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With a deep passion for learning and knowledge, Chris is an avid enthusiast of mathematics, computer science, physics, philosophy of mind, and economics. If you have any questions or comments about what you read on this website, feel free to email him at: NoSpam@ChristopherLind.Com (Replace NoSpam with Chris) Article: Law and Order. 8-6-2005

Law and Order...A conception of natural law

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The origin of consciousness...
The nature of designed objects...
The foundation of law and ethics...
The behavior of markets and the economy...
The source of order in our lives and in the universe...

All begin with an understanding of, Law and Order.

What are laws?

Laws are rules of behavior. The value of laws is that they create order.

What is order?
Order is a predictable pattern of behavior. The opposite of order is randomness. (Randomness is essentially defined as a pattern or behavior which cannot be created by or described in terms of simpler underlying laws. This definition of randomness was discovered by IBM researcher Gregory Chaitin. This definition is part of his theory of information called algorithmic information theory. Randomness is not chaos, which is now a branch of mathematics which deals with laws that produce behavior that only LOOKS random).

There seem to be two types of laws, laws that people discover and laws that people create. Traditionaly, laws that people create are called positive laws and laws that people discover are called natural laws. Physics and chemistry textbooks contain the known natural laws that people have discovered to date.

Laws and rules produce order (predictable patterns of behavior) and not the other way around.

Both types of laws create order and both types can be discovered by looking for patterns in the behavior of the world around you.

For example, if you noticed that everyday at 8:00 am, the employees of a restaurant arrived for work, you would guess that a rule or law of that restaurant is that employees arrive by 8:00 AM.

You disovered this law by noticing a pattern of behavior in nature or the world around you (the behavior of the restaurant employees in this example), and then taking a guess as to what the rule or law that produces this pattern might be.

Similarly, by noticing the pattern of the eliptical orbits of the planets around the sun, astronomers were able to discover the inverse square law of gravity.

When you pull the plug in a bathtub full of water, a small whirl pool forms around the drain. This behvior is produced by the laws of gravity and inertia acting on the water.

Order allows us to structure and plan our lives around future events.

If the owners of the restaurant decided to no longer have a rule governing when employees show up for work, chaos would quickly follow. Employees would simply show up whenever they felt like it. If the chefs showed up at 2:00 pm some days, and 10:00 am other days, and some days not at all, customers would not know what times or days they could expect service, and the restaurnat would quickly go out of business.

Order is what makes possible engineering, or designed objects.

If the laws of gravity suddenly and randomly changed from moment to moment, virtually all of our technology(and probably the entire universe),would break down. It would not be possible to design an airplane, a building, or a bridge, if the weight of these objects changed randomly from moment to moment.

The single greatest achievement of mankind is the discovery that the entire universe, every speck of matter in it, is governed by laws and rules of behavior.

Surprisingly, just because all of the atoms and subatomic particles in the universe are governed by natural laws, this does not necessarily mean that all phenomenon in the universe are created by natural laws.

There are some phenomenon in the universe that, try as we might, quite simply have not yet been explained entirely in terms of matter and natural laws.

Coming in at number one is the phenomenon of mind, or consciousness.

How is it possible for consciousness, or a mind, to be created from unconscious, non-self aware matter and natural laws? Is it possible? Alot of AI researchers would say yes. But surprisingly, some very bright thinkers in the fields of AI and philosophy of mind are now saying no.

See the website of David Chalmers for a look at a leading philosopher of mind who is arguing that a form of dualism is in fact the only way to explain mind or consciousness. See me review of David Chalmer's book, The conscious mind.

For a purely materialistic view of philosophy of mind, check out Daniel Dennett(Consciousness Explained) and Douglas Hofstadter(Godel, Escher, Bach, an eternal golden braid).

Coming in at number two is the nature of a designed object.

I spoke about engineering, or the art of creating designed objects, at the top of this paper. But what IS a designed object? Presently, if we want a designed object, we have to hire an intelligent engineer, to design and construct the object. Is this a pattern of design in general...that to get a designed object you need an intelligent designer? Or are matter and natural laws sufficient to explain all design (or "apperent design" if materialism is correct) in the universe?

In a sense, this question boils down to the question of the origin of mind. If mind turns out to be nothing more than the product of matter and natural laws, then all designed objects produced by "intelligent designers" must be the product of matter and natural laws as well.

The evolution debate is where you can find alot of information on this topic. The leading proponent of design being purely a product of matter and natural laws is Richard Dawkins (See his books,The selfish gene and Climbing Mount Improbable).

The leading proponent of the necessity of an intelligent designer is William Dembski (see his books, No Free Lunch and Intelligent Design).

Alot of mathematicians these days are focused on the origin of order in the universe. Where does order come from? Not all phenomenon exhibiting order in the universe are designed. The wave patterns formed in the sand dunes of a desert can be explained without recourse to an intelligent designer, but that might not be the case for all natural phenomenon in the universe.

Presently, the only objects we can say with certainty are designed are the ones we ourselves have created. Everything else is still subject to debate.

Coming in at number three is the nature of ethics. Is human behavior the product of culture, or is there a natural moral law which guides our behavior and actions towards one another?

If tomorrow, all of the governments and laws in the world, all reference to law and government in the world contained in books and other media, and all memory of law and government were suddenly erased from existence, what would be the result on human behavior toward one another? Would moral and ethical behavior suddenly stop at once? I believe that the answer to this question is that no, it wouldn't. I do not believe that I peronally would suddenly behave like an irrational, amoral animal or immoral person under such circumstances. If people behaved morally under such conditions, then could you say that their behavior was caused by an underlying moral law?

Again, in my opinion, this question boils down to philosophy of mind. If our minds are truly produced by matter and natural laws, then how is it even possible for an ethics to actually exist. To me ethics implies free will, or the ability to choose between different courses of action, some moral and some immoral. Free will implies a mind that is independent of the deterministic natural laws producing the behavior of a brain. (Interestingly enough, philosophers such as Daniel Dennett argue that even if mind is created and governed by matter and natural laws, free will is still possible.)

J. Budziszewski, author of Written on the Heart, the case for natural law, is a popular philosopher of the natural moral law.

See Alan M Dershowitz, author of Rights from Wrongs, for a look at a law professor who is trying to ground a theory of ethics while simultaneously denying the existence of a natural moral law.

© 2005. Chris Lind. See

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