T Nation

Forces Of The Universe

Entropy is a property used extensively in chemistry to study reactions. Basically, it consists of the organization of particles. The more disorganized, the higher the entropy.

Because organization is not maintainable in the long run, in stituations left to their own, entropy will increase until it reaches an equilibrium - which would likely be the point past which you cannot get any more random and disorganized. It affects many things such as reaction spontaneity and speed.

It’s claimed the entropy of the universe is increasing indefinitely, and that because of this, organization is not sustainable indefinitely and is prepetually decaying. Our bodies are an example - we get older every day, result of the decreasing function of our cells whose ability to repair itself decreases.

What if there is another quality akin to entropy, but its opposite - so that like forces, they either neutralize each other… or, even better, so that the opposite of entropy prevails.

In that case one would expect organization to prevail, and the end result.

Pure organization would have many facets such as possibly infinite intelligence (imagine your brain constructed an infinite number of times better, a result of perfect organization and a resulting negative entropy, preventing its quality from decaying). It seems it would be all-powerful as well - imagine a perfectly organized system, such that anything to be done can be done immediately, effectively, to exact specification to the smallest detail.

Yes, it’s another geeky moment, and possibly a very stupid idea.

What if intelligence was that force? And what if that force were slowly increasing from the beginning of the universe, so that eventually it overpowers entropy on a grand scale? We already control entropy on a small scale - our somewhat organized systems keep improving, which is seen in our improved technology such as computers. Simply put , our power to control our environment is increasing and our knowledge of it is increasing. Our awareness of it is increasing, a result of our ability to now ‘see’ invisible types of radiations and miniscule particles, as well as things in the corners of the universe. Our power over it is slowly increasing - and my point is, we’re not going to be all-powerful - but could intelligence sparkling everywhere grow to a point where it overpowers entropy on a large scale?

Molecules organized to self-sufficient cells, which organized to small organisms, which continued to evolve, and now these organisms have formed societies, which in turn have organized (or are trying to) organized into global beings. Someday very far in the future, with life from other places, they would organize into something even more self-sufficient, with yet a more far reaching ability to control their environment. Clearly there is a trend for this organizational ability to control our surroundings, even as entropy works against it in most places.

If you take this trend to infinity, and knowing that all-powerful, all knowing, all-loving is the definition of God…wouldn’t God be this…in infinity?

You may laugh outloud in a very absurd tone now. I just found it curious.

You might want to read “The Physics of Immortality.”

[quote]diesel25 wrote:
What if intelligence was that force? And what if that force were slowly increasing from the beginning of the universe, so that eventually it overpowers entropy on a grand scale? We already control entropy on a small scale - our somewhat organized systems keep improving, which is seen in our improved technology such as computers.[/quote]

We don’t control entropy at all. Producing those computers, “creating order” if you will, requires us to expend energy. That spent energy increases the total entropy of the universe by a greater amount than that of the order created.

There’s never any violation of the physical laws. Any organised system, be it man made or natural requires an expenditure of energy greater than it itself possesses at the beginning of it’s existence. Take for example a pregnancy, where two lives will produce a third one. It takes 9 months and a large amount of energy (seen as the increased food intake and fatigue on the mother) to produce that baby. It has been estimated that the caloric cost of a pregnancy is around 80,000 kcal. An 8 pound baby could be evaluated to 28,000 calories if we go by the classic 3,500 calories a pound.

So a crude estimate would show that you need to “entropize” 80,000 calories of energy to “order” or organize 28,000 calories in a functioning human being.

As for growing older, there might be a possibility of slowing or even stopping the process once all the factors in cellular degeneration are understood. Cancer cells, for example, prevent their
telomeres from getting too short, in effect becoming immortal. That leads to them reproducing wildly out of control and produces tumors which are uncontrolled “growths” of cells. If that process can be better understood and eventually harnessed, we might be able to extend the lifetime of our normal, healthy cells by preventing the telomeres from getting too short.

But even if we managed that and extend our lifespans a great deal; we’d still wouldn’t “control” entropy to any degree. We’d still have to eat and in that way expend more energy than our bodies orderly form contain. We’d simply use the same energy for a longer time span. In other words, we’d create entropy over a longer length of time to preserve order during that same length.

Eventually, either the Big Crunch, the Big Rip or everything decaying to iron and then to a sparse soup of elementary particles will catch up to us (well, not us but our distant descendants if the human race manages to survive that long…) and entropy wins.

And I thought I was being philosophical and geeky today.

Pookie, I think you addressed the physical aspects well, but ignored the non-physical nature of the original post.

I like magnets.
I also like the idea that everything in the universe is exactly the way it should be at just the right moment. No one moment like another, but all of them just as they are supposed to be.
I also like the origional Chaos theory. Not the new agey butterfly effect one, but the one put forth by Ponicaire.
Maybe there is a giant universal polarization occuring, and we are just too small to realize it. All of this dispersion of energy and re-alignment of particles and planets is just a part of it.
On a different note: I remembered the imitation of Zeb that said “BIBLECHINS!” last night and almost fell down a flight of steps laughing.
Now thats dorky.

From what I gleemed from your article, it seems your under the impression that somehow there’s an intelligence behind the universe guiding it to an order, and eventually into beings like us, who are intelligent, and that is somehow the way things are supposed to happen.
“chaos into order”

It’s not a trend. Organic life is no more ordered than anything else.

And vroom, there’s no such thing as non-physical. That’s all there is.

I’m hoping this made sense. I just woke up, in a bad mood. I’ll probably read this later and shake my head

I didn’t say there is an intelligence behind everything.

I said, intelligence is being created, and the trend is for it to continue increasing.

Good points were made.

[quote]vroom wrote:
And I thought I was being philosophical and geeky today.

Pookie, I think you addressed the physical aspects well, but ignored the non-physical nature of the original post.[/quote]

As far as we know, the universe is finite. So taking about “infinite” intelligence evolving over infinite time, etc. is meaningless.

Or, to take it from another angle, our intelligence is limited; how can we then try to envision the thoughts of a superior intelligence, let alone an “infinite” one.

Even a slightly superior one, let’s say we manage to create intelligent machines and they eventually become smarter than we are (it is, after all, easier to add CPUs and RAM to a machines than neurons to a human brain…) How can we possibly predict what happens after?

[quote]mindeffer01 wrote:
I like magnets.[/quote]

Good for you. I like beef myself.

You’re probably the only friend that idea has then.

  1. Who the fuck is Ponicaire? Sounds like a health service for small horses.

  2. Chaos theory has nothing “new agey” about it. Don’t get your science from Ashton Kutcher movies…

Big bunch of meaningless drivel. The universe has poles? Which energy is dispersing? What particles are re-aligning? The planets are not aligning; they orbit.

[quote]On a different note: I remembered the imitation of Zeb that said “BIBLECHINS!” last night and almost fell down a flight of steps laughing.
Now thats dorky.[/quote]

Maybe you shoudln’t read T-Nation in the stairs then…


Is gravity itself physical? I know it operates on physical entities, but does it qualify as physical itself?

Is information physical? I know it is represented in physical media, but does it inherently qualify as physical itself?

Are concepts physical?

I’m not trying to argue in favor of the original post per se, but in all things there is balance. Opposing forces of repulsion and attraction at the subatomic level, for example.

It isn’t impossible that something in some way might be a balance for entropy.

So, other than life, or intelligence, what natural systems systematically work to build pockets of organization?

[quote]comguy1 wrote:
It’s not a trend. Organic life is no more ordered than anything else. [/quote]

I beg to differ. I’d bet a largish sum of money that their is very few ways in which the 10 trillions or so cells that make you “you” could be arranged and still let you be “you”.

You can try it at home by stepping into a blender and noticing that removing order from your physical being tend to make you look like a big soup of skin, meat and organs. Yech.

[quote]diesel25 wrote:
I said, intelligence is being created, and the trend is for it to continue increasing.[/quote]

Based on what?

The only intelligence we know is our own. We’ve been around for a very short period of time… it seems the earth and the universe got along fine well before our emergence and would probably do fine without us if, by some mean or other, we managed to blow ourselves away our were driven to extinction by some natural catastrophe (volcano, asteroid, etc)

From that we might gather that intelligent life is not a necessity in the universe.

Once intellignece appears, does it increase continually and without limit? There probably is a “physical” limit to the size our brains can grow. Much in the way that 30-feet giant men are impossible because they couldn’t support their own weight, there is a physical limit to the size a brain can attain. The question is: are we already at this limit? I’d guess not, but it could be.

Also, is intelligence really still evolving? With civilization, natural selection stops occuring almost completely. Being “smarter” than average does not necessarily garantee that your genes will be passed on more than if you’re dumb; as most nerds and geeks can testify to.

It seems to me that your perceived “trend” is more wishful thinking that actual factual observation.

It might be possible to increase our intelligence thru genetic manipulations once we fully understand our genetic code. We’ll of course then come to a problem of ethics (not to mention religion… playing “god” and all that). Or we might create, if we’re smart enough, intelligent machines that will surpass our own intelligence.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Is gravity itself physical? I know it operates on physical entities, but does it qualify as physical itself?[/quote]

Gravity is a physical force. If it operates on “non-physical” entities, we wouldn’t know…

Information can be seen as a particular order imposed on a physical support. With no support to encode or describe it, there is no information.

Is beauty physical? Is justice physical? How about love? These might be considered metaphysical, if you agree that those ideas exists of and by themselves whether or not physical beings exist to think them. Mathematics might be a better example. 2+2=4 is true and undeniable whether or not anything exists to contemplate that 2+2=4.

Those forces are still physical. In our current “Standard model” all forces can be seen as an exchange of particles between other particles. Balance is preserved in that not matter or energy will be spontaneously created out of nothing, but simply thru conversion from one form to another. If you really want to balance entropy with something, you could say that as entropy increases, order decreases… there is currently a lot of order in the universe, so we’re good to go for a long while. :slight_smile:

It does not appear so. As far as we know, entropy as a total cannot be reduced. You can reverse entropy in a small area but at a cost of increasing it by at least the same amount elsewhere. You can’t win; generally you can’t even break even.

Stars and planets are organized into galaxies; which themselves seem to be clustered together in “clusters” and “super-clusters” which in turn appear to form at least one “great wall”…

There might be more than one universe; it might also be that our universe eventually recollapses on itself and bounces back in a new Big Bang, in effect resetting everything. That theory, the “Big Crunch” has fallen a bit out of favor these last few years, because it does not appear that out universe will eventually slow down its expansion and collapse back on itself.

This was my point:

I don’t mean there is a greater intelligence apart from us, who is consciously moving every atom as he chooses.

My argument instead says this: A greater is BEING created, and we are a part of it. This greater intelligence has been taking shape from the beginning of time, when particles first started to organize.

First atoms were created, followed by different molecules, which organized into more complex organic ones. These, by chance, organized into rudimentary life forms, which now could, to a small extent, control their environment to survive. These rudimentary life forms eventually organized into yet better beings, which allowed them greater controlover their environment,ensuring survival. As these beings evolved, different cells started to specialize in different functions.

Imagine being a cell in your body. It’s a fact that each indivual cell is a form of life. Cells likely have their origin in more rudimentary life forms - which never evolved much past rudimentary. What happened, was that instead, these rudimentary cells organized into complex beings. Through evolution, these cells differentiated - that is, specialized, in different functions. Some specialized in intellectual functions. Others in assuring nutrient supply to the whole body. Others to disposal of waste. Others to ensuring harmful bacteria and substances are eliminated before they hurt cells in the body. Others are involved in perception.

How is that different from what we have today? I argue that we,like these cells, will not evolve much past our current level fast enough to compete with the new capabilities of a more far-reaching being which will be comprised of our global society,as it evolves. Like our bodies, we have ‘cells’ which specialize in waste disposal, in ensuring harmful ‘bacteria’ - criminals - don’t hurt somebody, we have ‘cells’ - scientists - whose sole function is to analyze our environment. Much like these cells did as they gradually formed the organized beings we are, we are expanding the means to perceive the world. A cell - think of an individual bacteria as a comparison - would likely not be able to see color images of their world of possibly hear sound. Not to the extent the organized beings we are can. Much like them, the greater being being formed, will be able to perceive their surroundings in ways we cannot.

Think of an individual cell. The fact that DNA dictates what it becomes and what location in the body it will find itself at, does not mean it is a dummy life form. It goes through the processes which make up its daily life - metabolize energy so it can survive. Prevent harmful bacteria from invading it. Etc. It has no awareness of the fact that it belongs to an incredible being who, unbeknownst to it, ensures this cell’s survival in every way possible - from the right nutrition, to the right environmental conditions, to the ability to control the environment just to ensure each cell in the body survives.

Our society’s function is no different. We’ve organized into societies for the sole reason that this ‘social being’ has capabilities we do not have. It can protect us from harm. It can provide us with food.
Each time we see a danger - a lion for example, every reaction is NOTHING but the combination of the reactions of every cell. A group of specialized cells will perceive the threat (eye cells for example). A group of specialized cells will analyze it (brain cells). A group of other cells will send a signal to the right parts of the body to get ready for action (adrenaline producing cells). More cells in the brain will dictate the course of action. Finally, after getting the right signal, the cells responsible for action will act (muscle cells).

Carry this process to society. A group of ‘cells’ will perceive a danger - f.ex., intelligence specialists for the military using radio and video equipment. A group of cells will recognize a threat - commanders in the military f.ex… These will send a signal to the right parts of the ‘body’ to get ready for action - pilots, army units, and such. After other ‘cells’ make the decision - the president and higher-ups - the right ‘cell groups’ will act - the pilots will take off, and the army units will start roving their tanks.

That is just an analogy, but it’s clear that our society is imitating the pattern our cells followed in forming our bodies. Except now the process is accelerated by intelligence, and not just left to pure chance - and is not dependent on strict biology. Our satellites, observing infra-red and gamma radiation are the new eyes of this far more complex being than each of us could ever be. This is the kind of being which will have to prevail, because it is the fittest for survival. Comparing our bodies to a simple cell, we are far superior - and the global being we’re creating is yet more superior.

My arugment, plain and simple is this:

This organization isn’t a casual event disconnected from everything else. It’s a pattern which governs life. Superior life forms will encompass a multitude of organizational levels and will have have aweareness of these levels, while the’cells’ which make them up will not necessarily have a clue what they’re part of.

As such, extending this argument to infinity, an infinitely organized being, with incredible intelligence, incredible awareness, and incredible reach will be formed. This infinite being would be GOD. It would be aware of everything. It would be all powerful. It would be all-loving because otherwise would mean hating part of itself, which is contradictory since the force driving this organizational evolution would be survival, and hating part of one’s self has no function in ‘survival’.

THAT is what I was wondering about. It is very geeky, but it seems minimally plausble to my uneducated view.

Pookie, I know that gravity operates on physical things, but you know that isn’t my point. We are physical beings in a physical universe, of that there can be no doubt.

Quantum issues, such as entanglement, lead to some pretty bizarre behaviors and concepts.

I know, I know, I’m just tossing random things out. However, consider the birth of our own universe, it happened. A whole lot of order was created somehow – obviously the potential undeniably exists.

We don’t know what brought that about, or whether or not it can happen again in some capacity.

Looks like you guys just walked into pookie’s gym, and he’s giving lessons.

Keep 'em coming though–

mental masturbation

Pookie is setting you boys straight.


Yes and no. The real kicker is this…

What if a new big bang could be created via the application of scientific principles yet to be learned in the future?

Would it not be a moral imperative to beings living at the time that entropy was approaching the point that life could not be sustained for much longer to start it all over again?

Whether or not it recycled our universe or started another would be immaterial. It would put the concept of intelligence in an interesting light though.

[quote]sasquatch wrote:
Looks like you guys just walked into pookie’s gym, and he’s giving lessons.

Keep 'em coming though–



you’re joking, right?

edit: im gonna call myself an idiot and retract the previous statement before i hurt myself…

i do have one qualm tho, im sure we don’t know that the universe is finite.

Anyway, for thoughts on balance, without looking to intelligence, here are a couple.

The action of gravity itself will seperate component substances. The denser substances will force lighter substances to float – and no, I’m not claiming it is perfect. It does act against pure random distribution of matter. This works on planets or within stars.

Interestingly, the application or withdrawal of heat can both be used to separate substances, at least within a gravity well.

Salt water oceans are heated by the sun and fresh water evaporates. Substances evaporate at different temperatures and can be pulled out of a random mixture in this way.

Alternately, if substances are already in a gaseous state, removing external sources of heat in a controlled way will allow condensation and separation from a more random state yet again.

I know, these events are all driven from energy derived from fusion within stars and that they will eventually expire.

The question is whether or not there is a path that allows recyling of matter from fusion end products to fusion inputs – whether or not it is natural or eventually contrived via intelligent beings (an alternate to requiring something akin to another big bang).

By the way, diesel, I think I’m going in a different direction then you intended, so I may be guilty of some conversation entropy (hijacking) here. I hope you don’t mind my ramblings.