Harold Hamilton

In existographies, Harold J. Hamilton (1924-) is an American computer scientist and complexity theory philosopher, noted for []

In 1977, Hamilton, in his “A Thermodynamic Theory of the Origin and Hierarchical Evolution of Living Systems”, attempted to explain evolution on the platform of Ilya Prigogine and some type of chemical affinity theory; the abstract of which is as follows:

“Growing interest in the origin of life, the physical foundations of biological theory, and the evolution of animal social systems has led to increasing efforts to understand the processes by which elements or living systems at one level of organizational complexity combine to form stable systems of higher order. J. Bronowski saw the need to extend or reformulate evolutionary theory to deal with the hierarchy problem and to account for the evolution of systems of “stratified stability.” The hierarchy problem has become a matter of great interest also in nonequilibrium thermodynamic theory.

An effort is made here to develop an abstract, phenomenological model, based on the laws of thermodynamics, to account for the origin and hierarchical evolution of living systems. It is argued that the principle of minimum entropy production, developed by I. Prigogine, applies generally to all thermodynamic systems and processes and is implicit in an extended and more complete formulation of the second law of thermodynamics. From this are derived a thermodynamic criterion and a principle of thermodynamic selection governing the formation of stable systems of “elements” of various levels of organization.

Thermodynamic selection gives rise to the creation of “elements” having increasingly “open” characteristic structures which may combine spontaneously to form “social” or crystalline systems capable of growing and reproducing themselves through processes of fissioning or budding. Such simple, self‐reproducing systems are capable of evolving by natural selection, which is seen to be a special case of the more general process of thermodynamic selection. The principle of natural selection, thus formulated, has the character of a fundamental physical law. Self‐reproducing systems with suitably open hereditary programs may combine to form stable social systems, which may grow and reproduce as a unit. In this way self‐reproducing systems of increasing hierarchical order, size, and organizational complexity may evolve through processes of thermodynamic (natural) selection. Some implications of this open‐ended model and opportunities for testing its empirical and theoretical utility are explored.”

In c.1978, Hamilton sent a copy of his nonequilibrium theory of evolution to Alexander Zotin, who urged him to apply his reasoning to not only organism, but also to “physical or even cosmic problems”. [4]

In 2010, Georgi Gladyshev, in his “Hierarchical Thermodynamics and Homeokinetics”, claimed that Hamilton may have been influenced by his 1977 article “On the Thermodynamics of Biological Evolution”; specifically he claims that Hamilton “was well informed about the preprint of my [1977] publication that was published six months before his work”. [2]
In 1940, Hamilton trained in radar theory and engineering at Stanford University, and served in the Army Signal Corps during WWII, until his discharge in 1946. In 1949, Hamilton completed his undergraduate degree at Stanford.

In 1950, he joined the Librascope division of General Precision to supervise the development of digital computers for the military. In the 1950s to 1962, Hamilton worked for the Airforce to develop a gas-ion simulation of excitable membrane as a means for modelling neural systems.
In 1964, Hamilton began working to complete an interdisciplinary PhD, at the University of Southern California, on the development of theoretical and pragmatic tools for coping with what Warren Weaver called “problems of organized complexity”, during which time he generalized Wassily Leontief’s input / output analysis of economic systems, in some way having supposed applicability to Darwinian selection theory.

In 1977, Hamilton was a fellow of the Center for World Studies, Granada Hills, Ca. In 1981, Hamilton joined Censtor Corp, a Silicon Valley startup, where he developed perpendicular magnetic recording devices for multiple computers to store and share mass information.

In 1994, Hamilton retired from Censtor Corp, after which he began re-engage into research in “thermodynamics and living systems”. [4]

In 2013, Hamilton, in his Gravity in Relativistic Particle Theory, discusses how his “nonequilibrium thermodynamic imperative” theory, resulting from “my extended second law and the Heisenberg indeterminacy principle”, has allowed him to develop a self-consistent theory of “the creation” and how “all of creation, so evident before our eyes and instruments, is a natural evolutionary consequence of a universal driving force, i.e. a creative force”. Hamilton overall aim, in short, is to sell a Trojan horse ontic opening type of god theory wrapped in Prigogine-styled thermodynamics.

Quotes | On
The following are quotes on Hamilton:

“One attempt to apply the minimum entropy principle to society appears as part of Hamilton’s model for the entire course of evolution and natural selection, beginning with prebiotic evolution and carrying through to expanding postindustrial societies of today.”
Richard Adams (1988), The Eighth Day (pg. 47)

Quotes | By
The following are quotes by Hamilton:

“The process by which stable organized systems, including living systems, are created may be explained most satisfactorily in terms of a general quantum theory of the affinities between elements and its phenomenological counterpart derived from the principle of minimum entropy production.”
— Harold Hamilton (1977), “A Thermodynamic Theory of the Origin and Hierarchical Evolution of Living Systems” (pg. 299) [3]

1. Hamilton, H.J. (1977). “A Thermodynamic Theory of the Origin and Hierarchical Evolution of Living Systems” (abs) (Ѻ), Zygon, 12(4):289-335.
2. (a) Gladyshev, Georgi. (2010). his “Hierarchical Thermodynamics and Homeokinetics” (Ѻ), WordPress, Nov 3.
(b) Gladyshev, Georgi, P. (1978). “On the Thermodynamics of Biological Evolution”, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 75, Issue 4, Dec 21, pp. 425-441 (Preprint, Chernogolovka, Institute of Chem. Phys. Academy of Science of USSR, May, 1977, 46 pgs).
3. (a) Hamilton, H.J. (1977). “A Thermodynamic Theory of the Origin and Hierarchical Evolution of Living Systems” (abs) (Ѻ), Zygon, 12(4):289-335.
(b) Adams, Richard N. (1988). The Eighth Day: Social Evolution as the Self-Organization of Energy (pg. 59). University of Texas Press.
4. Hamilton, Harold J. (2013). Gravity in Relativistic Particle Theory: a Physical Foundation for the Life Sciences (theory origin, pgs. 15-16; about the author, pgs. 356-). LuLu.

Further reading
● Hamilton, Harold J. (1964). Neural Theory and Modeling. Stanford University Press.
● Hamilton, Harold J. (1978). A Thermodynamic Theory of the Origin and Hierarchical Evolution of Living Systems. University of Chicago Press.

External links
Hamilton, H.J. – WorldCat Identities.

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