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What's the explanation for those shivers/shudders that happen at random times?

What's the explanation for those shivers/shudders that happen at random times?


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They happen at any time, presenting as a sudden urge to shiver/shudder all at once. It originates in the neck and shoulders, feels like instant gooosebumps then out of total reflex shoulders roll back and neck cringes. Happens every couple of months and comes out of nowhere, then gone without a trace.

I have read about myoclonic jerks but this doesn't sound the same.

Where do these impulses come from and what's the physiological explanation?


It is just like a muscle spasm but generated from your nervous system. If the problem persist you are lacking in a certain vitamin that your body needs to function correctly.


The Common Involuntary Shudder November 15, 2005 8:11 PM Subscribe

Ever notice how sometimes when you have this you get a miniature dream vignette that starts off calm and is designed to accomodate the shock (for instance, I've been skiing and then hit a bump)? If I recall, what happens is that as it's starting to happen your brain makes something up and compresses a whole story a few seconds long into the instant before you get it.

Ah, from an article by Oliver Sacks in the New Yorker:
"Sometimes, as one is falling asleep, there may be a massive, involuntary jerk--a myoclonic jerk--of the body. Though such jerks are generated by primitive parts of the brain stem (they are, so to speak, brain-stem reflexes), and as such are without any intrinsic meaning or motive, they may be given meaning and context, turned into acts, by an instantly improvised dream. Thus the jerk may be associated with a dream of tripping, or stepping over a precipice, lunging forward to catch a ball, and so on. Such dreams may be extremely vivid, and have several "scenes." Subjectively, they appear to start before the jerk, and yet presumably the entire dream mechanism is stimulated by the first, preconscious perception of the jerk. All of this elaborate restructuring of time occurs in a second or less."
posted by abcde at 8:45 PM on November 15, 2005

Response by poster: I came across the myclonic stuff myself, but didn't feel it got close to the kind of shudder I meant.

Sleep has nothing to do with it, its kind of just a moment out of time when your body convulses in an almost fear-like representation of something you didn't experience, somthing that bypassed your consciousness and went straight into your nervous system.

The heebie jeebies is that kind of thing i mean, but this is not a recognised term.

And I can't find any reference to "antroplysic mytonsus" anywhere.
posted by 0bvious at 10:30 PM on November 15, 2005

I know what you mean, and its not the myoclonic jerk. I get them all the time and have even had the EEG and the wear-it-home wire toque treatments to figure out why I get them so often. Colloquially I call them "shudders", I wonder if they are a kind of "petit mal" seizure.

Someone walking over your future grave is a common superstition about these -- maybe it is the explanation and I am due to be buried under a highway.
posted by Rumple at 12:15 AM on November 16, 2005

Response by poster: I should also add that I get these 'shudders' quite a lot - alone or in the presence of others. Also, in a similar way to a yawn, if I think hard about the sensation I can provoke the shudder a little, although it is not as intense. It feels like it controls you for a time.

I assume that everyone gets these, just because I have talked about it with people before. I think it was my dad who originally told me the name many years ago

Thanks for the great responses by the way.
posted by 0bvious at 12:45 AM on November 16, 2005

abcde -- no, there was no diagnosis, probably because I dropped out of treatment once they started musing about cancelling my driver's licence. They usually last about 10-30 seconds, involve only the upper body, involve a slowly increasing muscular spasm, but there is no loss of conciousness or awareness. In fact, there is the sensation that I could stop the shudder if I wanted to, but for some reason, I never "want to". They can occur anytime but most commonly are stimulated by a feather-light touch to the skin of the face, neck or scalp, or by orgasm. The longest one I've had must have lasted about 5 minutes of which 4 was a sort of paralysis, conscious, but not able to move/not wanting to move.

OK, too much information maybe -- I wish I knew what they were -- but don't worry about them anymore. I also thought everyone got them but apparently not.

I usually have the big twitch on falling asleep and it is definitely not the same thing.

(BTW I never get them driving, teaching, or other activities that require a certain 'focus' -- so feel ok about still driving)
posted by Rumple at 12:55 AM on November 16, 2005

Response by poster: abcde: Do you know where I can track down that New Yorker - Oliver Sacks article? The New Yorker archives have been, well, crap

cheers
posted by 0bvious at 12:57 AM on November 16, 2005

(Loathe as I am to link to Wikipedia). -abcde

Why?
posted by zardoz at 3:47 AM on November 16, 2005

I get these once in a while. It's not connected to urination, sleep (though I've had that a few times, too), or anything else. I just suddenly quake for a few seconds. Generally, someone will say, "What was that?" or, "Are you okay?"

I just say, "Full body shiver". Pretty much everyone I've said that to understands exactly what I mean, though as far as technical or medical term - I'm just as in-the-dark as you.
posted by ArsncHeart at 9:08 AM on November 16, 2005

I think the twitch when falling asleep is just your body trying to rouse itself - it usually happens to me when I try to sleep in a chair, on a couch, or some other location that's not where I normally sleep. I don't know that it's necessarily the same thing as these other spasms that are being reported - but of course, IANAD, and I could be wrong.

Here's a related question, though: Does anyone else ever get this sensation like their entire body is humming/thrumming/lightly vibrating when they try to fall asleep in an armchair or on a couch? I've gotten this innumerable times throughout my life, and it always freaked me out. It always occurs right about the point where I'm midway between consciousness and sleep and I've started to feel warm like I do when I sleep. Any ideas?
posted by limeonaire at 12:00 PM on November 16, 2005

limeonaire: The hypnagogic state is prone to many odd sensations. That's probably the most common, and well-documented, though it's probably not medically classified. If you put a conscious effort into staying conscious as your body falls asleep, which is done to achieve lucid dreams, it can get stronger until it feels like painless electricity running through your whole body, often with an accompanying whoosing type sound, until you fall asleep fully (and, hopefully, aware that you're dreaming).

zardoz: I have the usual critiques of it (no consistent style, prone to vandalism, many inaccuracies).
posted by abcde at 4:03 PM on November 16, 2005

Response by poster: Shoepal: Yeah, I was thinking technical term. I remember that whoever told me was not being colloquial, it was a mouthful of a word (I think).

This kind of shiver has very little to do with sleep for me. I know of those kind of body movements, but this is different. It can happen anytime. I reckon some people have this and just don't really pay attention to it, its so normal. I'd equate it closest with the feeling you get when you see something that freaks you out.

Anyway, thanks again for the responses. It doesn't look like a technical term is going to be found. But I still have hope yet!
posted by 0bvious at 4:23 PM on November 16, 2005

Best answer: It may not be exactly perfect, but I would definitely use the word "frisson" to describe this sensation.

(And yes, after lurking for years, I registered just to answer this.)
posted by booksandlibretti at 5:18 PM on November 16, 2005 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: frission looks like the best so far, but still i yearn for an article somewhere with more on this slight phenomenon.


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Multiple sclerosis: What you need to know

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system, which is the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. This can lead to a wide range of symptoms throughout the body.

It is not possible to predict how multiple sclerosis (MS) will progress in any individual.

Some people have mild symptoms, such as blurred vision and numbness and tingling in the limbs. In severe cases, a person may experience paralysis, vision loss, and mobility problems. However, this is not common.

It is difficult to know precisely how many people have MS. According to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), 250,000–350,000 people in the United States are living with MS.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates the number could be closer to 1 million.

New treatments are proving effective at slowing the disease.

Share on Pinterest Photo editing by Stephen Kelly Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images

Scientists do not know exactly what causes MS, but they believe it is an autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS). When a person has an autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks healthy tissue, just as it might attack a virus or bacteria.

In the case of MS, the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers, causing inflammation. Myelin allows the nerves to conduct electrical signals quickly and efficiently.

Multiple sclerosis means “scar tissue in multiple areas.”

When the myelin sheath disappears or sustains damage in multiple areas, it leaves a scar, or sclerosis. Doctors also call these areas plaques or lesions. They mainly affect:

  • the brain stem
  • the cerebellum, which coordinates movement and controls balance
  • the spinal cord
  • the optic nerves
  • white matter in some regions of the brain

As more lesions develop, nerve fibers can break or become damaged. As a result, the electrical impulses from the brain do not flow smoothly to the target nerve. This means that the body cannot carry out certain functions.

Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS): This is a single, first episode, with symptoms lasting at least 24 hours. If another episode occurs at a later date, a doctor might diagnose relapse-remitting MS.

Relapse-remitting MS (RRMS): This is the most common form. Around 85% of people with MS are initially diagnosed with RRMS. RRMS involves episodes of new or increasing symptoms, followed by periods of remission, during which symptoms go away partially or totally.

Primary progressive MS (PPMS): Symptoms worsen progressively, without early relapses or remissions. Some people may experience times of stability and periods when symptoms worsen and then get better. Around 15% of people with MS have PPMS.

Secondary progressive MS (SPMS): At first, people will experience episodes of relapse and remission, but then the disease will start to progress steadily.

Find out more here about the different types and multiple sclerosis stages and what they mean.

Because MS affects the CNS, which controls all the actions in the body, symptoms can affect any part of the body.

The most common symptoms of MS are:

Muscle weakness: People may develop weak muscles due to lack of use or stimulation due to nerve damage.

Numbness and tingling: A pins and needles-type sensation is one of the earliest symptoms of MS and can affect the face, body, or arms and legs.

Lhermitte’s sign: A person may experience a sensation like an electric shock when they move their neck, known as Lhermitte’s sign.

Bladder problems: A person may have difficulty emptying their bladder or need to urinate frequently or suddenly, known as urge incontinence. Loss of bladder control is an early sign of MS.

Bowel problems: Constipation can cause fecal impaction, which can lead to bowel incontinence.

Fatigue: This can undermine a person’s ability to function at work or at home, and is one of the most common symptoms of MS.

Dizziness and vertigo: These are common problems, along with balance and coordination issues.

Sexual dysfunction: Both males and females may lose interest in sex.

Spasticity and muscle spasms: This is an early sign of MS. Damaged nerve fibers in the spinal cord and brain can cause painful muscle spasms, including in the legs.

Tremor: Some people with MS may experience involuntary quivering movements.

Vision problems: Some people may experience double or blurred vision or a partial or total loss of vision. This usually affects one eye at a time. Inflammation of the optic nerve can result in pain when the eye moves. Vision problems are an early sign of MS.

Gait and mobility changes: MS can change the way people walk due to muscle weakness and problems with balance, dizziness, and fatigue.

Emotional changes and depression: Demyelination and nerve fiber damage in the brain can trigger emotional changes.

Learning and memory problems: These can make it difficult to concentrate, plan, learn, prioritize, and multitask.

Pain: Pain is a common symptom in MS. Neuropathic pain is directly due to MS. Other types of pain occur because of weakness or stiffness of muscles.

Less common symptoms include:

There is also a higher risk of urinary tract infections, reduced activity, and loss of mobility. These can impact a person’s work and social life.

In the later stages, people may experience changes in perception and thinking, as well as sensitivity to heat.

MS affects individuals differently. For some, it starts with a subtle sensation, and their symptoms do not progress for months or years. Sometimes, symptoms worsen rapidly, within weeks or months.

A few people will only have mild symptoms, and others will experience significant changes that lead to disability. However, most people will experience times when symptoms worsen and then get better.

Scientists do not really know what causes MS, but risk factors include:

Age: Most people receive a diagnosis between the ages of 20 and 40 years.

Sex: Most forms of MS are twice as likely to affect women than men.

Genetic factors: Susceptibility may pass down in the genes, but scientists believe an environmental trigger is also necessary for MS to develop, even in people with specific genetic features.

Smoking: People who smoke appear to be more likely to develop MS. They also tend to have more lesions and brain shrinkage than non-smokers.

Infections: Exposure to viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or mononucleosis, may increase a person’s risk of developing MS, but research has not shown a definite link. Other viruses that may play a role include human herpes virus type 6 (HHV6) and mycoplasma pneumonia.

Vitamin D deficiency: MS is more common among people who have less exposure to bright sunlight, which is necessary for the body to create vitamin D. Some experts think that low levels of vitamin D may affect the way the immune system works.

Vitamin B12 deficiency: The body uses vitamin B when it produces myelin. A lack of this vitamin may increase the risk of neurological diseases such as MS.

Previous theories have included exposure to canine distemper, physical trauma, or aspartame, an artificial sweetener, but there is no evidence to support these

There is probably no single trigger for MS, but multiple factors may contribute.

A doctor will carry out a physical and neurological examination, ask about symptoms, and consider the person’s medical history.

No single test can confirm a diagnosis, so a doctor will use several strategies when deciding whether a person meets the criteria for a diagnosis.

    of the brain and spinal cord, which may reveal lesions
  • spinal fluid analysis, which may identify antibodies that suggest a previous infection or proteins consistent with a diagnosis of MS
  • an evoked potential test, which measures electrical activity in response to stimuli

Other conditions have symptoms that are similar to those of MS, so a doctor may suggest other tests to assess for other possible causes of the person’s symptoms.

If the doctor diagnoses MS, they will need to identify what type it is and whether it is active or not. The person may need more tests in the future to check for further changes.

Learn more here about the tests for diagnosing MS.

There is no cure for MS, but treatment is available that can slow the progression of the disease, reduce the number and severity of relapses, and relieve symptoms.

Some people also use complementary and alternative therapies, but research does not always confirm the usefulness of these.

Treatment options include:

Medications to slow progression

Several disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for treating the relapsing forms of MS. These work by changing the way the immune system functions.

A doctor may give some of these by mouth, by injection, or as an infusion. How often the person needs to take them and whether they can do this at home will depend on the drug.

The following DMTs currently have approval:

Injectable medications

  • interferon beta 1-a (Avonex and Rebif)
  • interferon beta-1b (Betaseron and Extavia)
  • glatiramer acetate: (Copaxone and Glatopa)
  • peginterferon beta-1a) (Plegridy)

Oral medications

  • teriflunomide (Aubagio)
  • fingolimod (Gilenya)
  • dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera)
  • mavenclad (cladribine)
  • mayzent (siponimod)

Infused medications

Current guidelines recommend a person begin using these drugs when in the early stages of MS, as there is a good chance that they can slow the progression of MS, especially if the person takes them when symptoms are not yet severe.

Some drugs are more useful at specific stages. For example, a doctor may prescribe mitoxantrone at a later, more severe stage of MS.

A doctor will monitor how well a drug is working, as there may be adverse effects and the same drugs do not suit everyone. New drug options coming onto the market are proving to be safer and more effective than some existing ones.

Adverse effects of immunosuppressant drugs include a higher risk of infections. Some medications may also harm the liver.

If a person notices adverse effects or if their symptoms get worse, they should seek medical advice.

Relieving symptoms during a flare

Other drugs are useful when a person experiences a worsening of symptoms during a flare. They will not need these drugs all the time.

These medications include corticosteroids, which reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. They can treat an acute flare-up of symptoms in certain types of MS. Examples include Solu-Medrol (methylprednisolone) and Deltasone (prednisone). Steroids can have adverse effects if a person uses them too often, and they are not likely to provide any long-term benefit.

Other medications and approaches can treat specific symptoms. Those symptoms include:

Behavioral changes: If a person has vision problems, a doctor may recommend they rest their eyes from time to time or limit screen time. A person with MS may need to learn to rest when fatigue sets in and to pace themselves so they can complete activities.

Problems with mobility and balance: Physical therapy and walking devices, such as a cane, may help. The drug dalfampridine (Ampyra) may also prove useful.

Tremor: A person may use assistive devices or attach weights to their limbs to reduce shaking. Medications may also help with tremors.

Fatigue: Getting enough rest and avoiding heat can help. Physical and occupational therapy can help teach people more comfortable ways to do things. Assistive devices, such as a mobility scooter, can help conserve energy. Medication or counseling may help boost energy by improving sleep.

Pain: A doctor may prescribe anticonvulsant or antispasmodic drugs or alcohol injections to relieve trigeminal neuralgia, a sharp pain that affects the face. Pain relief medication, such as gabapentin, may help with body pain. There are also medications to relieve muscle pain and cramping in MS.

Bladder and bowel problems: Some medications and dietary changes can help resolve these issues.

Depression: A doctor may prescribe a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or other antidepressant drugs.

Cognitive changes: Donepezil, a drug for Alzheimer’s, may help some people.

Learn more here about how to manage an exacerbation of MS.

Complementary and alternative therapies

The following may help with different aspects of MS:

  • heat and massage treatment for pain for pain and gait management to boost mood
  • exercise to maintain strength and flexibility, reduce stiffness, and boost mood
  • a healthful diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and fiber
  • quitting or avoiding smoking

What is a healthful diet for a person with MS? Find out here.

Medical marijuana

Studies have suggested that cannabis may help relieve pain, muscle stiffness, and insomnia. However, there is not enough evidence to confirm this.

People considering this approach should note that there is a difference between using street cannabis and medical cannabis. Also, not all forms of cannabis are legal in all states.

A person should ask their doctor for advice before using cannabis, as some forms can have adverse effects. Smoking cannabis is unlikely to be beneficial, and it may make symptoms worse.

Some people have suggested that biotin may help. Find out more here.

Rehabilitation and physical therapy

Rehabilitation can help improve or maintain a person’s ability to perform effectively at home and work.

Programs generally include:

Physical therapy: This aims to provide the skills to maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability.

Occupational therapy: The therapeutic use of work, self-care, and play may help maintain mental and physical function.

Speech and swallowing therapy: A speech and language therapist will carry out specialized training for those who need it.

Cognitive rehabilitation: This helps people manage specific problems in thinking and perception.

Vocational rehabilitation: This helps a person whose life has changed with MS make career plans, learn job skills, and get and keep a job.

Plasma exchange

Plasma exchange involves withdrawing blood from a person, removing the plasma, replacing it with new plasma, and transfusing it back into the person.

This process removes the antibodies in the blood that are attacking parts of the person’s body, but whether it can help people with MS is unclear. Studies have produced mixed results.

Plasma exchange is usually only suitable for severe MS attacks.

Stem cell therapy

Scientists are looking into the use of stem cell therapy to regenerate various body cells and restore function to people who have lost it due to a health condition.

Researchers hope that one day, stem cell therapy techniques may be able to reverse the damage done by MS and restore functionality in the nervous system.

MS is challenging to live with but is rarely fatal. Some severe complications such as bladder infections, chest infections, and difficulty swallowing could lead to death.

A multiple sclerosis prognosis does not always result in severe paralysis. Two-thirds of people with MS are able to walk. However, many of them will require assistance such as a cane, wheelchair, crutches, or a scooter.

The average life expectancy for a person with MS is 5 to 10 years lower than the average person.

MS is a potentially severe health condition that affects the nervous system. Progression of MS is different for each person, so it is hard to predict what will happen, but most people will not experience severe disability.

In recent years, scientists have made rapid progress in developing drugs and treatments for MS. Newer drugs are safer and more effective, and they offer significant hope for slowing disease progression.

As researchers learn more about genetic features and changes that occur with MS, there is also hope that they will be able to predict more easily which kind of MS a person will have and establish the most effective treatment from the earliest stage.

A person who receives appropriate treatment and follows a healthful lifestyle can expect to live the same number of years as a person without MS.

It is important to have support from people who understand what it is like to receive a diagnosis of and live with MS. MS Healthline is a free app that provides support through one-on-one conversations and live group discussions with people who have the condition. Download the app for iPhone or Android.


What's the explanation for those shivers/shudders that happen at random times? - Biology

Everybody gets goosebumps of some sort on a fairly regular basis. Some may feel it more frequently and stronger in vibration but to some degree we all experience them. Unfortunately few know what to do with them let alone why they are getting them. If you start to pay attention to when you are getting them, you will begin to notice it is when you are in need of some kind of guidance or something is to catch your attention. Goosebumps are you picking up on energy, usually someone else's or a thought that you should pay attention to or look deeper into.

Goosebumps or sudden shivers or chills are trying to tell you or show you something. What ever they are trying could tell you is up to you to decide. They could be a warning, say if you were talking to a stranger and you had a bad feeling about this person when suddenly you get a shiver down your spine. You might take that as a warning to part ways and be cautious of this person.

They could come when you have an inspirational idea or thought, this possibly telling you you are on the right path and to move forward with this new idea. Goosebumps can appear when you are thinking of someone, you can bet in that moment when you feel them, the other person received whatever energy you were just sending to them in your thoughts and although this other person may not consciously know what this energy was, or know that you did this, but you can bet they felt an energy shift on some level.

You may receive goosebumps during a conversation with someone or a group of people, this may be telling you to be extra aware of what is being said or to whoever is in your surrounding environment. Nothing may happen in that moment but something may become relevant in the near future, that you may not have noticed if you hadn't received those goosebumps and known to pay close enough attention to see the guidance offered.

When a loved one who has passed on is near, you may feel them through the energy creating your shivers or goosebumps. When a spirit is trying to get through to you or just letting you know they are there, you may feel chills. Our subconscious can pick up on energies near by, even though we can't see it.

This energy vibration can be felt anywhere on your body. Some receive the majority of them on their head and shoulders and arms, others down their legs, and others anywhere and in various combinations, Your guidance is different than any one else's, so start seeing if you see any patterns or at least know that something is going on and act accordingly. They are a gift, a sign, guidance, the universe saying pay attention !

For me goosebumps generally mean I or someone I am speaking with or something I am watching. is revealing truth. Everyone's experience may be slightly or completely different. Pay attention and observe your thoughts and surroundings when they appear, it won't take long and you will have another tool to use on your spiritual journey.

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What Spiritual Chills mean

If you have recently experienced a spiritual chill, and want to understand what it means, then you must begin to think about the situation and what you were thinking about or doing when you felt the chill.

Were you mediating, or trying to communicate with your spirit guides? Were you in the midst of a deep conversation with a friend, partner, or other loved one? If you can think back to what was on your mind, or if there was something you were unsure of at the time, then you can begin to decipher the message behind the spiritual chill.

For example, you could be telling a friend how much you’ve always loved to travel, and how you would love to take off and see the world whilst you’re still young, but you are nervous and unsure. You feel a sudden chill sensation down one side of your body as you are talking to your friend. This could be a message from your angels telling you to go for it, follow your dreams!


Possible Causes for a Car Shaking and Vibrating

Your axle is bent

If you get into a minor fender-bender or other mishap, such as running over a curb, you might feel as though it wasn’t enough to do any damage. That might not be true, however. Even a minor accident can bend an axle, and the slightest bend in this very important part can lead to serious shaking, especially at higher speeds. At the end of the axles is a part called the “constant velocity joint,” or CV joint. If those joints are worn out, that can also mean that your car is shaking.

You have a warped brake rotor

If the shaking happens only when you put on the brakes, and stops as soon as the car does, you probably have a warped brake rotor. The rotor is the part of your vehicle that sits right inside the wheel. The brakes press hard against this rotor in order to slow and stop the car. Over time, the rotors begin to wear out from all that friction. When the rotor no longer has an even surface, you get vibrations whenever you hit the brakes.

Your wheel is wobbly

Is your tire attached firmly to the vehicle? A loose tire can lead to serious vibration, and it can also lead to an accident if not taken care of immediately. If your tire is well-attached, you might be looking at problems with the wheel bearings. Though these are designed to last for the life of the vehicle, many people drive their vehicles enough to wear these parts out.

Your tire needs balancing

If your tires aren’t balanced properly, they won’t run even and straight on the road. The result – you guessed it – is a bad shimmy. That vibration can get even worse with time, and can start to affect your other tires, too. Other problems might include alignment issues or problems with the tread coming away from the tire.

You’ve hit something hazardous

There is a reason why drivers curse potholes and low curbs – these are invitations to run right over them and cause serious problems to the wheels themselves. If you have hit a pothole or other obstruction recently and now your car has a wicked shake, chances are there is a problem with the wheel itself. That needs the attention of a trained tire technician.

Your brake caliper is stuck

This is an odd thing to happen to a vehicle, but it certainly has caused its share of shaking. When the caliper sticks, your car will start to vibrate when it reaches a certain speed, usually 40 or 50 miles per hour. Once that happens, it gets even worse the faster you go. When you stop, you might smell a burning odor that reminds you of tires on fire.

Your radiator fan is broken

When a fan breaks, it becomes very uneven. It still tries to turn, but it wobbles. If your radiator fan is broken, this can be enough to make your car shake from side to side, especially when you are going at faster speeds.

Your engine mount is loose

The engine of a vehicle is attached to the body of the car with engine mounts. Most vehicles have at least four of these, possibly more. If even one mount is loose or unattached, it means that your engine has more room to move, and it will – you can suffer significant vibrations with a loose mount.


Archived Q&A and Reviews

My eight month old baby is shaking her head

My eight month old little baby girl has started to shake her head from left to right quite violently. I am very worried about this. She is a very, very sweet little baby, she is happy generally and doing all the developmental things expected, but has started shaking her head. At first I thought it may be that I was not giving her enough attention all of a sudden (as I've been job hunting), then I thought is it behavioural (as I have been wigged/stressed out and I had a heated argument in her presence), then I thought is it something medical (she has always been active and waved her arms and legs around alot since she was born and she was also very active in the womb), and I am very worried about it. I have seen messages on the internet stating ''my baby has the same thing'' several times, but I saw only one message stating that their baby ''grew out'' of it. Has anyone had this happen to their baby and has an answer, some suggestions, or advice or guidance? Thank you so much. Vicky

Mine did, and still does, the same thing. I've seen other babies do it. She laughs when she shakes her head vigorously and we actually taught her to shake her head on command. I don't think it's a big issue. She's one now and isn't doing it as often as before. I do notice that she tends to do it more when it's late in the day and she's starting to get tired. anon

My son shook his head like that when he was about the same age. It freaked me out. I think he was just learning that new feeling and controll of his body. He outgrew it. I don't think it lasted too long. a few months? He's 17 now, a senior in high school, smart, social, a great kid and applying to colleges. I'd say don't worry. proud mom of former head shaker

My son has been doing this too, starting about the same age as your child he's 12 months now. Don't stress it. I think it's just fun for them. My son also likes to make himself dizzy by turning around and around in circles, which I think is the same sort of behavior. Not my idea of fun, but hey, I'm not a baby anymore! Don't stress, Mom

Hi! I just wanted to tell you that my son did the same thing at 6 months. I took him to his pediatrician's office and talked to a doctor (not his usual doctor) who had a child of the same age. He was very reassuring and examined my son thoroughly. His take? Babies like new sensations that they can control, so my son basically enjoyed the feeling of vigorously shaking his head. He also enjoyed my reaction! The doctor recommended that I not react at all to the head shaking and soon my son had moved on to another new behavior (I forgot what that was. He's a healthy four and a half year old now!). Definitely check with your pediatrician if you are worried, but if your daughter is healthy baby, it doesn't sound like you need to be too stressed! anon

My 6-month old has recently started doing the same thing. She mostly does it when she's tired. I've checked with two doctors and both see no reason to worry. It can be a self-soothing movement or just a new movement they're practicing that feels good. I agree with you that it can look alarming but I'm certain it will pass and that there's no reason to worry (of course, given that she's healthy and alert otherwise). anon

Jerky arm movements in a 6 month old

Our 6 month old son seems normal in every aspect (smiling, babbling, making good eye contact, etc.) but has really jerky arm movements and is always kicking or moving whenever he is lying down. Standing up he is always constantly moving around as well. His movements are such that we have to swaddle him at night to contain him or else he will constantly wake himself up. I don't know whether this is normal or not? When should he be growing out of these jerky movements? Nothing seems to be repetitive-he's not rocking or flapping his arms in the same pattern all the time. Any advice?

i was worried about the same thing in my son. he is now 21 months and well-coordinated, active, and as intelligent as a tot should be. i was sure he had some mental problem! he couldn't find his hand to suck on at night (and his 3 month old sister could find her hand since 1 month). oh yeah, and he couldn't grab at toys the same way some kids seemed to, either. don't worry! i am sure your son is just doing things at his own pace. beth

Infant's head thrashing

I know it's a weird heading, but I didn't know what else to call it. Sometimes when my 7 month old daugther is lying down, especially if she's about to go to sleep, she'll turn her head left and right really fast. It's almost as if she's trying to itch the back of her head, which does sometimes get irritated at her bald spot. At other times, it looks involuntary, as if she can't help it. Whatever it is, I've never seen another baby do it before. Can you shed any light on this? lydia

Our son quite often rubbed his head back and forth (maybe a second or two on each side for a number of repetitions?) before falling asleep as an infant. He never did this while awake, and he's basically stopped now that he's a year old. It always seemed like something that that he had discovered that helped him to zone out and relax into sleep. mom

intermittently from 7-9 months of age our son would rapidly shake his head back and forth both sitting and when laying down. It seemed entirely involuntary and was a little frightening, but it always happened when he was tired and somehow it struck me as familiar. After wracking my brain for days, I remembered that he used to thrash his head back and forth like that when he was swaddled (since we swaddled him so tightly that his head was the only thing he could move!) I think he simply associated the head shaking with falling asleep. He outgrew it by the time he was 10 months of age. Robin

I can't offer you any particulalry enlightening reason for the head thrashing, but I can tell you that my son does it too. It's barely a ''thrash'', more like a vigorous shaking the back and forth like he's saying ''no''- so I haven't been worried that he could hurt himself- don't know if that's the case with you too. He's a year and a half and has been doing it for a while- probably at least a year. I've only seen him do it before he falls asleep, and only occasionally. I just take it as a sign that his body's trying to put him to sleep, which is helpful to know, though kind of funny to watch. Interesting to know that some other kids do it too. Monica

I meant to respond to this the first time around. My now 13 month old has done exactly the same thing since around 5 months. Only in the crib and only when he's very tired. I think he wants to stay awake and play but he's really tired so he literally tries to fight sleep off by shaking it out of his head. It never works, of course, but I applaud his efforts! Jill

My baby (now 11 months old) had done it since he was really young. I believe that it is a way for him to rock himself to sleep. My husband told me that he rocked himself to sleep everynight until he was a teenager, so I just assumed that my son's behavior is related. When I see him do that, I know he is ready to go to sleep. mom of other baby with head thrashing

8-month-old's involuntary head jerking

My 8 mo. old baby girl developed a sideways head jerk about 2 weeks ago. It's totally involuntary, to either side, but more often to the right, and happens several times a day. Sometimes she jerks her head once and sometimes 2 or 3 times. We thought it was happening more when she seemed tired, but today it happened after a nap, over and over for a good few minutes. She is otherwise healthy, happy and developing ahead of her age motorically. She has seemed more irritable or frustrated lately, but nothing out of the ordinary for a developing baby. Our pediatrician thinks it is some kind of a head tick (what is that?) and has referred us to neurology at Children's Hospital. We are pretty scared. She is our third and I have never seen a baby move this way before. Does anyone have any experience or advice with this sort of thing? Thank you very much. Lior

I'm just writing to let you know that I've seen it. I'm sorry I do not have a better response. But yes, I've seen ticks of the head. It's completely involuntary and the person often forgets that their head ticks at that moment - unless of course - they're teased as a child and/or experience confused looks from others. Please do what you are doing - looking into it with specialists - go as far as you can to see how it can be corrected. Good luck and my heart goes out to you and baby. Sam

I too was concerned when my baby would jerk her head from side to side! We were especially concerned because we were in a car accident when our baby was 4 days old. I spoke to many girlfriends and my doctor and found out that it is VERY common for babies to shake their heads back and forth! I was so surprised by how many of my girlfriends' babies did the same thing. The only thing is that no one knew why (and neither did my doctor) but all of them seemed to grow out of it. My daughter is now 9 months old and very rarely shakes her head - my girlfriend's baby did it until a year old. Be patient - it's one of those normal wierd things that babies do. Our doctor said he would send us to a nuerologist if we wanted, but he honestly said the testing and medication would probably be worse for the baby than the head shaking itself. Feel free to email me if you want to talk! Good luck!

This one just popped out at me. My brother has Tourette's Syndrome which causes involuntary ticks. It can be either mild or severe and can vary with eye blinking ticks, head ticks, or even vocally. It's also associated with Obsesive Compulsive Disorder. I'm not sure if this could be the cause of your daugther's ticks but thought you might want to ask the neurologist if this could be a possiblity. I know with my parents, it took them until my brother was around 10 years old to find out what was wrong. Tourette's was still pretty new to doctors. My brother now takes medication daily (Haldol) which has helped him and the ticks are not noticeable. And, of course, I may be off on this, but thought it would be good to know of this. I wish the best for your daughter! Good Luck! caitlin

We also experienced this when our son was about six months old. Our pediatrician also sent us to Children's to see a neurologist. We agonized for weeks over this until we got in to see her. Thank god the neurologist said he was fine - just a sensation he enjoyed feeling. She then commented how nice it was to see a healthy child. So hang in there hopefully you will have a similar result! When we told our pediatrician the results she smiled and said I thought so - just wanted to be safe.

I am concerned that your baby could be having seizures called infantile spasms. It is a good thing that you have an appointment with a neurologist but unless it is within a few days I would try to get help sooner. Have you vidio taped these head jerks?

Infantile spasms are unfortunately not understood or recognized by pediatricians as well as they should be. My son began having them at 5mos old and they became more and more frequent until we brought him to the emergency room and got a speedy diagnosis. They are usually treatable and depending on the diagnosis there are some medications better than others.

Your baby's movements do not sound classic because she is moving her head from side to side. However, I have heard of many different variations and thought I would discribe them to you: Infantile spasms come in a series usually and they often make the baby upset, or cause a happy baby to become an irritable one. They usually cause the baby to flex their head forward or back, often with arm movements. They often happen when they are tired or upon waking (as do many seizures types). Infantile spasms are very serious and left untreated can cause brain damage.

I don't mean to alarm you, and I hope this is not what she is experiencing. I just thought because of the seriousness of infantile spasms I would let you know about them so that you can get help immediately if you think this is what she might have.

Infantile spasms may be caused by many disorders, including the one my son has. If your daughter has any white spots on her body she may have what my son does. You may contact me if you would like to learn more. Kristin

9-month-old shuddering her upper body

my nine month old girl has this habit of shuddering her upper body, in much of the same way an older child or adult would do when eating something extremely tart however, there doesn't seem to be any obvious stimuli causing this. there's no pattern as to when she does it--at the times it occurs, she's not eating anything, she's not cold, she's not expressing glee or anxiety. her pediatrician says she could be pleasuring herself, but i find this unlikely and his answer unacceptable. i'm a little concerned that this is an early sign of something neurologically-related that will surface when she's older. if your baby/child has this same behavior, please reassure me that it's completely normal. concerned mama

The movement you describe sounds very similar to something our daughter was doing a lot when she was 10 and 11 months old. We were very worried about it and searched all over for information, without finding much that was helpful. Our pediatrician was fairly reassuring--we weren't able to get her to do it in his office (even though at that time it seemed that she was doing it many times a day), but from our description he was confident that it wasn't anything seizure-related. When we weren't completely panicked about neurological disorders, back then we sometimes thought it was connected with fatigue or over-excitement. It did seem to happen less when she was well rested.

We never found a medical explanation, but the behavior gradually tapered off so that it had stopped almost completely by the time she turned one. Now, at fifteen months, it suddenly seems clear that it's voluntary--she does it now and then when she's very happy or when she's trying to get her father's attention (he's the exciting one). This will sound really bizarre, but yesterday she did it several times in a row after she heard me telling him that she had learned to ''shake her head'' to say no--apparently she picked up on the word ''shake'' and wanted to show me she understood it! Since our short phase of panicking about this in the fall I've also seen another baby the same age do exactly the same thing and heard a couple of people talk about it as connected with fatigue. relieved mother

My daughter did the same thing when she about 9-10 months. I couldn't find any situational consistency as to what prompted her to do this. I, too, was concerned about some neurological abnormality, but in hindsight it was just a phase which passed quite quickly. It certainly didn't look to me like she was pleasuring herself. At the time she was teething, so I figured that it might have been due to her biting her sensitive gums. Not sure whether that had anything to do with it, but I haven't seen her do it at all since about her first birthday. Antje

Our son did that for months around that age. It looked as if he was ''getting the chills'' or ''sucking on a lemon'' or something like that. I worried too, but in the bottom of my heart knew he was ok. Now he is 26 months and doesn't do that anymore (except with his bowel movements) and nothing is neurologically wrong with him. jo

My baby did this all the time at that age, and with alarming frequency, and it scared the crap out of me as well. The doctor shrugged her shoulders and gave it a medical name, which basically translated as ''baby shudders involuntarily.'' A nanny told me, with great certainty (and incorrectly) that she was peeing when she shuddered (she shuddered when naked with no pee). I later realized that I sometimes get this little ''shudder'' which I call ''chills'' periodically, and my dad told me he does that. Of course, I've never seen my dad do that and I don't do it as often or as dramatically as the baby, and of course as a first-time parent I was convinced that something horrible was wrong. however, I waited it out, and my daughter (now nearly 3) has NO neurological problems, and she doesn't shudder as often, and I don't worry about it anymore. I would say that if she doesn't ''zone out'' (like a seizure, as if her brain is not functioning during it), then no worries. Babies are just different, and us moms are looking at every little detail, and we worry if our kid is different than other kids. janet

My 5 month old baby has had a similar head shaking thing. I would describe it as a head tremor, an involuntary rapid vibrating or shaking of his head and shoulders, that was almost like a seizure. It has happened twice, both times while he was nursing, and lasted no more than a minute. I asked our pediatrician about it and he said he's heard about this a lot with babies this age. He attributed it to an immature nervous system. He explained that it's related to the spontaneous limb jerking that newborns do. He said that my son no longer has the involuntary arm and leg jerking, but now when his muscles twitch, they just keep twitching over and over as his nervous system hasn't learned to control the twitching yet. He said the key thing to observe was my son's mood after the episode. He's always fine, as if nothing happened, which my doctor indicates is a good sign. A bad sign would be if the baby seemed exhausted or stopped nursing or something else that indicated that what he went through was traumatic. apparently that is more symptomatic of an actual seizure. Don't know if I explained this well, but what the doctor said completely reassured me. anon

My son, now 2, had what was diagnosed as ''infant shuddering syndrome'', or something like that. I got the feeling that it was a non-technical term used by his neurologists (he ended up seeing two). Let me start by saying it was benign and he, by 12 months, he had outgrown it. We were been told by the neurologists that the children they have seen with this do outgrow it by 18 months with no side effects.

Here's the background. When he was 5 months old, we realized that he was making involuntary (we think) movements where he flapped his arms outward, sort of like a moro response. We ended up, over time, having him looked at by two pediatric neurologists. He also initially had an 2-3 hour EEG and a urine test to rule out a metabolic disorder. The EEG was normal and we were ready to call it a day, but we had a false positive on the metabolic test. He ultimately saw the second neurologist and had subsequest tests b/c of the urine test, but suffice it to say that after 7 months of testing, all came up normal. And he's not shown any signs of shuddering since he was a year old. That said, I do think it would be wise to get a neurologist's opinion. They see a lot of these things, and they can rule out anything serious. I hope this is reassuring! Relieved mom

My daughter shuddered often when she first tasted food she liked and when she peed. She did this from babyhood into lower elementary school. It did seem to be a pleasure response. I'd say your girl is feeling good for whatever reason -- nothing wrong with that! Diane

My 18 month old son has always shuddered his upper body whenever he needs to pee! Check her diaper soon after she does this and see if that's the cause. Susan

My son is now 27 months old, but sometime when he was between 1 year and 18 months, I noticed that he often shuddered for no apparent reason. I brought it up with our pediatrician, who said it was probably because he was peeing. I haven't noticed him shuddering in quite awhile- I don't know if it is because he stopped doing it or I stopped noticing because I am no longer worried. Anita

My six month old has been ''shuddering'' (what looks like a chill) for a couple months. Our pediatrician has assured us it is normal and there's nothing to worry about. Rachael

My daughter did exactly the same thing when she was that age. I was also concerned. I mentioned it to my mother who told me that I did that when I was a child, too. She told me that I used to do that after I peed. I checked and it appeared that my daughter also would shudder after she peed. Although I wouldn't classify it as pleasuring herself, it is possible that the two are related if peeing somehow stimulates her sexual organs. Just a possibility. Brenda

My baby did the exact same thing. I worried, asked, was told to just keep an eye on it. She's 3 now, and she stopped doing it sometime in the last year or so. heidi

I don't mean to trivialize your concern so forgive me if this response if off the mark, but the first thing I thought of when I read your post is that both of my kids make a slight shudder movement when they have to go pee. Could this be it? My older daughter has done this ever since she was in diapers and now, when she is almost five, I watch for the shudder and know when I see it that it's time to find a bathroom. anon

My daughter did exactly the same thing when she was about one. Eventually she stopped, but I don't remember when. Now she's three and super-fabulous in every way. I hope that reassures you that there is nothing wrong with your baby. anon.

I have no idea if this is true or not, but when my son was 5 months and shuddered at my mothers group (he still does now and then, not with much frequency), someone called it the ''pee shivers''. Other women seemed to have heard of this - apparently babies shiver when they've just peed? Who knows - but it could be a simple and harmless answer if it's true, and may be worth asking around about. anon

A friend's baby had similar symptoms. She went so far as to have a full neuro exam. and they finally figured out that she was constipated. Maybe some mineral oil or other treatment. I'd be freaked out, too. I hope you get it sorted out soon. Jennie

My older daughter did this a lot when she was a baby. It turned out she would do it right before she would pee. I remember being quite concerned about her shuddering until I figured it out. She eventually stopped doing it, I don't even remember when. Sometime before she was 2. She's now almost six and is perfectly fine. Jennifer

I know that some people have a brief 'Ƈ-2 second'' shudder when the have to pee or are beginning to pee. Could she be urinating during these episodes? My son has done this a few times. anon

Could your baby be peeing? My brother and I both get ''Pee shivers'' when we pee sometimes. I've done it since I was a kid. When I had kids I started noticing my child would do this kind of shiver sometimes. Once I saw her doing it when she was crawling and immediately felt her diaper. it was warm with fresh pee! Now that she is 4, I've seen her get pee shivers when she is going in the potty. And I occasionally see my new baby shiver too. Anon

9-month-old shaking his head from side to side

Our nine month old son recently started to shake his head from side to side seemingly involuntarily - it resembles the head shaking (or tremors) of someone with Parkinson's disease. He does this about 10-15 times per day for a few seconds each time and it doesn't seem to be associated with a particular mood or activity. He seems otherwise happy and normal. This started a couple of days after receiving his vaccinations and flu shot. Does anyone have any experience with this? Should we worry?

We went through this with our daughter and know that it can be very scary. We were advised to get her an EEG, which we did. Nothing came up in the tests, which was a relief, so the doctors chalked it up to an ''immature nervous system.'' Whatever it was, they told us that we should keep an eye on it and go for another test if the tremors didn't stop by 12 or 18 months (I'm sorry -- it was a while ago and I can't remember which). They stopped, so everything was okay. I would advise that you see your pediatrician to find out what s/he thinks you should do. Lauren

Dear Mom or Dad,
Not to scare you, but please, talk to your pediatrican immediately, as these could be small seizure. Don't mess around with home remedies. Hopefully the pediatrician can rule out seizures right away, but if not you have to act on this immediately. Your son may have to see a specialist and have an EEG. Look up petit mal sesuires on the web. While he is shaking his head, check what his eyes are doing. If he is having seizures, they can cause brain damage if left untreated. Again, I don't want to scare you, but please see a doctor. It probably has nothing to do with the flu shot.

My neice has epilepsy, and had petit mal seizures (many a day) since she was tiny. Hopefully, your son has something else, but really push to find out. I would be happy to talk with you more. lisa

Well, you should ask your pediatrician. But fyi, our baby does that too. Not 15 times a day, but several times (less now that she's a toddler). As far as I could tell, it was linked to elimination: she always did it when she pooped and sometimes when she peed. a mom

don't worry! my son went through the exact same thing at the same age. it totally freaked me out, but we finally realized that he does it when he's tired and he shakes his head to try to keep awake. try getting him to sleep sooner for naps. and, it goes away in a month or two.

2-year-old shaking his head from side to side

my 2 year old boy does this thing with his head when he sits down to be read to or when he sits down to watch a video. He sways his head from left to right a few times. Like he is settling in. Sometimes he seems to like to really shake his head, in a different way, more because it makes his world look funny. He is totally developmentally on target, though he is a early walker/late talker. My husband and I just sort of look at each other with concern when he does this. My boy seems fine, but this thing just sort of freaks me out. just wondering if anybody out there has seen these sorts of strange baby things.

My 20-month-old son does something that I think is very similar to the second behavior you describe (shaking his head to make his world look funny). He does it when he's sitting in his high chair eating, and he's getting close to done with his meal, so he's a little bored. He shakes his head side to side really emphatically, sometimes tilting his head back, and grinning from ear to hear -- then he looks at me to see how I'll respond. He started doing this at about 14 months old -- used to do it at every meal, often several times. Now he does it much less, but still seems to enjoy it. I don't think it's a big deal, just one of those funny things kids do. Karen

Hand tremors in 6-year-old child

Hi. I was wondering if anyone had information or experience with hand tremors in children. My 6 year old has had them for years. His physician says that they are no big deal and that he will probably outgrow them. His preschool teacher thought that it happened when he tried to hard. Time has passed and it has not changed. Now it is diffucult for him to write without the drawing shakey lines and to color. He is embarassed by his writing and tries to avoid it. Obviously I am very concerned and want to seek further evaluation. I will be contacting his physician and requesting a refferal to a Neurologist, if for nothing else a baseline. He is a very happy athletic guy. But his fine motor skills are lacking. Advice appreciated. Worried and want to be proactive.

I have a hand tremor and it was first given a diagnostic title by my pediatrician when I was 12, but I am sure that I had it before that. Mine has the fancy title ''Benign Essential Tremor of the Hand'' which means it's pretty much a big fat nuisance and nothing more except when I need to do something really anxiety provoking, like taking a final, and then it can get out of hand (so to speak).

I have had medication, Inderal, which is a beta blocker, for my tremor, since I was 12, and I have gone through periods of taking it and periods of not, including a 12 year hiatus while I was pregnant and breastfeeding my two boys. In my experience, my tremor bothers other people more than it does me.

I would go ahead and have a neurologist check it out to make sure it's not something else, but I have met a number of other people who have the same condition I do. It's weird but unrelated to anything like Parkinson's, so nothing to really worry about. heather


12 Answers 12

To get more insight into a question like this, you might like to ponder the relationship between logic gates and programming languages in the case of computers. This is a lot simpler than the physics—biology question, but begins to open up some of the issues. When a computer runs a program, certainly lots of logic gates and memory elements etc. are enacting the process described by the program. But the logic gates do not themselves tell you much about the structure and nature of a high-level programming language such as Java or Python. In a similar way, further study of atoms and molecules will not in itself reveal much about the immune system in mammals, or the social structure of an ant colony, and things like that.

This "answer" is really a brief comment on what is, in the end, quite a deep issue concerning the whole nature and structure of scientific knowledge. Another useful thing to ponder is the relationship between the concepts involved when one moves from the equations of particle physics to many-body physics. There is every reason to consider that the motions of a non-linear many-body system are all consistent with the description offered by the Standard Model of particle physics for all the various fields and interactions. However, the low-level description does not in itself tell us how to formulate a field theory which correctly captures the main elements of the collective behaviour.

It is a bit like the difference between knowing the rules of chess and knowing how the game is played to a high standard. For the latter one needs to appreciate some higher-level issues such as the importance of the central squares, pawn structure, open files and things like that. It is not that these are somehow operating without regard to the laws constraining the movement of the pieces, but rather the low-level laws (about how individual pieces may move) simply do not frame a language adequate to describe the higher-level issues. This analogy with chess is not perfect, of course, but it is apt nonetheless, and it illustrates why it is quite misleading to claim, as many do, that "physics explains chemistry". The situation is more subtle than that.

For example, the behaviour of many chemical reaction networks has features which do not depend much if at all on the individual reactions, but on the global structure of the network. It is not that such networks fail to respect any law of physics, but the description at the level of individual components cannot frame a language adequate to express and thus grapple with the higher-level issues such as whether the network is stable overall, and things like that. And what is really telling is that it is very common for these higher-level languages to have internal consistency and a certain robustness, such that they can be supported by more than one underlying hardware. This is similar to the way a given computer program can run on different types of hardware as long as the operating system is in common.

Emergence
Physics does not determine every facet of biology! Biology is a great example of what is called emergence - the phenomena where the composite of many simple entities has properties that the entities themselves do not possess (and which are not always predictable on the basis of the properties of the entities).

I have already given an example in my comment (also given in the answer by @AndrewSteane) of computer programs: existence and properties of an operating system, such as Linux or Windows, is certainly dependent on the existence of the silicon atoms constituting the chip, but cannot be predicted from the properties of these atoms alone. There are many layers of complexity in between:

  • the atoms make a crystal
  • the logic gates in a chip are fabricated from this crystal
  • the architecture of the logic gates on a chip is not directly determined by the properties of the gates themselves
  • the assembler language, addressing the gates on the basic level could exist in many different versions
  • the same assembelr language allows for many operating systems with wildly different properties

Claiming that everything is just physics simply because physics underlies the basic processes is a logically faulty argument.

Biophysics
There is a big part of biology, dealing with the phenomena that can be directly described using physics equations. Just to give a few examples:

  • the molecular bonds and basic chemical kinetics
  • folding of macromolecules
  • mechanical properties of body tissues
  • flow of blood and other liquids
  • skeletal and muscular dynamics

For a deeper overview you may consult these books:

I also recommend the Lectures on statistical physics and protein folding by Kerson Huang, the author of the widely used basic textbook on statistical physics. This one is a short and very readable introduction to the complexity of the phenomena involved.

Physically-inspired biological models
In some cases one uses models inspired by physics to model the biological phenomena that are not really the same as those underlying the original physics model. E.g., one uses Ising spin chains for statistical analysis of RNA structures - where the probabilities of configurations reflect not thermodynamical properties, but the frequency of these configurations in organisms, determined evolutionary rather than physical constraints. In a related example, Henry Orland has used large N expansion of the quantum field theory for classifying possible RNA structures - this is again an author of the well-known text on many-particle physics. See also this question.

Another such application is the use of the equations for drift-diffusion in non-linear potential to model decision-making by mice.

Computational biology
Many problems in modern biology are not directly related to physics, but often require the mathematical, statistical, and research skills that physicists possess - it is not therefore surprizing that many computational biologists have physics background (I am among them). One could give as examples:

  • modeling of non-linear phenomena in cells (e.g., a virus replication cycle can be described as switching between two distinct phases, controlled by the concentration of chemicals)
  • Population biology (modeling gene propagation with generations, see the Gellespie's little textbook for the serious but short introduction or the Neher and Shraiman review, which is the crash-course for physicists.)
  • Non-linear epidemiological equations (by now we have all see the curves that result from them, see Compartamental models in epidemiology)
  • Bioinformatics, i.e., analysis of biological sequences (though this requires more computational than physics skills, there is a lot of matrix algebra in it)

Biology
Still, there are a lot of biological processes that are not described in terms of just physics. E.g., the processes of transcription and translation, which form the Central dogma of molecular biology are hardly reducible to physics or even chemistry. If you come from a physics background, the biochemistry describing them leaves a indeed taste of a fairy-tale (no Hamiltonian, no equations), but it is a result of systematic observations and statistical analysis.

Update
@taciteloquence suggested in the comments a relevant quote from PW Anderson's 1972 article in Science More is Different.

The ability to reduce everything to simple fundamental laws does not imply the ability to start from those laws and reconstruct the universe. At each stage entirely new laws, concepts, and generalizations are necessary, requiring inspiration and creativity to just as great a degree as in the previous one. Psychology is not applied biology, nor is biology applied chemistry.

Update 2
As it was pointed out in connection to another question by @AndersSandbreg and @DvijDC, even if we could calculate behavior of complex biological systems from micrcoscopic physics laws (aka ab-initio simulation), this would not necessarily provide us with deeper insights into the behavior of these complex systems. Rather to the contrary, it is reducing the complex behavior to simple biological statements that gives us deeper udnerstanding (on a higher level). In this sens eit could be even claime that biology explains physics rather than the other way around.

Is biology an application of the laws of physics ? If you believe the laws of physics ultimately explain all physical phenomena then yes, it must be.

Are there grounds for this belief ? Well, so far we have not found any physical phenomena that definitely require something other than the laws of physics to explain them i.e. there is no empirical evidence for supernatural causes, for miracles, or for magic. And we know that biological phenomena follow regular patterns and can be investigated using the scientific method. Medicines do not come with warnings such as “will only work if you say the magic words and the stars are aligned properly”.

Do we know how some biological phenomena can be explained in terms of the laws of physics ? Yes, there is a whole field of study called biophysics that covers exactly this.

Do we know exactly and in detail how everything in biology can be shown to be an application of the laws of physics. No, not yet.

Is it a problem that we don’t know how exactly everything in biology is an application of physics ? No, not at all. Trying to reduce problems in biology to problems in physics is in many cases not a useful approach, even though we think it could be done in principle. By analogy, we know everything in cookery is an application of physics (since there is no magic pixie dust involved) but approaching every recipe as a physics problem will not get us very far.

Physics does not explain all biological phenomena.

The key point other answers are making excellently is that any kind of problem (even in physics) is "layered". When worrying about a gas of Helium we don't worry about the standard model underneath, and we certainly don't worry about whether there is an as-yet undiscovered theory underneath that. No one knows for sure where the "bottom layer" actually is.

Many features of a system don't depend much on the layers underneath. For example consider the theory of evolution. Is it even possible to conceive of a set of laws of physics describing some kind of universe in which imperfect replicators (life) exist that are not subject to the theory of evolution? How could they not be? [1]

The theory of evolution is saying something very strong and something essentially independent of the layers underneath. Some other example emergent laws that seem very "robust" to the actual underlying rules might be thermodynamics, and some theories in economics (if more consumers want to buy a product the price goes up: that probably is true in any universe with capitalist consumers buying products, even if the physics of those universes were completely unlike our own).

[1]: Unlimited resources might be a way to do this. If nothing ever needed to die then evolution would at least look quite different.

To clarify some of the answers talking about emergence:

  • Everything in biology is explained by physics, and physics predicts all of biology.
  • A human who knows all of physics won't be able to use that knowledge to learn much about biology.

Some top answers right now claim that "physics does not explain biology" because biology involves "emergent" phenomena. This may be misleading. "Emergence" is a property of the person using a set of laws, not a property of the laws themselves.

When we say "a composite of parts has properties that the parts themselves do not," we mean that a human person looking at the (lowest-level) laws governing the behavior of the parts will have a hard time noticing that when you put the parts together, they follow some pattern that might be easy to spot if you watched the parts behaving together. We do not mean that the composite contradicts the low-level laws of the individual components, or that some additional rule is required to explain the composite's behavior.

Biology has a lot of "emergence," because living systems are so large and complex that no human could reasonably use the underlying laws of physics to predict their behavior. In principle, you could use particle physics to explain all of biology in practice, that would be impossible, so virtually all useful biology is figured out top-down.

Every time this kind of discussions comes up I'm trying to remind people about the Mind projection fallacy.

It occurs when someone thinks that the way they see the world reflects the way the world really is.

We are using simplifications, abstractions and probabilistic reasoning because we are finite - our minds can only operate with a comparatively small amount of information about the world. Take for example the programming language analogy -- If we had the mental capacity to keep track of all the logic gates inside the computer, then we wouldn't need programming languages. We, humans, need operating systems and programming languages because we have to break the complexity of billions of transistors into manageable blocks.

So every time someone brings up concepts like "emergence" to explain some things, my clarification is that this "emergence" doesn't happen in the real world - it happens in our heads. (People usually don't like this clarification, though.)

Now, to answer your question. The difference between "physics" and "biology" is introduced by humans - their minds are too feeble to keep track of decillions of atoms moving around, so they abstracted some blobs of atoms into "organisms" and other such stuff. And then some (most) humans tricked themselves into believing that these abstractions are how the world really is.

Physics explains chemistry, and chemistry explains biology.

Physics explains what chemicals can be made, not what will be made. Likewise, chemistry explains what biology will work, not what will be made.

Chance explains some of biology. Some mutations happen, others do not. Some mutations are advantageous, some are not. It isn't true that every advantageous mutation spreads.

There are some aspects of biology for which we have no theory. Some of this is because the chemistry is very complex. Come back in a century, and we may know more.

The theory of the mind is only at the barest beginning. Personally, I don't have the faintest idea how sensation, emotion, and conciousness will be explained. The best I can say is "Whatever they are, they arise from the brain and I have no idea how." Religions provide answers, but the answers do not satisfy the standards of science. Many of the answers amount to "Whatever they are, they arise from God."

Edit - Comments on several answers are getting lengthy, and likely will be moved to chat soon. I have made several comments. I am moving some of them here. These are from comments on gandalf61's answer, where he says

. there is no empirical evidence for supernatural causes, for miracles, or for magic.

My comments address limits of what physics can say about biology, or perhaps what science can say about reality.

+1, but be careful about saying there is no evidence for miracles, etc. Science is all about laws of nature - repeatable patterns of behavior of the universe. A miracle is by definition not a repeatable effect of any physical cause. One could happen right there in the lab, and a good scientist would throw it out because it can't be verified by repeatable experiment. Not to say that miracles happen in the lab or elsewhere. But science has no evidence because by design science does not consider that kind of evidence or include that kind of artifact in any theory.

Science has no evidence for or against miracles. The lack of evidence is to be expected, and is not evidence for or against the existence of miracles. Science can't take a position on the question because it doesn't look for evidence.

However, science can take a position on other religious questions, such as the effectiveness of faith healing. Here a healer asks God for healing. We can measure if healing takes place and compare to similar cases where nothing is asked. I have heard of serious consideration about such a clinical trial. There are difficulties. How does one arrange a double blind trial, where neither healer nor patient knows if genuine or placebo prayer is being offered?

There are places we could look for things that have no natural cause. Messages encoded in the digits of pi. Patterns in quantum randomness. There are also areas where we have found strong patterns - natural laws - without being able to anything about their cause. I am not arguing for or against anything supernatural. Just trying to clarify the limits of science.

Any valid long English text encoded as ascii or whatever you specify in advance found early in pi can be your possible message. You can limit acceptable messages so the odds are you will not find one. You might find a message in French and throw it out, and thus fail to discover something valid. Or you might accept it, and maybe discover nonsense because you have violated the confirmation bias limits. Or an English message might be valid or invalid. Or there might be nothing to discover. You can arrange so that if you find something, the odds are it isn't chance.

If you do find something, the process doesn't tell you if it is unusual luck, great wisdom, a great lie, or something else.

. it is absolutely correct to say that we have no evidence for miracles. The main issue is the "any physical cause" part. In all experiments, the biggest problem is isolating the many other potential physical causes from the one(s) you're investigating. Every experiment already has a repeatable source of "miracles", which is the rest of the world injecting noise which gets past your experiment design.

However science can take a position on "we know there are these things which would cause exactly this" or at least "we may not know the cause but we have repeatedly seen this happen occasionally". So science certainly can say that something is not a miracle, only a low-probability event. More than that, it must, because if you attribute anything at all, ever, to divine intervention then you destroy any possibility to investigate a physical source. And that is directly opposed to rational thinking. We have historical proof of why this is wrong.

Your problem there is confirmation bias. If you have a sufficiently large random sample (such as, hypothetically, the digits of pi), then any encoding you care to pick (maybe ASCII) will eventually find a string of digits which produce the message "I'm God and I'm a black woman. Fix the Sistine Chapel ceiling.". Just for an example. It's equally likely as the encoding producing "zadfafhtyuweljhbgjkfyfqemgeghrhdf", because that's how probability works. The risk for miracle hunting is that you find something because you're looking for something without knowing exactly what.

My point is that you have to say beforehand what message you're looking for. If you can't do that, then you can't calculate odds, because that would be asking "what's the probability of finding something I've already found?" to which the answer is "exactly 1, because you've already found it". But if you can predict it then by your definition it's not a miracle, so you'rea bit stuck there.

I feel like biology and physics are completely separate

For where biophysics is heading, and due to the distinction that is arising between "biophysics" and "physics of living systems", I think the idea that it goes physics $ o$ chemistry $ o$ biology is no longer the case (if it ever was). People are actually using biological systems to learn more about physics now. So these fields are actually deeply connected: many biological problems now require physics (either directly, or at least in application of its principles, techniques, concepts, etc.), and many biological systems can be/are used to learn about physics.

although physics determine what's possible in biology, we have no idea how physics determine every facets of biology.

It is true we do not have a complete knowledge of the physics of living systems. But we still have ideas as to how they are connected and applied.

Does physics explain why the laws and behaviors observed in biology are as they are?

While my answer has claimed a strong link between physics and biology, there are of course distinctions. The statement "laws and behaviors observed in biology" is very broad. In physics, we all know the same principles undergraduate physics education is essentially, "here are all of the principles of physics", and then if you go further into research you are essentially learning what those principles do in the universe. But if, say, a particle physicist wanted to talk to a solid-state physicist, they could still assume knowledge of the same base ideas in order to further understand each other.

In biology, it is somewhat the opposite. The field of biology is so vast and covers so many systems that there isn't really a shared set of underlying principles all biologists use. Someone working in developmental biology in the fruit fly will not be able to use their principles to determine what is going on with a biologist who is studying the interactions of species within some ecosystem. Just look across the answers to this question: there are so many areas of biology to consider, and they each have their own principles.

So while at the surface one can take the easy way out and say, "well, everything in the universe has to ultimately follow physics", if we dig deeper then we really need to be careful about what we mean by "laws and behaviors observed in biology". I might argue that there isn't a well-defined set of biological principles to even start exploring this question. (Although attempts are being made, e.g. William Bialek's book Biophysics: Searching for Principles)

What would a physics explanation of the mating behaviour of a bowerbird would look like, and who it would be useful to?

Biology is, in principle, reducible to fundamental physics but even if you were to solve any meaningful biological question in those terms - which is way beyond current abilities - the answer would get would have the wrong framing and explain at the wrong level. The meaningful answer for the bowerbird's wonderful mating ritual is one grounded in evolutionary theory not one grounded in particle physics.

Every biological system is comprised out of zillions of elementary particles. Each of these particles interacts with a fraction of the others. Every interaction can be accounted for with the help of elementary particle physics. So yes, every biological system can be accounted for in a physical way. You and I are huge collections of elementary particles having this conversation.

What physics, or chemistry, or biology (evolution conforming to the gospel according to "Sir" Richard Dawkins), nor psychology, or whatever -y, can't explain is the Nature of the soul, or the colors you see, the sounds you hear, the feelings you feel, the shivers you experience, the itch that itches, the pain that hurts, the aggression that haunts you, the love that moves you, the cravings that come along, the hate inside, the fear that freezes, the longing to win, the disappointment of losing, the mourning, the screaming that stops at your mouth, etc. How will you explain the feeling you feel when listening to your favorite music? This can't be explained in terms of physics. For, who knows the Nature of elementary particles as described by particle physics? Let alone of zillions of them interacting.

We are very good at describing small quantum mechanical systems, because today we have QM, and we do know that the world is ultimately quantum mechanical in nature. That being said, when it comes to predicting bigger biological systems (just like our own human nature), our capabilities are very limited. We are all made up of QM systems, elementary particles, who are reading this question, but if we would ask a question like, "can you explain why you are asking this question at all", then explaining it based just on QM is not possible. There are two main reasons for that:

  1. though we are very good at describing small QM systems, the task becomes extremely difficult for larger systems
  1. biology adds something extra, you can call it instinct, consciousness, life, nature, whatever you want, but it is governed by a biological program, and described by a programming language, the DNA (this about the programming language is nicely described in @andrewsteane answer). We are in babyshoes at describing biological system's behavior based on DNA, but in the future we might be able to do so with much more efficiency.

So the ultimate answer to your question is that biological systems are qualitatively more then just a "bunch" of elementary particles.

@Andrew Steane provided a really good answer. For further insight into his line of reasoning as I understand it, I would recommend reading Chapter 1 of Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life (2009) by Hubert Yockey.

The laws of physics and chemistry are much like the rules of a game such as football. The referees see to it that these laws are obeyed but that does not predict the winner of the Super Bowl. There is not enough information in the rules of the game to make that prediction. That is why we play the game. Chaitin (1985, 1987a) has examined the information content of the laws of physics by actually programming them. He finds the information content amazing small.

The reason that there are principles of biology that cannot be derived from the laws of physics and chemistry lies simply in the fact that the genetic information content of the genome for constructing even the simplest organisms is much larger than the information content of these laws (Yockey, 1992).

Bolded emphasis at the end is mine. While I have not read significantly further to really justify all of Yockey's claims, I think the spirit of his ideas is in the right place, and aligns with what Andrew was saying: just like you can't use the concept of a universal computer to specifically predict what programs will be written on it, you can't use physics to predict what the specific rules of biology will be. At best, you can only constrain the rules of biology to physically-possible scenarios.

Edit: Let me clarify what I was saying in the above answer. (tldr: Everything depends on how you define life, and, in my opinion, the question of how best to define life is not a physics question, although it can be guided by a physics understanding.)

I'm going to use the following definitions for "physics", "biology", and "life".

  • Physics: A question can be answered by physics, if it is of the form: "If X occurs, will Y happen?" In other words, physics discusses possible physical scenarios and processes, contingent on a set of physical constraints. Unless we're being speculative, the physical constraints match those of the real world.
  • Biology: The field of biology answers questions, sometimes quite high-level ones, about the physical processes involving living things.
  • Life: Now, this definition is up for discussion! (Which is my entire point.)

We can choose a physics-dependent definition of life -- e.g. "A living thing is a localized collection of carbon and other atoms with X additional properties" -- or we can attempt to produce a relatively physics-agnostic definition of life (which Yockey attempted to do -- the question of whether his definition is a good one is a related, but different, matter).

If you choose a physics-dependent definition, then, yes, you can generally determine several biological rules -- but even then, not all of them, due to emergence, which others have mentioned. These physics-dependent definitions of life often run the risk of being too specific (e.g. too carbon chauvinist) -- we might have to expand the definition of life when we encounter new forms that we decide we want to be considered as alive.

However, I was merely noting that some people, including Yockey, have tried to produce relatively physics-agnostic definitions of life, which are of at least some epistemological interest (even if of little to no biological interest). I worry that Yockey's definition, which is based on information processing principles, runs the risk of being too general -- it is hard to see how computers, for example, would not be lumped into his definition of life. More generally, if several very different physical systems match a physics-agnostic definition of life, it is hard to argue that physics alone "predicts" how life ought to function: it simply constrains how life does/can function in our universe.

But, in my view, exactly how you define "life" is not a physics question (it's a biology question), and because the set of allowed biological processes is strongly dependent on how you define life, I would hesitate to say that physics predicts "why the laws and behaviors observed in biology are as they are". As others have mentioned, even if you a priori choose a physics-dependent definition of life, as we already know on Earth, living systems adopt a wide variety of behaviors, none particularly dependent a priori on the laws of physics, but just as much as on circumstances, history, hysteresis, and emergence.


75 comments on &ldquo OPEN DISCUSSION JUNE 2021 &rdquo

Welcome to the June 2021 open discussion thread.

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Sadly, Steven a post of mine exactly on your theme has disappeared. When I find time I will repost it.
Broadly, I was proposing that principles of thermodynamics out of equilibrium and a principle of least action function as a quasi-evolutionary force underlying the creation of organised complexity at every level including the biological.
The physics principles are motor for the biological ones.
I can’t recall if Dennett gets to this, but you might like his book “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea”, where he documents its possible extensive reach into other disciplines.

Sorry, Phil – there’s nothing awaiting mod approval.

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Moderator says: . . . . . . .
Some of my recent posts on the May Open Discussion instantly disappeared when I hit post, leaving me looking at the heading at start of that thread.
Fortunately I had copied most of them, so could paste them back into a new comment window.

Can you let us know what device you’re using please also the version of the operating system, and the browser. Either here or by email to the moderator @ address.

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I am using Firefox on windows 10.

are you absolutely sure you didn’t navigate away from the page or refresh it before your comments had appeared?

No. I waited for the edit window to appear and it did not happen on three occasions.
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Ok, thanks for the extra info, Alan. We’ve passed it on to the website manager.

@Phil Sorry to hear that. I’m surprised my laptop has survived my murdering it after some of my efforts its deleted.


I hear what you are saying, and I think that because you recognize a need for an organizing principle in physics and you have pursued its concept. This puts you ahead of 99.9% of all those out there that take physics characteristics and behaviors for granted. For only somebody who takes this interesting, ordered and complex universe for granted would suggest it does not require an explanation. And I share the same praise with Richard D, Lee S, Lawrance K.


Having said that, I dont see the laws of thermodynamics as a candidate for being the organizational principle, because it itself is a so-called law of physics. I propose that heat process itself is an evolved property of physics, and cosmological bodies evolved it for good reasons.


Imagine simple atoms have emerged in the universe on the basis of exploiting an energy field that inhabits the environment of space. Analogous to living cells evolving in the oceans on the basis of exploiting the sun’s rays. Eventually, after much Darwinian experimentation atoms begin to evolve the property of Mass, which is a collective behavior that brings together cosmological bodies. But each advancement presents new challenges that need to be overcome with further Darwinian advances. In the case of cosmological bodies, there is an upper limit to how large they can grow before crushing themselves. In this respect I present fusion process and heat process as evidence that physics and cosmology is a Darwinian system. That Fusion sensitivity is neatly calibrated, it generates just the right amount of heat to support Stella structure.


As you know, heat process generates a stars internal pressure to balance/counter a gravitational collapse. The heat is generated by fusion process, and alter the fusion sensitivity by a small margin in either direction and stars could not exist. Stars will either not generate enough heat and suffer gravitational collapse. Or if fusion was a little more sensitive than it is stars would trigger a nova event as they form. Its a fine balance and fusion sensitivity is either an inexplicable cosmic coincidence or otherwise its an indication of an evolved Darwinian system and evolved traits. Darwinian evolution can fine-tune structures and processes quite nicely.


This is an example of a cosmological scale body, being entirely dependent upon an atomic agency at atomic scale. These scales are so vastly removed from one another, that what possible explanation could be given for one being dependant upon very particular traits of the other? This is a very typical trait of a Darwinian system, and this theme of interdependent size scales is prolific within biology. Look no further than living cells that play specialized roles within animal bodies, or plant bodies. And this theme is prolific within physics and cosmology, I can list many such signatures from Darwin’s hand.


Returning to stella processes for a moment, fusion process and a heat process being a critical function of stella structure. Another aspect of heat process is how it leads atoms to emit light, and light plays another critical role in maintaining stella structure. As a new star forms from a nebula of gas, it needs to be able to turn off the growth phase before becoming overweight. The sequence of events leads, star achieves optimal size and temp, fusion ignites a slow burn to maintain temp and stella internal pressures, “and then light is emitted from the stars surface, radiation pressure which pushes back against the envelope of gas and dust that would otherwise continue to rain down on the star unabated”. Without emitted light and radiation pressure halting the growth phase of stars, the whole system breaks down. Stars maintain this radiation pressure throughout the duration of their lives, as they must.


Fusion process, heat process, light emission and radiation pressure. These are all very specific agencies of physics. Each performing a role that the universal system we personally depend upon could not do without. They are very specific functions and all added together, how many cosmic coincidences must I take for granted to quiet my questioning mind? Far far to many


And besides, we know of a process, a natural organizational principle that offers a perfectly reasonable explanation for just such traits. Do we not?

Steven,
Its great to always re-evaluate what we think we know. It is, though, important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
We live in a spacetime and from the moment the two (or more) elements were divided from each other (energy/stuff and a container for it, that together probably sum to net nothing) we have a separated out energy (mass is energies proxy) the which will flow into its expanding container to again become net nothing.
I can’t emphasise enough the profundity of thermodynamic processes which pertained well before condensed matter. It and the resultant entropy is our very clock and marker of causal change.
Myself I’m not a huge fan of Krauss who I think fudged a “Universe from Nothing” by equivocating “nothing”. The greatest teacher for me was Richard Feynman and I rate Sean Carrol, Lee Smollin and the like.

Schroedinger’s 1944 paper/lecture on the physics underlying life is a great start on this. I will post a link after this. Note the end reference to entropy which has been taken up by Jeremy England (second link) whose ideas I am seeking to finesse. I think England’s ideas can be retrospectively applied to the standard physics account of structure formation in the inorganic universe too. It replaces nothing but helps see the standard physics in a clearly set of causal imperatives.

Before you propose different to the standard accounts I think it would be good to show specifically how you think they fall short.


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@PhilWhich baby have I thrown out with the water?

I don’t think you have, Steven. It was more a reminder to us both, perhaps particularly me, when mooting other underlying principles.
From once being stirred by fine-tuning arguments, I am no longer. I think the puddle’s noticing of how well his hole universe fits him, does for it. But my own hypotheses lead me to suspect that a thermodynamic/least action physics, whatever the remainder of that physics might entail in physical constants and the like, might just as easily lead to endless interesting complexities depending on the specifics and quite possibly to quite other sorts of minds and phenomena. We fool ourselves to think the familiar is the necessary and only outcome.


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@Phil
Quote”From once being stirred by fine-tuning arguments, I am no longer.”
Please forgive me for saying, you have made a mistake. There are certain types of complexity that simply cannot be a result of an accident. Complex organisms are just such an example, which required a very specific set of events and circumstances to adapt to and evolve. Biology has no substitution for Darwinism. And as I’ve been pointing out, Atomic physics not only shares the same themes, but it is also represented by a multitude of interdependent characteristics and agencies. Just one of these numerous properties failing the system, the whole cosmology falls apart. Youre not impressed by the examples I’ve given. I have more examples, but I’m feeling discouraged.

I feel I’ve shared a great number of arguments. The argument that time is merely a measurement, a tool of mapping. Then the consideration of what this means for Relativity theory? This is solid reasoning.

Or my scenario whereby cosmology has the same opportunity for Darwinian evolution as biology? Its a good scenario and I can firmly defend its prospects. That of atoms being embedded in a space born energy field, for which they have evolved their form optimized to exploit. That this is the origin of atoms ability to produce atomic force, atomic activity, which in turn maintains atomic structures and mediates atomic processes. This works in a spectacular fashion.

Or the examples of atomic fusion sensitivity and the series of processes that lead from it, all of which are very necessary for star function. A large body wholly dependant upon an agency of its smallest units of which it is comprised. Thats a trait of a Darwinian system. And I have a great deal more of these examples I could share.

The only circumstance under which I cannot defend my arguments is in the case whereby nobody acknowledges them. Where’s Richard please? Does he ever drop by here for a chat? Seriously, I really would like to talk to him. If need be I would even pay him for his time. Moderation, am I able to have an audience with Richard please?

I have a cosmological model based upon principles that are Richards’s core competency. A cosmology that not only approaches the universal complexity problem and fine-tuning problem but gets a firm handle on it. No other cosmological model can claim to even attempt such a thing. What I have shared here so far should be enough to demonstrate as much, however I have far more to say on the subject.

@AlanYou stopped arguing with me. Have you followed through with my rationales? You understand Darwinian principles. Can you see how my idea corresponds to conventional science and the observed character of the universe? And how my model allows for Darwinian principles? Did anything I say take your interest?

Guys, Matter is made of a stuff which is well described as ethereal force fields, or ethereal energy fields. You need only play with magnets while contemplating that matter is wholly comprised of this ethereal stuff. Rocks are not made of rocks, rocks are made of atoms which are made of ethereal force fields.
The question is, WHY DO THESE ETHEREAL FORCE FIELDS POSSESS THE SAME THEMES AS BIOLOGY?
Nature only has one prospective process that can generate highly complex ordered and interactive finely tuned systems. And atomic physics possesses each one of these traits, and more some.
I would like somebody with a comprehensive understanding of Darwinism to assess what I’ve come up with. I understand skepticism at such a claim, but I promise they wont be disappointed


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My explanations are clear and concise. I speak very specifically and without generalizations. I can defend each of my arguments, and I welcome them being challenged. I do not delve or hide within vagaries. Surely if I am misguided, there must be a large target painted on me?

Somebody test me please? A thoughtful test though, appropriate to my themes and arguments please?

There are certain types of complexity that simply cannot be a result of an accident.


I haven’t ever proposed anything but accident-PLUS-strongly-characterised-selector.

Do you accept that there is no proposal in my physics hypotheses here nor in any neo-Darwinian theory for mere accident alone?
If not we can stop now.


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Biology is driven by physics. Hence the fractal (self-similar) forms.


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Ethereal is a poor description of what is probably our most profound conceptualisation of reality.
I think Kant can help you here. The ding an sich, the thing in itself, is the very substrate of reality (the noumenon in his terms). The world of the experienced phenomenon is merely the little window through which we apprehend it.
Kant was right. Faraday, in an unpublished letter, was first to suspect that everything might actually be fields. (I personally agree that this view gives us greatest mastery of the situation through mathematics even if it defeats our normal narratives of understanding that seek to root acceptance through metaphor and familiarity).
There is a joke about we physicists that we discuss the universe in terms of particles when non-physicists are also in the room, but the moment they leave we talk only of fields.


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I recently listened to an audio book written by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw entitled Why Does E=mc2? One of the things I took from the book was that science is expressed in mathematical equations. I think it was Pythagoras or someone in his school who observed that everything is numbers. And here we are today, in the 21st century CE, living in the digital age. Maybe scientific ideas can be expressed without equations, but how elegant is A squared plus B squared equals C squared how elegant is Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. One thing that has been conspicuously absent as you have propounded your ideas is an equation which expresses your ideas in the elegant language of science. That is to say that I’m not sure that I fully understand what you’re getting at other than cosmology and evolution are governed by the same laws. Perhaps this is something you could explore as you develop your thesis. And apologies if I have missed your point.

Some years ago, while I was still in my 60s, I decided that the time had come to conquer my fear and ignorance of math. I found an introductory algebra book and decided that when I understood what was on page one, I would go on to page two. After completing the book, I enrolled in an Algebra I class at a local community college. The next semester, I took intermediate Algebra, and semester by semester I took all of the math classes up to and including pre-calculus. Thereafter, I took a couple semesters of trigonometry based Newtonian physics. Should I live long enough, it would be fun to brush up on what I learned so far and see if I could advance to calculus in my quest to understand how the universe works. Until then, I’ll rely on people like Phil and Alan who have the expertise to know what they are talking about. I don’t mean to criticize you but when you wrote in #15 that Phil had made a mistake it was like proverbial fingernails across a blackboard. I suspect that Phil would be the last person to claim he is incapable of making a mistake (even I once thought I had made a mistake – lol) but in the area of Phil’s expertise, an accusation of error requires the clearance of a high bar.

One other thing that I’d like to comment on if I might, is that you wrote: “There are certain types of complexity that simply cannot be a result of an accident. Complex organisms are just such an example, which required a very specific set of events and circumstances to adapt to and evolve.” I was reminded of the passage I posted on May 13 in response to a question from Josiah. I quoted Professor Dawkins who wrote, in the context of evolution, that objects sometimes look designed but aren’t – neither are they accidental – “they have in fact been shaped by a magnificently non-random process which creates an almost perfect illusion of design.”

You may be on to something – that the origin of the cosmos and origin of life on planet earth are governed by the same laws. Humans have been trying to answer these questions since the beginning of civilization. I think the quest for “a theory of everything” – a theory which will be expressed in an elegant equation – is why they invented research grants. The thing to keep in mind though – and I think you do – is that there is a natural explanation for everything in the cosmos. As Darwin wrote: “There is grandeur in this view of life, … whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” I don’t know about you, but those words never cease to send shivers down my spine. There is grandeur, indeed.


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As I reread #21, I asked myself – So what is an elegant expression of Darwinism? Who better to ask than Professor Dawkins, so I turned again to Climbing Mount Improbable where its written: “Darwinism is … a theory of random mutation plus non-random cumulative natural selection.”

Quote Do you accept that there is no proposal in my physics hypotheses here nor in any neo-Darwinian theory for mere accident alone?If not we can stop now.

Forgive me, I should have been more careful with my meaning. My criticism toward accidental physics laws is directed towards Big Bang theory. A near-instantaneous creation event theory can only ascribe chance to what types of physical characteristics might emerge from it. I judge you well within regards that you’ve thought about complexity and you’ve spent a good deal of time trying to understand what organizational principle might be responsible for the ordered complex physics that we observe in this world. Compared to others out there, this makes you stand out. But having said that, In my opinion, you were on the right road but didnt quite arrive at the right destination. You arrived at a certain level of questioning and inquiry but then gave up before you have identified a suitably dynamic and creative organizational principle. And I say this to you in good faith, while presenting an idea. I dont believe you have tuned in on my theme yet, but neither are you asking me questions that would enable me to assit your understanding.

Quote “Biology is driven by physics. Hence the fractal (self-similar) forms.”

This is an interesting comment, it shows me that youre engaged in what I’m saying.
But biologys structures are generated by Darwinian processes. Not by some type of fractal engine. Interesting thought given the similarities between biology and atomic physics but I believe you would have a hard time filling in the justifications for this idea

Quote”Ethereal is a poor description of what is probably our most profound conceptualisation of reality.”

Words are not perfect, but I think the word “ethereal” is a good term to describe a ghost, and magnetic fields are ghostly. Pick up a magnet with bare hands and you would never guess the lines of force that emanate from it. Your hands cannot feel or detect it, and it is completely invisible to sight. Like a proverbial ghost. But place another magnet or piece of iron nearby, and suddenly strong interactive forces become more than apparent, like invisible ghostly ethereal hands reaching out and gripping physical objects.

My main point however was that whatever magnetic fields are, or electromagnetic fields if you prefer, they are what atoms are made of. This was the point of what I said
The purpose of words is to convey an approximation of meaning, and the meaning I wish to convey with the word ethereal is approximately suitable.

But yes, Faraday’s thoughts are obviously valuable. Of that you are right. But even so, I’m not inclined to copy-paste others words, even if mine are clumsy

@Michael
Thank you for your very thoughtful letter. Everything you said, including your criticisms, are good and are welcome. I will work through answering your points one by one.

Quote”As Darwin wrote: “There is grandeur in this view of life, … whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” I don’t know about you, but those words never cease to send shivers down my spine. There is grandeur, indeed.”

Its funny, I had shivers down my spine moments before I read ” but those words never cease to send shivers down my spine”. Uncanny

@Micheal
The first think I would like to do is address the following
Quote “I don’t mean to criticize you but when you wrote in #15 that Phil had made a mistake it was like proverbial fingernails across a blackboard.”

I attempt to be provocative, but not insulting. I posed that to Phil as an urging for reconsideration of previous opinions, reopoen his personal investigation, his inquiry based upon the arguments I was presenting. I didnt intend it as fingernails down a blackboard, but I have to confess, I will resort to that if I think it will garnish attention. I’m determined that this conversation should be had with people beyond my own self ). Its time for this conversation to be heard, tested and appreciated.

You might understand the challenge I face, its a very noisy world with million’s of opinions vying to be heard. I wonder how I am going to be heard over this noise, and while it’s going to take people some effort to tune in on what I’m talking about? My concept requires more than a skim-read, and they need a good general knowledge of physics and biology to have a hope of putting its parts together. How do I garnish people’s attention for more than a passing moment?
At the moment I have begun recording video, my explanation of these ideas. I dont like video cameras, and I would far prefer to write explanations or speak in person. But my writing efforts havent been effective, and nobody in my town understands fundamental physics. I’ve called physicists and professors on the phone, but not once was the conversation had. The calls ended the moment I said I have an idea to share, so their lack of interest cannot be a reflection of the quality of the ideas.
So here I am writing to you guys. Perhaps my lucky last attempt beyond just focusing on video. I think maybe one of the mistakes, I thought physicists would be the best candidate for explaining this physics concept. But actually, its biologists that are best familiar with Darwinian mechanisms and the types of system complexity it generates.
Granted, this seams like a radical idea to new ears. I can almost put myself in your shoes. But that is because of its unfamiliarity more than it is because of bad rationale. Because I have this thing nailed down tighter than you could possible assume, prior to hearing the explanation.
I dont want to seem to be overstating things. But I’m going to say this. This idea is interesting enough that I will dedicate myself to attempt at beginning the wider conversation. And I will deem this as being my lifes calling. I have discovered that the biggest challenge I will face, is the objections from people who havent even heard the ideas yet. Such is the way this world appears to work


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@Michael 100 says:
QuoteAs I reread #21, I asked myself – So what is an elegant expression of Darwinism? Who better to ask than Professor Dawkins, so I turned again to Climbing Mount Improbable where its written: “Darwinism is … a theory of random mutation plus non-random cumulative natural selection.”

Yes, that does very well encapsulate an essence of Darwinism. And I feel that the following expression is at least as useful for capturing an essence for what life is, within terms of being a complex Darwinian system.

All organisms on Earth are an example of complex evolved forms and processes, optimized via Darwinian mechanisms for purpose. The purpose being, efficient collection of the energy they require to exist and perpetuate.

Here is another expression

Nature afforded an available energy potential, has the propensity to invent its exploitation and a novel circumstance of Darwinian emergence. Such is life’s exploitation of sun and each other.

Micheal, I am not merely suggesting, but rather I am asserting that Physics and cosmology owe their complexity, their forms and processes to the same circumstance and mechanisms. Nature cannot contrive goals and ambitions and yet somehow a complex ordered systematic finely-tuned interactive physics and cosmology has materialized in the universe. Nature possesses a known means of generating such a system, and it is the only conceivable means outside of the prospects of chance big bang theory and or designer God theory.

Besides, I can frame the circumstances of this cosmology so simply, and then follow through with the supportive arguments in countless veriaty. That these expressions above do not only capture the circumstances of life, but also serves as the mechanism for the universe’s wider theme.
1. Imagine for a moment that space possesses an ethereal energy field. Hubble Redshift and the measurements indicative of the expanding property of space represented by General Relativity Auv, is to be interpreted as the continual regeneration of this space-born energy field. What energy potential this field exploits to regenerate itself, I cannot even guess. But none the less, please entertain the notion. And that anything that continually regenerates itself can evolve its form and advance its physical state of complexity. This energy field in space, it regenerates and so can be Darwinian.
2. Within Earth’s early ocean’s plant cells evolved their form and processes to exploit the suns primary energy. But an offshoot of the same linage of cells turned its attention from exploiting the suns rays, to robbing the photosynthetic cells of their sugar content. They began eating each other. Plant cells emerged on the basis of exploiting a primary energy source, but in turn they became an energy potential that another Darwinian organism could exploit.

As crazy as this sounds the same can be true of this field of space. An energy field emerged based upon some primary energy potential of the vacume, but then it of itself becomes an energy potential that nature can invent another novel system exploitation on the basis of. The exploiter becomes the exploited. Atomic force fields can be of evolved form optimized for efficiently exploiting this energy in space. You well know how biological activity is generated, via an external energy source. How do atoms generate atomic activity, thats the question I would like you to confront now?

If you follow through with this notion, then biology’s parallel theme, that of units that evolved the capacity to form bonds that form bodies, becomes a useful guide. Because the reasons are common of one another. I will sit down tonight and prepare some further examples.

As for how physics corresponds to this notion, focus on atomic forces, fundamental forces. They are a unifying factor between General Relativity and atomic physics QM. You need only to consider how atomic activity corresponds to both atomic time and atomic force. The atomic activity being used to derive measures of time “atomic clocks”, is generated by atomic force, atomic processes. So it can be said that time is a derivative of the property of the world from which it was derived, atomic force. Atomic time is a derivative of atomic force. Time being a fundamental parameter of Relativity theory need only take account of this to achieve many great things.

Context is everything, and this unifying context is simply an accurate account of how we observe the world to operate. It’s an empirical account, and I cannot imagine what an argument against it would sound like, and nor have I heard any such argument. Despite peoples will to disapproval and their desire for rebuttal, I am not confronted by any.

So anyway, just reiterating to be clear.1. Nature invents exploitations of energy potentials
2. First nature devises a system that exploits a primary energy source, but then invents divergent systems that can be of common linage to the first tier, but the second tier turns its attention to the exploitation of the first tier.

Such as algae that exploit primary sunlight, then algae being eaten/exploited by another organism.
First an emergent energy field in space Auv. Then atomic fields begin to evolve complex forms and processes optimized for exploiting this energy of space Auv.
Are you able to entertain this as a hypothetical?

Steven #23.
Our universe is a universe that may have a particular set of fundamental constants to its physics, but those constants were strongly selecting of physicists. Other universes were not so lucky but others may be luckier. We should not ignore the possibility of an infinite number of physicses that can sustain and create self contemplation or whatever test of success might be.
A world, just so for us, if worlds can be made like quantum foam, endlessly, and from net nothing, is not a puzzler. It is the puddle observing the perfect fit of the hole.
The Dark Jelly and Bones of a of a spacetime suffused by a bone dwelling phonon intelligence, curious about its surrounding deadly jelly. Not a hint of quarks or discrete matter, or fusion but a contiguous singular substance of discontinuous properties.


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a contiguous singular substance of discontinuous properties

Like the prime matter of the ancient Greeks? Plato and Aristotle both had ideas in this direction, I always felt that Aristotle didn’t really like it, but couldn’t find a way out. I’m not much interested in it any more, if I ever was!


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But biologys structures are generated by Darwinian processes. Not by some type of fractal engine.

Not what I am claiming.
I am saying the combined effects of thermodynamics creating organised complexity and the principle of least action that always better selects by sustaining the lower energy form is a fundamental process in physics.
This process creates physics structures, chemical structures and biological structures in sequenced turn. This underlying physics process creates self similar structures as we ascend to more complex structures grounded on lower structures. We notice this self similarity up through the scales of size and complexity and label it fractal. By it we can reasonably suspect underlying and identical processes at each level. There isn’t a fractal motor. There is a physics motor. Thermodynamics and least action.
Darwinian biological selection is a manifestation of the more fundamental physics.


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Steven #25
I’m trying to get you to see that atoms (for example) are only a notion. The apparent hardness of an atom is far better understood as an overlay of forcefields with differing magnitudes and directions at different distances.
So Ethereal

characterized by lightness and insubstantiality as impalpable or intangible as air

“physical rather than ethereal forms”

where rather, in actuality, these fields are the very hardness of substance. Not only the hardness but the differing qualities of hardness we encounter.

Steven #25
Post in moderation.

Democritus is my Greek hero here. He saw that cheese may not look like cheese however close you look. At some point it may look like couscous.
There may be many physicses that are like cheese. Maybe a universe not mostly empty with a few scattered grains, but full, of cheese with hard bits for the self reflective phonon clusters to live in.
So lunch… Fried Halloumi and Ras el Hanout couscous I think.


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OK. Finally, Steven, let me state my position as clearly as I can.
I think in perhaps the most important sense you are profoundly right about an underlying organising principle to… everything.
Many people think this though their formulations differ, most especially in emphasis and reflecting the path of their growing insight. I do though urge you to a physics first approach as more revealing of causal direction.
Do check out Jeremy England (and Schroedinger for that matter). If you still want to discuss this I will go on to point you to Andreas Wagner and his research into the solution space available to proteins and its innate and profoundly functional topology (emergent from the very nature of chemistry, emergent in turn from the very nature of physics) . This structure reflects in the solutions that are physically possible in life itself.


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@MichealQuote “One thing that has been conspicuously absent as you have propounded your ideas is an equation which expresses your ideas in the elegant language of science.”
There are two general ways to describe a system. There is context conveyed by words and concepts. And there is mathematics conveyed by numbers and equations. Biology is a science rich in both conceptual context, and in mathematical models.

Physics is rich in mathematical models, but the concepts and context is virtually entirely absent. This is not a strength.

The fact is that when something is sufficiently understood, words can be fashioned to convey meaningful descriptions, and those explanations should be able to handle a few of the how and why questions. What constitutes as being quality theoretical context? Well if it doesnt provide the how and why of things, then what does a science theory achieve? Really?Biology and its Darwinian explanation performs stellar while confronted by how and why questions. We understand why cells evolved increasingly complex states, and how and why animal bodies emerged having evolved collagen bonds. Darwinism provides this conceptual context in abundance.

How does physics perfom within terms of context, the how and why of things? Why and how did the big bang occur? And then in sequence, why did energy condence to form quarks? how and why does strong force exist and that causes quarks to bond and form protons and neutrons? Does the big bang explain how and why do protons capture electrons? Why do electrons cause atoms to interact in the myriad of ways that they do, like charge and electron bonds, and electrical interactions, and chemistry and heat processes and light absorption and emissions? Big Bang cosmology is completely disarmed when confronted by why and how questions. It just simply doesnt deal with how’s and why’s. Metaphysics is rejected as distasteful, as though explanation has no place in science. What a curious state of affairs. The absence of concept and context in physics that can be conveyed by words, is not a strength. That science pretends that it should only be about the maths, and not about explanations. Not ideal.

I could sit here writing an endless stream of questions for which physics has a mathematical model for, but the how and why context is absent. General Relativity and spacetime is an amazing mathematical model. Spectacular performance. But how and why does nature behave this way? That explains how and why does matter and space interact? GR endows space with mathematical properties, and still cant decide if space possesses physicality. So space is said to inform matter how to move, and matter informs space how to curve, but vacuum is nothingness? How does nothingness cause effects, and or is affected by something else?
What is this? Collective schizophrenia?

Physics is defensive regarding metaphysics because it falls short within regard of concept and context. When something is understood words can be fashioned to convey descriptions, like the how and why of things.

Having said all that, I do have a mathematical approach that will serve predictions and falsification. And is complemented by context and concept. Something that shouldn’t be so novel to physics

@MichealQuote
“Some years ago, while I was still in my 60s, I decided that the time had come to conquer my fear and ignorance of math.”
Congrats. Great achievement

Metaphysics is rejected as distasteful, as though explanation has no place in science.

Steven: You wrote: “My concept requires more than a skim-read, and they need a good general knowledge of physics and biology to have a hope of putting its parts together.”

However, you said on May 30 that you are not a physicist. Are you a biologist?


You wrote: “I’ve called physicists and professors on the phone, but not once was the conversation had. The calls ended the moment I said I have an idea to share, so their lack of interest cannot be a reflection of the quality of the ideas.”

Do you expect professors with decades of study and research under their belts to have a serious discussion with a layman who calls out of the blue? I am reminded of a story Lawrence Krauss told:


“I actually spoke to [Paul] Dirac, one day, on the phone—and I was terrified. I was still an undergraduate and wanted to invite him to a meeting I was organizing for undergraduates around the country. I made the mistake of calling him right after my quantum mechanics class, which made me even more terrified. After a rambling request that I blurted out, he was silent for a moment, then gave a simple one-line response: “No, I don’t think I have anything to say to undergraduates.” Excerpt From The Greatest Story Ever Told–So Far, by Lawrence M. Krauss.

I’m also reminded to of a humorous sign i saw in a medical examining room which says: “Your internet search is no match for my medical degree.”

All I’m trying to say is that we, myself included, need to come forward with some support for our, ideas. Those of us without academic credentials, can look for support in published work. Physicists and other scientists, support their hypotheses with data gathered by hours, years, decades, of research and experimentation which require resources unavailable to laymen. Have any scientific discoveries been made by amateur scientists working in a basement laboratory? Phil mentioned Andreas Wagner — he works with teams of experts in numerous fields in research laboratories in Switzerland. I’m thinking too of CERN. Believe me, if your ideas have any merit, you should be able to find some support for them in the published literature, even if it’s only proposals for further study. No one puts forth scientific work based only on what seems to be a good idea.

In other words, don’t be discouraged, but keep things in perspective.

Just as I was about to post, I saw your comments in # 35. I’ll leave it to others to explain why metaphysics is rejected. Suffice it to say that from the beginning I have had the feeling that an attempt was being made to lead people like myself down a proverbial prim rose path. Oh my, indeed. Enough from me on this topic.


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We seem to need to get a few things straightened out here, Steven.

The first starts badly for metaphysics not because of scientist of it but because the genius philosopher, Wittgenstein, when young ,crowned it with glory in his Tractatus (translated by Frank Ramsey and critiqued by him), but later trashed it, having spent years investigating how it performed. He announced that a metaphysical object cannot be proved true by philosophical dispute because the definition of things unseen are polysemous and slippery. Only ostensive definitions (ones where you can point to them and say This!) can be robust enough for deciding anything.


Metaphysics was snatched from the fire by Scientific Method’s most recent hero, Karl Popper pointed out that scientists use metaphysics all the time in the absence of data or when faced with a new phenomenon. Metaphysical objects are just mooted might-bes propositions to help explain something currently inexplicable.. Recent such objects have been quarks, or string theory. Neuro-science might moot that say intentions might constitute an identifiable neural arrangement. The point is Popper accepted W was right about proofs. The only way these might bes might become identified as real is if they are demonstrated in the lab. Further the circumstance and results coming from the lab must stand as the definition of the might-be. This is the ostensive definition. Quarks are real in that we can show these effects and behaviours of then. To date string theory can make no such demonstration.


Wittgenstein wasn’t best pleased at Popper’s snatching metaphysics from the flames and (literally) snatched up a poker from a pub grate to impress upon Popper his displeasure.

Knowing in science comes in two complementary forms often needed together to bring research to an end. Mastery and Understanding. The first is usually constructed of maths with coefficients and constants and sometimes a few rigid logical and professional words of definition and ordering the using of multiple such maths type process. It is mastery because it allows us, given the data we need, the power to predict an outcome at some future time. It makes us masters of the universe even if we understand little of what is going on.

So, Understanding is answering the “but why?” question. This, as every parent and teacher of a young child knows, can go on interminably. That is because understanding is a trick in a manner of speaking. It is only temporary until the next upwelling of yes, but why.

Understanding is a narrative trick in that it seeks to root your understanding of a phenomenon in something already familiar and currently unquestioned by way of a metaphor. Ultimately nothing is explained, and the next but why defeats us, as it occurs to us that the merely familiar looks a bit questionable.

Of course Quantum Reality severely tests our powers of establishing familiarity. How on earth are we to understand non-local from the proofs of Bell’s Theorem?

I have proposed that if we were all far more maths… numerate, that we could have maths as our familiar relatable structure. Maths, I feel, though chilly and aloof is perhaps the ultimate metaphor.

@Vicki
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality.

So big bang spontaneously created these amazing little building blocks we call atoms, which have properties and interactive behaviors sufficient to construct an animal brain and manifest consciousness.
How many “how” and “why” questions stand between explanation of “big bang” and its creating “consciousness”?
Half of this question is well answered by science, the part whereby Darwin stepped up to the plate having discovered nature’s most extraordinary organizational principle. However conventional physics has no organizational principle, and therefore it can explain no how’s or why’s. How and why did atoms become so special?
And your response!
oh my
Thanks for your contribution

@Michael
Quote
“All I’m trying to say is that we, myself included, need to come forward with some support for our, ideas. Those of us without academic credentials, can look for support in published work. Physicists and other scientists, support their hypotheses with data gathered by hours, years, decades, of research and experimentation which require resources unavailable to laymen. Have any scientific discoveries been made by amateur scientists working in a basement laboratory? Phil mentioned Andreas Wagner — he works with teams of experts in numerous fields in research laboratories in Switzerland. I’m thinking too of CERN. Believe me, if your ideas have any merit, you should be able to find some support for them in the published literature, even if it’s only proposals for further study. No one puts forth scientific work based only on what seems to be a good idea.
In other words, don’t be discouraged, but keep things in perspective.”
endquote
Forgive me for saying, but what I take home from all this is you dont rely on your own deductions. You look to others to tell you whats a good and bad idea. Support of ideas you call it, and from people you judge as qualified, that have qualifications to have good ideas, and who’s opinions are sanctioned by science establishment. But I notice that nowhere in your post do you comment towards points I made, arguing for or against there merits.
My desire to have this conversation is not discouraged, but I am discouraged from having it here. Of course you wont feel thats a lose, because what ideas have I shared that you imagine would be judged well by others better qualified to think.You guys gals are not responding to my concept. Instead we’re talking semantics, arguing minor and irrelevant points. Metaphysics, my qualifications, and how maths is everything that physics needs. etc etc
Somehow you know I am wrong while having debunked none of my explanations or arguments. Despite the many specifics I have shared. My claims are not obscure that might have obscure slippery defenses. They are bold claims that reside in the open exposed to would be attackers from whatever direction you might choose. Where is the attack that debunked my ideas that caused you to realize i am wrong? That physics and biology share the same theme, and this is meaningless to this crowd. That biology is guided by a powerful natural organizational principle and still takes billions of years to arrive at this theme. And somehow big bang cosmology achieves it inexplicably within a “near” instantaneous creation event.
Well done people. Glad I stopped by to waste more of my efforts

@Phil
But I judge you well. Thank you for your time and effort, and your ideas and suggestions
If Richard should happen by and want to talk, please give him my email [EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED BY MODERATOR]

Otherwise, I think I’m done here. Farwell

[MOD NOTE: THIS POST IS ADDRESSED TO RICHARD DAWKINS TAG REMOVED BY MODERATOR – WRONG RICHARD]

You recognize something about the world that makes you suspect an organizational principle played a role in generating physical laws. This much I know because of your conversations about black hole fecundity theory and its prospects for a selection process that selects for preferred physical laws. Nice attempt. I have a concept for you to try please?

Biology is a complex system, its physical state and functions evolved for purpose. A core theme of biology, its evolved form adapted for collecting the energy required for its operation and proliferation. Darwinism, a powerful organizational mechanism.
Atomic physics shares the same structural theme and process themes as biology. Units that possess bonds that form bodies. And these common themes can be a result of a common mechanism of creation. Imagine an energy field inhabiting the environment of space? Atoms embedded in this energy, and have evolved form and processes suited for exploiting this available energy. A parallel example would be algae single cells having evolved in the oceans to exploit sunlight, eventually evolving capacity to form cellulose bonds and build plant bodies. Atoms floating around in space, units that possess capacity to electron bond and form molecular bodies? In a court of law precedence carries as evidentiary weight. Despite Micheals opinion

Whats the alternative? Big bang spontaneously created these amazing little building blocks we call atoms, which have properties and interactive behaviors sufficient to construct an animal brain and manifest consciousness?How many “how” and “why” questions stand unanswered between, there was a “big bang” and then there was “consciousness”? Half of this question is well answered by science, the part whereby Darwin stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park, having discovered nature’s most extraordinary organizational principle. However conventional physics has no organizational principle, and therefore it can explain nothing of the how’s or why’s. How and why did atoms become so special that biology could coopt their properties to such good effect?
So we might use atomic activity to keep track of time, then use time as a parameter to build spacetime, GR. But I would have you focus on the point that the atomic activity we use to define time is generated by atomic forces. So in the case of time dilation being an account of an accelerated atomic activity, I ask you to look at the implication for this within light that atomic forces generate the atomic activity. Atomic forces govern its rate, and its accelerated rate.
Or put in the simplest terms I can, that forces are typically responsible for causing acceleration. And this remains true of accelerated rates of atomic activity, associated with gravitational fields and GR.

Should you happen by to read this please email me because I might not check in here otherwise. You’re friends wont join me in this conversation. Steve

I formed replys. They disappeared without trace
I’m not writing them again. And I think I’m done here. Bye everybody


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Wow! So much effort for naught.
Here’s Roger Penrose getting more than a little metaphysical…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypjZF6Pdrws
Alex Vilenkin’s theories form the basis of Krauss’s book “A Universe from Nothing”
and if you follow the links here you’ll catch him interviewed also.
I’m sorry you left us, Steven. I felt we were just getting started.

“The first starts badly for metaphysics not because of scientist of it but because…”
should read
The first starts badly for metaphysics not because of scientist disapproval of it but because…
and

…Karl Popper who pointed out…

I blame a reluctance to edit given the prospect of moderation, and perhaps, rather more, Sauvignon Blanc.


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Several posts had been set aside as spam over the last few hours because they contained @ tags, which the system treats as links. After some hesitation, these have now all been restored, minus one incorrect tag and an email address, which we have in the system in any case.

Steven, If you are still with us…

However conventional physics has no organizational principle,


This is profoundly wrong. I keep telling you what it is but you seem not to see it.


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Oh, my posts are back. Too bad. I thought it for the best their disappearance into the Aether.
Phil, yes I understand, you have an organizing principle. Like I said previously, well done for recognizing the need for one. Most dont

Just getting started you reckon? I’ve enjoyed our conversation, but I’m here for a purpose. A purpose that I can see now is not likely to happen. The writing is on the wall. Seams I dont have the correct credentials, I don’t have the right to have ideas and be a contributor.

I have no idea if Richard frequents here. In any case, I’ve left a part written account for him to stumble upon, or not.

I cause moderation to hesitate. I do have that effect from time to time. But I thank you for not censoring me. I judge you well. Science forums are way over censored. I’m a Mod and Admin for science group, and I allow people to participate with their own ideas, regardless of how naive they appear to be. Agresive moderation filters ideas, usually based upon what the mod is or isnt familiar with. Textbook interpretations only please. What an impediment to scientific discussion.

In anycase, I wish you all well. But I can find disagreement everywhere, so why do I need to frequent here?

You entirely misunderstand the reason for our hesitation. There has been no objection at any stage to your presenting your ideas. What we are less keen on is users blaming everyone else for their failure to convince, taking umbrage at every challenge and, especially, misrepresenting reality, as in your comment to Richard that people here had refused to join you in the conversation, which is patently untrue. They have merely not responded with the unquestioning acceptance you seem to have been seeking.

For all these reasons – since they go against the spirit of our Comment Policy – we hesitated before intervening to restore the posts wrongly identified by the system as spam. In the end we decided that other users should see them and be able to draw their own conclusions from them, in case they wished to engage with you further.

Phil, yes I understand, you have an organizing principle.

But I keep pointing you to others (3 so far) who have such organising principles.
Science research is about identifying organising principles. Smolin explicitly talks of Darwinian evolution in cosmology (so 4). My link to Dennett (Darwin’s Dangerous Idea) is the global application of the idea (so 5).
Steven, you and I are very far from alone. I’ll wager most physicists are entirely supportive of the idea, its just that there is little money for such research and you need a brain the size of a planet to make any real progress.
Carry on but read much, much more. You seem to be just starting on this.


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On Science forums, Steven, I write to a few myself (or did once, often on eco matters). This one is delightfully open in my view.
Which do you get involved with? We’re always interested to learn here.


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Perhaps its l’esprit de l’escalier, but I would like to comment on two things left over from my conversations with Mr. Andersen: 1) finding support for your positions is not an abdication of the ability to think for oneself 2) It is not possible to find a purpose for the universe or for life on planet earth.


Regarding the first: I know it’s a cliche, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts. Opinions can be made up from whole cloth or be based on facts. I have my opinions on several topics but with my opinion and a couple dollars you can ride a bus in most cities. If I want to articulate my opinion about something factual, I’d better be able to point to some basis for what I want to express, otherwise, more likely than not, I would be spouting meaningless nonsense (i do that often enough anyway.). When someone issues me my own key to the front door of CERN, I’ll venture to speak on my own authority, however even then, I suspect I would check what i would be about to say against the data. Until then, I’ll continue to find support for what I accept as true from people I respect. For years, I knew there was no wizard in the sky responsible for reality, but how wonderful it was to begin reading Carl Sagan followed by other authors I’ve referred to in the past. When someone comes forward with an idea about such a lofty topic as cosmology, it should have some support before it’s worth taking too seriously.

Regarding my second point: In #s 28, 40, and 43 above, there are references to a purpose to be found in the world around us. The reality is that although it appears otherwise, purpose in nature is an illusion perceived by humans and maybe by no other entity in the cosmos. We find patterns because we look for them — See Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Also, “Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind’s eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker.” Excerpt From The Blind Watchmaker, by Richard Dawkins. I could quote other authors, but the hour is late.

Suffice it to say that when I read words such as “purpose” and “metaphysics” (which to me means either 12th century scholasticism or new age mumbo jumbo) in the context of a serious discussion about cosmology, my radar begins to flash warning signs that the discussion is leading to a sighted watchmaker — if you will. Asking questions is one thing (I respect those with the expertise to answer them) but , coming forward with an unsupported hypothesis is another. Although I have no credentials, I will try to back up my position that we are alone in the cosmos, and I find grandeur in that view.

Sir I have been following you on your views about religion and spirituality. Have a look on the following articles :-
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyaya

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_atheism
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samkhya
(read the first two carefully)
For the entire Hindu Philosophy read this one:-
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_philosophy
Share with us what’s your thought about the rationality and skepticism being essential part of Hindu Tradition. And also the irrationality being promoted in its name. Also after reading this does your view about religion changed.

This happens from time to time. Let me use an analogy.

Richard Dawkins wrote a book aimed primarily at those who believe the moon is made of Cheddar, because that’s the dominant belief in the countries he’s most focused on. The main argument of that book is that there is no reason whatsoever to believe the moon is made of cheese at all.

So then someone pops up saying, “Ah ok, perhaps not Cheddar, but what about Stilton?”
And the reply is the same: “There is no reason whatsoever to believe the moon is made of cheese at all.”
And a little later someone else: “Ok, so not Stilton. But how about Brie?”
And the reply is the same: “There is no reason whatsoever to believe the moon is made of cheese at all.”
And someone else again: “Ok, I get that the moon isn’t made of Cheddar or Stilton or Brie, but have you considered this really powerful case for Feta?”
And the answer is still the same: “There is no reason whatsoever to believe the moon is made of cheese at all.”

Ram, before anyone here is going to engage seriously with claims that the moon is in fact made of Paneer, you’re first going to have to demonstrate that it’s made of cheese at all. And once you’ve done that to a high degree of scientific confidence, then and only then will the question of the exact nature of the cheese in question become interesting. But until you do that, all the evidence tells us the moon is made of rock and metal, with no hint of cheesiness whatsoever.


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I mean its not so complicated is it?
Does physics suffer the complexity problem? yes
Does theme of atomic physics resemble any other type of complex system we know about? and does that other system have an explanation for its complexity? Yes and yes
Biology evolves its complexity on the basis of exploiting an energy of its environment. What would atomic physics look like if that was the case? What does the theory look like if you assume there is an energy in space, and atom’s relationship with it is analogous to plants’ relationship with the sun.

Biological activity depends upon an external energy source. What are the prospects for atomic activity being dependant upon an external energy source, for which their complex structures and processes have evolved optimized for exploitation?

You guys really cant see this? No comment about anything of these specific points?

Atoms are very special little building blocks. You can build us out of them, thats how special they are. Science cannot tell us how nature achieved this.

Its amazing to me that people will roll their eyes at this subject. And or dismiss it outright. many will retort, “physics is simple”, there’s no complexity problem.
Fritz Zwicky is known for being a cantankerous old man, short of patients. But you know what, I’m beginning to suspect he was probably driven to annoyance by his fellow cosmologist, none of whom were impressed by the realization that galaxy velocities are way way too fast. like wtf. Seriously guys, how could any cosmologist worth his salt be uninterested by the realization of excessive galaxy velocity. No wonder Fritz lost his shit.
And you might wonder why I say this here now? fact is most people cant see the obvious, even the professionals. You might want to believe its different in this day and age, but not so far as I can see. Youre afraid im pointing this at you aren’t you?
In the future most of us are going to look like idiots for having missed the obvious. But you dont have to look like an idiot, if all you need to do to avoid it is not miss the blatantly obvious, and especially when its laid out in plain words. Such as the opening paragraph in this post. Its obvious as hell. Dont be complacent like Wickys peers Its a massive clue
Sorry for sounding harsh, but how do I light the fire under you people? I’m poking you with a sharp point for a very good reason. I am right on the verge of giving up here, so I will risk this bad demeanor. But the cause is good if its only purpose is to shake a few people out of their complacency. You guys gals are going to miss an important conversation
Please forgive me

First learn what’s out there on this. Critique that and you’ll have yourself an exchange that can progress here. Until then pretending its you against the world looks a little under-powered given your mastery of any of these subjects.

Way, way too hand wavy to start a proper discussion. How about some of that maths you said you had in support?

Complexity of atomic physics is about as obvious a clue as you could hope for.
The physics theme characteristics is your second clue. Its the same as biology
How did biology derive its complexity? Is there any other natural process other than?And no, sorry Phil. Law of thermodynamics and law of least action aren’t dynamic enough. Its too obscure and dosnt explain enough. Darwinism is a very dynamic natural organizational principle, and it fits the purpose.
You will believe me to be a loud arrogant no it all, right. But actually, I’m not, I’m polite, soft-spoken and a sensitive soul. I’m forced to try everything, even that which isnt in my nature. Make some noise

Thermodynamics (the very reason we can talk about cause because it defines time) and the principle of least action are not “dynamic” enough.

Where does a biological process get its mojo?

Steven Andresen says:
How did biology derive its complexity?
Is there any other natural process other than?And no, sorry Phil. Law of thermodynamics and law of least action aren’t dynamic enough. Its too obscure and doesn’t explain enough.

The 2nd law of thermodynamics does not preclude the transfer of energy or entropy between systems, in our case between the Earth and the Sun.
The misconception of entropy being a problem for generating biological complexity is an example of creationist science illiteracy!
Ancient complexity was generated by solar and chemical energy transfers, just as modern complexity is generated in modern species in the on-going processes of life.
All human and other animals start as an egg – a single cell and develop into a complex organism. The food-chains of earth are powered by the sun and photosynthesis.
If you think you can use thermodynamics to refute photosynthesis, you are kidding yourself.
If there was a problem with the generation of biological complexity we would not exist, grow, or develop!
Those who delude themselves just cherry-pick the bits of physics which appear to support their preconceptions, but the big-picture shows the flaws in this thinking!

Darwinism is a very dynamic natural organizational principle, and it fits the purpose.


Indeed the up-dated version of evolutionary theory is the very basis of the understanding of modern biology – as explained in tens of thousands of peer-reviewed articles on ecology, geology, palaeontology, and genetics.
https://www.scimagojr.com/journalrank.php?category=1105
I think it is unlikely that you will convince all the biologists of the world that tens of thousands of studies in science journals are wrong, – by illustrating your failure to understand the physics of thermodynamics!

A theme implicated in every aspect of biology is the interrelation and interdependence between all the subsystems. An example would be, a living cell is a subsystem for which an animal body or plant body is dependant upon the cells agencies. Another way to say it is the animal body is the sum of the agencies of its individual cells.

Biology expresses layers upon layers of interdependent subsystems, like a proverbial Russian dole. A cell body is dependant upon its internal organs and DNA. A multicellular body is dependant upon its collection of individual cells. Each cell possesses, is the owner of its individual bonding agency. A body is also made up of a collection of differential organs, liver, heart, blood, skin, brain, all subsystems that the body collective is dependant upon.

But it doesnt stop there, because biology has gone so far as to evolve social behaviors that lead individual units to form collective societies. The beehive is the sum of the agencies of the individual bee’s. An ant society is the sum of agencies of its individual ants. Same with human society, sum of the agencies of individual people. Corporations are yet another layer of collective social behaviors.

But it doesnt stop there, because individual species fit within the wider ecosystem at large, with a myriad of shared interdependencies supporting the ecological structure as a whole. The association between species and their collective interdependencies are a direct result of their intertwined fates, as prescribed by Darwinism

Biology expresses a pervasive theme of associations and collective interdependencies. This characteristic is a clear marker of an evolved system, and ATOMIC PHYSICS AND COSMOLOGY EXPRESSES THIS TRAIT THROUGHOUT AND AT EVERY LEVEL!

Electron bond is an example of an atoms individual agency, that expresses a collective behavior that forms bodies. A behavioral association just like biology. And chemistry is the sum of atoms interdependent agencies, that express a collective behavior that initiates electron bonds and forms molecular bodies. Chemistry is the process, the mechanism of physics that builds bodies.

Atomic physics is rife with the agencies of subsystems for which the system at large cannot do without. I have listed some earlier. The atomic agency that is fusion process, expressing suitable sensitivity that it produces just enough heat to serve as internal pressure for star stability, and then the agency expressed by radiation pressure pushes back on the gas and dust nebula and shutting down the growth cycle for newborn stars, before they get too heavy and smoother themselves.

The property of atomic Mass is an agency of an individual atom. It is a spectacular example of an individual unit expressing a collective behavior that builds cosmological bodies. This atomic agency is responsible for building stars, planets, and galaxies. AN ATOMIC AGENCY DOES THIS. The micro world dictating to the macro world. Cosmological bodies of grand scale depend upon the agencies of their atomic units. This is a subunit that expresses collective behaviors. Again, a trait of a Darwinian system.

We know why biology expresses these collective themes over and over. It is a result of entwined fates and associations within Darwinian systems. Why is this theme prolific within atomic physics and cosmology? It is completely inexplicable if not pointing toward a Darwinian emergence.

A system whereby all its subunits collaborate in just such a manner, quarks that cooperate with one another to form protons that cooperate with electrons which gravitate together to form stars that fusion forge heavy elements that are recycled back to space to form plants. And something that is very relevant to the existence of life on the Earths surface, the elements it is comprised of and their “chemical bond forming potentials that would go unexpressed if not for a very particular solvent capable of expressing them”. I refer to the abundance of water on the Earths surface, and the extremely intimate chemical relationship water shares with atomic chemical bond forming potentials. It is the case that biology has coopted these atomic properties and processes for its own purpose. Biology indicates the full measure of how incredible is this interrelationship. Biology is their sum. But why would Darwinian physics evolve such characteristics? You might assume this is a tough question to answer, but you will be surprised that it isnt. Because life exposays a Darwinian system that achieved precisely this, evolved units that possess bonds that form bodies, and evolved the processes that initiate those bond formations. And this is when I point to Earths Geochemistry, and what we observe nature doing with these structural themes and processes. The universe is a highly kinetic place, planetary bombardments are the norm. If planets are an evolved form, they would also evolve structural integrity and processes that promote the formation of those structures. A primary structural theme on Earth is its molten core that spills out onto its surface but immediately solidifies into solid structural rock. But we also have a fractured and eroding Earths surface for which Geochemical processes in the presents of water, and gluing the sandy gravelly aggregates back into sheets of sedimentary stone. This process is occurring on a grand scale, spanning continents.

I strongly urge people to consider how particular and amazing chemical bonds are. And how these potentials would be wasted if not for the presents of a very very particular substance that could express them. Water and chemical bond forming potentials go together as a lock fits a key, and their mutual existence and in common proximity to one another that they mutually conspire to rebuild the Earths structural integrity. The theme of structural integrity and the evolved processes in aid of it, is a perfectly sensible theme within a Darwinian system. That an evolved body should evolve structural integrity and the corresponding processes that initiate that structure formation, and the benefit of a body’s structural integrity within a highly energetic and kinetic universe.This is a very straightforward argument, and it presents a rationale as to why physics can have evolved such an intricate and versatile system of chemistry. We look to the world around us and realize that the system that biology has coopted to good effect, came into being for the reason we observe nature using it. The Romans didnt invent cement, they discovered it after the universe had evolved it. Geochemistry, look around and we observe it in the act. Evolved systems doing what they evolved to do. The universe has been evolving and optimizing this system for the benefit of planetary structure and integrity.

Like I’ve been saying. Atoms are very special. How and why did the universe achieve their construct? Evolved bodies and structural themes. Same as biology. Darwinian physics has a handle on the how questions, and the why questions. It possesses the same type of natural reasonings that Darwinian biology benefits so well from.

The universe and its intricate structures and processes are not such a cosmic coincidence afterall. Its been guided by a natural organization principle, a principle of which we are already familiar, I have come to call this example of it
Darwinian Universal

Steven Andresen says:
But it doesn’t stop there, because biology has gone so far as to evolve social behaviors that lead individual units to form collective societies. The beehive is the sum of the agencies of the individual bee’s. An ant society is the sum of agencies of its individual ants. Same with human society, sum of the agencies of individual people. Corporations are yet another layer of collective social behaviors.

Evolved systems doing what they evolved to do.

I am well aware of cosmological evolution, and of stellar evolution as shown on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.
There do however appear to be far too many random interactions which make any predictions only approximate hence the huge diversity of planets and moons.

Alan
You’ve misunderstood what I’ve been saying, and have been refuting what you believe I’ve said. I’m in full agreement with biologists, and how the suns energy is used by plants to generate sugar, which provides cells with the chemical energy to operate. And I understand thermodynamic well enough, and I certainly don’t disagree with it.

Phil
Quote”Where does a biological process get its mojo?”
When I say “thermodynamics and principle of least action are not “dynamic” enough”. I’m specifically talking about their inadequacy as an organizational principle to explain the formation of atomic physics.

Big bang near instant creatioin event setting the laws of thermodynamics in play. This is the idea that a ridged unchanging set of laws went on to dictate the formation of atoms and all the interesting roles atoms play in this universe thereafter. Its asking too much of that microsecond creation event, because there is literally no dynamic organizational principle. Its a case of “the universe gets what its served, so better hope you can make good with it”. This is not adequate.
Darwinism on the other hand prescribes changing dynamics, the mechanism of continual regeneration, small changes each generation accumulating to achieve large changes over many generations. And a selection process killing off the unlucky or ill-adapted in preference of the lucky and or well adapted. Now that is a suitable set of organizational dynamics, as life demonstrates.

Do you see what I’m talking about Alan?

Alan 65
There is evolution and then there is Darwinian evolution. The former is the very poor cousin of the latter.
Current cosmological models incorporate evolution, but not Darwinian evolution. This is the mistake. This is what I am talking about

So, Steven, its clear you don’t understand this, so, lets get you started of the Principle of Least Action, probably the most under-appreciated, fundamental and reality defining principle you need to know about.
Simply it is the selecting mojo for whatever happens, from fundamental particle formation to Darwinian biological natural selection, to neural pruning in developing brains.
I’ll post a link to the Feynman Lecture. (A bit of maths but easy stuff.) Then to a sweet retelling that expands it out a bit.
What we’ll come to see is that all actions “seek” a minimum amount of action. Darwinian Natural Selection, creating an evolutionary direction from a plethora of proffered, chance alternates, seeks a most efficient viable use of available energy, though it is always phrased in biological terms as reproductive fitness. This is just a biologist level of understanding that far more profound physics, a species better exploiting a niche of chemical energy. Biological competition , ultimately is competition for access to available energy, its more efficient use, rolling up ideas of reproductive fitness (better surviving).

The structures in and emergent from physics are guided by exactly this principle. The form taken is the form with the least action required when the flux of energy is constrained/limited in some way, often taken as a notional energetic cost. Why is it this? Because in a probabalistic universe every other form is available and a more efficient form will take hold progressively denying its consumed energy from consumption by less efficient forms.

Steven Andresen says:
Current cosmological models incorporate evolution, but not Darwinian evolution. This is the mistake. This is what I am talking about

Cosmological, stellar, and galactic evolution, pre-date biological evolution by billions of years.
Biological evolution is confined to Earth, (an extremely tiny part of the Universe), although many of the elements and molecules it uses originated in stars and space.
I wrote an answer explaining joining up these features a while ago on another platform.
https://www.quora.com/How-would-the-world-function-or-what-would-it-look-like-if-evolution-was-impossible-or-didnt-exist/answer/Alan-Appleby-4

Religion was invented for one reason alone, to strengthen our innate, unconscious denial of the fact that we are animals. What that means is really quite simple human beings hate the fact that they are animals, and human beings do not know that they hate the fact that they are animals – that is why it is an unconscious denial. So, everything that shows us that we are animals we taboo, censor and even legislate against, and when you list all of these particular instances you find that such is the backbone of religion itself – the rest of religions laws are of course concerned with how people should exist in a population of like animals. When you see two humans engaged in sexual intercourse there is absolutely no doubt that they are animals, which makes it obvious to everyone who witnesses such a thing that they too are animals, dirty, sweaty, smelly, copulating creatures. This is why sex is so heavily tabooed, censored, legislated against and vilified – because it shows us so very clearly that we are animals. When in public it is not a coincidence that we must at all times cover our hips, front and back, where a woman must also cover her chest, as both of these areas simply reek of our animality – where it is only these two very specific places, not the feet, legs, abdomen, shoulders, arms or head, but our hips (front and back) and the chest area if we are female, that must be covered – otherwise we would see our genitalia, our animal-highlighting reproductive areas and a woman’s mammalian feeding glands for when we do espy these areas there is no doubt that we human beings are animals. When nuns bathed they used to cover their baths with canvas, not so an all-seeing God could not view them, but so they themselves could not see their naked, animal forms. This is also why those who are most abhorred by their animal state end up flagellating (whipping) themselves, for it is their hated (as they regard it) animal hides that they are railing against. When we defecate, urinate, pass wind, menstruate, ejaculate, etc. there is absolutely no doubt that we human beings are animals – which is why such instances are so heavily tabooed, censored, and legislated against, because such show us so very clearly that we are animals and why (most notably in Islam) there is such an abundance of laws prescribed to help people deal with these obvious, necessary, unavoidable actions (in anthropology the rituals for mitigating such deeds is collectively known as Ritual Pollution Behaviour which the anthropologists are still trying to understand – they will now). When we eat we unconsciously know we are animals, which is why human beings have laws concerning this as well. Everything, EVERYTHING that shows us that we are animals is dealt with by constructing some description of a law to defend against it, to keep us from becoming cognizant of our animality, for that is what religion is, a defence mechanism against our obvious animal, and so mortal, death-assured condition. This is also why spirituality exists, the soul-world, the intangible, body-free realm, a constructed haven where we are free of our weighty, imprisoning, animal bodies. Mary’s virginity was ascribed to exalt her, to show that she was pure (not an animal), that she did not engage in that creaturely, carnal deed. Circumcision too (the most heinous of all human-is-an-animal-denying laws) is committed for the purpose of de-animalizing the human being. That is what it is all about, why the defence-mechanism of religion was invented, to keep us in denial of the fact that we are animals. Catholic guilt anyone? Where such is the guilt that we feel when we encounter our hated animalness. And finally, religion is merely a product of our denial of animality, a defence-mechanism created by those who are most uncomfortable, abhorred even, by our animal state, and something that the SECULARIST suffers from too. We are all, to some degree in unconscious denial of our animality.

What is science? Science, is humankind’s investigation of REALITY. To say that science is wrong is the exact same thing as saying that reality is wrong. So, religion has never been at war with science, all along it has been at war with REALITY.
Just a little something to ponder.

What is truth? Truth, is when the symbols we use to communicate something are exactly representative of REALITY. What is one plus one? Answer = two. Those symbols EXACTLY represent reality. They cannot be wrong. The heart is an organ that pumps blood. Those symbols exactly represent reality. Up until the 17th of January 2020 there was a blasphemy law in Ireland. Those symbols exactly represent reality. We live on planet Earth, humans are mammals, E=MC2, etc., all of which have their symbols exactly representing reality. Truth, is when the symbols we use are EXACTLY representative of REALITY. This is the ONLY truth. Politicians can describe anything they want as being ‘fake news’, or ‘false news’, but truth itself can always be proven, as it is only truth, who’s symbols exactly represent reality. All other ‘truths’ are opinions, are, to be TRUTHFUL, nothing but false information. Where as many of you already know, nothing has done humankind more damage than false information. So let us stick to the truth, let us laud the truth, which is reality as it occurs to be, and give no time to statements or claims that do not represent how things are in reality.

Also, the fact that many religiously uniformed (and so, uninformed) women have cut their breasts off (can you imagine. ). The reason for this is because their mammalian ‘feeding glands’ graphically illustrate the obviousness of the fact that they are animals. Their unconscious denial of human animality is so powerful that they attack, and remove their animal-pronouncing breasts. So, they cut them off. That way, the fact that they are animals is less obvious to them.

What is the greatest experience attainable? It is pleasure, in all of its forms. Whether it is the pleasure of seeing a loved one doing well, of enjoying oneself in salubrious activities such as sport, of falling in love, of seeing our children or our brothers or sisters taking their first steps or uttering their first words, of laughing, of lovemaking, etc. What is the worst experience attainable? It is pain. Whether physical, emotional, or psychological. Those who find this to be the case use it as their moral compass, their philosophy, their ‘way of being’ – which is as follows – they ‘try to have fun (pleasure) without hurting anyone or anything that has the capacity to be damaged’ (pain). This is how moral human beings operate (whether they have faith or not).
I am not preaching here, but simply explaining how I exist. Others may operate in any way they see fit, in any way of their choosing (providing they are choosing for themselves, and it is not someone or some thing choosing for them, such as an external force like political ideology or religion, or an internal force such as the compulsion-surfeited human brain ((which is of course a person’s unconscious self, as opposed to the mind, which is a person’s conscious self)).
Fair winds and be safe.


Report abuse

I see that the despite the constitution, some US bishops are seeking to manipulate the president on the basis of religious beliefs!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-57531070
US Catholic bishops are on a potential collision course with President Joe Biden after voting to commission a document that may call for him to be barred from Holy Communion.
The Vatican has already indicated its opposition to the bishops’ move.


Perhaps the RCC’s religious status on taxation should be looked at again!

Alan
Interesting article you linked to above. I don’t know whether to laugh or just roll my eyes. I thought this paragraph was telling:

Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, warned most priests would be “puzzled to hear that bishops now want to talk about excluding people at a time when the real challenge before them is welcoming people back to the regular practice of the faith and rebuilding their communities”.

I see we have another attempt to bring part of the UK into the group of enlightened countries where reducing the suffering by the terminally ill, is given priority over religious superstitious dogmas!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-57541231

A new bill to legalise assisted dying will be lodged at the Scottish Parliament, the BBC has learned.

The proposals – brought forward by Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur – aim to introduce the right to an assisted death for terminally ill, mentally competent adults.

A cross-party steering group of MSPs have outlined their support of the bill in an open letter.


Previous attempts have failed in the UK, largely due to spineless politicians and religious campaigns.

Alan Appleby #72
Canon Law makes clear that, in a diocese, the bishop, and no-one else, may bar people from the sacraments, the most important of these being baptism and eucharist. The bishops meeting on the US Bishops’ Doctrine Committee know this so the remit they have drafted for discussion at the November meeting of the US Bishops’ Conference, in which it is proposed that (Catholic) politicians should be barred from the eucharist if they support legal provision for access to abortion by women who need it, can only be interpreted as an attempt to pressure those bishops to act accordingly who have hitherto retained the intellectual integrity to respect the secular character of the US Constitution and polity and refrain from any effort to impose specifically Catholic doctrine on non-Catholic US citizens. Even if the remit is accepted by the US Bishops’ Conference, it will make no canonical difference within the Catholic Church, but it may nudge a bishop here or there to do what the majority on the committee seem inclined to do, namely to bar any Catholic politician from the eucharist who favors and votes for access to abortion.
This confounding of the public with the private and the secular with the religious in the US Catholic bishops’ publicly observed actions in committee is a disturbing development, indicating among other things a decline in intellectual calibre and narrowing of minds among Catholic hierarchs. I comfort myself with the thought that the US has this problem mainly because its populace is still so largely and seriously religious. If Catholic bishops tried that tack in the much less religious country where I live, they might find themselves in court on charges of subverting democratic processes of government. Even most Catholics here would be heartily embarrassed by such crassly inappropriate activity of their bishops, but any politician targeted by it would certainly enjoy a boost to his or her support-base. When Christopher Hitchens declared that religion poisons everything, one might quibble about how much emphasis should go on ‘everything’, but he was certainly on to something in saying that. The less religion there is in a society, the saner that society is.