new science

Report
A journey to find a methodology for
environmental systems that actually
achieves outcomes.
Graham Harris
UTas, Centre for Environment
and
UoW SMART Infrastructure Facility
Drawing on experience from
LEC UK, DEFRA and DTC
Taken from the UK
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
(CEH) strategic plan
This is what ecologists and
research agencies (CSIRO)
say they do!
But we have an unspoken
conundrum...... It doesn’t work!!
It’s all about evidence and “settled science”
“evidence-based” policy and “predict-act”
Plans and audit reports…..
We can do (a lot) better
Some local successes but
overall decline in biodiversity
Water quality not improving
Restoration?
Mega-projects?
• Achieving outcomes is difficult. Evidence?
– Success rates c. 10%; little better than chance
– Well intentioned actions leading to perversion
• Problems with infrastructure projects,
– Failure to deliver expected outcomes on budget
– Also 60-70% of M&As also fail (Rio Tinto)
• Everything is on a path from somewhere, to….??
– So what are we restoring to what?
– Can’t go back…. Conservation??.... Offsets??
• So what is “strategy”? (Chia & Holt, 2009)
If you talk to the UK Environment Agency they want
to know why, when they use the same programs of
works and measures, they get different answers; and
if they use different works and measures they often
get the same answer??
Perverse outcomes…. even in life
and the management of big companies!
“it’s life Geoff, but not as you know it”
The myth of outcomes
• What are….?
– Plans, strategies, scenarios, visions even?
– The world is rife with uncertainty, contingency
– The world is not Newtonian: we cannot go back
• What can we expect? What should we
expect? New approach for non-stationarity
THE RISE OF HUMAN SOCIAL
DEVELOPMENT OVER 16Ky
A lesson in Oxbridge PPE
Development driven by science
and technology; perverse outcomes
visible through ICT, social media
Science and society
st
21
Century
• Scientific method reveals axiomatic “laws” of Nature
(process of abstraction – externalities)
– Cause-effect deduced from axiomatic laws
(remember Cartwright.... “ceteris paribus” laws)
– “Predict-act” works, evidence and refutation drive new
knowledge: strong inference. (evidence can be found)
– “There and then” are the same as “here and now”. Stationarity
– ergodicity (evidence is transportable)
– Modernist, rationalist, realist, materialist worldview
science, engineering, economics, management
• Physics envy, liberal humanism, sociology, economics
– Market-based instruments, biodiversity offsets, TEEB
– Risk assessments: CGE models, finance, the GFC
– Theory, abstraction, universal rationality, strategy
The myth of models
Uncertainty…..
Prediction or Prophecy?
Life is different – physics won’t do!
Beven’s work on hydrological models (GLUE)
Life is different and hydrology isn’t physics (Hauhs)
Models make category errors – don’t include recursive relationships
DON’T EVER REPLACE EMPIRICAL DATA WITH MODEL OUTPUTS!
Allenby & Sarewitz (2011)
• Level 1- low risk, technological fixes, largely
isolated from environment and people
• Level 2 – manageable systemic risk, adaptive
management, evidence
• Level 3 – complex, uncertain, “black swans”,
recursive, complex, life, people, society,
economics… the real world
• “Science” uses Level 1 (maybe 2) tools on level
3 problems and makes a category error
A&S level 3 problems
• What to do about spatially and temporally extensive,
heterogeneous, adaptive (evolving), non-linear,
contingent, emergent systems with people (life)?
– Infrastructure, economies, companies, ecosystems??
• Non-stationary, systemic risks, network failures, supertransients: cultures, beliefs, values (norms)
– No controls, no replication, inability to “control” variances
– “cause-effect” unclear… weak inference, induction
– “There and then” is NOT the same as “here and now”
• But we still use “received” level 1 (maybe 2) modernist
science and management – lack of critical thinking
– Prediction? Planning? Strategy?
PILLORIED BY
CLIVE HAMILTON
IN A RECENT
PIECE IN
“The Conversation”
ENVIRONMENTAL FLOWS IN
THE MURRAY DARLING??
Post-Enlightenment
• Now dealing with perverse system-level
externalities from value free “received”
science and technology
1. Methodology for recursion which recognises
choices and values (Mattessich 1978)
2. Modelling and abstraction challenge: new
science, applied philosophy. (Casti 1992)
3. Governance, asymmetry, sub-politics, (Beck,
1992) values domain: higher level of work
4. Reflexive ethics and practical wisdom: “letting
be” and phronesis (Hadot, 1995)
Systems methodology
• Mattessich (1978) argued that science –
particularly the applied science of systems – is
“structural-holistic, dynamic as well as
instrumental” because it “not only emphasises
the recorded insights of science but also stresses
the entire process of doing science, as well as the
holding and using of theories, of elaborating and
eventually replacing them by better ones (his
italics, Mattessich, p. 250).
• i.e. Choices of methodology and values are linked
and are critical. There are ethical considerations
particularly when dealing with systems
Not “atoms” but components
• Components have reflexive relationships with
other components (Rosen, 1991)
– Therefore there are both external and internal
(system) drivers – the new physics (Crutchfield)
– Purpose, meaning, intention?? (Philosophy)
• Causes beyond (above) the Material (Horrors!)
• Non-ergodic and non-stationary: new science
– Systemic risks – non-Normal statistics (WEF 2012)
– Meta-statistics and new kinds of experiment
(Hauhs, Atmanspacher) – trajectories in
space/time
• The role of time.... Development.....
– Smolin and Charles Sanders Pierce
• And the role of chance – being “blind-sided”
– Taleb, Chia
FORGET PHYSICS ENVY FOR THE OLD PHYSICS
A THEORY OF MODELS: Casti (1992)
A problem in applied philosophy for a new age
Semantics
C
A
U
S
A
L
decoding
N
Syntax
I
N
F
E
R
E
N
C
E
F
observables
theory
encoding
When we do this we make choices and abstractions
Newton made a choice!
Rosen, 1991
Recursive systems/networks
developing new area: new science
• Information is buried in dynamic network structures
• Relationships (Rosen), signed and weighted digraphs
– Little information on how this works in ecology or genetics
(Wagner – robustness, evolvability): small world, power
laws – structure  function related in real time
• Ecosystems (Ulanowicz) and genomes (Wagner) occupy
small subset of all possible combinatorial
configurations – we only see the persistent ones!
– How much biodiversity is “enough”? What configuration?
• Fluidity, emergence, change, chance, heterogeneity
– Information flows.....What evidence? How??
– Not computable at present (Crutchfield)
So how do we get back to something like this? Especially if
we don’t know what we have lost – including the secondary compounds
ALSO TILMAN ET AL HAVE RECENTLY SHOWN THAT THERE ARE HYSTERESIS EFFECTS
Asymmetry in knowledge and values
Worldviews and semiotics
Biophysical
constraints
Evolved Human
Constraints
Emergence
Thresholds
Regime shifts
Thermodynamics
Evolution
Complex
Middle
ground
Biosphere
Realist
Scientific
Approach
Values
Beliefs
Uncertainty
Incomplete
knowledge
Analytical tools
“experts”
THE KNOWLEDGE PROBLEM
Anthroposphere
Narrative
Engagement
Decisions
Risk
Relativism
Postmodernism
Sociology
Economics
Participatory tools
“society”
THE COLLECTIVE ACTION PROBLEM
Asymmetry in knowledge and values
Costs and benefits
Biophysical
constraints
Thermodynamics
Evolution
INFRASTRUCTURE
constructed
nature
Values
Beliefs
Complex
Middle
ground
Biosphere
Realist
Scientific
Approach
Evolved Human
Constraints
Uncertainty
Incomplete
knowledge
Anthroposphere
Narrative
Engagement
Decisions
Risk
Relativism
Postmodernism
Sociology
Economics
INSTITUTIONS
Analytical tools
EXPERTISE??
OUR PRESENT “SYSTEM” IS BASED ON A CATEGORY ERROR
Participatory tools
Big changes
• Big changes since the 1980s
– Move to individualism, markets,
neo-liberalism – more to come?
– Less regulation, more MBIs and
incentives – difficult definitions
• Ulrich Beck (1992) The “risk society”
– Sub-politics, reflexive modernisation
– Governance, costs – benefits,
compensating for the asymmetry
• Pervasive perversion!
BUT WE’RE STILL USING A LEVEL 1/2 APPROACH
Artifactual structure (North)
TACKLING THE ASYMMETRY
• Effective use of institutions and 3rd sector infrastructure
(Ostrom) – meta-architecture
• Layered governance of information flows
– Self organisation “bottom up” (UK River Trusts, NZ water
forum) – arose spontaneously
– Lack of review of incentives, market structures,
institutional, legal (constitutive) design (NEMCO?)
– So require innovation, subsidiarity, adaptation, fast failure,
retain what works, try various options,
• Define the rules of the game and who can play
– Enduring solutions not compliance-based but collaborative
3rd sector social infrastructure: NRM regions
Incentives, perversion, recursion
Collaborative federalism, reciprocal obligations, layered governance
PUT SCIENCE AND VALUE-LADEN CHOICES IN THE HANDS OF THE USERS
Information flows and governance to match the natural world
Perverse incentives and misaligned institutions
Requirement for “joined up” thinking
We need to think about our accounting methods
INNOVATIONS??
DEFRA UK uses…….
Each of these requires a different set of institutions
and constitutive rules: ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL!
From COSUST paper in proof – Bryan et al (2013)
We have added layer upon layer of regulation and incentives over more than a century
Catchments have many, self organised, “paradoxical” properties
(eco)systems are a “baroque” – diverse, redundant, heterogeneous
HI-FREQ DATA DOES MORE THAN GIVE BETTER
LOADING ESTIMATES
NEW EVIDENCE
Spatial pattern is important even at this scale
Work of Kate Orwin in Lancaster
50-60% of the variance in ecosystem services was due to
the spatial arrangement of species IN EACH POT!
Forward indicators of perversion
• The science will never be settled, prediction not
possible, uncertainty high, chance impacts
– Leading indicators of system risks (Google and flu
outbreaks, PRISM – social networks, web, email)
• To guide recursive dialogue and action
– Non-aliased data: meta-statistics, dynamic, recursive
– (existing data not fit for purpose... Unless relational)
– Time series (hi res), networks, ε-machine analyses
• Pragmatic, instrumental experiments (Beck, 1992)
– Transparency, values, engagement, involvement
– Delegation, citizen science, expertise, sub-politics?
The policy arena has just lifted the level of the questions by an order of magnitude
And they want evidence!! Forgive them for they know not what they do!!
WE HAVE TRANSFERRED ABOUT 1/3 OF THE AVERAGE FLOW TO THE
COMMONWEALTH WATER HOLDER – WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH IT?
New infrastructure/technologies
• Exploit the “high frequency wave of the
future” (Kirchner) – monitor relationships
• Use web-based tools to put the science in the
hands of the community e.g. OPAL UK
• e.g. iphones as sensors, GridStix, acoustic
sensors, motes, GPS, RFD tags, cameras
• Distributed expertise, extend and democratize
science – a new environmental Google?
• Pluralism trumps expertise when uncertain
“Joined-up” thinking and action
• Changing community and regional role – upwards into
reflexive/recursive problems
– Values domain – increasing complexity
– Fluidity, people, networks, trust, ethics
• Meta-statistics, new science, data, concepts
– Crowd-sourcing leading indicators, citizen science
• Innovation and changes in infrastructure
– Legal, governance, markets, technology, perverse impacts
• Information to guide action and conservation
– Values – easier to define in $$ for infrastructure
– Difficult in environment – also perversion requires clear
definition of original goal and costs/benefits
Decisions are not always rational……
Bounded
rationalism
Moral corruption
• Ethical problems if:
– Distributed impacts
– Fragmentation of agency
– Temporal dispersion
– Theoretical ineptitude
– Uncertainty
– Institutional vacuums
• Stephen Gardiner (2011)
Not moral relativism
• Some argue (Cilliers) that complexity implies moral relativism
(no access to the “good” Platonic ideal of knowledge)
• Gardiner, Appiah, de Botton make strong ethical case for
reviving old concepts (Aquinas) of “good” linking “is” and
“ought” separated by the Enlightenment (Hume, 1739)
• Return to pre-Enlightenment ethics and values?
Raphael Sanzio “The school of Athens”, 1510-11,
Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican palace, Rome
New (non-instrumental) ethics
• Lucas Introna: ethics of “letting be”
– Recognition of other values and constraints
• Unlike Flyvbjerg, Chia sees “phronesis” as an
Eastern non-instrumental (reflexive) practice
vs
Not strategy but dwelling within
• Finding “win-wins” through
Aristotelian ideas of phronesis,
praxis, metis
– Dwelling within: Purposiveness
not purposefulness
– Involvement NOT strategy
– Michel Foucault's “technology
of the self” (Pierre Hadot)
– Pope Francis, Jesuits
• Enrichment of public discourse
– Time to reflect how to be moral
Pulling the threads together
• Defined outcomes not expected. Perverse
outcomes likely. No planning or strategy….
• New systems methodology, forward indicators
of perversion – new evidence, recursion
• Get the constitutive rules, institutions etc right
and use them (re)flexibly and adaptively
• Dwelling within, moral corruption, noninstrumental (reflexive) ethics, phronesis
RECURSION/PERVERSION REQUIRES A REFLECTIVE, POLITICALLY (AND PHILOSOPHICALLY)
PRAGMATIC AND ETHICALLY ACCEPTABLE SYSTEMS METHODOLOGY

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