Entropy, complexity, infinity, and a possible rational explanation of God
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16-11-2014, 03:36 PM
Entropy, complexity, infinity, and a possible rational explanation of God
I'd start by saying that I'm not trying to preach here or claiming to be correct. These are some ideas that have been making a lot of sense to me recently and I want to see what those you with more knowledge in physics and philosophy think of them.

I first started thinking about this when I dropped acid about half a year ago, which I found to be a hugely mind opening experience (having said this I also experienced the negative sides of the drug and would advise to approach with caution). I was overwhelmed by the complexity of our universe; the billions of cells making up our bodies, the billions of atoms making up those cells, the billions of stars and galaxies. I studied evolution at university which got the idea into my head of smaller parts coming together to make a greater whole. I wondered if this chain of complexity, systems within systems, really ended at the limits of what we could detect - what if it stretched on forever, beyond subatomic particles, and beyond the edges of the known universe, and forward and backwards in time?

For a while I thought I thought I was just tripping - acid is known to make people convinced they're seeing patterns - but reading into some of the ideas I'd been having I realised that these were very current concepts in physics and philosophy, maybe I wasn't just going mad!

To quote The Retroactive Universe by Avi Rabinowitz (1993);

"According to one of the most basic laws of physics, known as "the second law of thermodynamics", the amount of disorder - or "entropy" - in the universe is constantly increasing. However, this does not mean that order or organization or complexity cannot increase anywhere in the universe - it can, but only at the expense of a yet greater net increase in disorder in the universe as a whole. Thus the net entropy of the universe as a whole always increases, even for processes which cause a local increase of order and complexity.

This means that the entropy of the universe was at a minimum at the big bang, and has increased since then. However, looking at the universe at its different stages, one is struck by the increase in order and complexity, rather than in the increase in chaos.

Guided by gravitational attraction, planets are formed from chaotic combinations of gases, so that the resulting planet has a much more complex structure than the material it was formed from. Nevertheless, when all the subtle aspects of the process of planetary formation and its effect on the surrounding space are taken into account, it can be shown that it gives rise to a net increase in entropy. (Furthermore, although the action of the gravitational force leads to greater order, so that it would seem that order is increasing in the universe, and was at a minimum at the big bang, when taking into account the expansion of space-time which is an unavoidable consequence of the same law of nature which 'produces' gravity, one can see that entropy always increases.)"

To me, the world, made up of its innumerable constituent parts, makes a lot of sense when seen as an accumulation of localised increases in complexity; and being in a state of equilibrium this increase in complexity could effectively be infinite. An infinite universe is also one of the most comfortable explanations of how the world as we know it can exist, why the laws of physics are as they are - everything that can happen, will happen.

So, here's where God comes in...

Given universal equilibrium between order and disorder (entropy), complexity, and therefore consciousness (the two are undoubtedly linked), could be assumed to reach levels infinitely greater than our own. Could these greater levels of consciousness be able to look back at us in the same way as we look back at lower levels of complexity? This does invoke the idea of an all encompassing consciousness being formed, one God of everything, a universal whole, of whom we are a cog. Perhaps we are the 'gods' of our dimension and the subjects of others...

Speculative I know, I still do not believe in gods, but I certainly find this explanation of God logically sound, and perhaps an unavoidable result of an infinite universe?
I would firmly state that this does not justify an interventionist god; there is no evidence of divine intervention ever having occurred. I'm therefore still the same skeptical person I was before, I still believe in science and rationality, I still believe Western religion is a plague to human potential and free thought.

Consider this though; disordered or 'supernatural' things could occur when maximum entropy is reached; by this I do not mean ghosts and miracles, but perhaps black holes would be an example, or even free will?

And of course another argument for infinity - "If God made the universe who made God?".

Please don't let this God stuff I've brought in overwhelm the discussion here - I'm most interested in what people have to say about the equilibrium between order and chaos, and how this may be the key to understanding reality.
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16-11-2014, 05:09 PM
RE: Entropy, complexity, infinity, and a possible rational explanation of God
Are you tripping right now? Sorry bud, count me out on this.

Check out my now-defunct atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
----
Atheism promotes critical thinking; theism promotes hypocritical thinking. -- Me
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16-11-2014, 05:41 PM (This post was last modified: 16-11-2014 05:44 PM by Spacedog.)
RE: Entropy, complexity, infinity, and a possible rational explanation of God
(16-11-2014 05:09 PM)WillHopp Wrote:  Are you tripping right now? Sorry bud, count me out on this.

At the god point or the whole thing? Because up until then it was well established physics, or was I incorrect in assuming equilibrium could be infinite?
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16-11-2014, 05:48 PM
RE: Entropy, complexity, infinity, and a possible rational explanation of God
"... universal equilibrium between order and disorder (entropy), complexity, and therefore consciousness (the two are undoubtedly linked)..."

How are the two undoubtedly linked? Also, why? Shy

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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16-11-2014, 06:00 PM
RE: Entropy, complexity, infinity, and a possible rational explanation of God
I'm just gonna add this video about entropy because I love it so much and could/literally have watch this dozens of times over. I probably watched it so many times because I never wisely understood these ideas until I kept pouring over scientific understandings.



There was no necessarily grand minimal entropy state. But the early particle moments of the big bang were at a low entropy state as all. Nearly anything done to shift it, would alter the form into a high entropy state of less structured form. It doesn't mean something significant about the previous state.

There is no real evidence consciousness is inherently connected in any significant way to complexity.. We humans like to apply high level of praise to consciousness but it's a flawed praise of our power over all other Earth based life we know. It's not for sure anything deeply significant nor universally empowering.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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16-11-2014, 06:01 PM
RE: Entropy, complexity, infinity, and a possible rational explanation of God
Entropy isn't really about disorder. It's about systems regressing out of special useful states and into more run of the mill states through random processes. In special cases increased entropy can actually mean increased order. Entropy is related to temperature and to the amount of energy available in a system to do work. Changes of state of a system can typically be energy driven (things fall into a lower energy state and thereby release heat) or entropy driven (things transition into a higher entropy state and thereby absorb heat).

Black holes are not in any sense supernatural. We have at least one and probably many in our own galaxy. They are just very massive objects. They do not need entropy to form. They need things to fall into them to become massive enough to become black, ie their parts need to fall into lower energy states. That is not an entropy-driven change. Free will is not well-defined enough to have an explanation, so trying to figure out why it exists is moot until you can demonstrate that it actually exists and thereby needs an explanation.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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16-11-2014, 06:02 PM
RE: Entropy, complexity, infinity, and a possible rational explanation of God
If one was to see consciousness as being measurable - i.e. a chicken has some sense that it exists within the universe, but you and me are clearly more aware of who, what and where we are - the fuel for that increased consciousness is going to be more connections between brain cells, which means more complexity.
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16-11-2014, 06:27 PM
RE: Entropy, complexity, infinity, and a possible rational explanation of God
tl;dr
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16-11-2014, 06:33 PM (This post was last modified: 16-11-2014 06:50 PM by Spacedog.)
RE: Entropy, complexity, infinity, and a possible rational explanation of God
(16-11-2014 05:48 PM)kim Wrote:  "... universal equilibrium between order and disorder (entropy), complexity, and therefore consciousness (the two are undoubtedly linked)..."

How are the two undoubtedly linked? Also, why? Shy

I
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16-11-2014, 06:45 PM
RE: Entropy, complexity, infinity, and a possible rational explanation of God
(16-11-2014 06:33 PM)Spacedog Wrote:  
(16-11-2014 05:48 PM)kim Wrote:  "... universal equilibrium between order and disorder (entropy), complexity, and therefore consciousness (the two are undoubtedly linked)..."

How are the two undoubtedly linked? Also, why? Shy

I suppose because a more powerful brain (relying upon more neural connections = more complexity) is clearly linked to the increased consciousness between a human and a mouse.
Also the idea that evolution jumps up in complexity when individual systems band together, allowing them to carry out several functions at once to increase overall productivity.

This does not however mean that it could expand infinitely, I admit to overlooking that flaw.

I didn't really want to focus on the god part anyways, much more interested in whether everything in the universe really is in equilibrium with something else, and if this is true could this be evidence that the universe is infinite?
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