In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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Obvious Leo
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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by Obvious Leo » Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:28 am

Dubious wrote: You cannot decrease entropy without increasing it somewhere else.
Clearly this is true of all informational sub-structures within the universe but it cannot be true of the universe itself because there is no "somewhere else". The entropy of the universe as a whole is quite clearly decreasing and this is the signature feature of all non-linear dynamic systems. Contrariwise the entropy of a Newtonian system must inevitably increase and yet we have 13.8 billion years worth of evidence to show that this is not what's happening. In the first instants following the big bang there was not even any such thing as matter of any description but now take a look around. Matter has not only come into existence from only energy but has since managed to self-organise into increasingly more complex forms. A linear model of causality is utterly unable to account for this without first assuming the existence of a causal agent external to the universe itself. Any philosopher worthy of the name should reject such a creationist assumption out of hand because it defines the universe as unknowable.

Skip
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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by Skip » Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:53 am

I know I keep harping on this, but -

What's so freaking terrible about unknowability?

Obvious Leo
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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by Obvious Leo » Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:22 am

Skip wrote:What's so freaking terrible about unknowability?
It is a complete negation of both philosophy and science. We can accept the Rumsfeldian world of known knowns and known unknowns and we can even acknowledge the existence of unknown unknowns. However what no scientist or philosopher can do is accept the idea of the unknowable unknown because this is a reach for the supernatural which forever places some knowledge beyond the reach of scientific or philosophical enquiry. As far as I'm concerned the multiverse hypothesis is an example of such a "science of the gaps", as was string theory, now mercifully consigned to the pages of history. A hypothesis which cannot be tested is not science and an untestable explanation which explains everything is nothing more than a self-indulgent fantasy which explains nothing.

uwot
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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by uwot » Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:32 am

Obvious Leo wrote:A hypothesis which cannot be tested is not science and an untestable explanation which explains everything is nothing more than a self-indulgent fantasy which explains nothing.
So what is the test of your hypothesis?

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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by Obvious Leo » Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:07 am

uwot wrote:
Obvious Leo wrote:A hypothesis which cannot be tested is not science and an untestable explanation which explains everything is nothing more than a self-indulgent fantasy which explains nothing.
So what is the test of your hypothesis?
https://austintorney.wordpress.com/2015 ... n-de-jong/

The details of the experiment are at the end of the synopsis but to understand the reasoning behind the prediction you need to follow the steps. Basically I show that in a spaceless universe quantum entanglement is a perfectly straightforward prediction from GR and is in fact exactly the same phenomenon as the spatial "wormhole" which all the sci-fi writers are so fond of.

I know how to build a stargate, uwot, and I can demonstrate the basic principles behind it in a simple experiment which would fall comfortably within both the expertise and budget of any university physics department. Even some well-resourced high schools will be able to do this.

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Greta
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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by Greta » Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:44 pm

Greta wrote: Consider the bear and salmon. The bear needs energy to maintain its system, with its body's needs expressed as hunger. Hunger compels the bear to satisfy its energy needs so it catches a salmon and inflicts entropy on the fish's system, reducing an ordered living system to relatively disordered components.
Skip wrote:Yes, but this was my problem in the first place: are they disordered? The salmon was going to die in a week anyway, and presumably break down to its original components. Those molecules are not chaotic: they are highly disciplined little systems on their own. When they recombine in the form of moss, jack pines and Monarch butterflies, they will still be highly disciplined little systems, subordinated to larger, more complex systems. And they'll do it again after the butterfly and tree die. That they are subsumed by a bear or wolf or man is incidental: in any case, nothing is wasted and nothing is lost. The bear, wolf and man will also die eventually and return their components to the pool.
They are relatively disordered. Should you be unlucky enough to tangle with a large crocodile consider the little systems that your disemboweled remains will form. How would those small systems compare with the extraordinarily complex and intelligent system called "Skip"? The Skip System in its entirety also contains little systems - far, far more than the comparatively disordered rabble of proteins breaking down in digestive juices and its little systems.

The moss, jack pines and Monarch butterflies will do exactly the same thing - break down other ordered living entities to maintain their own systemic health with a net entropic increase.
To take the example further afield, the entropic defiance of the planet Earth comes at the expense of its surrounds.
Skip wrote:I don't understand what Earth does that qualifies as defiance. It orbits and rotates, just like any other planet. Do you mean having life? That's exceptional (afawk), but what's the cost to and who pays it? We haven't taken big chunks off the moon to damage it.
This should explain it (between the math) http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/entropy.html

In short, the collapse of dust and gas into stars and planets emits heat radiation, resulting in an overall increase of entropy.
The order of human civilisations inflicts entropy on its surroundings as it gathers energy from surrounding sources to maintain itself, power our ever more inventive attempts at keeping entropy at bay. So we create ever more dense concentrations of low entropy (cities) surrounded by ever more chaotic surrounds (broken ecosystems).
Skip wrote:Yes, I do see that. Unevenly spread entropy. Still, it's only a thin layer on the outside of an insignificant planet, that won't even impede the path of the smallest meteor. Once we're gone, and everything on the planet is dead, this mudball can stop being defiant, like Mars.
In the coming centuries I expect that humanity will have devised missile defence systems, which will become ever more capable as the technology is refined. Mars is still defiant and it will remain so until it's broken up into its component atoms. Actually, going offtopic for a mo', Mars is actually still alive; it has liquid water on the surface and very likely significant stores of underground water which may yet contain microbes.
The increasing order we observe on Earth would seem more likely to be an example of concentrated local order with concomitant dissipated disorder rather than one of general reduced entropy.
Skip wrote:But only if it spread! If it arises, flourishes, overextends itself, destroys its source of nourishment and goes extinct, all on a single satellite of one minor star, done and dusted in a few million years.... Well, so what? The universe won't even be dented.
So what, you ask. Here we are - veritable miracles of order and complexity - the only example for many trillions of miles. It's not as though I'm expecting the Sun to be a shoulder to cry on should humanity be able to adapt successfully to its circumstances but we really are incredibly special, even the most stupid person - even microbes.
Skip wrote:But at least it will have been less boring for a minute! What's the point of perfect order nobody appreciates?
Yes, if the audience makes a mess, so be it. It's not as though we have a training manual for successful transitioning from ecosystem inhabitant to city builder.

uwot
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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by uwot » Mon Feb 01, 2016 3:30 pm

Obvious Leo wrote:I know how to build a stargate, uwot, and I can demonstrate the basic principles behind it in a simple experiment which would fall comfortably within both the expertise and budget of any university physics department. Even some well-resourced high schools will be able to do this.
Well, then the thing to do is get your arse into university. There's nothing professional academics like better than being told they are talking bollocks. Trust me, that's what I did and I'm almost half way through an MSc in history and philosophy of science, mixing it with the big boys and girls at UCL. How am I doing? I'm holding my own, thanks for asking. Knocking about here is a bit of a hoot, but if you want to change the world, you're going to have to get your hands dirty. Go for it Leo, I'm 53 and not the oldest by a long chalk.

Skip
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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by Skip » Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:34 pm

Greta wrote:They are relatively disordered.
This, I guess is the center of my problem.
From a human point of view, more complex, clever, successful etc. is better. From the environment's point of view, the complex clever successful species disorder everything around them, which, if I understand you correctly, is bad. From the point of view an ecosystem, both building and tearing down complex entities are complementary components of a cycle: necessary. From the point of view of the universe, it doesn't matter. Gases coalesce... planets disintegrate... stars are born and die... galaxies collide.

Some complex entities were around for a little while to witness a little bit of this activity.
Ants are incapable of conjugating Latin verbs - ever. Latin is unknowable to them. They don't seem to mind.
The origin and purpose of the universe will forever be beyond my understanding. I don't mind.
Why do so many people mind so much that they are inevitably, unavoidably, irreparably limited?

Obvious Leo
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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by Obvious Leo » Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:26 pm

uwot wrote:if you want to change the world, you're going to have to get your hands dirty.
I don't want to change the world, uwot. I want somebody else to do it. I prefer to get my hands dirty in my garden where a single cupful of my well-composted soil hosts a trillion different organisms, all of which are interwoven into the gigantic web of complexity which is our planetary biosphere.

The entropy argument has run off the rails here because of the reductionist approach being taken to the question. Indeed all the components of a physical system are subject to the second law of thermodynamics and their low entropy states must ultimately dissipate into their external environment. But skip is taking the more holistic view and looking at the entropy state of the entire system which is always greater than the sum of its parts. This systems view of thinking has now superseded Darwinism and neo-Darwinism as the central plank of evolutionary theory. No longer do we consider the fate of individual organisms, species, genera, families or orders within the biosphere but instead we consider the biosphere itself as that which is evolving and this includes both the organic and the inorganic components of it. This systems view of evolution was pioneered by Lovelock and Margulis but it is now very much mainstream thinking in theoretical biology and goes by the generic name of AUTOPOEISIS. (From the Greek.."self-creating".

An autopoietic system is one which creates itself but does so according to no blueprint or plan. The only meta-law necessary for the total entropy in such a system to decrease is the law of causality, that all effects must be preceded by causes, and the most striking example of such a system is our planetary biosphere. A less obvious and more nuanced example is the conscious mind of a sentient organism. It evolves from the simple to the complex according to an evolutionary trajectory of its own creation but it does this entirely without a blueprint or plan. We quite literally make ourselves who and what we are and we do so exclusively on the basis of the informational input we receive from our external environment.

Clearly both conscious minds and planetary biospheres are ultimately also bound by the second law and will eventually release their informational complexity back into the environment but this is still only a small part of the bigger picture. In the long run the second law is trumped by the first and this information can never be destroyed.

"All things come from one another and vanish into one another in accordance with Necessity and in conformity with the order of time"...Anaximander.

It is this simple and self-evident truth which physics misses when it focuses on the parts rather then the whole. Physics has no cosmological model because it's not looking at the cosmological picture. It observes what happens in a subsystem of reality and then makes the unwarranted assumption that what is true for the part must be true for the whole, and it does this while every scrap of evidence suggests that this assumption is false. The evolutionary trajectory of the universe since the big bang has been inexorably from a high entropy state towards a lower one and no amount of mathematical virtuosity can ever obscure this undeniable FACT. However it was well understood by Lars Onsager when he developed his principle of reciprocal relations to explain this entropy trajectory. This principle is sometimes known as the fourth law of thermodynamics but it is scorned by most physicists because it doesn't fit in with their pre-conceived Newtonian and Platonist ideology. The whole IS greater than the sum of its parts and until they learn to understand this their models will NEVER make any sense.
Skip wrote:The origin and purpose of the universe will forever be beyond my understanding.
That's because you're chasing a Platonist rainbow. The universe had no origin and it certainly has no purpose. However because of the universal meta-law of causality it has a self-organising principle which mandates for the evolution of increasingly more informationally complex sub-structures within itself over vast reaches of time. The most astonishing example of such an informational structure that we know of to date is the human mind, which in complexity theory is defined within the Mandelbrot set as a self-similarity. A mind is a universe within a universe and this reveals a truth of nature much bigger than god. Without any hint of purpose or intelligent design we find ourselves in Spinoza's world of the universe which mandates its own comprehensibility. The ability of a mind to linearise the non-linear and project itself into an infinite index of possible futures gives it the power to define the purpose of the universe for itself.

Anybody who fails to be struck with awe by this truth has neither music in his heart nor poetry in his soul because none of this requires any reach for the invisible hand of the supernatural.

Skip
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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by Skip » Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:47 pm


Skip wrote:
The origin and purpose of the universe will forever be beyond my understanding.

That's because you're chasing a Platonist rainbow
No, I'm not chasing anything. I just see myself in perspective. I can't see ultra violet, hear a dog whistle, smell a moth's pheromone or swallow a potassium tablet. Limitations. I will die within a couple of decades, at most - without ever having learned to fly or breathe under water. Limitations.
The universe had no origin and it certainly has no purpose.
Sez you. I happen to share that opinion, but realize that is no more than an opinion.
People notice some relationships in the stuff they are able to perceive. As long as those processes can be harnessed to human requirements, we think we control and understand them. When something is beyond our understanding, we make shit up and call it Universal Laws.
The ability of a mind to linearise the non-linear and project itself into an infinite index of possible futures gives it the power to define the purpose of the universe for itself.
See? We make up a word like infinite and we know what it means, because it exists exclusively in our imagination: our closed circle is as beautiful as it is illusory.

I am also tone-deaf and poetry-blind.

Obvious Leo
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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by Obvious Leo » Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:43 pm

Skip wrote:People notice some relationships in the stuff they are able to perceive. As long as those processes can be harnessed to human requirements, we think we control and understand them. When something is beyond our understanding, we make shit up and call it Universal Laws.
This is the problem with physics, although by no means is this problem beyond our understanding. Physics proceeds from the assumption that the order and harmony in nature are a consequence of a suite of laws whose origins lie external to the universe itself, which is where all the multiverse bullshit comes from. However this in not the way a biologist thinks because biology is a science which is required to make fucking sense and thus cannot appeal to the supernatural. To a biologist the universe is sufficient to its own existence and thus the order and harmony in nature are self-causal. It is WE who choose to model this self-causal process in the language of physical laws but in fact no such laws exist. We've outsmarted ourselves by choosing to linearise the non-linear, thus defining our world as a created entity of transcendent causal origin.

Somebody should tell the geeks the blind watchmaker story and drag them kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Obvious Leo
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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by Obvious Leo » Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:52 pm

Skip wrote: See? We make up a word like infinite and we know what it means, because it exists exclusively in our imagination: our closed circle is as beautiful as it is illusory.
I should also have responded to this comment because you make an excellent point. I used the word infinite only metaphorically and not literally when I referred to the future as an infinite index of possibilities. Infinity is an unrealisable abstraction with no physical analogue in an informationally closed and finite universe so what I really meant was a staggeringly ginormous number. The string theorists somehow came up with a number of 10^(500) for the number of possible beables and Max Tegmark arrives at a similar number via a different methodology but I can't really comment on these numbers. My gut feeling is that the real number must be vastly greater than this but nevertheless finite. Interestingly this validates Tegmark's view of the multiverse as implying that everything that can happen will happen. My eternal and cyclical cosmology arrives at the same conclusion but it only needs one universe to do it with, which is obviously then defined as a Universal Turing Machine, an eternal reality maker which never makes the same reality twice. To somebody who honours the notion that Simplicity is Truth this more parsimonious option has an Occamesque fragrance which appeals. Heraclitus would also nod wisely in sage approval, as would Lao Tsu.

Skip
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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by Skip » Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:24 am

That's a nice image. I can leave it there and carry away 1. a number with zeroes after it that go around and around and around in a spiral of which the tail fades far away out of sight 2. which, when played on the cello, sounds a bit like stars going to sleep and 3. probably rhymes with orange.

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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by Obvious Leo » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:27 am

Ridiculing metaphysics was very popular in the logical positivist intellectual climate of the 20th century, skip, but nowadays your true fashionista scorns such reductionist bollocks as so....yesterday. Even the leading illuminati amongst the geeks themselves are finally willing to concede that the problem with physics is probably not a problem of physics at all. It's actually a problem of the way we think the world.

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Greta
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Re: In a multiverse, is there a universe that started first?

Post by Greta » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:56 am

Skip wrote:
Greta wrote:They are relatively disordered.
This, I guess is the center of my problem.
From a human point of view, more complex, clever, successful etc. is better. From the environment's point of view, the complex clever successful species disorder everything around them, which, if I understand you correctly, is bad.
The disorder is not "bad" at all - unless you happen to be the entity being disordered by a predator trying to maintain its own order. Consider planet formation - what's better, a dust cloud orbiting the Sun or the planets? An easy answer. The "particlisation" of the dust clouds added to total entropy via dissipated heat into space - but in the solar system itself we now enjoy a relative haven of order - and that is what we see. The dissipated heat goes off our radar.
Skip wrote:From the point of view an ecosystem, both building and tearing down complex entities are complementary components of a cycle: necessary. From the point of view of the universe, it doesn't matter. Gases coalesce... planets disintegrate... stars are born and die... galaxies collide.
Ecosystems are in the same boat as we are - they grow and develop but have a limited lifespan. The universe is believed to be a closed system, which assumes that the cosmic web is everything, which of course we can't yet know. If the universe is a closed system then it's hard to consider its perspective since every system we know is open. If the universe is open and impacted by other universes or other entities we return to the regression problem of the OP.
Skip wrote:Some complex entities were around for a little while to witness a little bit of this activity.
Ants are incapable of conjugating Latin verbs - ever. Latin is unknowable to them. They don't seem to mind.
The origin and purpose of the universe will forever be beyond my understanding. I don't mind.
Why do so many people mind so much that they are inevitably, unavoidably, irreparably limited?
Just as an artist strives for perfection while knowing it's unattainable, thinkers seek to know everything while aware that it's not possible. Shoot for the stars, set the bar high, blah blah.

We don't need to know everything, just to understand more than we did yesterday.

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