Friday, July 20, 2012


Why does everything in the world fit together so well? We've got this whole "ecosystem" going on where everything in it serves some kind of purpose towards the greater good of the collective system as a whole. Apparently anyway. If the existence of life in general is a random occurence, why aren't there a bunch of random lifeforms that serve no purpose at all? Just exist randomly for no reason. I'm curious about this.


  1. There are. They're called domestic cats.

  2. there is no "greater good."

    Nature is really just a system of checks and balances.

    Nearly all of the lifeforms that have ever existed on this planet have gone extinct.

  3. One answer would be that life has existed on Earth for a long time and if anything was taking much more than it was giving then life wouldn't of lasted that long.

    The "weak anthropic principle" is not the answer to your question, but it's the answer to a lot more stupid related questions so I'll write it here: Suppose you want to know something like "Why am I in this world in this part of the galaxy?". The answer is that if you weren't on this planet at this point in space-time then you wouldn't exist to ask such a stupid question, and hopefully you've already established that you do exist.

    1. OK, I've thought about it a bit more. Not completely satisfied:

      Another answer: Suppose single cell life-forms require a certain quantity and ratio of chemicals to exist and suppose that larger life-forms are basically made of these single cells. The larger an animal (or plant) is, the more cells it needs to keep replacing to survive. The easiest, and really the only way an animal can get the required chemicals in the correct ratio is by finding other cells (or dead things that used to be cells). Hence for life to exist at anything more than a microscopic level, it really needs to rely on other life elsewhere. I suppose you could think of all living things as being part of something bigger.

      Another idea is that as one animal (or plant or whatever) evolves in a way benifitting its situation, the situation (which consists of other life) evolves to benefit from this. The example that comes to mind is fruit: Say a seed is encased in fruit to provide it with the food it needs to grow. This is also pretty suitable food for an animal, so the animal starts eating the fruit. Genetic variants of seeds which survive this process of being eaten can reproduce more successfully than those which don't and eventually there's a tendancy towards seeds which thrive in the animal's shit (a concentrate of the material needed to grow) and eventually it is beneficial for the fruit to taste as appealing as it can. This is thought to be roughly the case with cherries.

  4. Why do we feel the need to question our existence anyhow? It doesn't do anyone any good?

    Suppose I want to believe that "intelligent design" is behind it all and everything exists because of a divine creator. Okay, but that brings up a host of its own questions. Do I owe this creator anything simply because I exist? But I didn't ask for any of this. As a matter of fact, to be perfectly honest, I haven't even enjoyed most of it. But apparently I'd be expected to follow a pile of rules that would inconvenience me considerably. The reward: possible everlasting life in "paradise." And if it's real then there's probably only about four people who have ever gotten in. And I'm stuck here worrying about it because some naked bitch picked an apple at the behest of a snake.

    Or I could decide that there was never any initial creator and it was all just a random series of events, each one seemingly insignificant unto itself but all linked together leading us all to where we are now. Existence then has no meaning or consequence. Born, live, multiply, die. Hope you had fun along the way. If this is the case then the only reason to do anything "good" is only to leave the world a little bit better off for the next generation. Unfortunately outside of my immediate family I hate most people and would rather see this planet obliterated with mushroom clouds than put any effort at all into improving it. I might end up having to create a "creator" just to convince myself that there's something else out there that gives some meaning to it all. To give myself some sense of purpose and pretend that I've got a snowball's chance in Hell of ever making it to Heaven. There would need to be rules as well because otherwise right and wrong would be left up to my own discretion which may or not change from day to day or even moment to moment.

    That brings me back to the root problem above. What would I owe this creator, if anything. I might not owe him anything if I created him myself. That would leave me feeling pretty foolish so I might have to convince some others to also believe what I believe. Any naysayers getting in the way will need to be dealt with. Preferably with violence since there really is no other 100% proven effective method. There's no end to any of this. Fast forward a few hundred years and there would still be clowns bickering and fighting over who is following the rules better than everyone else.

    My dog is a complete fucking retard, even for a dog. We're a lot alike though. We're both lazy slobs who put very little effort into anything outside of our own narrow interests that we're, conversely, extremely passionate about. Both prone to brief moments of unprovoked rage. I think he's better off though because I don't think he gives a shit why he's alive and if there's any other world coming after this one. His level of understanding is clearly much higher than my own. I may even envy him right now. He'll probably die a virgin though. What a loser.

  5. I guess you can say the universe as a whole just exists randomly for no apparent reason (religious people will protest, of course). Regarding lifeforms and ecosystems, I wonder how do you tell 'random' existence from non-random.

    Consider this: a cow is essentially an energy/entropy processor. It takes grass in and gives meat/more cows out. There is some waste of course. Now, I'll look at the cow and maybe I can eat it and process some of the energy from the cow into making more me. Suddenly the cow is useful/serves a purpose for me. All organisms are just like the cow. There is no purpose, but their existence offers an opportunity. Given enough time, life will take the opportunity and use the resources offered.

    The same can be said about rocks etc. A rock, given the right conditions/toolset can be converted into pebbles, sand, dust, grass, cows, people, bacteria etc. Does rock have a purpose? Is it helping the 'greater good'?
    The 'fitting well together' part can be just a myth of course. Are all people fitting well together? How do you tell? Look up invasive species - they disrupt ecosystems for their own benefit. Life's purpose is to exist. May sound a little boring, no?

    I have a friend who thinks human brains work better when they believe in some fairytales. We may be becoming more stable. Somebody needs God above him to get up everyday and go to work. Somebody else believes he is the most awesome human in the world so he must go out there and tell all people what to do, the world has to be enlighted, doesn't it? There are some indications of genes which may modify the strength of these beliefs needed.

    I wonder if every hedgehog believes that it's the most badass hedgehog in the universe. Does it need this faith to get up in the evening and get looking for worms? Hedgehogs definitely like to fuck, why do it otherwise? Maybe faith in god is just a byproduct of the need to motivate us to get up and do something. If you don't, you die and your genes are no longer existing. We have big brains so our motivations are maybe more complex than the motivation of a salmon to jump up that waterfall.

    1. That's valid. Just because something serves a purpose doesn't mean it was created specifically for that purpose.

      Jehova's Witnesses could learn a lot from Atheists. Mormons too. Why walk around door to door when you can just share pictures and quotes on Facebook from the comfort of your own home or office? They could be just as arrogant, intrusive and annoying but much less of a nuissance. Everybody wins!