Stuart Kauffman’s comments

I’d love to talk on 4 the origins of catalytic cycles, with the danger that you know my views, but it may be useful to examine them jointly and critically. For example, I still would love to be part of a team looking experimentally at the probability that a random peptide catalyzes an arbitrary reactions, subcritical and supracritical chemical catalyzed reaction systems, and the onset of collective autocatalysis, plus work cycles and agency??? good grief. Re 2, I’m thinking a lot about emergence, under the title “The Open Universe”, where I think we may face a new and radical issue: If emergence is real, and if we cannot prestate Darwinian preadaptations in the non-ergodic universe, then reductionism may REALLY be inadequate. Great! We won. Now what? A central issue becomes this: If reductionism were adequate, the very existence in the universe of this email and our conversations at the meeting would be “explained” by being entailed by the fundamental laws of physics. If reductionism fails, why do we exist? Why to humming birds pollenating flowers coevolve with one another as the conditions of one another’s existence? So there may be a very big topic hiding here: a need to invent a post-reductionist science even as we love reductionism too.

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