Purpose terminology reform

Rain drop analogy (Weiss, 1925)
In 1925, Albert Weiss, in his "rain-drop analogy", showed the silliness in thinking, via anthropomorphic reasoning, that the "purpose" of every drop of water in the atmosphere is to get to the ground or ocean; stating likewise, that human behavior is but a more complicated form of the same forces that act on rain drops; according to which, it is, likewise, “silly” to assign purpose to human behavior. A noted difference between the two, water drop in a cloud and human on the ground, is that the former "moves" in its journey through a gravitational potential, defined by the equation w = mgh, whereas the latter moves, i.e. “reacts”, through thermodynamic potentials, passing through various “states” of existence along the way, e.g. initial state, meta-stable state, transition state, and end state (or final state), etc. Purpose terminology reform, accordingly, employs physico-chemically neutral terminology to human movements, so as to not invoke anthropisms or teleology (see: chemical teleology) in the description, but still captures the concept of purpose or “divine a sense of purpose”, as Einstein (1932) phrased things, in Spinoza atheistic terms.
In terminology reform, purpose terminology reforms refers to the substitution of the defunct terms: purpose, final cause, teleology, with the physico-chemically neutral upgrade terms: "realization of a thermodynamic potential", driving force, among a few others; the following are the main draft-in-stage reform terms:

Final cause → End state (final state)
Purpose → Realization of a thermodynamic potential (free energy; Gibbs energy minimization) (Lotka, 1945)
● Aristotelian teleologyClausiusian or Gibbsian based chnopsology
● Telos (inner purpose) → Driving force (internal force; internal drive)
● Sense of purpose (Einstein, 1932) (Ѻ) → Sense of activation energy [?]

These being tentatively based on historical examples, as summarized below.

In 1934, Harold Blum, in his “A Consideration of Evolution from a Thermodynamic View-Point”, interjected on a reformed explanation of "purpose", outside of thermodynamics proper, in a way that is physicochemically-neutral, non-theological, non-teleological, and non-anthropomorphic, who referred to the the new reformed directionality model of evolution as “chemical peneplanation”; the main points are as follows:

“Practically since its first definite formulation by Darwin the concept of chance variation and natural selection has dominated the study of evolution, although frequent attempts have been made to replace or modify it. Probably most such attempts are provoked by a vaguely defined awareness of an insufficiency in the natural selection hypothesis, and the recognition of a directive factor in evolutionary processes which persists through successive generations. The latter concept which is commonly known as ‘orthogenesis’, is supported a by considerable amount of evidence (Leo Berg, 1926), but at present is not widely accepted among biologists. The general reason for abandoning or neglecting this concept has been the failure, thus far, to demonstrate the existence of the necessary directing factor outside of the theological doctrine; and one may suspect that fear of leaning too closely to such doctrine has caused most biologists to ‘shy off’ from orthogenesis. It will be the aim of the writer to indicate the actual existence of a directing factor in evolutionary processes, while at the same time avoiding all necessity of invoking theological concepts.”

Blum, in short, states that the chance-based evolution persists owing to fear of treading into theological and or teleological terrain labeling. Blum then states that mutations, e.g. A, B, C, in a given species, can go according to the following three reaction path scenarios:

Blum reaction 1

Blum reaction 2

Blum reaction 3

Blum then speculates on how a certain statistical percentage of "fit" and "unfit" individuals (pg. 355) or chemical species can and will exist in a given equilibrium state; later giving the example (pg. 359), per citation of Henderson, that H2O, with a free energy of formation of 56,000 calories per mol, is more "eminently fit as a major environmental component" than as compared to NH3, with a free energy of formation of 3,000 calories per mol, i.e. they are both favored thermodynamically; the former, however, according to Blum, has a faster rate of reaction, which is why we see more of "fitted" to the environment of earth, presently. He continues (pg. 357-58):

“The chemical reactions possible would be limited to those taking place with a decrease in free energy, and thus an increase in entropy. Those not acquainted with the terminology of thermodynamics may, for the purpose of this paper, simply regard free energy and entropy as quantities with opposite signs but not as equivalent; free energy represents chemical potential. For a discussion of the principles of chemical thermo­dynamics see Lewis and Randall (1923).”

Further elaboration on this, barring prolonged discussion, is:

“In Blum’s ‘Evolution from a Thermodynamic Point of View’ (1935), we perceive in evolution a certain drive [see: driving force], an inherent direction, which is NOT to be identified on the basis here indicated with any teleological end.”
Roderick Seidenberg (1950), Post-Historic Man (pg. 151)

Here, generally, we see that what does exists in nature is: driving force (free energy), end state (final state), and thermodynamic potential; and that what does not exist is: final cause, teleology, and presumably purpose (see: purpose does not exist; teleology does not exist).

“Purposefulness, or teleology, does not exist in nonliving nature. It is universal in the living world. It would make no sense to talk of the purpose or adaption of stars, mountains, or the laws of physics.”
Theodosius Dobzhansky (c.1970), Publication (Ѻ); cited by Peter Corning (2003) in: Nature’s Magic (pg. 172)

In short, terms or concept such as "purpose" or "sense of purpose" (Einstein, c.1940) need to be reformulated, in a deanthropomorphized way, into new physico-chemically neutral terms, which apply equally to the hydrogen atom, the hippopotamus, and the human.

Lotka beetle (1925) (labeled)
Lotka beetle scale
A depiction of Alfred Lotka's 1925 "mechanical walking beetle", in which he explains how the receptors (antennas) give feedback to the adjuster of the body, so to keep the beetle from falling off the table, thus being a mechanical way to show how "future", the likelihood of falling off the table, or seeming purposive behavior (teleology) comes into play.
In 1925, Alfred Lotka, in his Elements of Physical Biology, following a prolonged discussion of a mechanical beetle, in respect to an ameba, and a man, says:

“The depiction in this case is plainly mechanical or geometric. We, as living, conscious organisms, in certain circumstances exhibit a precisely analogous behavior; our action is determined by a picture (psychic in this case) of the future that we seek to avoid or to attain. We are directly conscious of our own volition (whatever its precise physical significance may be.) We hesitate not at all in describing our action as purposive, as directed to and determined by an end, by a final cause. As to the tin beetle, we have dissected him and fully understand his mechanism. We would think it foolish, with our peep behind the scenes, to impute to him volition or purpose; we describe his action as mechanical, as fully determined by an efficient cause.”
— Alfred Lotka (1915), Elements of Physical Biology 27§§: “Mechanistic and Teleological Interpretation of Adjustors” (pgs. 281-85)

In 1945, Alfred Lotka, in his “The Law of Evolution as a Maximal Principle”, in a contextual discussion of a posited future science of statistical dynamics of systems of energy transformers (see: two cultures namesakes), posited, using what seems to be a molecular collision theory scaled up to the level of interaction of animals, that four things or elements are to be distinguished, in respect to what he calls "energy transformers", his name for animate things, bacteria to humans, and their social and predator-pray "collisions" in the field of evolving nature, namely: receptors, free energy, effectors, and adjustors. As to the free energy property of energy transformers, he elaborates: [1]

Free energy. Associated with the transformer is a fund of free energy ready to be released by trigger action, that is, by an expenditure of an amount of energy bearing in general no quantitative relation to the energy released, which can thus be far in excess of the energy applied at the ‘trigger’. It can be noted here, only in passing, that the possession of such a fund of free energy is what gives the opportunity for ‘purposiveaction and the exhibition of the phenomenon of ‘will’, that is, action teleologically aimed at future effects.”
— Alfred Lotka (1945), “The Law of Evolution as a Maximal Principle” (pg. 181)

Here, we see, that Lotka as discarded teleology and final cause, in respect to movements of bacteria, ameba, and man, and replaced it with: thermodynamic potentials (i.e. free energy), trigger action (i.e. activation energy). Lotka, moreover, directs readers interested in an elaboration of ideas in this last quote, via footnote, to chapter 28 of his Elements of Physical Biology (1925) and to his “Evolution and Thermodynamics” (1944) article in Science and Society. [2]

In 1949, Max Planck, in his Scientific Autobiography, stated that according to the new Clausiusian model of the universe, that nature prefers "final state" over the "initial state"; the main quote is as follows:

“Since the question whether a process is reversible or irreversible depends solely on the nature of the initial state and of the terminal state of the process, but not on the manner in which the process develops, in the case of an irreversible process the terminal state is in a certain sense more important than the initial state—as if, so to speak, nature ‘preferred’ it to the latter. I saw a measure of this ‘preference’ in Clausius' entropy; and I found the meaning of the second law of thermodynamics in the principle that in every natural process the sum of the entropies of all bodies involved in the process increases. I worked out these ideas in my doctoral dissertation at the University of Munich, which was completed in 1879.”
Max Planck (1949), Scientific Autobiography (pgs. 18)

Here, we see the Aristotelian "final cause" model of the universe, replaced, upgraded, usurped by the new reformed by Clausiusian model of the universe; teleology has been replaced by a chnopsological thermodynamics model, wherein the logic of "thermodynamics potentials", NOT final cause logic, determine the end state, final state, or terminal state, of the given transformation or movement in question. Here, to note, one must be careful to invoke "chemical teleology" phraseology, which is a very subtle terminology issue.

In 1983, Bruce Lindsay, in his “Social Exemplifications of Physical Principles”, stated the following:

“The teleological idea or concept of purpose is involved in several physical principles, notably Hamilton’s principle and the related but identical principle of least action, Hertz’s principle of the straightest path, Gauss’ principle of least constraint, and Fermat’s principle of least time. They all effectively state that things take place in the physical world, e.g. the motions of systems of particles, in such a way as to make a certain function assume a stationary value under certain boundary conditions, usually a minimum as compared with all possible values satisfying the given conditions.

This means that the actual motion between the initial state and final states at the initial and final times, respectively, takes place in such a way that the integral in question is either greater than it would be for any other possible motion between these states or less than any other possible motion between these states, it being understood that the initial and final states are the same for all the possible motions being compared. In the majority of cases to which the principle has been applied in classical mechanics, the stationary value is a minimum.

With respect to the possible idea of purpose involved philosophers have argued that since Hamilton’s principle is not necessary for the deduction of the actual motion of the dynamical systems, i.e. the Newtonian or Lagrangian equations are fully adequate, we have no real logical ground for insisting that nature imposes a teleological requirement on motions in our experience. Nevertheless the fact that one can exhibit the principles of mechanics in a teleological guise is persuasive, since it serves to tie physical principles with an idea basic to the interpretation that human beings give too much of their ordinary experience, particularly in their relations with other human beings.

Hamilton’s principle, e.g., says that for a conservative dynamical system the motion between any two instants of time is such that the time integral of the difference between the kinetic and potential energies taken between these two instances has a stationary value. It has as if the system had a certain purpose to satisfy. A rational individual is said to arrange his actions so as to be sure of achieving his fundamental desires, whether it be to accumulate wealth or gain power over his fellow men. In particular, the aim here is almost always to try to attain the given desired end at minimum cost in human effort. This strongly suggests a heuristic connection with the [Gibbsian] minimum principles of physics.”

Lindsay, here, to note does not directly state that minimization of the Gibbsian for social systems is the quantitative function for the so-called "senses of purpose", as Einstein deemed things, felt by people in society, but he does previous to the above, in his section "The Principles of Thermodynamics", outline ideas on how Clausius-Gibbs based thermodynamics applies socially. The only connection Lindsay makes to the above is to give the example of George Zipf's 1949 principle of least effort.

Gates model 2
A visual of the so-called “Gates model”, from the 2015 “Zerotheism for Kids: Lecture 4: Enthalpy & Entropy, Moral Compass, and Monism” (Ѻ) (14:47-) video, by Libb Thims, also discussed in the 2014 “25 Smartest People Alive | Existive (2 of 5) (Ѻ) (3:49-8:40) video, therein depicting a visual of the “gravito-electromagnetic force”, aka Gibbs force (see: force function), that moved Bill Gates, from his two person initial state, through his reaction coordinates, over the activation energy barrier, forming the activated complex of the 11-member Microsoft “group” at the apex, and “falling” into the product stage (end state) of the Microsoft corporation, valued at $341 billion in 2015, employing some 120 thousand people, which is akin to the “gravitational force” causing a rock to fall through its gravitational potential, say if tipped off a cliff.
In 2011, Libb Thims attempted to draft (see: books) the manuscript Purpose? (In a Godless Universe), which, however, stalled out, unfinished, at the 120-page level. [4]

In 2014, Libb Thims, in Hmolpedia threads, having absorbed the ideas of Blum and Lindsay, began to interject into purpose terminology reform; specifically: [3]

“Re (#4): “where is the director?” [Kierkegaard], this brings to mind the so-called purpose question—which you commented somewhere, in some thread, was your point or apex of debate collision with me—and what Bruce Lindsay (1983) has to say about this in regards to physics, the teleology debate issue, and sense of purpose. The key statement being the following:

‘A rational individual is said to arrange his actions so as to be sure of achieving his fundamental desires, whether it be to accumulate wealth or gain power over his fellow men. In particular the aim here is almost always to try to attain the given desired end at minimum cost in human effort. This strongly suggests a heuristic connection with the minimum principles of physics.’

Prior to this, Lindsay cites the following so-called minimum principles: Newtonian (not exactly a minimum principle) → LagrangianHamiltonian, and how they have merged into each other, to increasingly quantify the dynamics of the motions of systems comprised of moving particles (e.g. social systems). What he doesn’t state, however, is that the Hamiltonian, via Clausius (1865) and Gibbs (1876), got transformed into the so-called ‘Gibbsian’ minimum principle, according to which Lindsay’s statement, in 2014 retrospect, is something along the lines of:

‘A rational individual is said to arrange his actions so as to be sure of achieving his fundamental desires, whether it be to accumulate wealth or gain power … the aim here is almost always to try to attain the given desired end at minimum cost in human effort. This strongly suggests a heuristic connection with the [Gibbsian] minimum principles of the [physicochemical sciences].’

And hence, if as a rational individual, as Lindsay says, you desire to understand your desires, you are led naturally enough into a study of the so-called ‘human free energy’ theorists, so as to better understand the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ associate with ‘minimum principles’ as they related to the arrangements your actions. This is not to say, to note, that atoms, molecules, and concordantly humans have "purpose", so to say, in the sense of ‘the purpose of hydrogen is to bond with oxygen to form water’, etc., as this is a type of non-sensical statement, whereby so it must also be so with humans (or human molecules), or are governed by "teleological" principles, as the covert religion-siding scientists like to argue, as this is an model that only works in an Aristotelian universe, but rather that there seems to be some well-honed truth, in need of deeper clarification, in what Lindsay states above.”

Shortly thereafter, Thims expanded on this via the "Gates model", as used in the "Smartest Person Existive (2014)" video series, and in the "Zerotheism for Kids" (2015) video lecture.

In sum, while "purpose", as an anthropism, does not seem to exist in nature, e.g. as applied to hydrogen reacting with oxygen, via a thermodynamic potential, or a rock falling through a gravitational potential; it is erroneous to say, as Steven Weinberg (1993) infamously did, that "points", e.g that inflection points, such as Gibbs energy inflection points, don't exist in the universe, i.e. that the universe is "pointless"; meaningless hypotheses fall into this latter error-filled bucket likewise.

The following is the schematic overview of the situation:





Purpose does not exist
Purposeless universe hypothesis
Chemical teleology
Purpose terminology reform
Sense of purpose

The exact reform involves: (a) not invoking chemical teleology assertions, (b) not invoking pointlessness universe assertions, (c) addressing the Lindsay-Bray reform model, and (d) addressing the "divine a sense of purpose" Einstein description (as touched on in the Gates model). This, in short, is an “Aristotelian cosmology” to “Gibbsian cosmology” belief system terminology reform AND concept reform problem; see: Hamiltonian; Gibbsian.


See also
Life terminology upgrades
Sociology terminology upgrades
Love terminology upgrades

1. Lotka, Alfred. (1945). “The Law of Evolution as a Maximal Principle” (jst), Human Biology, 17(30):167-94.
2. (a) Lotka, Alfred. (1944). “Evolution and Thermodynamics” (abs), Communication, Science and Society, 8(2):161-71.
(b) Lotka, Alfred J. (1925). Elements of Physical Biology (republished (Ѻ) as: Elements of Mathematical Biology, which includes: corrections from Lotka’s notes and a completed list of his publications) (pdf) (Ѻ) (txt) (pgs. 155-56). Dover, 1956
3. Thims, Libb. (2014), “Thread posts #8-9” (Ѻ), Sep 3.
4. Thims, Libb. (2011). Purpose? (in a Godless universe). (94-pg manuscript) (unfinished); Online as 105-page unfinished manuscript (14 Apr 2013). IoHT publications.

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