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Nota Bene, Self-Organization, 20 Jun 2003

I stumbled over this article at a pre-incarnation of The Three-Toed Sloth.

Something is self-organizing if, left to itself, it tends to become more organized.

This is an unusual, indeed quite counter-intuitive property: we expect that, left to themselves, things get messy, and that when we encounter a very high degree of order, or an increase in order, something, someone, or at least some peculiar thing, is responsible. This is the heart of the Argument from Design...

But we now know of many instances where this expectation is simply wrong, of things which can start in a highly random state and, without being shaped from the outside, become more and more organized. Thus self-organization is one of the most interesting concepts in modern science...

And then, from the same author, this review of The Self-Made Tapestry by Philip Ball.

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