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Hawkins Paradox

  1. Feb 27, 2008 #1
    EDIT: sorry for the typo in the original title...

    I watched a show on the science channel last night titled "Hawking's Paradox", in which he stated his new theory on infinite parallel universes being the solution to his paradox. Now I'm just a computer science major with no real understanding of anything beyond basic physics, especially nothing in quantum physics. However the theoretical study of black holes, time travel, etc, has always interested me.

    Anyhow, to my point, Hawking's Paradox states that all matter or "information" that is sucked into a black hole is lost forever once the black hole evaporates. This of course throws off everything that is known about the basic laws of the universe and physics, therefore gaining a huge following of physicists who argue against it, and now, even Hawking himself.

    What I don't understand is this:

    First take into account what your thoughts, perception, and memory are. From what I have read they are basically electrical signals in the brain in some form or another. How would one explain the fact that the human mind can lose "information" or how one can forget thoughts, if in fact, information can never be lost. This brings me to my point(s), either,

    A - Your brain is a machine of infinite possibility, and that everything you perceive through your fives senses "could" be recorded instantly and stored as though it were a written imprint into your mind. One is only limited to the power of their brain to bring back this information. For instance, say you have a dentist appointment on Thursday. Well, Thursday rolls around and you have forgotten about the appointment completely. However, upon being reminded of the appointment you can recall that you were at one time aware of this, therefore the information was not lost, you were only limited by your brains ability "not" to remember it at that specific time.

    On the other hand, I myself, have been in situations where someone has reminded me of something I have said, or done, or maybe should have done, and be completely oblivious to the fact even after being reminded. If what I am being reminded of is true then I have completely lost the thought (electrical signal), or information I once had in my head. Which would lead to ...

    B - Hawking's paradox is true. If information can be lost anywhere in the universe, including your brain, then it can certainly be lost in a black hole, or vice versa.

    I'm sure this stupid theory can be easily disproved and someone can make me look like a complete fool, I just wanted to say something about it where I could get some feedback.

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2008 #2
    Hey there. By "information", Hawking does not mean "knowledge". What he means is that, since one object's behavior is a sum of the forces which acted on it, the universe contains a record of all things that happened within it through the motions and postions of particles in the present. So in your example, even though your mind may forget a piece of knowledge, since thought is a chemical process, the "forgetting" is recorded somewhere in the universe by motions of particles that were previosly involved with storing the memory in your brain.

    On the other hand, when a particle falls into a black hole, it "forgets" where it came from. It's state becomes entirely a property of the black hole and no longer depends on where the particle came from in the first place. When a particle is reemited from a black hole, it, thus, can never be traced back to it's orginal source. At least thats what the information paradox says, not that I agree with it.
  4. Feb 27, 2008 #3
    Yeah that's what my friend said. I thought that was a little strange or "out there" saying that basically thoughts may have left your brain but were in a way still in the universe. Kind of like an atom bomb exploding, the matter is no longer there as we know it, but it's still there. First I guess the matter is turned to energy and then particles of radiation, either way the information is still out there is some way.
  5. Feb 27, 2008 #4
    "Hawking's Paradox" and losing information

    Ya know what? I think your questions are right-on, and that you might have a better handle on the reality of the "Space-Time-continuum" than some of our amazingly advanced scholars seem to have, with all their free thinking positions and postulations.

    Take for instance "Infinite Parallel Universes?"

    We might be led to believe that there are a vast number of the same people in the same space functioning similarly to how we function, yet in another realm, and in a vast many other realms which are actually divergent realms of our own with replicas there, of ourselves. As such we are actually there too, but we could never know it., unless we went there and found ourselves within it, but also possibly remembering both worlds. Such is an ultimate paradox.

    This is so FAR FETCHED that it only throws us away from what might be a more realistic approach to "Infinite Parallel Universes."

    Maybe the parallels exist within different forms of energies and thoughts, or information's which transpire through radio frequencies, digital, wave and pulse lengths, and that also with all the many forms of radiations coming from every angle of the universe, as well as the sun.

    This may also incorporate a vast array of thoughts (mind images) which can occupy one's every moment, as well as all the combinations of likes and dislikes, sensations, and pains, desires and abhorrences, as well as other possibly spiritual influences which we will not talk about within this forum.

    All these things, as well as an infinitesimally greater gambit of ideas which we could not even begin to conceive yet, might occupy the same space at the same time, hence the term "Infinite Parallel Universes?"

    The word "quantum" literally means Variable, Different, Several, a Portion, a Unit, an Angle of Quantity, which may refer to Something Diverse, or not Well Understood.

    As such, many circles relate to parallel universes as something within the quantum realm.

    You may take this either way. You may take it the far fetched way? Or you may take it in a way that is a little more structured out of logic, and reason. You be the judge. It is up to you to decide.

    I hope this helps you begin to breath easier regarding such illusive statements which would try to lead us to imagine among other things a black hole evaporating.

    Kind regards.............. th' humbled1
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
  6. Feb 28, 2008 #5
    If the mind and parallel universes were closely linked, I guess that would be an amazing explanation for deja vu haha...
  7. Feb 28, 2008 #6
    a memory of an event isn't just an electrical signal stored in your brain. for your brain to remember something it has to be able to connect two neurons via electrical signals along previously formed paths. every time a neuron fires an electrical signal along a certain path, neorotransmitters are released to strengthen that path and weaken other paths to the neuron. hence the less frequently we recall an event in our head, the harder it is to remember over time.

    So forgetting something isn't a result of memory being destroyed in your brain, it just means it's very hard for your brain to reconnect those paths again, after a long enough time it will become nearly impossible.

    apologees for any major errors in the above description, i'm not a neuroscientist so this is just a rough description of the brain as i've interpreted it.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2008
  8. Feb 28, 2008 #7
    In that case then you wouldn't you just say that option A were true? I mean, am I right in thinking that?
  9. Feb 29, 2008 #8
    Correct. It doesn't mean its retreivable, but it is out there
  10. Feb 29, 2008 #9
    it doesn't have infinite potential as it is limited by the number of neurons it contains. you can recall something after an indefinitely long time, but only if you haven't experienced a single other thing since that event. remember it is intentionally working to destroy your memory to give it space to learn new things. if you dont remember it frequently then yor brain doesnt see it as necessary to keep it, it's trying to be as efficient as possible
  11. Feb 29, 2008 #10
    actually, if you were to ignore the possibilty of those neurons being damaged by the outside world, i could to some extent imagine there being causality within your brain. as long as all the neurons are still there at time t=0, you could in theory rebuild any experience at time -t. what hawkins' paradox refers to would then be analagous to a neuron being deleted from this setup, making certain details of the brain's experience irretrievable.

    you probably shouldn't look too closely at that analagy though!
  12. Feb 29, 2008 #11
    One way to work this conservation of information idea is as follows.

    Think of reality as an evolving bunch of interacting events, changing as times goes on. If
    no information is lost, you can 'run the film backwards' to reconstruct what occured before--even the thoughts in your head.

    So, if you posessioned all the laws of physics, and knew all the current current physical details that resulted from some past occurance, one could theoretically, if not practically, reconstruct what had happened before.
  13. Feb 29, 2008 #12
    Is quantum mechanics causal?
  14. Feb 29, 2008 #13
    A bit.

    Yeah. I know.. what I mean is that some aspects do not have the qualities of causality as we typically understand them. Mind you, this doesn't mean that it *violates* causality, merelty that causality doesn't apply to certain aspects at all.
  15. Mar 1, 2008 #14
    (I hope all this isn't all too far off topic for this thread.)

    I take it you might be talking about observation. Does it pass the reversibility test?
  16. Mar 1, 2008 #15
    Think we we are talking about the same things. Wave function collapse cannot be predicted with current theories, and thus the particular value of a measurement doesn't have a cause in Copenhagen QM. Again, it doesn't violate causality, causality simply doesn't apply.

    Anyway.. ignoring QM uncertainty, the positions and momenta of all particles in the universe are a result of the history of that particular particle and are, thus, a record of this history. Except those that fall into black holes, if you believe the Hawking paradox.
  17. Mar 3, 2008 #16
    I find the label "parallel universes" itself suspect. I don't get much beyond popular reading in the arena of quantum mechanics, so I have reason to think the popular press could be grievously misleading.

    The popular rhetoric conveys the notion that there are discrete difurcated outcomes to quantum interactions that split the universe at each occurance. Some renditions even go so far as to imply that this only occurs when we make major decisions in our lives. (good grief.)

    One top of that, you as the observer are rarely treated as posessing wave character, but are implicitly classical at best (aloof and discrete at worst.)

    The notion of parallel universes seems naive. In my mind, the branching and splitting universes notion should be replaced with a continuous spectrum. If there is a label that would impart better meaning, it would be "spectral universes."

    In support of this label consider entanglements of momentum. These entanglements obtain one out of a range of values once measured; where the measured value itself is a course slice through momentum space.

    In addition, within the "parallel universe" paradigm, parallel universes don't interact, but go their separate ways. You observe youself having taken one branch with no future interaction with any other branches.

    This is not how field equations evolve over time.

    Perhaps we can blame it all on the originator, Hughes Everett III in his "Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics", which I failed to understand.

    So I ask: Is the moniker 'parallel universes' popularized beyond recognition?
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2008
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