Author Archive: Tanin

The First Rule of Propagatability

complexity-300x300Creationists (known as Intelligent Design proponents) propose that since biological entities and their environments seem “designed”, there must be a designer (presumably a sky god of some sorts). It may at first seem to be an argument made from an ignorance of biology, but I started to wonder, why do things look as if they were designed?

We humans design things with a purpose but we often overlook how we come to a design in the first place. Ideas in our minds tend to be the foundation, but what’s interesting is that ideas themselves go through a process of selection before ending up being part of an “end design”.

We discard or change bad ideas that don’t work and continue with the ones that do. We select ideas that end up becoming designs. Our designs are the end products of logical, natural selections that have taken place in our minds or in the minds of others. And once our designs are turned into products, they compete with other products. The selection continues.

Of course, the same thing happens in nature. Any poorly equipped species either mutates and adapts to become successful at living or goes extinct. Well equipped species continue to propagate their successful genes, and so on. The selection is performed not by a mind, but by the very logic that underlines the entire selection process.

Natural selection is a rule of logic for the creation of propagatable complexity -what we would consider a good “design”. It is biological in nature and since we are part of that natural history, the same logical rules apply for our thinking processes. It’s just that we call it neurological when it happens in our minds.

This remarkably simple rule of logic, The First Rule of Propagatability, that those that can survive, will survive, does not only apply to the construction of design, but to the propagation of all “living” things.

Any physical or conceptual construct that continues to exist -that is, fit to continue to exist- is both the inheritor and the custodian of natural selection. Thus life does not only seem well “designed”, it is well “designed”….by natural selection.

There are no constructs that would be considered “designed” that are NOT the result of some evolutionary process.

Analog Universe

Once while I was writing a piece of code I found myself having to declare a CONSTANT. A constant is something’s property that cannot be changed. I strongly hesitate to say that constants are a special kind of variable, because variables can be “varied” or changed. In physics, there are properties that cannot be changed. We call them the Fundamental Physical Constants. They give laws to all the matter whom’s shapes have produced in the Universe (Yes, that IS grammatically correct!). I say “shapes” because that’s exactly what the constants need to be in order to explain why they can only be represented as the strange numbers we express them as. In digital, analog shapes can only be represented as an approximation: Their true “value” is lost during the inscription of the property. This is true of all the constants that define our Universe. And it can only be true in a Universe where 1 represents the true form of the Universe and the constants represent properties of the fractions 1 is made from. (…I’ll wait).

Now, there is nothing to stop Universe 1 from having a neighbor that also looks like 1. Neighbor Universe 1 will have to be composed of fractions that sustain its existence. Neighbor Universe 1 may look like our Universe, but its fractalized representation, or its shape may also look radically different due to the laws that resulted from its fractions.

These analog fractions can be chaotically random in their proportional values, but due to logic, whatever their true values may be, they are subject to a natural selection. Everything is always tested, but only by reality’s nature. Only the stability of their outcomes can ensure their feasibility. Even the reason for their existence can be chaotic, yet subject to a logical natural selection. That, after all is what existing is:

Being able to be as opposed to not be.

From quantum fluctuations to biological life

In general terms, life is the continuation of events that originated from quantum fluctuations in the fast void of empty space. Empty space at the quantum level is anything but empty. Remove all the matter and radiation and there are still events that take place in the space-time of nothing.

Quantum fluctuations constantly create and annihilate particles, usually leaving behind only the information of their existence and gravitational waves (this is why the expansion of the Universe is accelerating). For example, 90% of the mass of protons consists of the empty space between the quarks.

The Universe spawned from what time-bound Earthlings would call “nothing”. Like many aspects of quantum physics, this may seem counter-intuitive from our point of view. Our intuition tells us for example that cause and effect are in that order and that time is linear; but these assumptions are only valid on our scale of things and thus our perception. At the quantum level, time simply becomes an additional geometric property of spacetime.

I know about Santa, but what about my magic sky daddy? He’s real, right?

Another noteworthy aspect of the body of knowledge science has gathered over the years indicates that no gods are involved or required in the making of the Universe. This is due to the fact that in reality the laws of the Universe differ from those described in fantasy novels and mythological tales. (Who would’ve thought?)

It turns out that gods were attempts at explaining the world by primitive humans. Back in those days, the concept of “facts” or “evidence” eluded the majority of the illiterate nomadic population of the North African tribes. Without the scientific method, sky beings and ghosts were as good as any other explanation for natural processes. The concept was popularized by its fanatics and has had its own evolutionary story in history as it was indoctrinated and mutated from generation to generation. One could even make a case that Atheists are currently in such small numbers because doubters (those with the genetic predisposition to reject bullshit) were systematically murdered or banished from tribes in the primitive world. This practice is still performed in primitive societies throughout the religious world (Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and some parts of the United States).

Well, that was my summary. I hope you it made you think about your perception of the Universe and your (ultimately inconsequential) place in it.