Astronomers Try and Unravel the Concept of Emergence

Increasing entropy is one of the fundamental components of our universe and without it we wouldn’t be here and neither would the complex world we see all around us. Entropy in its lightest sense is the tendency for things to wear out over time and is often cited as evidence against evolution. After all, if entropy’s been around since the Big Bang, how is the world as we know it so complex?

The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself is a book written by physicist Sean B. Carroll, that focuses on how entropy can drive increasing complexity and is now a fundamental element of physics. He also goes on to explain how increasing entropy will, in fact, lead to the death of our universe eventually.

While many people see entropy as a state of disorder, that’s not always the case. It can be true under certain conditions, but not in some cases. Instead, entropy should be seen as related to options, meaning the more options there are for a system of particles to arrange itself, the higher the entropy is. Sometimes, if the system is ordered it’s possible, it would have even more options.

Entropy sets particles to wiggle which can drive them into a structure that ends up becoming complex when views as a whole. This rings true of birds such as starlings as well as atomic and subatomic particles. It’s these murmurations that seem to have some shared consciousness or central intelligence about them. With the knowledge they already know about how complex systems emerge from simpler ones, scientists should hopefully now be able to unravel some of the deeper mysteries of the most complex system known to man – the human consciousness.

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