMPLE: STATISTICS) MODELS EXIST IN A CONTEXT: A FRAME
WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DEFINITIONS OF COMPLEXITY? SCIENTISTS FOCUS ON THE FORMAL DESCRIPTION RATHER THAN THE REAL WORLD THE REAL WORLD IS COMPLEX FORMAL SYSTEMS COME IN VARYING SHADES AND DEGREES OF COMPLICATION
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT MAKE COMPLEXITY THEORY NECESSARY? (WHAT HAS TRADITIONAL SCIENCE FAILED TO EXPLAIN?) WHY IS THE WHOLE MORE THAN THE SOME OF THE PARTS? SELF-REFERENCE AND CIRCULARITY THE LIFE/ORGANISM PROBLEM THE MIND/BODY PROBLEM
Reductionism has framed complexity theory Rather than change methods we have the changed names for what we do The consequences are significant It is impossible for you to believe what is being taught in this lecture and to then simply add it to your repertoire The reason is that in order to see the world in a new way you have to step out of the traditional frame and into a new one. Once done, you can never go back. The ability to reframe a question is the basis for change and broadening of ideas.
WHAT IS COMPLEXITY? TOO MANY DEFINITIONS, SOME CONFLICTING OFTEN INTERCHANGED WITH COMPLICATED HAS A REAL MEANING BUT AFTER THE QUESTION IS REFRAMED THAT MEANING ITSELF IS COMPLEX(THIS IS SELF-REFERENTIAL: HOW CAN WE DEFINE COMPLEX USING COMPLEX?)
ROSENS CONCEPT FOR COMPLEXITY: A NEW FRAME Complexity is the property of a real world system that is manifest in the inability of any one formalism being adequate to capture all its properties. It requires that we find distinctly different ways of interacting with systems. Distinctly different in the sense that when we make successful models, the formal systems needed to describe each distinct aspect are NOT derivable from each other
The Mexican sierra [fish] has "XVII-15-IX" spines in the dorsal fin. These can easily be counted... We could, if we wished, describe the sierra thus: "D. XVII-15-IX; A. II-15-IX," but we could see the fish alive and swimming, feel it plunge against the lines, drag it threshing over the rail, and even finally eat it. And there is no reason why either approach should be inaccurate. Spine-count description need not suffer because another approach is also used. Perhaps, out of the two approaches we thought there might emerge a picture more complete and even more accurate that either alone could produce. -- John Steinbeck, novelist, with Edward Ricketts, marine biologist (1941)
COMPLEX SYSTEMS VS SIMPLE MECHANISMS COMPLEX NO LARGEST MODEL WHOLE MORE THAN SUM OF PARTS CAUSAL RELATIONS RICH AND INTERTWINED GENERIC ANALYTIC SYNTHETIC NON-FRAGMENTABLE NON-COMPUTABLE REAL WORLD SIMPLE LARGEST MODEL WHOLE IS SUM OF PARTS CAUSAL RELATIONS DISTINCT N0N-GENERIC ANALYTIC = SYNTHETIC FRAGMENTABLE COMPUTABLE FORMAL SYSTEM
CIRCULARITY (SELF-REFERENCE) CAUSES PROBLEMS FOR LOGIC AND SCIENCE I AM A CORINTHIAN ALL CORINTHIANS ARE LIARS OR THE STATEMENT ON THE OTHER SIDE IS FALSE-ON BOTH SIDES
CAN WE GET RID OF SELF-REFERENCE, THAT IS, CIRCULARITY? IT HAS BEEN TRIED IT FAILED THE ALTERNATIVE IS TO GO AROUND IT – THAT IS TO IGNORE CASES WHERE IT POPS UP WHAT IF IT IS VERY COMMON?
SELF-REFERENCE, CIRCULARITY AND THE GENOME REPLICATION TRANSCRIPTION
WHY WHAT TRADITIONAL SCIENCE DID TO THE QUESTION MADE THE PRESENT SITUATION INEVITABLE: THE MACHINE METAPHOR TELLS US TO ASK HOW? REAL WORLD COMPLEXITY TELLS US TO ASK WHY?
THE FOUR BECAUSES: WHY A HOUSE? MATERIAL: THE STUFF ITS MADE OF EFFICIENT: IT NEEDED A BUILDER FORMAL: THERE WAS A BLUEPRINT FINAL: IT HAS A PURPOSE
WHY IS THE WHOLE MORE THAN THE SOME OF THE PARTS? BECAUSE REDUCING A REAL SYSTEM TO ATOMS AND MOLECULES LOOSES IMPORTANT THINGS THAT MAKE THE SYSTEM WHAT IT IS BECAUSE THERE IS MORE TO REALITY THAN JUST ATOMS AND MOLECULES (ORGANIZATION, PROCESS, QUALITIES, ETC.)
SELF-REFERENCE AND CIRCULARITY THE LAWS OF NATURE THAT TRADITIONAL SCIENCE TEACHES ARE ARTIFACTS OF A LIMITED MODEL THE REAL RULES OF THE GAME ARE CONTEXT DEPENDENT AND EVER CHANGING- THEY MAKE THE CONTEXT AND THE CONTEXT MAKES THEM (SELF-REFERENCE)
EXAMPLE: THE LIFE/ORGANISM PROBLEM LIFE IS CONSISTENT WITH THE LAWS OF PHYSICS PHYSICS DOES NOT PREDICT LIFE LIVING CELLS COME FROM OTHER LIVING CELLS AN ORGANISM MUST INVOLVE CLOSED LOOPS OF CAUSALITY LIFE DOES INVOLVE PURPOSE
EXAMPLE: THE MIND/BODY PROBLEM HOW CAN THE MIND MODEL ITSELF? AM I CONSCIOUS? HOW DOES THE BRAIN PRODUCE CONSCIOUSNESS, SELF AWARENESS, ETC.?
CONCLUSIONS THE REAL WORLD IS COMPLEX THE WORLD OF SIMPLE MECHANISMS IS A SURROGATE WORLD CREATED BY TRADITIONAL SCIENCE WE ARE AT A CROSSROADS: A NEW WORLDVIEW IS NEEDED THERE WILL ALWAYS BE RISK ASSOCIATED WITH ATTEMPTS TO PROGRESS YOUR CRYSTAL BALL MAY BE AS GOOD AS MINE OR BETTER
POST SCRIPT WE LIVE IN A WORLD DOMINATED BY COMPUTERS MOST COMPLEXIFIERS BELIEVE THAT COMPLEXITY IS SOMETHING WE CAN DEAL WITH ON THE COMPUTER THIS NOTION OF COMPLEXITY FOCUSES ON THE MECHANICAL ASPECTS OF THE REAL WORLD WHAT MAKES THE REAL WORLD COMPLEX IS ITS NON-COMPUTABILITY
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