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E-FrameZenderblast
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22 Nov 2010, 6:27 pm

A friend of mine at school and I have been having this huge debate for some time. I insist perfection does not exist, he insists it does. I will summarise what has been worked out so far:

First of all, we are speaking of perfection as that which there is none better, complete top-of-the-scale, cannot go wrong, et cetera, as opposed to mere 'excellence' (you should get what I mean... hopefully...)
Anyway, through several lines of dictionary definitions (we use dictionaries for word meanings because we are speaking the English language, and we do not want to have to make up a new language for our debate), and some basic reasoning, we found that:
Something is perfect when it reaches its goal
Flaws are those that prevent something from reaching its goal
Something which is perfect has no flaws

My argument is that if something does not exist, its flaws do not exist, therefore nonexistence=perfection. Perfection cannot exist because:
existence is a flaw, in that anything that exists becomes subject to the various flaws of existing (wearing out over time, not being able to get somewhere instantly, et cetera)

If the purpose of everything is to become perfect (take evolution for example, and I think that is headed towards extinction of life eventually) then the purpose of everything is to cease to exist.

An example: A hinge's purpose (being designed for this)is to move the door from side to side. A flaw in the hinge's design is that it rusts. The rust can be removed with oil. But the oil must be reapplied regularly. A perpetual motion machine is required. Therefore, the impossible, non-existant perpetual motion machine is perfect.
But my friend said that one of the laws of physics is that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed. So is the universe a perpetual motion machine? Is the universe perfect? Does the universe exist? Or should 'the universe' in the last three sentences be replaced with 'energy'? The universe is built out of flawed objects, so it cannot be perfect.

Your thoughts please. Also point out any mistakes I made, since I was probably a bit incoherent and disjointed in my argument.



ruveyn
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22 Nov 2010, 6:35 pm

The Perfect is the enemy of the Good Enough.

ruveyn



Sand
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22 Nov 2010, 6:54 pm

E-FrameZenderblast wrote:
A friend of mine at school and I have been having this huge debate for some time. I insist perfection does not exist, he insists it does. I will summarise what has been worked out so far:

First of all, we are speaking of perfection as that which there is none better, complete top-of-the-scale, cannot go wrong, et cetera, as opposed to mere 'excellence' (you should get what I mean... hopefully...)
Anyway, through several lines of dictionary definitions (we use dictionaries for word meanings because we are speaking the English language, and we do not want to have to make up a new language for our debate), and some basic reasoning, we found that:
Something is perfect when it reaches its goal
Flaws are those that prevent something from reaching its goal
Something which is perfect has no flaws

My argument is that if something does not exist, its flaws do not exist, therefore nonexistence=perfection. Perfection cannot exist because:
existence is a flaw, in that anything that exists becomes subject to the various flaws of existing (wearing out over time, not being able to get somewhere instantly, et cetera)

If the purpose of everything is to become perfect (take evolution for example, and I think that is headed towards extinction of life eventually) then the purpose of everything is to cease to exist.

An example: A hinge's purpose (being designed for this)is to move the door from side to side. A flaw in the hinge's design is that it rusts. The rust can be removed with oil. But the oil must be reapplied regularly. A perpetual motion machine is required. Therefore, the impossible, non-existant perpetual motion machine is perfect.
But my friend said that one of the laws of physics is that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed. So is the universe a perpetual motion machine? Is the universe perfect? Does the universe exist? Or should 'the universe' in the last three sentences be replaced with 'energy'? The universe is built out of flawed objects, so it cannot be perfect.

Your thoughts please. Also point out any mistakes I made, since I was probably a bit incoherent and disjointed in my argument.


Look into the second law of thermodynamics.



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22 Nov 2010, 7:06 pm

Mathematics as an abstract system is not subject to the flaws of this physical universe, so you could argue that it is perfect. However, the incompleteness theorems from Gödel (and some other results, especially in nonlinear dynamics) place firm limitations on mathematics, and anything which is perfect would not have such limitations.

Math is as close to perfection as we can possibly get (it is a pure abstract system) and it is not perfect. Therefore, nothing in existence is perfect.


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22 Nov 2010, 7:24 pm

Colossians 1:28
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus

1st Peter 5:10
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

Hebrews 9:11
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;


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Janissy
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22 Nov 2010, 7:48 pm

Water is perfect.



Sand
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22 Nov 2010, 8:08 pm

Janissy wrote:
Water is perfect.


I prefer apple juice.



E-FrameZenderblast
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22 Nov 2010, 8:46 pm

ruveyn: :lol:
Sand: The Wikipedia article and google are a bit technical, so I may be wrong, but if I am not mistaken, the gist of it is that when heat energy is used to warm some cold molecules, then back again as the heat is now cold and the cold is now warm, and repeated to infinity, some energy inevitably disappears, and the process eventually stops. That's interesting, but I thought that a certain quantity of energy get expelled from the machine in the form of heat/light/sound/kinetic as waste of a sort?
chrissyrun: I cannot really make a judgement on this, but it sounds like by 'perfect' the scripture means 'excellent' and not 'best'. In any case, if we could become perfect, would we not become God, as God is supposedly perfect? Also, I am agnostic and therefore I do not really follow these views. Assuming this is correct, however, is it possible in any materialistic way to become perfect?
Janissy: What is the purpose of water?



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22 Nov 2010, 8:57 pm

Perfection is an abstract human concept. It exists only as such.



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22 Nov 2010, 9:24 pm

E-FrameZenderblast wrote:
ruveyn: :lol:
Sand: The Wikipedia article and google are a bit technical, so I may be wrong, but if I am not mistaken, the gist of it is that when heat energy is used to warm some cold molecules, then back again as the heat is now cold and the cold is now warm, and repeated to infinity, some energy inevitably disappears, and the process eventually stops. That's interesting, but I thought that a certain quantity of energy get expelled from the machine in the form of heat/light/sound/kinetic as waste of a sort?
chrissyrun: I cannot really make a judgement on this, but it sounds like by 'perfect' the scripture means 'excellent' and not 'best'. In any case, if we could become perfect, would we not become God, as God is supposedly perfect? Also, I am agnostic and therefore I do not really follow these views. Assuming this is correct, however, is it possible in any materialistic way to become perfect?
Janissy: What is the purpose of water?


The second law of thermodynamics indicates that energy tends to spread from places of high energy to places of low energy until the energy levels are equal. If you place a glass of hot water next to a glass of cold water the higher energy of the hot water will eventually move to the glass of cold water until both glasses have the same energy.The source of energy that we know is generated in the atomic reactions within the stars. There is also potential energy in the separation of all bodies and the gravitic attraction between masses releases that energy as they move towards each other. Energy is only useful as it moves from high level energy places to low energy places. Eventually all the energy of the universe will be equally distributed everywhere and there will be no useful energy to create work. And everything will die.



E-FrameZenderblast
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22 Nov 2010, 10:06 pm

Ahh, I see now. Makes a lot of sense. Good food for thought. Thank you for explaining it to me. :D

But the energy is still there, right? As opposed to hot or cold, just a sort of lukewarm middling temperature, if you get my meaning. But then again, I still do not see how anything could continue to move in a universe like that...

Perfect stillness? Nonexistence of a sort?

Fascinating... 8O



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22 Nov 2010, 10:27 pm

E-FrameZenderblast wrote:
But the energy is still there, right? As opposed to hot or cold, just a sort of lukewarm middling temperature, if you get my meaning.

Yes, the energy is still there, just distributed in such a manner that it is unusable. Actually, given the vast emptiness of space, it would be cold everywhere rather than lukewarm.

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But then again, I still do not see how anything could continue to move in a universe like that...

To the extent that the laws of thermodynamics are currently understood, motion would settle down to almost nothing. However, there is no reason to believe we currently have a complete understanding of physics.


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23 Nov 2010, 8:46 am

E-FrameZenderblast wrote:
Janissy: What is the purpose of water?


It makes life possible. It does this perfectly. Two hydrogens and an oxygen. The simplicity is beautiful and elegant. That so much can be accomplished with so little is amazing to me and perfect.



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23 Nov 2010, 8:47 am

Sand wrote:
Janissy wrote:
Water is perfect.


I prefer apple juice.


Which is just sugars and other molecules found in apples dissolved in water. Nothing happens without water. That is why I called it perfect.



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23 Nov 2010, 10:34 am

Janissy wrote:
Sand wrote:
Janissy wrote:
Water is perfect.


I prefer apple juice.


Which is just sugars and other molecules found in apples dissolved in water. Nothing happens without water. That is why I called it perfect.


Perhaps apple juice is perfect and water is imperfect without apples.



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23 Nov 2010, 2:39 pm

I agree with your conclusion, that perfection cannot exist, but not with your reasoning.

Your premise that if something does not exist then it has no flaws does not logically lead to the converse statement that something with no flaws does not exist. The logical conclusion from your premise is that something with flaws must exist.

Perfection must be understood in context. Since our understanding of the universe is that it is not in a static state, that which is "perfect" in the universe as it exists at this moment, might not be perfect in a universe as it will exist in the future.

Consider iron. In the current universe it is subject neither to fission nor fusion. One can make a credible argument that 56Fe is radioactively "perfect." However, in a universe that is contracting towards a "Big Crunch," the universe will eventually reach a high enough energy state for the subatomic material in those 56Fe nuclides be released.


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