Monthly Archives: September 2014

I Am Not a Fan of Chaos Theory or Uncertainty (as it is applied)

I was just looking into a book called “Chaos or Complexity in Economic Systems” by one Fernando Alcoforado, and it appears that it will be a real slog.  Quickly I ran across the following:

Efforts of Poincare and Lorenz were added to the contributions of Benoit Mandelbrot(communications engineer), Edward Feigenbaum (math), Libchaber (physical), Winfree (biologist), Mandell (psychiatrist) and others. Chaos Theory or the new Science of Complexity suggests that the world should not strictly follow the deterministic Newtonian model, predictable and certain, because it has chaotic aspects. The observer is not who creates instability or unpredictability due to their ignorance because they exist in nature.

A typical example is the weather. The processes of reality depend on a huge set of uncertain circumstances that determine, for example, that any small change in one part of the planet, there will be in the coming days or weeks a considerable effect on the other part of the Earth. This condition also applies to the economic system. According to Chaos Theory or Complexity Science, chaos is a “mixture” of disorder and order that born of new structures, structures called “dissipative”. Chaos theory suggeststhat the Universe has a cycle of order, disorder, order, and so on. So that one leads the other and so on, perhaps indefinitely. One of the main implications of Chaos Theory hasto do with the return generated in chaotic situations. While closed systems have a negative feedback, open systems evolve chaotically by positive feedback… [emphasis added by me]

See, this is where I disagree.  The bold part is an assertion that the author fully accepts at face value.

I don’t.  Those “uncertain circumstances” are NOT uncertain, not to the real, physical atoms and molecules.  Each of them is being affected by forces and processes and conditions acting upon them.  And each, in its turn, passes on some portion to other atoms and molecules.

The fact that HUMAN SCIENTISTS are uncertain about those “circumstances” does not make the physical circumstances uncertain; those circumstances are REAL, whether the scientists can measure them or not. Continue reading