Do things happen the way they can?

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In summary, the conversation centers around the concept of cause and effect in the natural world. The speaker discusses the law of diffusion and how it is simply a statistical phenomenon, as well as the idea that things happen the way they can and then laws are created to describe them. They also mention the role of interactions and mutations in biology, and the importance of even the ways that do not have survival value. The conversation concludes with a question about whether this model applies to basic physical phenomena such as gravity and the speed of light.
  • #1
dayalanand roy
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In my schooldays, I read the law of diffusion. It stated that the particles of a solute migrate from the region of higher concentration to the region of lower concentration in a solution. I accepted it as a universal law without ever wondering why it happens so. After many years only, I came to know that it is simply a statistical phenomenon- particles of all the regions tend to randomly migrate in all possible directions, but the particles in the region of lower concentration have to face more resistance from the ones in the region of higher concentration, while the latter face less resistance from the former and hence succeed in migrating from the region of higher concentration to that of lower concentration. This suggests me of a simple principle- that things just happen the way they can, or the way they are allowed to- and the way they happen becomes a law. But as I am not a physicist, I do not know if there could be any truth in it.
Here I also want to draw the attention of friends to a related analogy. When matter (and fields) starts its journey in the universe (that is, when they are in the process of forming sub-atomic particles or atoms), there are very less things and they have very limited opportunity to interact, hence physical laws are very strict- there is little chance of variation. After reaching atomic or molecular stages, they get more avenues to interact. This is why, probably, there is a little more liberty in chemistry- one element with different valences and the same elements making different molecules. And when they reach the level of macromolecules or bio-molecules- proteins and nucleic acids, they have much more opportunities to interact, and mutate also, and probably this is why we see so many variations in living beings.
I am quite ignorant of physics. I shall be grateful to my learned colleagues if they could guide me whether my intuition- things happen the way they can- may be operating behind other laws of nature, like gravity etc.
 

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  • #2
"The way they can" is what the "laws" of physics models. The laws define how systems interact and the math predicts how a defined system evolves. The words we use to describe these mathematical relationships are irrelevant.
 
  • #3
I think your general sense of "things happen the way they can and then we make laws to describe that behavior" is a good description of non-biological nature and the underpinnings of physics. For biology, they also happen the way they can but at the macro level some ways go nowhere (have no survival value) and die off.
 
  • #4
jerromyjon said:
"The way they can" is what the "laws" of physics models. The laws define how systems interact and the math predicts how a defined system evolves. The words we use to describe these mathematical relationships are irrelevant.
Many thanks for this illuminating reply.
Dayalanand
 
  • #5
phinds said:
I think your general sense of "things happen the way they can and then we make laws to describe that behavior" is a good description of non-biological nature and the underpinnings of physics. For biology, they also happen the way they can but at the macro level some ways go nowhere (have no survival value) and die off.
Many thanks for this illuminating reply.
Dayalanand
 
  • #6
" ...but at the macro level some ways go nowhere (have no survival value) and die off."[/QUOTE]

Yes. But even the ways that go nowhere (have no survival value) have very important consequences in the living world. Were they not there, it would have been difficult to distinguish man from chimps and dogs from fox-there would have been an almost continuous gradation of species if all the intermediate species had survived.
Thanks and regards
Dayalanand
 
  • #7
dayalanand roy said:
" ...but at the macro level some ways go nowhere (have no survival value) and die off."

Yes. But even the ways that go nowhere (have no survival value) have very important consequences in the living world. Were they not there, it would have been difficult to distinguish man from chimps and dogs from fox-there would have been an almost continuous gradation of species if all the intermediate species had survived.
Thanks and regards
Dayalanand[/QUOTE]
Good point. I agree. In fact, the ramifications would probably have been much more serious than just what you mention.
 
  • #8
phinds said:
Yes. But even the ways that go nowhere (have no survival value) have very important consequences in the living world. Were they not there, it would have been difficult to distinguish man from chimps and dogs from fox-there would have been an almost continuous gradation of species if all the intermediate species had survived.
Thanks and regards
Dayalanand
Good point. I agree. In fact, the ramifications would probably have been much more serious than just what you mention.[/QUOTE]

Thanks
But I think we are deviating from the main point. It was aimed at micro level. I want to learn if 'things happen the way they can' model has any role to play in basic physical phenomena, like gravity or the speed of light. regards
dayalanand
 

Related to Do things happen the way they can?

1. What factors influence whether things happen the way they can?

There are several factors that can influence whether things happen the way they can, including physical laws, environmental conditions, and human decisions and actions. These factors work together to shape the world around us and determine what is possible and what is not.

2. Can things happen in ways that are not scientifically possible?

While it is possible for things to happen in unexpected or seemingly impossible ways, the laws of science provide a framework for understanding and predicting the natural world. If something is deemed scientifically impossible, it means that it goes against our current understanding of the laws of nature.

3. How do scientists determine what is possible?

Scientists use a variety of methods, including experimentation, observation, and mathematical modeling, to determine what is possible within the laws of nature. They also constantly push the boundaries of knowledge and challenge existing theories to expand our understanding of what is possible.

4. Are there limits to what can happen in the universe?

While there may be limits to our current understanding and technology, it is difficult to say if there are absolute limits to what can happen in the universe. As our knowledge and capabilities continue to evolve, so too may our understanding of what is possible.

5. Can we control or influence the way things happen?

In some cases, we can control or influence the way things happen through our actions and decisions. However, there are also many factors that are outside of our control, such as natural disasters or random events. Understanding the balance between control and chance is an ongoing pursuit in scientific research.

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