[ExI] Nature Hates a Vacuum

x at extropica.org x at extropica.org
Tue Dec 11 19:25:11 UTC 2007

On 12/11/07, citta437 at aol.com <citta437 at aol.com> wrote:
> "I can't see that breeding--in a pre contraceptive era--needed any
> religious support.  Generally humans populated whatever space they
> had to the maximum extent possible."
> Hi Keith, I think you "hit the nail's head" this time. Someone also
> said that "nature hates a vacuum." We are all part of nature with
> expanding memes to occupy whatever space we find in time. In the
> physical universe, energy expands according to the principle of
> thermodynamics.

Your appreciation of principles of thermodynamics and evolution is
commendable but misapplied.  I feel compelled to speak up on this
because it's near the root of much half-baked thinking on almost every
topic extropic.

At any scale, what we see is not "expansion", but selection for
structures tending to increase the rate of increase of entropy in
their environment.  Note that it's not about simply increasing
entropy, but increasingly increasing entropy per unit of interaction

Expansion is a consequence of a very low-order (simple) mode of
increasing entropy, dominating the behavior of simple structures such
as atoms and molecules in a gas, or in a larger frame, the
interactions of billiards balls, extendable to the simplest of
interactions in even a cosmic context.

But nature selects for structures supporting not just increasing
entropy, but increasingly increasing entropy, so certain synergistic
combinations tend to persist.  More specifically, we observe selection
for those combinations (and recombinations) which are coherent with
what came before, and which express novel degrees of freedom, ever
more effectively dissipating energy in the creation of self-similar
fractal structures ever more effectively doing the same in interaction
with their (necessarily local) environment.

Subjectively, we see a tendency toward increasing order in our local
environment in exchange for increasing entropy "out there."  Humans
now play a part in higher-order structures exploiting energy to
produce increasingly dense (subjective) information corresponding to
structures increasingly effective in accord with this thermodynamic

In this light, and given that interaction volume increases as the cube
with surface area increasing as the square of distance, what should we
expect of the geometry of increasingly intelligent growth?

Google "fourth law of thermodynamics" OR exergy for more.

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