Article: "Laws of Nature, Source Unknown"

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Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 05:42 pm
I agree Pagan it is a conundrum which cannot be solved. I don't want to argue from law to lawgiver. However science just assumes these laws to exists. Why they exist is out of scope for science. All of the originators of modern science took it for granted that the Universe was lawful because God made it so. The declaration that there is no God really changes the whole ball game. I still maintain that the so-called 'modern scientific account' is completely unintelligible as a result. We understand little bits, here and there. But there are many things the existence of which we assume of which can give no account whatever. I really challenge anyone to show that the concept of matter itself has not become completely unintelligible.

When you say 'the evidence is'... what you're actually saying is 'my interpretation is...'. The 'evidence' is the same for everyone, but the interpretation varies wildly.

As for 'emergence' - it is a fascinating line of thought, but what does it really show? If a higher level phenomenon 'emerges' from the interaction of lower-level components, does this show something has been 'caused' or 'created'? Or does it show that an implicit level or order has simply become explicit ?

---------- Post added 08-14-2009 at 09:47 AM ----------

You see, I consider myself a sceptic. I think it is the scientists who are believers now.
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 07:03 pm
hi jeeprs

i agree that the 'whereabouts'. origin, nature, cause of the laws of physics is just assumed by scientists and it appears that to progress science one doesn't have to think about it.

I think one possible consequence of emergence is a higher level of indeterminism as much as determinism. I also think that emergence can give rise to new 'forms' like consciousness, that has a physical effect upon the universe. Further these new forms are quite possibly not material and therefore science may not be enough to understand the non physical realm.

The problem for me of inherent order inevitably giving rise to everything, is that it feels like the conservation of information theory that science posits. This information is spread about through physical process, but the conservation implies non creation. Just change. That just doesn't feel right to me. Nothing is lost or gained. Its just a variation of determinism in the non material information medium. I mean what is order? Its an abstract concept like a conservation law. A conservation law is a form of order.

Yet even science is grappling with inherent chaos in its description of the universe. I know there are those who therefore believe in hidden variables and a holographic universe, but that just feels like trying to get rid of all chaos. Reducing chaos to illusion. It seems to me that science can only describe in terms of order by the very nature of its method. Probability theory is a strange hybrid. If it is fundamental then chaos is as inherent in the universe as much as order is.
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 07:34 pm
I thought that chaos theory was showing that chaos was not so chaotic after all. In fact isn't where all this emergence theory came from?

I am sceptical about the 'determinism vs indeterminism' argument, or perhaps I don't understand it. Determinism says that 'everything is determined therefore free will is an illusion' does it not? My understanding is somewhat different. Intentional actions give rise to tendencies which are strongly predictive of behaviours. This is karma. However even then a degree of freedom is possible, for humans anyway, because they are self aware and can act to free themselves of such tendencies. So it is not as if you're entirely free, on the one hand, or entirely bound, on the other. We have a degree of freedom - and actually in the modern world a pretty high degree - and can choose to direct it constructively if we act with wisdom.

As far as the 'eternal order' goes, I think the attitude of the Platonists and Neo-platonists was not just to say 'oh yea, eternal order, everything is pre-destined.' I think there was actually a profound spiritual discipline involved whereby the 'soul ascends to the realm of intelligible form' and an insight into 'the source of being'. This was understood by the Neo-platonists, but not so much by Aristotle - as a result his metaphysics was much more mechanistic and I think is far more under threat now than Plato's was. I have never read much of Plato and am certainly no scholar, but what I know of him really resonates now.
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 07:35 pm
what is so wrong with the idea that life and language emerged? The laws of physics emerged from that. Thus a law is a description, not the thing in itself. The universe doesn't obey the human descriptions, the human descriptions (the laws) obey the universe, in order to remain a consistent description of it. The law giver is the universe. The scribe is humankind. It is us who obeys, not the universe. It is us who hold the laws, for ourselves. The source is the scientific method in the creative hands and minds of humanity, applied to the universe.

When viewed as such it is very possible that humankind will never describe the universe completely.

---------- Post added 08-14-2009 at 02:45 AM ----------

I thought that chaos theory was showing that chaos was not so chaotic after all. In fact isn't where all this emergence theory came from?
well chaos theory isn't all that there is to be said mathematically and scientifically about chaos. As to the historical source of emergence it is not dependent upon chaos theory.

It seems to me obvious that science can only describe order. Chaos theory is an example of that. But a method of decription that is totally biased towards order can hardly be held up as conclusive evidence that all of the universe is ordered. If we wear pink shades, all looks pink. Where does this universal pinkness come from? ..... our shades!
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 08:13 pm
Can't really differ with you in that.

---------- Post added 08-14-2009 at 01:29 PM ----------

although I am still inclined towards philosophical idealism except in my understanding the model is much more like 'Brahman' than 'God'. The terms are used interchangeably in some places but the implications are really quite different.

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