Thursday, July 29, 2010

5 important things, 2 of which are imaginary

In response to a political question about "test for religion" in political office, I came up with this response, which turned out not to be so much 'political' or 'religious' after all...

We need a new convention. One to determine the purpose of humanity on
this earth, and to decode the successful behaviors of natural systems
that have been on the planet much longer than our measly imaginations
have. Beneath those systems lie some simple rules which should be applied:

1. Belief doesn’t matter: actions do. (As far as we can tell, humans are the only species that lives according to beliefs that are not sensed directly, and we are having negative effects, rather than positive ones, on the ecosystem.)
2. Give back more than you take. (Successful species have a net useful contribution to an ecosystem.)
3. Diversity is as important as quantity. (If an environment changes, it is the fringe rather than the 'normal' which are adapted to thrive in a new niche.)
4. Joining groups is not mandatory. (Leaving the comfort of a niche compensates for the inevitable changes in environments.)
5. Actions taken based on blind belief (in gods, governments or 'gurus') are irresponsible and usually destructive. (This is simply an extension of #1: Belief doesn't matter until actions are taken. If the imaginary (anything not directly sensed/must be believed) is used to justify actions, then a disconnect from reality occurs. Temporary cognitive dissonance is called "unconsciousness.", and one shouldn't be driving when asleep.)

I think that in most of the natural world, #1 and #5 are irrelevant, leaving 2,3,4 in order of importance.

Because We Can

This post is really just a placeholder. If you're bored, read on. It will be edited and added to, but there won't be new posts very often, if at all. The purpose of this page is to refine the following until it covers what needs to be said. Copyright "Me".

In the course of all of Time's passing, humans make their way in a
complementary niche to our existence. There are important features of
this relationship which we may explore using what we call
"consciousness"; the ability to form connections between the sensory
memories in our heads and the world as we experience it to be. In order
to truly understand what it means to be human, we must first meet
another conscious species and establish some form of understanding that
will reflect back to our senses an impartial mirror of ourselves and our
actions. Because we do not have such a species readily available, the
best we can do is explore how our cohabitant, unimaginative fellow
species have come to exist or not, and project that model to our selves
and our relationship with the universe and the possible future results
of our actions in the present. Past actions should only be considered as
part of our memory and as examples of cause and effect that may help to
project future consequences, but too much concern with history is
generally not useful, as we cannot change the past. We live in the
present at all times, and our actions affect the future for all time,
but as most of us already know, our consciousness does not remain in the
present moment, nor directly in control of our actions in all moments.
In order to understand why this is, let's begin with one possible
picture of the real beginning of what we know as our physical universe.
Through the 20th century, our best physicists have spent a great
deal of time and money developing what they call "The Standard Model" of
physics. Though it has a few holes to fill, and it makes little sense to
our daily command of physical relationships and objects, this model
works to represent some basic ideas of how physical matter exists. Some
key concepts involved are these:
1. That the underlying universe is either not definable or it is purely
random in nature. In other words, the further we dig, the less we find
makes sense within the reductionist philosophy of dimensions and
mathematics. Ergo, to fully reduce this conundrum, the end result must
be pure randomness, where no structure actually exists which can
maintain itself as any form. Experiments generally confirm this, such as
Cassimir force (the force which pushes two plates together once all
frequencies above the Planck length are blocked from entering the space
between the plates. Above this level of the universe, we exist with the
particles and energy frequencies of the Standard Model, where particles
of some range of qualities occur in various forms of stability and
lifespan, depending on properties determined by themselves, their
relationship to the random background, or their relationship to other
Particles may have certain properties which allow them to maintain
existence (exclusion principles, quantum levels, spin, etc), and thus,
are useful to themselves as opposed to randomly decaying under the rule
of entropy. They may have some pattern which sets up a continuous
exchange with the random background of input vs. output 'existence
energy(for lack of a better term)' which, over time leaves a net amount
of input or 'usefulness'.
2. Such a flow of existence or 'resonance' of existence would have some
net effect on the environment. On a macro scale, the mathematics of this
effect may be compared to relativistic gravitational force. The
important factor for discussion purposes here is not the exact nature of
the force (electrical, strong, gravitation), but the 'net' effect of the
momentary existence/action vs. a purely random universe which would have
no net existence at any time or place. Once such effect was established
at any one point, or at many points, it could never return to pure
randomness as long as it remains in existence, and in this particular
model, it is the existence of pure randomness which provides the
force/energy/structure which supports the known physical universe.
Take or leave this model and replace it with whatever you believe,
but the net usefulness RATIO between inputs (randomness, gravity,
energy) and outputs(work, motion, decay) of any particle/force/energy is
the crux of this concept to remember.
In the known, verifiable records and research regarding the growth
and stable existence of physical things, we see this ratio of a net
usefulness working. When enough particles form from randomness, their
very existence creates an attraction toward each other by their
'warping' of the random background. This gravity or charge creates
motion, which again causes an effect on the immediate environment and on
the particles themselves. By extrapolating these effects to greater and
greater levels of complexity, an overall pattern of effects creates
matter, dust, stars, planets, and all of the physical universe we see.
Whether one wants to believe in a purely random source, or a
supernatural one, the activities and results are the same, and the
continuing existence of random decay vs. living structure is visible and
useful to all.
Our next effort in this pursuit of understanding is to compare the
usefulness of lifeless matter to living matter. Fortunately, this
comparison and its importance has already been done by E. Schroedinger,
in his essay, "Life as Anti-Entropy". Schroedinger does good work
showing how living matter takes the complication of molecules to an
accelerated existence, utilizing the products of entropic decay as raw
material for DNA to build structure that reproduces itself. The action
of living organisms is much like gravity. Gravity allows matter to
accumulate in empty space to become planets, creating surfaces and
resources that reflect the dispersed nature of the universe itself in
condensed form. A planet represents an accumulation of the dust in a
particular area of space...a concentration of distributed potential
which otherwise would interact very rarely, if at all. Eventually, the
interaction of gases vs. liquids vs. solids and heat (impacts, local
star radiation) vs cooling(infrared radiation into space) equalizes over
time as appropriate to the factors of that place in the universe. The
possibilities of the zone of space between Venus and Mars are
concentrated as what we call "Earth". In addition to the resources which
accumulated in the first few billion years, there was also a continuous
bombardment from additional materials, both from the original
environment which formed the sun and planets, asteroids and comets, and
from random space dust along the sweep of the solar system's path
through the universe. We cannot know for sure of any material stranger
than what we already find on Earth and so far see evidence that the
majority of the universe is formed along similar lines to the atoms we
have within us and around us. This is based on spectrographic lines in
starlight and the behaviors of bodies and galaxies that we can observe.
In other words, the only thing so far that seems to be unique about the
behavior of matter on Earth compared to matter far away, is that there
is a vast array of interrelated living DNA on this planet, and we only
believe it to be unique here because we have not (as far as we know)
observed or made contact with other living matter than what seems to
have formed here and diversified to fill every available niche that will
support it, even to extremes of dryness, wetness, radiation,
temperatures, and pressures. It is apparent that somehow, DNA molecules
have a way of constantly increasing or diversifying their useful
reproductive capability even as the universe randomly tries to
exterminate it. How can something so vulnerable manage to always survive
this continuous battle?
Perhaps this is so amazing because it isn't so different from what
actually formed the physical universe itself. The random interaction
between and among the seemingly infinite variations of molecules begin
with the formation of those molecules themselves in an infinitely
random, nonstructured universe. In the ocean, random waves constantly
lap at all sides of a ship, with the net result of the ship basically
staying in one place. Place another ship nearby, however, and the net
result is that each ship shields waves from the other, causing a
resulting net force that pushes them closer together. Two ships are more
complex than one. Two molecules are more complexity than a single one.
Perpetual attraction causes perpetually increasing complexity. Random
events decrease complexity by breaking things apart. If the increasing
complexity is greater than the action of random decay, the net result is
a continued existence of a thing. Gravity overcomes random motion of
dust through space to create planets. Electrical charge overcomes random
particle motion to create molecules from single atoms. Once the pattern
of charges causes a mirror image of itself, there is perpetual
replication amid the continuously increasing complexity. Sometimes the
increasing complexity is not retained, and the replication process is
simple and repeated. Sometimes random decay causes failure of the
process. Sometimes random failure creates an additional increase in
complexity with the available amino acid materials. Overall, there will
be a bell-shaped curve that represents the species' variations, with
those in the mean being most reflective of the available environmental
niche. Large changes in the environment may open new niches which will
be unpopulated for the most part. The filling of these new areas occurs
most efficiently by the species which are immediately matched to them.
These species may be available as the outlying 'fringe' of the previous,
fully populated species. The 'normal' of that species remains adapted to
the old niche. If the old niche remains, and a new niche opens, then the
fringe of the old may increase in number to a point of competition with
the old 'normal' group. If the original niche is reduced through
environmental changes, then the 'norm' is likely to die off, leaving the
'fringe' as the new 'normal' in its comfortable new environment.