Dick Morel

Member, Cambridge Entomology Club

This conversation is closed.

Do you think that a force like The Force portrayed in Star Wars actually exists?

Why do order and complexity arise in nature? This is one of the great mysteries of all time. After all, the Second Law of Thermodynamics says that every time an event occurs anywhere, entropy (the degree of disorder) in the universe increases. Energy and matter become more dispersed. As a candle burns, the flame increases entropy by dispersing the tightly packaged matter and energy in the wax and wick as light, heat, and gases.

So, if entropy always increases as time flows, how come we see the emergence of order, such as the ordered form of a candle flame and the stunningly complex order of life emerge? Is there a force that generates order in our universe? Does The Force exist? If it does, what might it tell us about the future of our species?

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    Feb 25 2012: Thank you G M

    Starting with a paper published in 1989 a colleague and I described a force, a Fourth Law of Thermodynamics, that explains why order and complexity arise, seemingly against impossible odds. This law simply says that any region of condensed matter and energy will find the optimal means of dispersing that concentration. That's what star formation is doing in nebulae like the Orion nebula, a gigantic region of relatively tightly packed matter and energy. That's what life does. A green plant packages light energy, then something comes along, you or me or a rabbit, and re-disperses the condensed energy as heat, and the condensed matter as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and other small molecules. Big plant molecules become dispersed small molecules. This force maintains the optimal level of dispersal bio-spherically. Think about what happened after each great extinction. Life re-diversified as it re-established a sustainable new repertoire of life forms that optimized entropy production under new conditions.

    That, to me, is the Force, and its message is not simply optimizing entropy production. It's also about overall sustainability. It has "invented" means for life forms to sustain the optimum, such as homeostasis on a physiological level and adaptation on an organismic level. The message for us, I think, is that we need to appreciate that sustainability is a directive of this force. That should energize our efforts to move toward contributing to the overall sustainability of life on our planet, lest we devise our own extinction. Nature doesn't abide species that produce overall planetary disturbances in The Force.
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    Feb 21 2012: Gaia Hypothesis and naturalistic pantheism - check it out

    I would say the coin is still flipping in the air on a yes or no... but if Yes, it is not as intense as the movies depicts... changing a mind with a thought and a wave... the mind is a little bit more complex than that.
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      Feb 21 2012: Are you sure? Got any proof???
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        Feb 22 2012: Perhaps if the "Jedi" is a pop-star than yes a wave and a thought could change a mindset...

        But a stranger to stranger would require.. a kinetic knowledge of the body... In a sense changing your "aura" (or something like that) to manipulate another's thinking through some sort of energy system. This is why I said it is up in the air!

        Can I prove the mind is complex? Surely. Besides us having a nervous system that is apart of our "mind" or body's mind.

        Try to stop your blood from being pumped by your heart with just thoughts.
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          Feb 22 2012: YES...."through some sort of energy system":>)
          May the force be with you:>)
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    Feb 21 2012: I wish...
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      Feb 21 2012: Be careful what you wish for....your wish may be reality:>)
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    Feb 19 2012: 'So, if entropy always increases as time flows, how come we see the emergence of order, such as the ordered form of a candle flame and the stunningly complex order of life emerge?'

    Even though entropy increases, unnacounted prinicipals such as time + Physical law + chemical law + *AN OPEN SYSTEM* can allow for the emergence of complexity.
    The second law of thermodynamics (the increase of entropy) doesn't conclude that *ALL* parts of a system must increase in entropy, but the total entropy of the system must be increasing.
    This means that energy from an external source (such as heat from the sun) compensates for the lack of increased entropy that results from its involvement.

    To keep it simple: The sun stops us from paying the rent and pays it for us instead.
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      Feb 20 2012: The sun pays the rent on Mars as well, all planets & moons for that matter. It only reverses entropy if harnessed by a machine designed for the job.

      May 'The Force' be with you.

      :-)
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        Feb 20 2012: Thank you for your thoughts. Here's my question put another way by Stuart Kauffman. He has, observed [1] that "..since all free living systems are nonequilibrium
        systems–indeed, since the biosphere itself is a non-equilibrium system
        driven by the flux of solar radiation– it would be of the deepest importance, were it
        possible, to establish general laws predicting the behavior of all non-equilibrium
        systems." In 2006 my colleague George Fleck and I described such a law, a first principle that describes why order arises spontaneously in the form of dissipative structures such as the sun, candle flames, and living cells. I thought you might like to see the paper, so here's how you can get a pdf of that paper.

        The pdf is available on the Khimiya
        website (khimiya.org); click on "Contents," then on years 2004--2006, and finally on volume 15, issue 4.

        Please let me know what you think.
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      Feb 20 2012: Thank you for your thoughts. Here's my question put another way by Stuart Kauffman. He has, observed [1] that "..since all free living systems are nonequilibrium
      systems–indeed, since the biosphere itself is a non-equilibrium system
      driven by the flux of solar radiation– it would be of the deepest importance, were it
      possible, to establish general laws predicting the behavior of all non-equilibrium
      systems." In 2006 my colleague George Fleck and I described such a law, a first principle that describes why order arises spontaneously in the form of dissipative structures such as the sun, candle flames, and living cells. I thought you might like to see the paper, so here's how you can get a pdf of that paper.

      The pdf is available on the Khimiya
      website (khimiya.org); click on "Contents," then on years 2004--2006, and finally on volume 15, issue 4.

      Please let me know what you think.
  • Mar 18 2012: Perhaps the evolution of animal brains is an example of order from chaos. The ability to obtain knowledge and use it, at any level, presents a counter example to thermodynamic laws driving everything. The ability to change one's destiny sort of enable different species to live in harmony with nature through hunting, farming, control of fire, harvesting energy, etc.

    Old Darth Vader had the ability to control the minds of his opponents using Jedi powers. This fictional skill is probably the author's extreme extension of attempts through the ages to exploit the weakness of the human mind to gain some sort of advantage. Whether it is Ninja techniques, hypnotists, military psyche ops, or television advertising, i interpret "the force" as the ability to persuade someone of something that can be used against them. Perhaps it is fear of something, a personal weakness, a projected belief of inferiority, or just a subliminal message conveyed to buy a particular product, the author of STAR WARS probably just wanted to use the force is just some type of exploitation of the human fear of mind control. I am guessing Darth's powers might have been less effective on an animal with a less developed mind or perhaps no sense of sight or hearing. He probably really hated bees!
  • Mar 18 2012: water condenses and evaporates again
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    Feb 22 2012: Does the force exist? Don't know. But suggest the laws of physics account for the universe we see today.
    Explaining the beginning might stretch the mind of non physicists.
    Perhaps the laws came into play with the universe.

    I guess you are referring to the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Actually states entropy increases or stays the same in a closed system. You can decrease entropy in one system if another increases. Life on earth takes energy from the sun to sustain itself. Life increases order in the living organism I guess, but only temporarily. I guess maybe the food we eat increases in entropy as it breaks down. I guess the net result is no decrease in entropy.

    There is so much still to learn. We predict dark matter and energy to explain how gravity in galaxies work etc. But haven't been able to detect it. There could be more, force like, but I doubt it.

    On the force side of things. I tend to think that thinking, focusing, maybe even praying influences reality. Maybe through natural means - focus leading to awareness and plans and actions - conscious and unconscious.

    When I meditate I sometimes imagine connecting to life on earth or getting energy from the sun or forest. Imagining things can change your brain and hence your perceptions or interactions with the universe.

    Buddhist monks and others can do amazing things just using their mind and body. If we imagine we are connected then that idea is real.