A crude look at the whole


Books like A Crude Look at the Whole by John Miller got me back into science after years of saying that I hated it. Really, I just hated my high school science classes, and somehow conflated that with the topic itself. Science is one of our greatest tools for understanding the world around us, and I gained that appreciation through reading Miller’s book. With little background, I was able to understand and enjoy Miller’s lessons on complexity in society, bumblebees, and life in general.Here are my notes and quotes from the book:

“We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology” – E.O. Wilson“Science is about mapmaking” – but the map is not the territoryWhat we exclude is more important than what we include“Brains are overrated”Diversity promotes stabilityOptimizing individual parts of a system is not as effective as optimizing the relationships between the parts

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