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Thread: Can Order Exist Without Purpose?

  1. #1 Can Order Exist Without Purpose? 
    Forum Junior Kolt's Avatar
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    I know this is pretty much the sixty four thousand dollar question. I mean, if anyone had a definitive answer either way it could very well end all debates on creationism vs. evolution, the origins of the universe, creating new intelligences etc etc.

    But I am still curious as to what everyone thinks. We all know that order can exist "With" purpose; like building a log cabin or writing a computer program. But can order arise out of chaos with no real function or aim? For example I hear a lot about how you can watch the clothes in a dryer spinning over and over again and, given enough time, you can begin to detect recurring patterns.


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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    there are currently a number of theories indicating that things like energy, matter, gravity and mass, which we see as fundamental building blocks of the universe, are actually emergent properties of an underlying reality

    if this turns out to be true, then that means a resounding "yes" to your question, unless you want to sneak in the concept of god as the ultimate purpose-generating machine


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  4. #3  
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    I have to agree with maximR

    just think of all those non-spontaneous reactions that occur. That "order" their system. And they can happen without people making them happen.
    They just need energy in some form.
    (Fe)male = male alloyed with iron for greater strength, ductility, and magnetism.
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  5. #4  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    The emergence of order and of heirarchical suites of properties seems to be a fundamental property of the Universe. Of course, this says nothing about whether the character of the Universe is accidental, or was designed.
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  6. #5 Re: Can Order Exist Without Purpose? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kolt
    But I am still curious as to what everyone thinks. We all know that order can exist "With" purpose; like building a log cabin or writing a computer program. But can order arise out of chaos with no real function or aim? .

    Highly ordered structure without a purpose: take a look at ordinary table salt, highly ordered, no purpose.

    I generally dislike this "underlying principle" mumbo jumbo, tastes like god-spirit. And be carefull with pattern seeking. We humnas tend to do that and actaully FIND patterns where there are none.
    Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.
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    Humans (and other organisms) have evolved senses and our perceptions of the world around us is governed by the need to function in this world. What we preceive as pattern and order enables us to react rationally with the physical around us. Quantum mechanics has proven that order isn't as fixed as our senses perceive it to be. The salt crystal isn't actually as predictable as we would have thought 100 years ago. There are 'sort of patterns' and 'sort of order' but most of it is really human perception limited by our senses.

    Any connection to a god-variable origin of order is sideline ignorance and just the latest manifestation of mythology to explain the unknown.....the latest variation of 'we don't know so it must be god'
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  8. #7 Re: Can Order Exist Without Purpose? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kolt
    I know this is pretty much the sixty four thousand dollar question. I mean, if anyone had a definitive answer either way it could very well end all debates on creationism vs. evolution, the origins of the universe, creating new intelligences etc etc.

    But I am still curious as to what everyone thinks. We all know that order can exist "With" purpose; like building a log cabin or writing a computer program. But can order arise out of chaos with no real function or aim? For example I hear a lot about how you can watch the clothes in a dryer spinning over and over again and, given enough time, you can begin to detect recurring patterns.
    In addition to all the wonderful responses you have here already, may I just add that, given that a lot depends upon your definition of order, there is order even in randomness - with no underlying rules/conditions. A random spatter of ink on a piece of card will, in places, appear to be ordered. How do you tell the difference?
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  9. #8 Re: Can Order Exist Without Purpose? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kolt
    I know this is pretty much the sixty four thousand dollar question. I mean, if anyone had a definitive answer either way it could very well end all debates on creationism vs. evolution, the origins of the universe, creating new intelligences etc etc.

    But I am still curious as to what everyone thinks. We all know that order can exist "With" purpose; like building a log cabin or writing a computer program. But can order arise out of chaos with no real function or aim? For example I hear a lot about how you can watch the clothes in a dryer spinning over and over again and, given enough time, you can begin to detect recurring patterns.
    Do you think that a snowflake or a crystal that you dig out of the ground has a purpose? They have highly ordered structures.
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  10. #9  
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    Can purpose exist without order?
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Can purpose exist without order?
    of course ! i can be very purposeful at work, but that doesn't mean my desk or my 'to do' lists are a model of ordered organisation
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  12. #11  
    Forum Junior Kolt's Avatar
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    I'm inclined to agree with the consensus so far. Yes, order, or at least our limited interpretation of order, can and does exist without any real definitive purpose. Systems such as a galaxy, snow flake or table salt exist naturally and without any clear intent. But still, the simple question remains, what causes this? Why do elements condense to move in harmony with one another? Is order just an inevitable consequence of basic forward momentum?

    Someone once told me "If something can happen, eventually it will"

    By something I assume that they are referring to any one moment of order to one degree or another, since chaos doesn't really count as anything - that order will occur if for no other reason then to not occur is simply not an option.
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  13. #12 Chaos and Purpose 
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    I'm inclined to agree with the consensus so far. Yes, order, or at least our limited interpretation of order, can and does exist without any real definitive purpose. Systems such as a galaxy, snow flake or table salt exist naturally and without any clear intent. But still, the simple question remains, what causes this? Why do elements condense to move in harmony with one another? Is order just an inevitable consequence of basic forward momentum?

    Someone once told me "If something can happen, eventually it will"

    By something I assume that they are referring to any one moment of order to one degree or another, since chaos doesn't really count as anything - that order will occur if for no other reason then to not occur is simply not an option.
    This question, like every other question, is more about you, the observer, rather than about the nature of existence. A perception of chaos is merely a lack of awareness. It emerges within your brain, not outside of it. There is no state of chaos in nature, only a perception of chaos, within your mind, your very limited mind. So, with that in mind,...

    Everything is a manifestation of the duality of Purpose/Meaning. This duality is non-linear and hyper-dimensional (ie. wave/particle or whole/part duality). In other words, there is no thing which can exist without both a purpose and a meaning. Purpose and meaning are the dual aspects of exsitence, just as wave and particle are the dual aspects of everything that exists. Everything is both a wave (purpose) of lesser particles (means) and a particle (means) of a greater wave (purpose).

    Salt is a part (a means) of something greater (a meal, a sediment, an ocean, a tear drop) and it is a whole (a purpose) of many lesser parts ( sodium molecules, protons and electrons).

    Order does not emerge except as a manifestation of the duality of Purpose/Meaning. To perceive it, you simply have to unfocus and expand your conscious awareness until you perceive this greater reality.
    It's both.
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  14. #13 Re: Chaos and Purpose 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thinkofwhy
    A perception of chaos is merely a lack of awareness. It emerges within your brain, not outside of it. There is no state of chaos in nature, only a perception of chaos, within your mind, your very limited mind. So, with that in mind,....
    So, this is a wholly deterministic view which allows for no free will. that seems at odds with the rest of your (apparent) philosophy.
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  15. #14  
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    Well, yes and no. As my sig indicates, it's both. Existence is a paradox, so principles describing the nature of existence are naturally paradoxical.

    There is both guidance and freedom, just as there is both your family, your community, and your desire to leave the nest and be a part of something else, to serve some other greater purpose, to be guided by some greater whole of which you want to be a part, a servant.

    Neither extreme exists on its own. There are always two extremes, linearly and non-linearly.
    It's both.
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  16. #15  
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    Yep, order is often just something that our minds create to better understand and perceive the world.

    As for the snowflake, it is actually very simple. It only baffles many people because they do not look, or are too lazy (Religious people) to look for the underlying scientific basis. With snow flakes, their shape is only a highly superimposed shape and process of the waters electromagnetic field shape.
    Really, each sector of the snowflake is kind of disordered; the geometry comes from the way crystals form, once again superimposed from the atomic level; so, all thats left is copping each section 8, or how ever so many times to complete it.

    There was a discussion that I created in the physics area about why when salt is vibrated on a sheet of metal at certain frequencies, forms very certain shapes. It all comes down to superimposed atomic properties.


    The same idea applies to every other thing that religious people are baffled about; tending to call it a work of a god.

    Look at life. Our cells, as I learned in advanced Biology, are based on varying properties of nature. When you really look into it, it is very simple, like the snowflake, but requires just a little bit of effort to figure out.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"

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