John Mikes wrote:

I don't think I really can expect a reply to this question: I am in the same
boat of reductionist thinking, just dream about more.

John, this is the second time you have mentioned reductionist thinking ijn the last few days. Could you briefly explain what reductionism is and why you don't like it? For example, a hydrogen atom is made up of an electron and a proton, but its behaviour is very different to that of an electron or a proton on its own. Is it reductionist to say that a hydrogen atom is just made up of these two subatomic particles? Similarly, a human being is made up of electrons, protons and neutrons, but its behaviour is very different to what one might guess from knowing the intricate details of particle physics. You can say that the hydrogen atom and the human being (and for that matter, just about everything else in the universe) show surprising behaviours, or emergent behaviours, and I would agree with you. You can also say that there are aspects of very complex systems, like a human being or the universe as a whole, which science is incapable of explaining at our current level of understanding, and I would agree with you again. But how does this negate the essential point that everything is made up of its constituent parts, however complex the configuration of and interaction between those constituent parts may be?

--Stathis Papaioannou

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