Emergence is an attribute of complex processes (systems). As a complex process evolves new structures and patterns emerge. They are novel, unpredictable and cannot be deduced from the parts which make the process. The new pattern is generally associated with a new behavior of the process (system) that was not pre-programmed. We ought to realize that most complex systems are ongoing processes  which evolved from some initial condition. The only complex system which was created as such is outlined in the first chapter of Genesis.

Nevertheless we  read that “Biology (including biological evolution) can be viewed as an emergent property of the laws of chemistry. Chemistry (including the evolution of both elements and molecules over time) can be viewed as an emergent property of the laws of physics. Most of the laws of physics themselves as we experience them today appear to have emerged during the course of time making emergence the most fundamental principle in the universe and raising the question of what might be the most fundamental law of physics from which all others emerged”. (Wikipedia)

This kind of emergence is different from the above.  Biology, chemistry and physics, do not exist as such in nature. They are theoretical constructs (hierarchies) to describe nature and as such they are static. Here emergence means a transformation which cannot be deduced from laws of the lower scientific hierarchy.  Nevertheless many scientists do not distinguish between the two kinds of emergence.  They claim   that when nature becomes more complex  it selects its novel (emerging) behavior from a huge domain of the possible, by pruning the less advantageous.  This domain of the possible is purely theoretical. Nature does not select anything it simply emerges. Yet these theoreticians lack the necessary concepts to describe this kind of emergence.  They even claim that the  pruning rules are consequences of the laws of science, and so will work universally.

We may thus distinguish between two views of complexity:
1. Platonic, which regards complexity as invariant.
2. Process oriented,  which regards complexity as evolving. 

The first still applies traditional physical concepts to complex processes, e.g. entropy, or random walk  Yet real processes do not “walk randomly and  measures like entropy fail to predict their behavior. Nevertheless these  “Platonists” enforce their view on the interpretation of bio-medical complexity which seems to me unfortunate. 

Cellular automata offer an opportunity to investigate the evolution of process complexity and its emerging behavior.

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