The World as Computer: Review of Chaos and Life: Complexity and Order in Evolution and Thought. By Richard J. Bird. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.
Chaos and Life is a challenging book; it literally challenges many of our accepted views of reality. Anyone expecting another of the many popular books describing chaos theory for the general public is in for a shock. Instead, the author goes down to the root process that leads to chaos iteration and builds up the entire physical and mental world from the process of iteration acting to construct ever more complex computing mechanisms. Because of its broad scope, Chaos and Life demands an intelligent reader with an open mind. Happily, it's extremely well-written, so that if readers are willing to make the effort, they can tread new paths of thought. For example, each chapter begins with a quote from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Though Heraclitus lived and died twenty-five centuries ago, the quotes are remarkably apt to the cutting-edge issues raised in the book.
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Document Type: Research Article
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Publication date: January 1, 2004