The probability paradox

The following illustrates that—for even simple far from equilibrium systems— unforeseen consequences to predictability may arise from various aspects of heterogeneity. An event occurs in a stochastic manner because others precede it. Evolutionary events proceed in a manner that depends on time: they show a direction of time; they are irreversible. History determines the environmental and genetic constraints making the future largely unpredictable, as demonstrated several times above. Stochastic or probabilistic elements are unavoidable (although compare the views of Elsasser, Popper, etc.).

Novelty abounds in biological and ecological systems. Ontic openness allows for the emergence of new form and patterns. Previously unobserved events cannot be predictable, while rare and extreme events may or will completely change the dynamics of complex systems.

Figure 3.2 shows the emergence of a probability paradox in the presence of events:

(a) suppose that an oxidation (chemical event), unknown to the observer, arises in the classic "white and black spheres" game: the probability white/black is no more fifty-fifty



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