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Constants and multiverse possibilities

  1. Feb 11, 2010 #1
    Scientists have discovered that they are about 20 constants in nature that if they varied by more than 1% we would not exist. It's like the universe is finely tuned for life to exist. Now there's two possibilities, 1. the universe is intelligent, aware of itself,manages its evolution and plans its future or 2. the universe just happened to be finely tuned for life which to some cosmologist is a highly unlikely event.
    To get around the intelligent universe idea cosmologists have proposed the multiverse scenario where there's an infinite number of universes and our universe happens to be just right for life to develop whereas in many others it doesnt.

    Now here's my dilemma , if there's an infinite number of universes with infinite possibilities is there a possibility of an intelligent universe, a thinking universe which is aware of itself and its evolution. I'm not a religious person but this thought is driving me crazy. Is it possible that this intelligent universe is what we call God?

    I'd be glad to listen to any ideas from anyone.

    leon stavros
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2010 #2
    We are here, and constants are what they are. If they were different there would be nobody to measure them or talk about them. Other than that your question is not even metaphysical. Is it possible that there is (are) some intelligent entity existing on completely different scale or plane then us? Of course it is possible. Can we say anything meaningful about it? No we can't, so it does not make any sense to talk about it, unless you are writing SF novel.
     
  4. Feb 12, 2010 #3

    Chalnoth

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    The possibilities are not infinite, though. At an absolute minimum, the logically impossible cannot occur. This means that there is some mathematical structure that correctly describes the entire possible set of behaviors for our universe (we don't know which one, but mere self-consistency means one must). The properties of this mathematical structure, whatever they are, are going to place limits on the number of possibilities.

    That said, intelligent beings are exceedingly complex entities. You have to have large amounts of information storage, the capacity to cross-reference that information, and perform complex processing tasks upon it. The only way which we know that such complex entities can come about is through the gradual process of evolution. Not only does it not make much sense to have a process of evolution on a universal scale, but even if there was something analogous to evolution on those scales speed of light constraints would make processing information on such large scales somewhere between highly unlikely and impossible (depending upon what scales you're talking about).
     
  5. Feb 12, 2010 #4
    " Not only does it not make much sense to have a process of evolution on a universal scale, but even if there was something analogous to evolution on those scales speed of light constraints would make processing information on such large scales somewhere between highly unlikely and impossible (depending upon what scales you're talking about)."

    What about the concept of quantum entanglement? Is it possible for a universe to be entangled and be able to process information almost instanteneously? As far as evolution on a universal scale is it possible that universes give birth to other universes but each new universe is "smarter" than the old one? This would create intelligent universes via evolution.
     
  6. Feb 12, 2010 #5
    constants to me is like having a slot machine with 20 wheels each wheel having almost infinite characters and all wheels lining up just right for life to exist. It just seems so implausable that such a combination can arise out of nothing. If we assume that there's a "slot machine" for making universes who made the slot machine?
     
  7. Feb 12, 2010 #6
    No they haven't. It's more accurate to say that some scientists are speculating that there are about 20 constants in nature that if they varied by more than 1% then intelligent life could not exist.

    I these arguments interesting but not convincing.

    The basic problem I have is this. Suppose beforehand, you *didn't* know what the constants of the universe were. Can you figure out through some calculation what the "magic numbers" are for the intelligent life to exist without me telling them to you in advance, and the answer is no.

    So how do we really know that if we miss with the constants a bit, that you won't come up with some really, really difficult type of intelligent life.

    That's a theological question.

    Personally, I think it's a really, really bad idea to go down this line of thinking, because it could be that in five years we find out that what we thought about fundamental constants was totally wrong, in which case if you define God as something that requires a certain physical theory, then you've ended up proving God doesn't exist.
     
  8. Feb 12, 2010 #7
    Satan
     
  9. Feb 12, 2010 #8
    Thanks for your reply twofish but as I said before I'm not a religious person and I'm not a believer in Satan. I'm trying to clarify an idea that occured to me after reading about multiverses. If multiverses exist and the constants combination varies then it is possible that a particular combination can give rise to an intelligent universe, a universe which communicates with itself via quantum entanglement. Is it possible that we live in such a universe? After all we are just cogs in a gear in an vast machine we call the universe. That makes the universe vastly more intelligent than us.
     
  10. Feb 12, 2010 #9

    Chalnoth

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    Quantum entanglement doesn't allow the transport of information at faster than the speed of light. So it's still not reasonable.

    There have been some proposals for evolution in terms of universes, but you'd have to first demonstrate that a "smarter" universe would make more universes than a "dumber" one.
     
  11. Feb 12, 2010 #10
    under the multiverse theory all combinations are possible
     
  12. Feb 12, 2010 #11

    Chalnoth

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    Nothing I've said to date in this thread is changed at all under any of the multiverse theories.
     
  13. Feb 12, 2010 #12
    I would really prefer single universe or big bounce scenarios.
    Unfortunately, there is no solution for Fine Tuning in these scenarios.
     
  14. Feb 12, 2010 #13
    Anytime you start talking about God, you are getting into religion. One thing that is I think is unfortunate is that people don't study enough religion, because there is this odd idea that you have to believe something to study it. One thing that is good if you study religion is that it expands your mind, and being able to think through a complicated set of beliefs without actually believing any of it is useful.

    The idea that the universe was created by an evil being is something that comes from Gnosticism. You seem to be trying to link any higher intelligence that you may find with God, but I'd appreciate it if you can explain to me why it makes more sense to link any higher intelligence to God rather than to Satan.

    First of all, there is no known way of communicate with quantum entanglement using the standard definition of communication. You can have correlations with quantum entanglement, but for some reason it turns out to be impossible to send information using entanglement.

    Lot's of things are possible if you have no clue what is going on. One thing that will happen is that as we understand things more and more, then fewer and fewer things are possible. I prefer not to think too deeply about the implications of a particular situation, as long as that situation is one possibilities out of thousands, because you spend years coming up with something, and then find that the assumptions that you used were wrong. Worse, end if you do come up with an argument that theory X implies the existence of God, you are going to have some psychological resistance to trying to prove theory X wrong.

    The idea that the universe is finely tuned, is an interesting idea. The problem is that it's just speculation, and while it may be useful to think about the implications of that speculation, I think it's way, way, way too early to say "scientists have discovered". Also scientists have been wrong.

    One reason I like reading Catholic, Islamic, or Judaic theology is that it gives me some training on thinking about something without believing it, which is useful practice for a theorist.

    Define intelligence. (I'm not being rhetorical here.) If I define intelligence as the ability to take an SAT test and get a high score, then the universe is not intelligent since they cannot pick up a number #2 pencil to fill out the test.
     
  15. Feb 13, 2010 #14

    I agree if the rate of expansion of the big bang was just a bit off the universe would have either collapsed before it had time to develop life or ended in a big freeze before it had time to develop life. The rate of expansion had to be just right. What are the odds of a universe that occurred one time having that perfect rate of expansion? I concluded that either the universe is finely tuned by some unknown intelligent entity or there's some mechanism that creates many universes and we happened to live in a universe that makes life possible.

    Once I decided on the multiverse idea then the idea occurred to me that the process that creates multiverses can be evolutionary and eventually create an intelligent universe that's capable of manipulating the various multiverses. If we believe that evolution on Earth created us why not believe that the same process created an intelligent universe?

    How do we define an intelligent universe? How do we define an intelligent person? An intelligent person is able to survive,procreate and communicate, how well he does those things determine his intelligence. I like the analogy of comparing the life of a single human cell to the overall body. The cell does all that mentioned above but cannot understand the overall body. We as humans do not understand what the universe does we are like the cells of our body. It's like there's different levels of intelligence.
     
  16. Feb 13, 2010 #15
    "Anytime you start talking about God, you are getting into religion. One thing that is I think is unfortunate is that people don't study enough religion, because there is this odd idea that you have to believe something to study it. One thing that is good if you study religion is that it expands your mind, and being able to think through a complicated set of beliefs without actually believing any of it is useful."

    I never defined what God is. God maybe an entity beyond our comprehension maybe God is a combination of good and evil(ying yang). After all, good can not exist without evil, one defines the other.


    "The idea that the universe was created by an evil being is something that comes from Gnosticism. You seem to be trying to link any higher intelligence that you may find with God, but I'd appreciate it if you can explain to me why it makes more sense to link any higher intelligence to God rather than to Satan."

    God and Satan are the same person.



    "First of all, there is no known way of communicate with quantum entanglement using the standard definition of communication. You can have correlations with quantum entanglement, but for some reason it turns out to be impossible to send information using entanglement."

    If I understand quantum entanglement if we separated two entangled particles whatever we do to one particle the other particle does the opposite. For example if we turn one particle to the left the partner particle turns to the right. If we had several pairs of entangled particles then we can form registers with digital information. Such as 0111.....1000 then if that's possible we can communicate via quantum entanglement.

    "Lot's of things are possible if you have no clue what is going on. One thing that will happen is that as we understand things more and more, then fewer and fewer things are possible. I prefer not to think too deeply about the implications of a particular situation, as long as that situation is one possibilities out of thousands, because you spend years coming up with something, and then find that the assumptions that you used were wrong. Worse, end if you do come up with an argument that theory X implies the existence of God, you are going to have some psychological resistance to trying to prove theory X wrong."

    I take the opposite approach that the more we know the more we dont understand.

    "The idea that the universe is finely tuned, is an interesting idea. The problem is that it's just speculation, and while it may be useful to think about the implications of that speculation, I think it's way, way, way too early to say "scientists have discovered". Also scientists have been wrong."

    I answered this in another post but essentially there's two possibilities,one the universe was finely tuned by some entity or is a product of a multiverse process.

    One reason I like reading Catholic, Islamic, or Judaic theology is that it gives me some training on thinking about something without believing it, which is useful practice for a theorist.



    "Define intelligence. (I'm not being rhetorical here.) If I define intelligence as the ability to take an SAT test and get a high score, then the universe is not intelligent since they cannot pick up a number #2 pencil to fill out the test."

    Just like one of our cells can not fathom our human existence thus we can not fathom the universes intelligence.
     
  17. Feb 13, 2010 #16

    Chalnoth

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    We don't know, because we don't know the specific processes that occurred at that time.

    That doesn't really work, though. While if the universe as a whole were intelligent, we couldn't necessarily be expected to be aware of it, it is at least rather easy to place some extreme minimum boundaries on what would be required for intelligence.

    As I said before, to have intelligence you at least need to have the capacity for information storage and transfer. That's not really possible given speed of light limitations. What I didn't address was the necessity of information processing. Information processing requires that the entity rely upon non-linear processes for said processing. Non-linear simply means that the outputs are not proportional to the inputs. Hopefully it is clear why decision-making requires outputs that are not proportional to the inputs.

    But the fact is that the only force that works on large distance scales is gravity, and at large distances gravity acts only linearly. So that's another reason why intelligence on universal scales isn't possible.
     
  18. Feb 14, 2010 #17
    No, I meant the Fine Tuning in the context of Standard Model (30+) parameters.
    I dont see any solution to that problem in any "single-universe" (BB, Big Bounce) scenario.
     
  19. Feb 14, 2010 #18
    You and I Dmitry are on the same page. No "single-universe" scenario makes sense considering all the constants involved unless we introduce an architect. The alternative is some multiverse
    process which many universes are created and some are capable of sustaining life. I also like the idea that the multiverse process maybe evolutionary and progressively fine tune itself for a desired condition. Does that make the universe intelligent? Some people say no and demand a more rigid proof. I say yes even if my standard of proof is not up to par.
     
  20. Feb 14, 2010 #19
    "As I said before, to have intelligence you at least need to have the capacity for information storage and transfer. That's not really possible given speed of light limitations. What I didn't address was the necessity of information processing. Information processing requires that the entity rely upon non-linear processes for said processing. Non-linear simply means that the outputs are not proportional to the inputs. Hopefully it is clear why decision-making requires outputs that are not proportional to the inputs" (As quoted by Chalnoth)







    As far as information storage is concerned every particle in the universe is some bit of information storing some state. The fact that quantum entanglement exists shows that there's some connection between particles. Connectivity allows communication between all these particles. I dont understand your linear non-linear processes as to intelligence, all logic circuits are linear.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  21. Feb 14, 2010 #20

    Chalnoth

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    Quantum entanglement doesn't allow communication, though. Even if you can have some sort of storage of information, without a way of transferring that information, you can't have intelligence.

    In what way? It is nevertheless true that if I have a program (or computer) set up with, say, 10 input variables, and I increase one of those variables by x, and then again by x, then linearity demands that any outputs will change the exact same amount between the first and the second change.

    This is the way that gravity works on very large scales, but computers (and our own minds) are capable of vastly more complicated relationships between inputs and outputs. In fact, this is absolutely required by decision making: if we consider a simple binary decision, where there are only two possible responses, then it is impossible for linearity to hold, because an increase in one of the variables by x might not change the result, while an increase of 2x could.
     
  22. Feb 14, 2010 #21

    Chronos

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    Further confounding matters is the 'constants' we have labeled as 'fundamental' did not always exist, they emerged from the big bang. Even gravity is subsumed by a deeper, more fundamental force/aspect/property of the universe as you approach the instant of the big bang. I find it entirely unremarkable the emergent properties of the universe, or any of its subsystems, form metastable states. To find this astonishing seems a bit like waving your hand in front of a mirror and marveling that the image somehow anticipates your every move. It could be argued that causality is the only truly fundamental property of our universe. But then again, even causality looks shaky as we probe more deeply into the quantum realm. I can't help but wonder if 'a universe from nothing' is as far fetched as it may appear to our emergent, causally addicted minds.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  23. Feb 15, 2010 #22
    Quote by chalnoth"Quantum entanglement doesn't allow communication, though. Even if you can have some sort of storage of information, without a way of transferring that information, you can't have intelligence."

    What if the big bang created two universes at the same time, sort of an hour glass and what if those two universes are entangled, then one universe can know the state of the other at the same time.And lastly what if the twin universe was our "mother"?
     
  24. Feb 15, 2010 #23

    Chalnoth

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    Yeah, quantum entanglement doesn't work that way. Both of the "universes" would be in a superposition of the possible states of said hourglass. And that's how it would remain.

    Your "mother" statement makes no sense whatsoever to me.
     
  25. Feb 16, 2010 #24
    Sorry, what I meant was one universe was dominate and controlled the other.
     
  26. Feb 16, 2010 #25
    I think you are being too anthrocentric. We don't know what real suped up intelligence is or what forms it could take. Fred Hoyle wrote a novel about an intelligent cloud of gas to try to get us to expand our thinking about life and intelligence. A vastly higher or different intelligence could not only differ in degree, but in kind. It could manifest itself and come about by processes that we couldnt imagine.

    The feeling of a "superior reasoning power" to the universe as Einstein said. I dont see what that has to do with the speed of light or gravity. The watch was winded up and then left alone to tick away.

    We are standing on a whale fishing for minnows. I mean, why couldn't our universe be an alien physicist's project? Or an alien artist's project? Do you think an intelligence somewhere has advanced far enough to create universes? Control universes? Why couldnt "God" have evolved like we did? They didnt start out as Gods. If Linde or Guth create a universe, is that universe intelligent? Intelligently designed? What do we make of that universe? Would Guth and Linde be the superior reasoning power behind the universe?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2010
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