Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

How nature avoids collapse


This writer is making a lot of sense when she describes the resilience of nature:

Nature’s tactics for overcoming the pitfalls of warm-bloodedness illustrate a key strategy for any complex adaptive system – whether that’s organs managing flows of nutrients, blood and enzymes in an animal, or the global interchange of energy and nutrients between the biosphere, atmosphere and solid Earth. Built-in mechanisms to self-correct, maintain homeostasis and keep conditions amenable for life are critical for our planet and its inhabitants.

At a planetary scale, the same see-saw of homeostasis has kept the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere within safe limits for millions of years. Plants pull carbon out of the air. When the plants die and decay, the carbon goes back into the atmosphere. On much longer, geologic timescales, volcanoes spew carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. When the carbon returns to the Earth dissolved in raindrops, tiny marine creatures use it to build shells of calcium carbonate, which eventually subside into the depths of the Earth after the animals die and sink to the sea floor. Through this process, carbon dioxide eventually makes its way back into the atmosphere, from where it came millions of years before. Such homeostasis-maintaining cycles are the secret of our planet’s fairly stable climate. Without them, Earth would be as inhospitable to life as Mars and Venus appear to be.

Homeostasis to stay within safe bounds is fundamental for an unpredictable, complex system to persist.

Ruth DeFries, “Nature’s Playbook” at Aeon
Purpose and Desire by Scott Turner

But, iterating the materialist approach to nature, DeFries seems to assume that order can just happen for free, for exmaple: “Homeostasis to stay within safe bounds is fundamental for an unpredictable, complex system to persist.”

Sure it is. But that doesn’t happen without underlying design, beginning with the mathematics of our universe.

J. Scott Turner, the guy who wrote the book on homeostasis, finds it much harder to simply ignore a design perspective than many commentators out there do. See: Purpose and Desire: What Makes Something “Alive” and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed to Explain It

Negative feedback is God's first and greatest invention. polistra

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