Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tornado in a Junkyard : An Example of an Error in Analogy

We often use analogies to drive a point, specially if we want to convince someone of an idea. If the agenda comes first, it often ends up in the peril of the one who wants to convince others. Let me give an example:
Someone who wants to argue that life in the cosmos must not have arisen spontaneously used the analogy that a tornado in a junkyard would never be able to assemble a 747 jet. Truly a visceral analogy, but sadly flawed, and silly to support its "agenda". It may have failed in the details of the idea it was trying to debunk: Natural Selection takes much much longer than a fleeting tornado, and the steps of evolution are many and not just one tornado swoosh. Also the tornado in the junkyard is pure chance, while natural selection is a combination of random and order: combinations of features in organisms are retained in the next generation because the parent survived (of course).
So there's an "analogical error" that occurs when an "agenda" comes first prior to formulating an analogy. This is what I want to avoid.
Central to "archetyping" is to stumble upon the meaning from an observed pattern before a "conclusion" is made. No agendas. "Archetyping" is meant to simply find meaning from patterns - to uncover the "message" from the archetypes without bias. And all the while, careful thought is given to details to avoid errors in analogy, metaphors, abstractions and paradigms.
I have written this post not only to remind and caution myself from such errors, but also to slowly solidify the concepts behind the idea of Archetyper.com - an exciting journey to uncover some awesome wonderful Truth.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Awesome Fractals! Feast for the Eyes!

If I've only known, I would have entered this contest too. For anyone who loves fractals as much as I do, here's a feast for your eyes. The link below shows all the entries to the contest. Each of them has its own particular mod that evokes a unique mood within me. Pretty much like how the universe (a fractal in its own right) does to each of us - as living fractals.

I do wish they'd show the algorithm that generated these fractals though.

Link: http://www.fractalartcontests.com/2007/entries.php

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Cosmic Law is Life-Friendly : Exoplanetary Life Will Shake Humanity

What better way to welcome the new year with a thought about Life in other parts of the universe. This is the question whose answer will shake all major religions and belief systems : Is There Life on Other Planets?
The patterns tell us that there might be life in other places other than earth. Exoplanetology will someday tell us that some other creatures are living in an extrasolar planet a few light-years away.
Individually we are all special, but as collective inhabitants of this universe, we are not at all specially unique than we'd like to think.
One example to consider are Extremophiles - organisms who can thrive in 'hostile' conditions and inhospitable environments such as super-hot, high-pressure underwater bedrocks.
Astrobiologists can tell you additional reasons why life is likely to arise in other places other than Earth, but as an Archetyper, we look at the deeper patterns embedded within the mechanism or fabric of the universe itself to get a glimpse about Life's characteristics.
There is an underlying law that dictates how the whole universe runs and it tells us that the Laws itself is inherently Life-Friendly. Well, we are here aren't we?! Yes but I am not too quick to use the Anthropic Principle! That reasoning is not adequate at all. Rather, it's simply that the Life-Giving essence is somehow embedded deep in the Universal Law itself. Hence life will arise inevitably because the rules and properties of the basic infrastructure of the universe is inherently conducive for life.
Unfortunately at this point in time, all the point of all these clues cannot yet be proven other than by the fact that life arose on our planet. But It is my opinion that Life will be discovered in another exoplanet sometime soon, and it may even be not Earth-Like. But this event will support the idea that the Universal Laws are Life-Friendly.
For now, the clues I can point to is the metaphor of how Cellular Automata (CA) can create the analog of 'life' from simple rules. Our universe is one gigantic CA. The Laws of our universe may not be that simple but the central idea is that Life can arise from "The Law". Another clue is the increasing Complex Order that is apparent even in non-living systems such as chemical reactions, star-births, planet-formation or even the development of a tornado. Another arrow runs counter to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, and that arrow is the force of life. Inevitably, ordered complexity brings forth the emergence of processes we call life.
Consider the Symmetry of the Law ( the rules are the same in all parts of the universe) plus its consistency, and its fractal properties where the law manifests itself in all epiphenomenal levels, then you have a universe that will naturally spawn life not only in one planet but in other places as well, plus it will be not only in one platform (the organic carbon-based life that we know of) but perhaps in other substrates as well such as ammonia, sulfur or silicon.
It is an exciting time in our era. With more powerful telescopes to be deployed this year to hunt for exoplanets, the discovery of life in other worlds will shake humanity to the core. There might be initial turmoils in major religious circles such as Christianity, but everything will settle and adapt. Then we will all finally realize that we are not members of any tribe, country, race or religion. Rather, humanity will realize that mankind is a Citizen of the Cosmos. And that Life is precious no matter how rare, or common it is.