by | Mar 20, 2017

Merriam-Webster Definition

  1. a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.

This Engineer’s Definition

  1. A series of actions or steps that result in an end.
  2. Natural Process: a series of action or steps that result in an end that does not involve intelligence.
  3. Intelligent Process: a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a desired end.

The definition allows the term “process” without an adjective to include both Natural and Intelligent Processes.

The outcomes of natural processes are determined by their initial conditions resulting from previous natural process steps, the free energy available and the laws of physics and include the formation of atoms, molecules, suns, black holes, solar systems, planets, weather, plate tektonics, and erosion. Intelligent processes are the same except they involve intelligence that controls outcomes based on sensed conditions. 

If an end is accomplished by doing intelligent work, the process involves the use of machines and is therefore an intelligent process.  If the process only involves natural causes, the outcomes are limited by the initial conditions of previous process steps.  Life, and all creations of life are the result of intellignet processes.

All processes, including natural processes, involve changes in state of matter and energy over time, in other words a process is not a static entity.   For example, a machine, when not running is still a machine.  When it is running, it is running a process to accomplish whatever task it was designed to do.  This may seem like a trivial distinction, but it is not when discussing life.  A distinction between designed processes and natural processes is that designed processes use a local, specified power source compared to a natural process that uses free energy – energy available to do work by previous natural process steps – no machines involved.



© 2016 Mike Van Schoiack

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