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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:37 am 
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I've just found this little explanation on the thermodynamic laws http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics ... cLaws.html however I still don't undertand what would be a "thermodynamic miracle".


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:31 am 
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Gourmet wrote:
I've just found this little explanation on the thermodynamic laws http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics ... cLaws.html however I still don't undertand what would be a "thermodynamic miracle".


something that can break the thermodynamic laws perhaps?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:37 am 
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ok here we go :)

Basically in quantum theory, everything that can happen has a probabilty associated with it. It is theoretically possible for ANYTHING to occur. Its possible, however enormously unlikely that a proton will decay or morph into another particle, it is possible that if you are sitting in a closed room that all the air will suddenly rush to the corners and leave a vacuum and you will suffocate. The odds of this happening are infintesimally small, but there IS a probability associated with the chances of this happening.

What Dr M is refereing to as the thermodynamic miracle is that out of the millions of sperm that could fertilise any egg, it is only one that does, out of all the millions of possiblities, it is only you or me that emerges. We see people around us each day, and like Jon we forget that each of us is a unique, never to be replicated, never to be replaced individual, and that each of us is created from a myriad of possiblities, just as our reality is.

This is the "miracle", so commonplace that we forgot how fantastically unlikely it is that it was us that emerged and not some very close to but not quite us that didn't. The odds are literally astronomical, and it is this that Dr M realises in his discussion with Laurie. Each of us is a "thermodynamic miracle" at once both incredibly unlikely and entirely commonplace.

I hope this helps.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:31 am 
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Darkweaver wrote:
ok here we go :)

Basically in quantum theory, everything that can happen has a probabilty associated with it. It is theoretically possible for ANYTHING to occur. Its possible, however enormously unlikely that a proton will decay or morph into another particle, it is possible that if you are sitting in a closed room that all the air will suddenly rush to the corners and leave a vacuum and you will suffocate. The odds of this happening are infintesimally small, but there IS a probability associated with the chances of this happening.

What Dr M is refereing to as the thermodynamic miracle is that out of the millions of sperm that could fertilise any egg, it is only one that does, out of all the millions of possiblities, it is only you or me that emerges. We see people around us each day, and like Jon we forget that each of us is a unique, never to be replicated, never to be replaced individual, and that each of us is created from a myriad of possiblities, just as our reality is.

This is the "miracle", so commonplace that we forgot how fantastically unlikely it is that it was us that emerged and not some very close to but not quite us that didn't. The odds are literally astronomical, and it is this that Dr M realises in his discussion with Laurie. Each of us is a "thermodynamic miracle" at once both incredibly unlikely and entirely commonplace.

I hope this helps.


WOW~

Deep... :geek:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:30 pm 
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I'm still confused over what happens that makes Manhattan realize this miracle. Why Laurie's lineage and the revelation of her father is enough to be a miracle in his eyes to come back


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:20 pm 
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MrEgotistical wrote:
I'm still confused over what happens that makes Manhattan realize this miracle. Why Laurie's lineage and the revelation of her father is enough to be a miracle in his eyes to come back


Dr. Manhattan has become so very far removed from his own humanity and that of everyone else around him. He only sees the big picture, and that almost in terms of a science project. His conversation with Laurie, and the resulting emotional turmoil she goes through, helps to bring his focus back down to the individual. Looking at the seeming randomness of events that led to Laurie being born, and the fact that it was she who was born. If it wasn't for the thermodynamic miracle of her existing, then she wouldn't have been at the Crimebusters meeting and all the interaction the Dr. and she had since that point in time would never have happened.

Multiply that by a few billion, for each and every single person on the planet - Dr. Manhattan discovers his own reason to return to earth.

This revelation of the thermodynamic miracle ultimately fuels his decision to leave our universe for another and maybe create some life of his own - setting into motion more thermodynamic miracles that he can study with a new found sense of fascination and learning.

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Last edited by Lord Ruthven on Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:46 am 
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Thanks Ruthven and Darkweaver. Really clarifying notes.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:49 am 
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You're welcome :) I'm sure Lord Ruthven would agree.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:57 pm 
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Gourmet wrote:
Thanks Ruthven and Darkweaver. Really clarifying notes.

Darkweaver wrote:
You're welcome :) I'm sure Lord Ruthven would agree.


Absolutely! Anything to help, Gourmet :D

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 1:35 am 
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After reading DW's and L. Ruthven's posts I am now totally convinced that any film-ending pinning mass-murder on Osterman is absolute bollocks.

Doc Manhattan's fine realisation about individual uniqueness and preciousness is negated by such a heavy-handed treatment.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:42 pm 
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How are you guys today?
this is my first post, Watchmen is a great novel, do you think I should give it another try?

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Last edited by Crazy Omen on Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:28 pm 
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Hello and welcome to the forum!
I would explain to you what Dr Manhattan meant but I'd end up repeating his words. If I were you I'd read the last pages of Chapter 9 again...
The whole book demands to be read again btw. And again. And again.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:57 pm 
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AYBGerrardo wrote:
Hello and welcome to the forum!
I would explain to you what Dr Manhattan meant but I'd end up repeating his words. If I were you I'd read the last pages of Chapter 9 again...
The whole book demands to be read again btw. And again. And again.

thx for ur help but I read it over and over and still didn't get it

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:13 pm 
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If I understand quantum mechanics correctly, the theory goes that anything can happen, though some events are more likely than others. For example, oxygen could spontaneously turn into gold or any one of us could suddenly turn into a duck. You might say that either event is impossible. A quantum physicist, on the other hand, would say that neither event is impossible, just astronomically unlikely.

In fact, these two events are so extremely improbable to happen that if they ever did, it would be a miracle. Hence, they are what quantum mechanics might call thermodynamic miracles.

Now, consider the odds that you will live long enough to procreate. Multiply that by the odds of mating with one particular woman (or man, for the womenfolk here) out of the billions that are alive right now. Multiply that by the odds of a single, particular sperm successfully competing against millions of others to fertilize a single, particular egg.

The odds of one particular human being emerging from all of that chaos is so astronomically slim that it could only be called a thermodynamic miracle. Laurie's birth is exceptionally unlikely, as her parents had absolutely zero reason to make love in the first place.

Let me put this another way: What are the chances that somewhere in the world, someone who looks and acts exactly like you was born at the exact same time as you? You might say that's impossible, but it's not. It's just a thermodynamic miracle.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:56 am 
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This thread makes my heart so happy!
Thermodynamic miracles are something I've been wondering about since reading Watchmen.
What Jon was talking about never set in particularly until I was watching my two little brothers run around together one day. My youngest is the son of my father and the elder is the son of my mother. I watched them laugh and run outside a movie theater and I wondered at how two children spawned from two different people who hate each other could turn out to be such good friends. Then I started wondering at how incredible it is that they were alive in the first place. The younger, particularly, should have died shortly after birth. But he survived. I was contemplating all of these factors, all of these odds against any of what was happening at the moment to be happening, and then I looked up at a Watchmen poster and it all sort of clicked.
I have been looking into thermodynamic miracles ever since, as my baby brothers are a perfect and beautiful example.
Unfortunately, loads of it is over my head on account of my only having a sophomore (highschool) education :), although I fully intend to continue learning all that I can.
I think everybody needs to learn about the odds against their very existance, the odds against any person the love existing, to be able to fully appreciate what a miracle it is that we have them.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:15 pm 
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Lord Ruthven wrote:
MrEgotistical wrote:
I'm still confused over what happens that makes Manhattan realize this miracle. Why Laurie's lineage and the revelation of her father is enough to be a miracle in his eyes to come back


Dr. Manhattan has become so very far removed from his own humanity and that of everyone else around him. He only sees the big picture, and that almost in terms of a science project. His conversation with Laurie, and the resulting emotional turmoil she goes through, helps to bring his focus back down to the individual. Looking at the seeming randomness of events that led to Laurie being born, and the fact that it was she who was born. If it wasn't for the thermodynamic miracle of her existing, then she wouldn't have been at the Crimebusters meeting and all the interaction the Dr. and she had since that point in time would never have happened.

Multiply that by a few billion, for each and every single person on the planet - Dr. Manhattan discovers his own reason to return to earth.

This revelation of the thermodynamic miracle ultimately fuels his decision to leave our universe for another and maybe create some life of his own - setting into motion more thermodynamic miracles that he can study with a new found sense of fascination and learning.


I find this to be a nice contrast between Rorschach's belief. Important points highlighted in bold:

Quote:
Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night. Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us. Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world. Was Rorschach. Does that answer your questions, Doctor?


Of course, you may percieve this as somewhat contradictory to Rorschach's established black-and-white moral code, and we know that, despite this, he's intended as quite an inconsistent and hypocritical character, although I think it should be understood that he knows his "morality" is only what he's chosen to impose; his worldview, and it need not matter to anyone else but him. Like he said, he's "free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world", a classically nihilistic ideal, yet all his actions are determined by his own fixated set of moral values without no room for compromise.

This is contrasted to Dr. Manhattan's apparent belief in fate, although that may also be contradictory. He sees time as simultaneous, yet tells Laurie, "We're all puppets. I'm just a puppet who can see the strings" and, due to his perception of predestination, just follows a routine. Fate could be associated with religion and/or God, yet Dr. Manhattan doesn't seem to be a Theist; more like an Agnostic or Atheist. I don't know whether or not it's him or someone else I'm thinking of who said, "I don't think there's a God. If there is, I don't think it's like me", but he also muses that, "Perhaps the world is not made. Perhaps nothing is made. A clock without a craftsman."

I guess the most amoral and nihilistic person of them all is the Comedian, who just makes everything into one big joke. However, when he realizes that nuclear war is impending, perhaps faster than he expected, he just breaks down and all that emotion comes pouring out. He gets drunk, breaks into Moloch's house and basically cries in despair over what's going to happen, while apologizing for his crimes. Maybe it was all just a mask (get it?). He's still a human being with emotion, at the end of the day, and he's probably not the macho-aggressive sociopath that he makes out to be. He nonchalantly talks about the planet's destruction, yet when it actually happens, he can't take it and doesn't understand why it's such a joke or what makes it so. All this really makes me feel as if his backstory should've been fleshed out a bit more, in the actual comic itself rather than in prequels and/or spin-offs like Before Watchmen, which won't be written by Alan Moore.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:30 pm 
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Prophet of Doom wrote:
However, when he realizes that nuclear war is impending, perhaps faster than he expected, he just breaks down and all that emotion comes pouring out.

That's not really it. Just like 'Nam, he suits the climate and doesn't seem to care. It's Ozy's plan that takes the wind from his sails.

Prophet of Doom wrote:
All this really makes me feel as if his backstory should've been fleshed out a bit more

From this and the other post I think you're referring specifically to his youth? Because we got a whole chapter of Comedian flashbacks right near the start of Watchmen, of course. That's more than you can say about Dan, for instance. The Comedian's a fascinating character, but solid readings are easily possible with the text and nothing else.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:04 pm 
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AYBGerrardo wrote:
Prophet of Doom wrote:
However, when he realizes that nuclear war is impending, perhaps faster than he expected, he just breaks down and all that emotion comes pouring out.

That's not really it. Just like 'Nam, he suits the climate and doesn't seem to care. It's Ozy's plan that takes the wind from his sails.


What do you mean? In Vietnam, yes, he suited the climate because, as a sadist, he revelled in the freedom to go wild killing as many people as he wanted without consequences, not to mention that they were practically assured victory due to Dr. Manhattan. Nuclear war wasn't as big a threat back then. Fast-forward ten years or so, he knows that Dr. Manhattan has gradually been becoming detached from humanity (which he mentioned when Dr. Manhattan refused to act in his altercation with the pregnant Vietnamese woman, and that he'd soon grow tired with Laurie as he did with Janey, which sure enough comes true in the end) and wouldn't care to stop the nukes, and either way, thousands of people would be killed (including him) and there was nothing he could do to stop it. The joke was over.

AYBGerrardo wrote:
Prophet of Doom wrote:
All this really makes me feel as if his backstory should've been fleshed out a bit more
From this and the other post I think you're referring specifically to his youth? Because we got a whole chapter of Comedian flashbacks right near the start of Watchmen, of course. That's more than you can say about Dan, for instance. The Comedian's a fascinating character, but solid readings are easily possible with the text and nothing else.


I think I made another thread highlighting this as a discussion point. What I mean is that we know nothing of his life before his 16-year-old self became a costumed vigilante and joined the Minutemen. In "Under the Hood", I believe Mason describes him as a "brutal young man". But what shaped his nihilism? I mean, when he was 16, he tried to rape the 18-year-old Silk Spectre. The most we know is during his drunken rambling to Moloch, when he mentioned his father apparently telling him, "The world's tougher, but you gotta be tougher."

Or is his backstory unimportant and it's him as a symbolic representation that matters, like the faceless yet iconic "V" in V for Vendetta?

Dan seems to be a pretty normal guy who happens to have erectile dysfunction which he never got fixed/couldn't get fixed outside of his costume, perhaps the one thing that gave him power and confidence in his life, so I'm not as eager to know more about his character and/or backstory.


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