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Black Seas of Infinity
Posted 20 November 2017 - 01:51 AM
Trouble begins when you start asking “why this?” It all seems so random, so why is it this way and not some other way?
To answer this question, we might suppose there are an infinity of “possible worlds”, and that the cosmic dice happened to roll a certain way, and so here we are.
One problem with this is that to even begin to make sense of it, we need to impose some limits on what the possible worlds could be. But what things exist may exceed those constraints, making the analysis hopelessly incomplete or wrong.
Perhaps, for example, there are infinitely many exact duplicate earths, floating in infinitely many duplicate parallel universes. If it were possible to transport you from one earth to another, no test you could perform could tell them apart. The fact that they are different is only something that could be told externally, from a higher point of view.
If you find this confusing, imagine, for example, that the Simulation Hypothesis holds — that our world is a simulation in a giant computer. One could easily make a copy of the program, and run it on a different machine; and the two simulations would be identical. Nobody from within the simulation could tell which universe they were in, but the programmers on the outside certainly could.
It’s not even enough to say they are infinite in number. Maybe there are so many duplicate earths that we can’t even put them in one-to-one correspondence with whole numbers; that is, we can’t count them. There is such a thing as “levels of infinity”:
As soon as we accept infinitely many possible worlds, it screws up all kinds of potential probabilistic approaches to thinking about them. For example, to assume that it’s equiprobable that you appear in any of an infinite number of universes makes no sense, as the probability of being in any one is then 1 / infinity = 0.
Even if we can pin down all the possible worlds, each universe can be looked at in different ways; each way of looking at it begets another existence.
For example, one common framework from which to look at the universe is the so-called “block model”, where the past, present and future exist in an eternal spacetime. The present can be interpreted as a “slice” or manifold that moves through the 4d over-reality.
One problem with this is that you can run the slice forward or backward through time, and get different realities. If you run it forward, you get our ordinary reality; but if you run it backwards, you get creatures that begin their existence in the grave, and end in the womb. They walk backwards, think backwards, and speak backwards.
And there are other slices one can take — skew slices that combine space and time in weird ways. Why should we prefer any one slice over another? Why must the one that underpins our own reality be the preferred one?
A way out of some of this is to suppose that everything we see from our coordinates in this universe, is necessary, given our own existence. There is no rolling cosmic dice, then — we could only have been in this one universe; what we are is inseparable from the totality.
But that opens up another box of mysteries. Why should the most distant and radiant of suns have anything to do with us puny earthlings? The laws that underpin both are the same, but why should they even be the same here as there? Why does the universe not tolerate a few discontinuities in the laws, from place to place?
The mysteries multiply...
And they aren’t the sort that we will ever be able to solve. Every creature, in every universe, in every level of existence, no matter how smart, will run up against these mysteries, and fail to solve them. They dim our child-like wonder at the stars, framing them as possibly only a tiny part of an even greater mystery beyond the void of night.
Let infintuty wash over you... waves of blissful freedom:
Posted 20 November 2017 - 04:19 AM
If you disagree with him I would say to take a look at his Constructor theory of information which is an attempt to explain physics in non-reductionist terms without making a circular argument.
Posted 20 November 2017 - 04:51 AM
The second thing that comes to mind is the idea of infinity in mathematics. This is a hot topic of research and it is quite difficult to bridge these ideas between math, physics, and computer science, but here are some additional references I would look at:
Would we still be here if life rewound?
Also, if I may humbly suggest I believe you are making a mistake in understanding the many worlds theory. It is not in my opinion that these many world exist except as statistical probabilities that deviate from our current configuration of particles in space-time. For evidence look to the deviation of masses in space along entropic lines as they evolve in a gravitational field (ie they are not wacky and out of place as one might assume if the distribution was random, but are quite boring and "average" on the average of course
Posted 20 November 2017 - 04:57 AM
I am familiar with the Anthropic Principle. Deutsch hasn’t thought about this before, nor Carroll, nor Tegmark, nor any of the others.
Posted 20 November 2017 - 05:01 AM
- Yuli Ban and Unity like this
Posted 20 November 2017 - 05:36 AM
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