is this an orderly or an chaotic universe?

I am new here, and I don’t know if
this topic has been discussed of late.
If it has been, I apologize.

This question has been on my mind for a
bit. Elsewhere I have stated my believe that
the universe is random, chaotic.
Now this is not to suggest, that we live in
a totally random universe, we don’t.
Nothing is 100%, but we live in a mostly
random universe. Again elsewhere, one objection
to my thought, is the changing of the seasons.
That is certainly orderly. but this is not really true.
For instance winter here in california can really
go from one extreme to another. I have been
here when the whole winter was almost like
summer, 65 or 70, the whole winter. Other
winters, when it rained and snow and in general acted
like a midwest winter. The weather is certainly not a
good way to tell if we live in a orderly or chaotic universe.

That is one example. so if you would,
is the universe orderly or random, chaotic.


I think the universe is all three - random, orderly and chaotic. Because there is randomness (nothing is as expected) the orderliness starts to lose definition. Because there is order, randomness loses control, because of the confusion that ensues over randomness and orderliness happening at random and in order, we feel there is chaos. :smiley:

It’s only about as orderly as it needs to be. Order by necessity. There’s no little Felix Unger walking around lining up all the little pieces, making them fit just right. That would be compulsive. And compulsive is one thing God is not. God takes the path of least resistance. Sometimes this requires SOME order, SOME chaos. When the winds die down you can hear Yehovah whispering in that mildly perturbed but loving voice: “Universe, move along, move towards entropy; git along, little seconds, minutes, particles, please proceed in an ORDERLY fashion to the door marked ENTROPY, in an orderly fashion please, one at a time…”

I think we’re back to that infernal yin and yang thing; no wonder the fat bastard is smiling.

Nature seems to be orderly. Even taking into account the weirdness of quantum mechanics. The problem with quantum mechanics is it doesn’t encorporate gravity. We do not understand the true nature of the universe, due to this fact, do to this failure. Yet I think that if we can create a quantum theory of gravity then we will be able to understand the wierdness of quantum mechanincs. Everything we see in science, everything we see in nature points to the fact that nature is ordered. The only chaos is found from our inability to understand nature.

EDIT: Aside from attempting to understand the universe at ultimately micro, or macroscopic scales, we do have a very accurate understanding, and description of our universe. And this description is very ordered.

Well, how do we know what is orderly and what isn’t? There’s got to be some kind of standard, and that means there’s something orderly that dictates what order is. Clearly there are scientific laws that govern the universe. These things make the physical-material aspect of life predictable and orderly. But the randomness comes in with humans, with thought. Instinct is an orderly thing. But as soon as you go beyond that you get randomness, because the whole thing of different personalities plays a big part in determining behaviours. There isn’t really much variation from stone to stone, or from lion to lion, for example. And you have to say that without people the universe is extremely orderly, with the occasional exception that proves the rule.

The mind seems to be orderly almost ot a fault. The human being can find order in any random sequence of numbers. (Many people use this to remember their telephone number.) This means nature could be utterly random and we would never know. We could still make many fine scientific laws. However, if the mind arose from nature than it’s orderliness probably came from somewhere. Or at the very least the mind is now part of the universe and reperesnts at least a small oaisis of order.

Perhaps it is the mind that makes it a orderly
universe, when in fact it is chaotic universe.

We see order and try to create order when none



“Instinct is an orderly thing. But as soon as you go beyond that you get randomness, because the whole thing of different personalities plays a big part in determining behaviours.”

No, not randomness, just unpredictability due to lack of information. There are so many variables involved in the human thought process that we would be very hard pressed to account for even a fraction of them. There is no reason to believe anything is random. If you merely use random in the sense that it is complicated and we do not yet have an effective means of predicting it, then you may use random. But as I always say, to prove that something is truly random is an absurdity, because proof requires reason, and randomness is the absence of reason.

I would agree with rounder that the universe is VERY ordered. Though I am not a believer in intelligent design, the fact that the universe is so ordered and intricate enough to support life is an argument used by ID advocates for an intelligent designer.

Yes it is used as an arguement for an intelligent designer, yet it is a very flawed arguement.

“Please proceed in an ORDERLY fashion to the door marked ENTROPY.” Ha! That was cool! Thanks for sharing it here.

You said, “I would agree with rounder that the universe is VERY ordered.” But the way things are in our universe, they are always changing, never remaining the same, so, even if the universe was ordered, it would soon change to disorder if only for a short time. What I’m saying is that, our universe must have the property of being ordered, disordered and changing, just like life on earth is.

I think that there is a fundamental misunderstanding between the concepts of causal and deterministic. In general I think that an orderly or deterministic phenomenon, in the simplest case is one where we can forecast a phenomenon at a particular time. In general we what to predict that x = f(t) where x is, where a baseball lands, where the center of a Hurricane hits, where the star crossed lovers will meet. Specifically we assume that if something is orderly we know where and when it will happen.

In contrast causality are the rules under which various processes take place. Physical systems can be determined by, in the simplest cases by Newtonian mechanics by the equation f=ma where f = the force, m = the mass and a is the acceleration. Biological growth in Ecological systems can be modeled by the recursive function (called the logistic function) Nnext = ANlast(1-Nlast) where the new Population number is Nnext and the prior population number = Nlast and A is a fixed growth rate. Star Crossed lovers may be governed by propinquity and common interest (and whether or not she‘s a hot babe). In any case there are rules the govern behavior. These rules may be disputed or fine tuned, but people that see causality are looking for these rules.

The major problem for those that think that causality (even well regulated) implies order or determinism is that simply knowing the cause does not imply that we can determine the specific function f(t).

The most simplistic of cases is in Physics. People falsely assume that if you know the initial conditions, then you can find the solution (x=f(t)). The famous butterfly effect is even misleading. It states that a butterfly beating its wing in South America can effect the weather in someplace like Columbus Ohio. Then it goes on to state the solutions to these types of problems can be “highly non linear” thus making predictions very difficult.

The truth is much worse. The non linear solutions that they assume in the first place don’t exist at all except for the most simplistic of cases. Not only can you not write down a solution like f(t) equals some polynomial equation, or a solution by radicals, even if you let f(t) be a Taylor series expansion of a theoretical answer, you will find that the series does not converge.

The example of the recursive function, predicting future outcomes using the knowledge of previous outcomes essentially is the subject of Chaos Theory. It might be surprising to some (at least it was to me ) that a great deal of effort goes into making chaotic functions predictable. They look for patterns but they still can not write the functions for f(t) explicitly.

Things are actually much more complex, and thus much more interesting than I thought in my more analytic youth.

The world is irreducibly complex, which couldn’t have come about if the world were chaotic

This conversation wouldn’t be possible if the universe were chaotic

The question could not even be asked meaningfully if the universe were chaotic

The universe is in perfect harmony. We observe this principal in nature. Trees always grow upwards towards the light and when they let go of their leaves in the autumn, the leaves always fall to the ground eventually transforming into compost and the cycle starts again…If you observe trees in a forest, you will see that even trees grow in harmony together. No one tree is neurotically trying to beat all other trees. They simply and naturally give each other space. From a certain perspective it appears to be chaos but on closer inspection we can observe that trees live in harmony with each other because trees intrinsically understand the principal. They don’t have to think about it. It is their nature. The same with humanity. There is a principal – call it the essence – Lau Tse called it Tao. This Tao exists in all things in the entire universe, in you and in me, in the stars, the sun the moon everything. It is what gives us life.

Observe a lake at night in the country – the full moon is reflected in the lake and all things are peaceful, one can’t imagine that there is chaos in the world. This Tao is like the lake. It is still and only reflects what it reflects. Observe the same lake a day or two later when the sun shines, when birds fly over it, when the wind blows – all these things affect the appearance in the lake…but the lake has not changed, it is still the lake.

The human mind does not have this principal in it because the human mind is simply a tool. Chaos happens when we allow the mind to master our world, yet if we allow the mind to align with this principal, then harmony is the only result. It is a matter of awareness. For some, there is harmony and for others there is chaos. Neither is right or wrong nor good or bad, but rather it is a process of unfolding the reality of life. If we observe life we will notice absolute harmony. Nothing happens randomly without reason – it merely appears to be that way. Closer observation reveals all.


There’s a perfect book “Order out of chaos” where authors show some process out of the Second law of the thermodinamics. I recomend it although I haven’t digest it properly yet.

I think your mistaking Entropy as being against Natural order. Entropy always increases yes, but that it is constantly moving towards a state of disorder is only our our analogy of Entropy. The universe appears to follow certain fundamental laws. One of them is Entopy. Just because we view particles which are not closely grouped together as more disordered, then particles that are grouped together, does not mean that the universe perfers disorder. That state if it does follow the laws we think it does, and we have strong evidence that it does, then that state is actually ordered.

Some describe the colour red as Energetic, some describe black as depressing. Yet these human descriptions are not accurate interpretation of the physics. Its the same when we view things as disordered. If there are laws that govern what we see is “disordered” then it is actually ordered.

I would have thought there was no measure of complexity with chaos - one lot of chaos and another lot of chaos are equally as chaotic as one another

If the universe were chaotic then there wouldn’t be a thing denoteable by ‘the universe’ for us to talk about

To me, who else?

If our universe is causal then we could determine everything that will happen in the future, and could extrapolate every event that happened in the past, if we were smart enough. It is the limit of our small human brains that prevents us from that type of determinism. There are simply wayyy wayy too many factors, to take into account. Physicists still guestimate. The pertubative theory is one of the strongest tools of physics, and basically its ballpark estimation. Focusing on one major factor, and ignoring the rest. Then later when they have there ballpark figure they make small quantum corrections. They use this to estimate the orbit of our earth, by taking into account the gravitational pull of the sun, and then taking into account the other planets in our solar system. But still its an estimation.

We could if we were smart enough, and able to know, and calculate every factor within the past light cone of the event. I know we never will be, but still I am strongly inclined to believe that if we could, then we could determine the future. But we will never be able to, if the uncertainty principle holds.

Just because we (small apes on a small planet, orbiting a yellow star, in the vastness of the cosmos) cannot understand the universe, does not mean that it is random.

fine, but you are not the universe… :slight_smile: