Order, Chaos, and “a Mind”

Fractals are quite the interesting topic!  Hunting the Hidden Dimension is a program on Nova (PBS) about the concept of fractals and the potential implications.  The basic idea is that apparently there is some sort of mathematical way to characterize the seeming chaos of the natural world.


Many people of faith (i.e. Christians) are quite likely to be thinking that this sort of discovered order within the seeming chaos is evidence of “a mind” behind that structure.  For how could a random and chance universe produce such symmetry and similarity throughout the known universe?

The full program is online.

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About Aaron Gardner

Aaron is a counselor and student of the Bible, passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. He lives in central Indiana with his wife, one-year-old son and their two dogs. View all posts by Aaron Gardner

5 responses to “Order, Chaos, and “a Mind”

  • Sabio Lantz

    This is one of the great misunderstanding of evolution — it is not random.

    Likewise, perhaps even physical properties emerged via evolutionary mechanism of universes exploding out blackholes and only universes with stable, survivable laws survive.

    Thus it seems, even in a naturalist universe there is order because order survives, not because order had a mind behind it !

    Science largely unties the knots of most religious explanations of the past, but whenever it hints at something that sounds like a god has returned, theists jump at the chance to make it their own. I guess I can understand that now that the rainbow can not intelligently be accepted as a covenant between a god and humans. I mean, religion has lost that volcanoes, disease and such are all spiritual. They have to try to reclaim something.

    But sorry, even fractals can be explained without a god.

  • Aaron

    🙂 I expect no less. Thank you again for your candor!

    Explain to me why the existence of a scientific explanation negates the existence of God.

  • RBH

    My fingernails caught in the same sentence: “For how could a random and chance universe produce such symmetry and similarity throughout the known universe?” That’s a straw man that you’d do well to get rid of.

    No one I know of argues that the ordered properties of the universe are due solely to chance and randomness. Quite the reverse: science is the search for regularities in events in the universe and for explanations of those regularities. To be sure, there is randomness in many aspects of the universe, but there are regularities in that randomness. Temperature, for example, is the product of a multitude of random motions of a multitude of molecules, and we can describe the statistical properties of aggregations of the random motions of molecules with high precision — statistical mechanics is a highly developed branch of phiscs that does so.

    The properties of fractals are produced by very simple equations. Great complexity and order can arise from the interactions of simple components interacting in simple ways. Cellular automata are another illustration of that fact. Complex ‘behavior’ arises from simple rules.

    It’s a difficult concept to get one’s head around, but once again, great complexity and dynamic order really can be produced by simple things operating according to simple rules. It does not take complex things to produce other complex things.

    Given that, the existence of ordered complexity is not ‘evidence’ for a god. Only if one believes that complexity cannot arise from simple stuff would that be the case, and that’s false: complexity can arise from simplicity.

  • Aaron

    I just love rattling cages… thanks for responding!

    Seriously I am hoping for some opposing responses. This is a great exercise in dialogue and conversation… doesn’t seem that Christians tend to take the bait… I wonder why that is.

  • J

    I can’t speak for the guy up there, of course, but in my opinion, no, a scientific explanation for something does not negate the existence of God.

    That said, God has been used to explain so many things and it always turned out that it was a natural process that really did it. Zeus isn’t out there throwing lightning bolts, after all.

    And now, again, you see something awesome and wonderful (Order within Seeming Chaos? Amazing!) and conclude that, well, God must have a hand in it because… because it’s awesome and wonderful, I guess.

    In my opinion, it’s trying to get God involved where he isn’t needed or required. It’s just complicating things for no good reason other than Because Your Faith Says So. Which isn’t a very good reason to anyone who doesn’t share your faith.

    Besides, while you may think that, no, really, it’s your God that arranged the universe in a such a way so that fractals behave like this, what evidence do you have that it’s not secretly Izanagi instead?

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