As nature scales, complexity gives way to universal law.

Why shouldn’t an ecosystem be just as beautifully perfect as an ideal gas, and why can’t ecologists have as much predicting power as a physicist? The answers to these questions just might be “it is,” and “they can.” But only when viewed from a particular perspective.

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When we plotted average evolutionary distance against species number, we found the power law lurking in yet another dimension of ecology: The distance increased rapidly at first, then began to slow in the same manner as the species-area curve.3 The reasons for this behavior are not clear at the moment. One possibility is that both spatial and temporal scaling behaviors are affected by a “burstiness,” in which periods of stasis are punctuated by rapid periods of diversification. In our bacterial trees we found that these bursty expansions have a fractal distribution, also described by a power law, and they could point to radiations of species through both time and space.

The power laws we see for evolutionary distance and diversification point once again to a simple, mechanistic, and relatively detail-free view of ecology at the biggest scales. They’re just not quite as simple as what has been proposed for spatial patterns. They take at least one step back down the spectrum toward needing real ecological and evolutionary mechanisms to explain macroecological patterns.More.

Rob Sheldon writes to say,

I ran into power-laws when we analyzed particle spectra (plasma distribution functions) both near the earth and far away in the solar wind. It turned out that regular (integer power) diffusion equations don’t give power laws, but “fractional diffusion” equations do. The difference is that differential equations with integer powers are local, only affecting by things nearby, but fractional differential equations are “non-local”, affected by global changes.

Global spatial effects are the bane of materialism, Einstein called them “spooky action-at-a-distance” and in his famous EPR paper, attempted to disprove them. Global temporal effects are likewise troublesome to materialists.

It is as if one can predict the future and adjust one’s behavior accordingly. In psychology we call that ability “consciousness”. In physics we call that a non-causal relationship, “a spacelike” separation in spacetime. In philosophy we call it teleology.

In this article, ecology seems to show lots of power laws, and nobody is sure how to explain it. Their explanation of “maximum entropy” might as well be “maximum teleology”, since it is a global property being described.

Yet another proof that materialism is not just misguided, but wrong.

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Very interesting article.

I don’t see how it is any threat to materialism, however.

as to:

daveS states

You don’t see how non-local effects are incompatible with materialism?

That is funny since Quantum non-locality debunked materialism!

Of related note, besides being experimentally debunked by quantum mechanics, materialism is philosophically bankrupt as well:

Here is another interesting article from Dr. Koons:

There’s no proof of any spooky, action-at-a-distance effects here, despite what Dr Sheldon says about differential equations.

If you think otherwise, you are invited to give a mathematical proof of why this graph implies such effects.

daveS, despite not dealing directly with quantum non-locality, Dr. Sheldon’s criticism is correct in that materialists have no ‘design plan’ to appeal to explain the ‘non-local’ global pattern.

For example, this inability to explain ‘global patterns’ is the major failing in materialistic inflationary models that try to explain the overall geometric structure of the universe.

Simply put, reductive materialism has no way to account for the given ‘context’, or design plan, of a situation.

Around the 13:20 minute mark of the following video Pastor Joe Boot comments on the self-defeating nature of the atheistic/materialistic worldview in regards to providing an overarching ‘design plan’

Well, this is a totally different question then. In fact, researchers have proposed and studied numerous “material” factors thought to be related to the parameters in the species-area curve.

What’s the non-materialist explanation for the species-area curve? Can it be derived from non-materialist principles?

daveS,

“researchers have proposed and studied numerous “material” factors thought to be related to the parameters in the species-area curve.”

That’s nice that they follow this global pattern, but how did the global mathematical pattern itself come about? Was it just a lucky coincidence?

Moreover, how is it that the mind of man can understand these universal mathematical truths?

Two more very broad questions, different from the one I raised.

Anyway, I haven’t seen any evidence that the species-area curves falsify materialism, nor any evidence that non-materialists have a superior explanation for these relations.

daveS, since quantum mechanics itself falsifies materialism, just how many falsifications of materialism do you require before your, ahem, ‘non-partial’ judgement will allow that materialism just may be falsified?

Moreover, it is interesting that you just take for granted that material particles should obey global mathematical patterns without ever questioning what it is that compels them to follow that particular pattern rather than ‘randomly’ doing their own individual particle thing.

Why not question why they do so?

I

doallow that materialism may have been falsified. I just don’t believe this power law/differential equations argument does so.How do you know this? I don’t take such for granted. If you can give a detailed, step-by-step, falsifiable explanation why material particles behave this way, I’d like to hear it. Choose any one of these global mathematical patterns and fill us in.

daveS, you ask me to fill you in on the details, but it is you that is claiming that material particles following such global patterns are non-problematic for reductive materialism? Huh??

Since you are now basically nonsensical, even contradictory, you know the rest,,,

my hand, your mouth, yak away.

No, I made no such claim.

Still waiting for the non-materialist derivation of the species-area curve.

It’s something drawn by ecologists, and ecologists are intelligent. Intelligence is non-material. Checkmate.

D’oh! Back to the drawing board …