Stuart Kauffman was one of the first people to experiment with random boolean networks, leading him to the idea of self-organisation. He proposed a theory for the origin of life based on autocatalytic networks.

All this is described in his book The Origins of Order: Self-Organisation and Selection in Evolution and in the more recent and more readable At Home in the Universe.

His basic argument is that when a system passes a critical level of complexity it generates "order for free". In an early Scientific American article he called this phenomenon antichaos. Examples include the slope of sand piles, gene cycles, frequency distribution of earthquakes, extinctions and words, macroeconomics, and pretty much anything else that isn't an ideal gas.