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"Perfection" and "Design"


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In another thread the word "perfect" was being thrown around a lot and it led to a thought.

 

I'll make it clear from the start that this is not attempting to push or validate in any way, any religion or way of thought. I am however postulating a rather amorphous "designer".

 

What I find interesting is that many declare the Universe, or humans to be "bad" design.

 

How do we define a design as bad if we don't know what it was designed to do?

 

A Jumbo jet is a reasonably good design if we want to move hundreds of people and some tons of cargo long distances, it is a very poor design if we want to move 500,000 tons of crude oil.

 

So, if the Universe had a "designer", what was it designed to do? To me, only by answering that question can we begin to understand whether it is a "good" design or not. Intent defines good or bad design.

 

If the Universe was designed so that at least one planet would evolve sentient life, then it is a rip roaring success, if it was designed so that all planets have life, then it is a failure.

 

Human life is the same. (Bearing in mind that there is no particular reason that we should look the way we do.) If the intent was to evolve a form capable of supporting a brain complex enough to consider itself, then the design is good. If other targets were intended, then it may not be that great.

 

So perhaps a philosophical question rather than a "religious" one. If the Universe was designed, what was it designed to do?

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The universe seems to be filled with comparatively little matter between enormous amounts of space, suggesting it was designed to keep any form of life separated from any other form of life. If there are multiple sentient experiments going on, they have vast hurdles to overcome before they can share notes with each other.

 

The secrets of the physical universe seem like they are exponential in nature. Once you unlock some of the elementary bits, the next bits lead you to even more secrets, and some lead us way beyond the bits that came before. Certainly the secrets of uranium are a test of sorts, if there is a designer, seeing if we can survive something so many orders of magnitude above what we knew before.

 

Perhaps the universe is designed so that we grow into our responsibility before being able to affect other life. This might explain why intelligence grows in leaps and bounds, but still not faster than we could get off-planet while still dangerously young.

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If the universe was designed and if that design has a purpose (Not a model I subscribe to) But if it did; it could be said that the universe - out of necessity - created a way for it to know itself.

I.e. We are part of said universe and through science and maths, Hubble telescopes and Hadron colliders and all, we can understand the universe. And since we are part of the universe, it could be said to be understanding and comprehending itself.

And maybe, years into the future when we/life/the universe are sufficiently intelligent to figure out exactly what it's all for, we/it will come up with a way to create a small big bang style singularity and send it back in time about 14 billion years and start the whole thing off in the first place.

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The universe follows the 1st and 2nd laws; heads toward lowest energy and highest entropy. Life, on the other hand, moves itself, in the opposite direction, while still being acted on by the 1st and 2nd laws.

 

For example, each time a cell divides to make two daughter cells, atoms in the environment, which might move freely at higher entropy, become incorporated into the growing cellular order. This lowers degrees of freedom. These materials also store food energy, causing the energy value (calorimetric) of the cell to increase as it grows. Life is not forming itself into disorder or trying to lower its overall energy so it disappears into atoms. It goes the opposite way.

 

The 1st and 2nd laws of the rest of the universe, are still in effect, pushing the cell toward lowest energy and higher entropy. This helps to drive what we call call metabolism. But the two universal laws can never close the deal all the way. The cell can not be pushed by the 1st and second law to burn itself into lowest energy or highest entropy like a piece of coal in air. Life keeps growing, multiplying and even evolving to separate itself even more from the 1st and 2nd laws. Going from single to multicellular further increased the level of cellular order and the amount of caloric energy that was built up by one life form.

 

The first and second laws of life are to always increase life's energy value and always lower its biological entropy value, as time progresses. But the 1st and 2nd laws of the universe are also in effect, so such things as mutations will constantly appear. These increase entropy. But only those mutations which can satisfy the 1st and 2nd laws of life, progress the direction of life.

 

If you look at cancer, these genetic and cellular transformations display higher entropy or disorder relative from the cells they came. The also have very high metabolism and therefore lower energy quicker. Cancer does a good job satisfying the 1st and 2nd laws of the universe. With death life decomposes back to atoms implicit of highest entropy and lowest energy.

Edited by pioneer
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In choosing what the universe (or mankind) were "designed" to do, we can judge it to be poorly designed if it for some given purpose, or otherwise given that it is well-designed infer the purpose(s) for which it may have been designed.

 

For example:

The universe is poorly designed to give glory to a specific god -- many people who study it closely don't see evidence of any god in it.

The universe is well-designed to conserve energy.

Humans are poorly designed to follow biblical restrictions on sexual conduct.

Humans are well-designed to reproduce.

Humans are poorly designed to trip over elephants.

 

You could make a long list of things the universe is well-designed for or poorly designed for.

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Humans are poorly designed to follow biblical restrictions on sexual conduct.

 

Though well-designed to come up with restrictions we are poorly designed to follow.

 

Humans are well-designed to reproduce.

 

Are we? Adequately designed, necessarily, but the artifacts of the "design process" can certainly be a pain. And not so well designed that there wasn't room for lots of ways to improve it artificially. Though I suppose "ability to devise and implement modern medicine" could be considered part of the "design" as well...?

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In tradition, the female aspect seeks perfection, while male aspect seeks completeness. Males are more likely to become explorers, which adds to what is already perfect, making things more complete. Females tend to perfect what already is. The woman will try to mold her husband to make him in her image of perfection. The man will try to make his wife more complete, if possible. The virgin in public and ho in bed.

 

The universe is not perfect via observation. That means, the universe is masculine and therefore, heading toward completeness. The idea that god is perfect, unknowingly works under the assumption god is female; trying to make the universe the perfect place.

 

The story of Eve eating the apple, was based on the promise she would know good from evil, and therefore she would know the way of perfection. But unfortunately, Satan is masculine and would therefore help move the world toward completeness. The net result laws of good and evil would forever change, with the apple of perfection, an illusion.

 

Adam knew he wasn't suppose to eat the apple. He would have been perfect if he didn't. But since the masculine aspect is based on completeness, eating the apple, made him more complete but less than perfect.

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Oh, and just to clarify: just because something is well-designed for a purpose doesn't mean that that in fact is its purpose, nor does being poorly designed preclude something from actually being the purpose. For example I have seen sentences that are well-designed to make people laugh, but their author intended them for the purpose of changing people's minds.

 

I suppose the purpose of such arguments about design of things is supposed to say something about the claims as to purpose, or the competence of the designer. A problem of this for religion is that originally god designed Adam and Eve to live forever in a pleasant environment, and then cursed the entire earth (and humans) when they ate a fruit he told them not to. Said curse is rather vague, but certainly excuses any poor design that may appear.

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Don't forget the words of George Carlin:

 

Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?” Plastic…asshole.

 

I mean. . .really. . .how could the Earth make plastic without us?

 

Can anyone really disagree with this philosophy?

 

Bill Wolfe

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Mr. Sceptic, to a degree I agree with you. You can make a long list for both sides, but that was my point. You can't make a judgement as to whether the Universe is a good or bad design (if it was designed) without first knowing what it was designed for.

 

The bottom line is that any guess we make as to the purpose of the design is just that, a guess.

 

It seems reasonable to me that if the Universe was designed, then we (at this moment) may not know enough to even imagine what the purpose is.

 

I suppose the main point of this thread was that if somebody wants to call the design bad, then they should also be saying what the intent of the design was.

 

One might also consider the possibility of a non-omnipotent "God" who has to work through the laws of nature. Certain flaws in some areas of the "design" might be unavoidable if the main purpose of the design is to be fulfilled. Perhaps a tradeoff has to be made in some areas?

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