# Complex systems, random and maths for biology

I am not assuming anyhting of the kind.

Where do miracles come from in your view? Are they inherent in the natural order under certain conditions? Are they what you call “by the Spirit”? If so, how does the supernatural and natural interact as you seem to imply if they are separate for the Spirit to act? It would seem to me that God creates the immanent and the transcendent from himself somehow - if there are two major classifications of reality. It would seem impossible to create something from nothing. I have never heard any kind of satisfactory resolution or explanations for the paradox that arise from claims that something from nothing can be caused under certain circumstances. God is confined by impossibilities, of which this may be one.

Obviously things have to be grounded in some type of order for there to appear order (or perhaps maybe it is only apparent order like certain long sequences in irrational numbers that have apparent order but are actually non-repeating in the whole). For example, one can have a very very large sequence of repeating numbers that still breaks down into being non-repeating within the irrational and transcendental number eventually (This can be seen in a thought experiment where the number is bigger than any number that could ever be conceivably generated by a very large number of supercomputers (say number of subatomic particles in the universe) from all the possible generated intervals within quantum theory’s uncertainty for the largest possible number of years for the universe to have existed raised to some ridiculous order of magnitude (to ensure uniqueness such as a googolplex)). The number is finite but still impossible to generate by any conceivable method in a finite time which we live in - the sequence would exceed this but eventually stop having a repeating pattern even though it appeared to to be to any number of digits possible to calculate. There would also be no way to somehow guess the pattern or function as the number creates an uncertainty impossible to generate in any way empirically in finite time. Perhaps nature is ultimately like this. And so would God, His attributes would no doubt have to be infinite to completely describe Him (but like my thought experiment, impossible to empirically validate and therefore impossible to know it was actually God with His attributes or just a very powerful being with a very large number of attribute details (not to mention that we would not know what all His attributes even were and the details to be sure it was Him!)).

Most of what you say is unproveable and requires massive assumptions. God is unproveable unless you are God which is kind of a tautology. Consistency, coherence, etc. don’t work so well (or possibly at all) when what is being discussed involve potentially unknown types of infinities. Probability theory also becomes problematic because of infinities and assumptions. I think we tend to think we can answer questions like this because we have had some success with understanding relatively simple patterns of nature involving physics etc. These things are nothing compared to the complexity of dealing with concepts that seem far beyond current modern mathematical knowledge let alone physics, chemistry etc.

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Miracles aren’t natural, although nature at ground is miraculous. The supernatural interacts with nature, above grounding it, according to its will. It acts in and around incarnation, and resonates, Zens in Rogerian fashion.

And yes, there is only the Monad. One. One beyond infinite and beyond eternal entity. One substance. One Supernature. The immanent and transcendent creation are God, which, who is not just them. If no God then nature certainly creates ex nihilo. Nihilo is unstable. God may well paradoxically instantiate nihilo. It does the rest autonomously. The story tells itself in God. As the best do.

Grounding instantiates, concretizes prevenient, abstract order. The order isn’t random, and there are no repeat sequences in irrational numbers - created by finite sequences of multiplications, divisions, additions, subtractions, exponents, and roots - that break down. That’s the disappointing flaw in Sagan’s magnificent Contact. A sequence in a transcendental number generated by an infinite series. Chaos, randomness is a function of order. The order in the laws of nature doesn’t come in to being with irrational laws. As soon as anything can exist, it shapes up. WAIT till you get to 1:20

(Hmmm. What does one call a number that is not possible on a number line and not complex? 111…0111… for example? Transfinite for a start?)

If something other than nature does nature, it’s someone. We have no basis for believing in someone, from nature. Nature alone doesn’t require someone. Nature + Jesus does. And the someone can’t be just anyone, someone Lovecraftian; evil.

Proof is for mathematics and science. This is just very basic, minimal, parsimonious, rational thinking.

We agree that variation is random and natural selection “somehow” selects in those variations which survive and flourish. The question is the “somehow.” For science to say that something somehow happens is like saying that “God did it.”

This “somehow” is what I am trying to discuss. The original Darwinian answer was “survival of the fittest,” which is meaningless, because fitness is not scientifically defined.

My suggestion of “survival of the better adapted to the environment” is not novel. Stephen Jay Gould in Wonderful Life wrote, “Evolutionary change … is produced by forces of natural selection arising from the external environment … .”

While doing research I found on a Smithsonian website reference to the “Environmental variability hypothesis: The hypothesis that adaptation to a variable environment, rather than a static environment or directional change, has characterized human evolution.” From this I gather that “survival of the better adapted to the environment” is a very viable understanding of natural selection in much of the scientific world. If BioLogos is not included, that is our fault.

Humans survived and flourished because we were better adapted to the environment after the Ice Age than the Neanderthals.

This seems to be the relevant link…

“For groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems” (pdf)

The paper shows how some chaotic dynamical systems are amenable to statistical analysis and climate change was one example they paid particular attention to and found especially interesting. Certainly it is possible that others may apply such findings to evolutionary biology for some increased understanding of this as well. But that has not been done and we cannot know whether it is applicable until someone finds a way to apply it as these scientists have done for climate change and a few other physical systems. The real upshot of all this are the exciting opportunities available for scientific research in all of the sciences for them to explore whether they can find ways to apply these ideas to their own fields.

For those less familiar, I can add that one of the things about chaotic dynamics (aka chaos science), because of its mathematical nature, is the broad applicability to all of the sciences.

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We have no scientific basis from nature for believing in Someone. We do have multiple >50 σ lottery win examples which are more than natural (see reference above) that clearly point to him personally, though.

Part of the legacy of DE is the idea of survival of the fittest which I think was coined by Huxley. This was an unfortunate wording because it focuses on strength and power (thereby connecting it to cultural and Victorian ideas rather than science). We now know that selection happens for many reasons beyond strength and power and has a lot to do with an organisms particular suitability in an environment (so being small and weak might selectively be an advantage in a given environment over being big and strong). The mathematization of science has been one of the great achievements of both areas (especially in the applied science of engineering).

Biophysics is one of the fastest growing and most important areas of science today. Without the ability to mathematize parts of science in the past, there have most definitely been sematic issues. Biology involve very complex systems that are not easily mathematized. However, more and more science is unravelling these complex systems and applying mathematics to them to understand them better. I have faith that in the the next 10, 20, 50 and 100 years we will seen incredible strides in these areas to model even biological systems.

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After looking at this it appears to me that it is much the same as the study of thermal energy, once called kinetic energy. The study of weather has been going on for a long time, and I would not call it disorder, but it is a different order.

We are learning that entropy is not disorder, but instead it is equilibrium.

It is a combination of multiple systems but some of the most exciting areas of science today are areas like biophysics and systems engineering that use advanced forms of mathematics and computers to model complex systems. Nothing yet exists (to my knowledge anyway) to model something as complex as living systems and evolution but there is no reason in principle to believe that this isn’t possible in the future at least on a grainy scale. Intelligent people have claimed lots of things couldn’t be reduced to mathematics and science in the past and they were proved wrong. Hence, it is very premature to fall into what I call “Feynman’s Fallacy” of thinking that all important science is being wrapped up in our time.

I think miracles can in theory be natural depending on the conception of miracles and whether or not miracles are defined in such a way as to exclude this possibility. Natural events were considered miraculous until they were better understood in the past. It may be that many things we generally still lump into this category by religious people are actually “built in” and don’t have a transcendent origin at time of occurrence.

I don’t really think “nothing” can come from nothing (“nothing” in the traditional sense of the word). Even in the traditional sense, it is really not “nothing” it is from God). Something appearing from “nothing” (traditional sense) is really something coming from something else and the key word or words are “appear, appearance, appearing etc.” They come from God who is eternal or something else that is eternal and only have an appearance of coming from nothing. Nothing from nothing is contradictory.

Nature may ultimately follow a non-repeating type mathematical structure so mirrors irrational numbers. What we see as order may just be long sequences of nature having a predictable structure like the ordered numbers that form a part but not the whole of an irrational number structure. So even what we call law will eventually break down and not be repeating/predictable eventually.

There are non-real and non-complex numbers. However, for most studies of nature - these number structures seem to be quite adequate to model nature. Theoretical Physics either from traditional Relativity, Standard Model and String Theory are all based on these two systems without much need for anything else. Complex and Real Analysis - number, functions and other aspects gives us Advanced Calculus, Differential/Partial Differential Equations, Advanced Algebras, Topology etc. that are used as underlying mathematics for basic physical theories - such as the three mentioned.

I don’t think we can postulate what we don’t know we don’t know. (such as Jesus + nature)

Natural selection is not random because there are many real independent and related variables acting on a particular organism and a group of similar organisms. However, it is not so simple. Only if there is insufficient resources and insufficient other factors able to limit a population’s variability will you get most organisms being eliminated (and others surviving and that type growing in influence) so you can have variability (at least for a time within a population and environment). However, once the exponential growth of the organisms exceeds the carrying capacity provided by its food (fundamentally the energy utilized by the organism) source and/or pressure from other factors (such as predators) then you have a problem. Which organisms with which characteristics will continue and which won’t. The answer is those that can best avoid being eliminated by the lack of energy and other factors such as predators. This also can have a randomness factor because some organisms may by chance be in a niche environment that they can use to survive even though they themselves don’t have many things going for them otherwise. These kinds of things make it hard to model because there are many variables within any given system of organisms and the randomness factor even for something that is generally not random like selection.

The idea of survival of the better/best adapted is just a tautology and tells us nothing very useful about the survival, selection, biological systems, population variation or individual organism. Although true, we currently need a more mathematically centered understanding of natural selection and how it relates to randomness, environment, natural laws, populations of varying organisms and individual organisms. This is a very complex problem which currently has no satisfactory theory - outside of Darwinism, Neo-Darwinism and these paradigms normal science. I don’t expect such a theory any time soon. However, it is not impossible, as brilliant people of science have proved over and over in the past by developing novel theories for many seemingly intractable problems.

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Turning water in to wine, erasing all traces of leprosy, spina bifida, eyelessness will never be natural. I wonder what Jesus did about Down’s syndrome?

OK, if nothing isn’t unstable, the void has zero entropy. Who’s proposing nothing from nothing? Something, and it could be absolutely nothing, or God, does everything.

I know we don’t know Jesus + nature, so it’s not a problem.

Maybe you are not aware that our world is facing a climate crisis and that ecology which is the science of how biota and environment relate to each other. Largely ecology knows what the problem is.

Largely we know how to deal with the crisis, BUT we do not, mostly because people with a vested interest oppose action and people like you and me do not demand action. We do not need more math, we need more concern and more will.

Evil wins out when good people do not act.

God is not a thing in any scientific sense. If you want to think of the universe coming out of the spiritual, that is fine, but does, not help science. God created matter, energy, time, and space out of nothing. God did not make it appear. God made the very small singularity out of nothing, which produces the rest. God did not make anything appear or disappear.

The complexity is there and in moments when I let my imagination wonder, I think there are two broad categories - those factors that are relevant to the organism and those that we may regard as ecological (which means the entire planet). Each organism/species is subjected to mutations, strengths and weaknesses, reproduction, population dynamics (to think of a few), and then we would consider everything else, food sources, predators, weather cycles, and so on. Even if some bright thing were to treat these mathematically, there remains the central area of variation within populations over lengthy periods that are used to explain extinction of some and survival of others ending with the present state of the planet and its species (vegetable, animal, microbial).

A monumental task by any account.

There is no story of Jesus curing someone of eyelessness or the loss of a limb. And NONE of the people Jesus cured were ever diagnosed by a medical doctor with an understanding of microbial causes for illness. It is only too likely that there plenty of people counted as lepers and living in leper colonies who didn’t have a single one of the bacterium which causes leprosy. So even if there were no cases of spontaneous remission of leprosy, the story that Jesus cured a “leper” isn’t quite as astounding as it would seem. But the fact is that there are plenty of cases of remission of this disease. The visible lesions are not a measure of the worst stage of disease progression, which seems largely due to a poor immune response. And no, there are no stories of Jesus curing Down’s syndrome.

Here is your problem. You try to mix survival of the fittest and ecological adaptability. It really does not work. The dinosaurs had every thing going for them, but they lost out, because they could not change with the environment. They lost their ecological niche and their time was over.

The counter example is the avian dinosaurs who were able to adapt to the new environment and were thus able to survive and thrive. Adaptation to the ecological niche is all important, so survival of the fittest is not.

This is B.S. that ignores the lessons of history. See above.

It is part of a program that sees mathematical modeling as the future of ecology, but this kind of modeling does not explain who nature works. It just depicts what nature does. No doubt it has its place, but we need to understand how nature works, not just see what nature does.

I understand that people have been doing mathematical modeling for awhile without dramatic changes. On the other hand if people seriously the role of God in guiding evolution through the environment it could make a serious change in how we treat it.

Scientists and theologians solved the Beginning of the universe. Surely we can solve the way life evolved.

I’m aware of everything you say and am doing what little I can. However, this is a red herring, we were not discussing this and I’m not sure where this came from?
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What evidence do you have that God created matter, energy, time and space out of nothing? If you are just using the idea of god to explain what we currently observe than you are applying “god of the gaps” thinking. If not, than you must have some evidence and rationale. Perhaps you can be more specific?! You have several problems here:

1. If you are not talking about the vacuum as conceived in QM (which allows something to come from what Theoretical Physicists sometimes loosely call nothing) than you have to explain a seemingly contradictory philosophical idea;
2. How do you know god did it? Why not a very powerful but non-infinite being or even an infinite being but not the maximally infinite being (that is a greatest possible being as what God is usually attributed to be).
3. How do you know god made the very small singularity out of nothing? (sounds like another “god of the gaps” explanation)
I could multiply the problems your logic and explanation produces but the above three suffice. Your statements are both bad science and bad theology/philosophy

When I talk about adaptability you assume I’m only talking about ecological adaptability which I’m not. I’m talking about the ability to change and survive no matter what the variables are. Survival of the fittest is just a tautology as I mentioned. What survives, the fittest. What is the fittest, that which survives. This tells us nothing except what we already know. Of-course that which survives is the fittest(or most adaptable to the variables acting on it) but what are the details of this? Do we have a explanation for how these complex systems can be explained or might be explained? Can we apply or can we hope to apply mathematical formulations. Are we talking about fitness for individual organisms or populations? Are we talking within species or between species or genus? The devil is in the details and what makes evolution interesting, not just statements that amount to tautologies. Survival of the fitness came originally from Herbert Spencer and was only later attached to one of the later editions of Origin of Species.

Scientists and theologians have most definitely not solved the beginning of the universe. Where did you get this from? Most theoretical physicists/cosmologist would not ascribe any theological role in this event and would not say it was solved. You seem to like pulling explanations out of thin air.

I know that God/YHWH created the universe out of nothing the same way that I know anything, based on the best evidence and information available, although I must admit the evidence for this information is astoundingly clear.

I have studied the Big Bang Theory based primarily on Einstein’s relativity theory which bears out the fact that mass, energy, time, and space were created out of nothing. Background radiation confirms this. The very long term expansion of the universe bears this out also.

God/YHWH/I AM WHO I AM is self existing and is the only self existing “Being.” Only a self existing Being could and would create the universe. That is not the God of the Gaps to explain ignorance. That is the God of the Facts to which the evidence points.

The Big Bang is not bad science nor is the fact that God created the universe bad theology/philosophy. Throwing up sand is not a helpful way to argue.

“I know that God/YHWH created the universe out of nothing the same way that I know anything, based on the best evidence” - you provide none (evidence), just a statement that you seem to take as fact.

“although I must admit the evidence for this information is astoundingly clear.” - Clear to who? Clear to you? I’ve heard this statement said with the same type of assurance by people in mental institutions. I know of no ranking scientist in this area that would make such a statement. Perhaps you could provide some evidence or argument. Otherwise, sounding like you know something and saying it emphatically amounts to nothing.

The BBT based on Einstein’s theory seems to be born out but these issues are in no way fully resolved such that we can say that any theory is unlikely to be superseded in the near future. I think the best we can say is that based on our limited knowledge, it is currently the best model.

“God/YHWH/I AM WHO I AM is self existing and is the only self existing “Being.” Only a self existing” - Evidence please. Since we don’t even have a good working definition of “God” that all parties agree on I think you are premature to even suggest a statement as this as being possible let alone be so definitive about it. Until an acceptable definition of god is devised, statements like you make are premature and non-sensical (since they can be bent to whatever people want them to mean)

“That is not the God of the Gaps to explain ignorance. That is the God of the Facts to which the evidence points.” Most scientists would disagree with you. You are simply using it as an explanation without explaining the “how” which is what science does. Giving an explanation for something still to be explained as to how it works is by definition a “god of the gaps” explanation. I can say Jodel explains all the facts because Jodel is the most powerful entity in existence. It is self existing being and the only one that can create the universe. It is just as good as yours - an explanation without evidence but nonetheless, nonsensical.

The BBT is not bad science but your conflagration of it with your personal theological and philosophical views are. When you can provide evidence for what you say theologically/philosophically (show that a god exists or is likely to exist, is actually the god you are referring to and does what you say) and show how it is connected to science empirically, than we can have a discussion. Otherwise you are just hiding behind obscurant pronouncements and statements about make believe entities of your own making.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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