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Life, the universe and everything

  1. Aug 2, 2009 #1
    I realize that all encompassing philosophies are frowned upon. However, I see nothing wrong with speculating. Anyway, here goes;
    1.Laws of nature do not exist in a Platonic realm, if anything they are descriptions of how things are rather than laws from some transcendental realm that move our reality to and fro.
    2. As such if we postulate a creation ( in other words we do not believe in an infinite past) then there was a time when absolutely nothing existed, including the laws of nature.
    3. If there are no laws of nature than everything is allowed
    4. This explains how something can come from nothing.
    5. Since this creation is not restricted by any law of nature almost everything actually happens.
    6. This coincides with the many worlds hypothesis.
    7. Most "universes" will be chaotic ( even their laws of nature will be chaotic, IE;not logical).
    8. Only those " universes" that are capable of creating life will have life and the laws of nature of those universes must not be chaotic, they must be logical.
    9. That is why we are amazed at the stunning "coincidences" that our universe seems to be made just for us.

    I numbered my points so that I will not get general criticisms, but specific objections that can actually be helpful.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 2, 2009 #2
    Philosophical speculation about something that falls solidly into the realm of scientific observation is foolish.

    What I have observed regarding most people's absurd notion that the universe is just made for one species on one planet in a backwater arm of a puny little spiral galaxy in the Virgo Supercluster is that most people cannot seem to fathom that the universe may, in fact, be currently beyond our ability to grasp entirely and that most people are psychologically uncomfortable with the fact that we are an insignificant species.
     
  4. Aug 2, 2009 #3
    This is a good way to put it..
     
  5. Aug 2, 2009 #4
    In fact, I think if we run into another intelligent race from another planet sometime in the future, most of those people who harbor such ridiculous ideas about the perceived importance of the human race will shed them.

    I'm almost hoping, if there's another intelligent race in the universe, which in terms of simple probability there probably is given the massive size of the universe and our limited knowledge of every single star and every single planet and every single galaxy, that we come into peaceful contact with them fairly soon, because I'm getting kind of tired of arrogance on the part of most human beings.
     
  6. Aug 2, 2009 #5
    kldickson, I'm confused .Are you saying that I said that the universe was created for us. If so you have no understanding of what I said. I said that if we have an infinite amount of universes, only those that are logical will support life ( since life is mechanical), therefore from our perspective ( sense we do not see the other chaotic universes) our universe will seem miraculously unlikely. However, we are not a miracle. Its just that we do not see all the logically random universes.
     
  7. Aug 2, 2009 #6
    Perhaps this will aid your understanding.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle
    The anthropic principle is often misunderstood as saying that the universe was designed for us. However, it does not. Imagine a machine that spews forth randomly colored rocks . Also that we are looking for 300 red rocks that are positioned next to each other. Of course given along enough time eventually because of randomness 300 red rocks will be next to each other. Now suppose that one of those red rocks could talk and said," there must be a God* because all I see are red rocks to the horizon!" Of course the rocks opinion is absurd because it cannot see beyond its horizon and all those other colored rocks thrown randomly across the landscape.
    * and that God must favor red rocks!
     
  8. Aug 2, 2009 #7
    Also, you mentioning other life than human is a red herring. I never specified human life..only life. I suppose that you could gripe about my using the term "we" but I was not giving "us" a special privilege. I was referring to our absurd contention that we are special.
     
  9. Aug 2, 2009 #8
    I think I see what you're saying a little better. Sorry; '
    9. That is why we are amazed at the stunning "coincidences" that our universe seems to be made just for us.' raised my hackles because I jumped to the conclusion that you meant only human life instead of life in general.

    But why assign a purpose, other than simply reason that life is one of many occurrences in the universe? Why say that a universe must necessarily progress toward those circumstances allowing for the formation of life? I think that much of the assertions of the anthropic principle assign far too much importance to the human being.
     
  10. Aug 2, 2009 #9
    Or life itself.
     
  11. Aug 2, 2009 #10
    If absolutely nothing existed, how is everything allowed? What is 'everything' in a non-existence?
     
  12. Aug 3, 2009 #11

    You are confused in thinking nothing is the ground state in which anything can come. Out of nothing, nothing comes. It is also a mistake to think the laws of nature constrict "nothing". Laws of nature as you say are descriptions, so there would not be any laws of nature if there was nothing to beginning with. Remember, laws of nature only makes sense if there was something that the law quantify over. There is no law if there is nothing to quantify over.
     
  13. Aug 3, 2009 #12
    Apart from Platonist ideas there is the problem of distingishing the description from its manifestation.
    The word 'creation' implies a creator, and the phrase 'absolutely nothing' leaves no place for a creator to stand.
    This gets back to distingishing between description and manifestation. If nature has no framework, or constraints then all events are random. Even random events can fit a pattern however, or seem to. And one could just as easily claim nothing is allowed.
    Nothing is an ill-defined term. Its an absraction. Applying it to the physical ignores the fact that it is an abstraction.
    Everything and nothing are meaningless here. If nothing exists it is everything, and if you are talking about everything, then the very notion of a thing, something distingishable from other things, loses all reference.
    Only in a semantic way.
    Chaos means not predictable. Its not about logic.
    If there are multiples universes, then one universe is not everything, so there is no escape from causation. Also universes don't 'create' anything, they are everything.
    I'd say that reduces down to simple egotism, nothing really metaphysical needed.
     
  14. Aug 3, 2009 #13

    What is that?

    This is a contradiction.

    I disagree. Nothing denotes the empty world( a world without anything).
     
  15. Aug 3, 2009 #14
    Is gravity simply a description, or something that exists? If it is both, how is the description different from that which exists?
    Ever looked at clouds? Many would agree that the shapes of clouds are not meaningful, and yet we can see patterns, images, and objects in their shapes. A pattern is observed, its randomness is simply how it came into being.
    An empty world is not nothing, its a world with nothing in it.
     
  16. Aug 3, 2009 #15

    Clouds aren't completely random, they obey the laws of physics and the environmental constraints. Their "randomness" is more related to our ignornace of all the processes behind their dynamical behaviour.
     
  17. Aug 3, 2009 #16
    "I'd say that reduces down to simple egotism, nothing really metaphysical needed. "
    Joedawg
    Nope. Read the explanation of the anthropic principle. It is a common misunderstanding that the anthropic principle sates that the universe was designed for us.
     
  18. Aug 3, 2009 #17
    "But why assign a purpose, other than simply reason that life is one of many occurrences in the universe? Why say that a universe must necessarily progress toward those circumstances allowing for the formation of life? I think that much of the assertions of the anthropic principle assign far too much importance to the human being."
    kldickson
    I and the anthropic principle postulate the exact opposite of purpose. Since randomness and its relation to we humans is what the anthropic principle is about and what I have been talking about , how can you say that I have assigned far too much importance to the human being when randomness is the central issue of this thread?
     
  19. Aug 3, 2009 #18
    "Why say that a universe must necessarily progress toward those circumstances allowing for the formation of life?"
    kldickson
    Because out of a truly vast amount of universes ( perhaps even infinite) at least one will have the requirements for life to develop. Obviously, we will have to be in that universe or one like it (since we obviously could not have evolved from a universe where life was impossible). We then look around and see the "stunning coincidences” and conclude that we are special. However, that is a delusion because we cannot see the vast amount of other chaotic universes that are incapable of supporting life. We think that our universe must have been created on purpose, the way it is, and then we conclude that it was designed with us in mind. The anthropic principle explains the stunning coincidences by revealing that they are not coincidences at all. In the larger context only randomness exists.
     
  20. Aug 3, 2009 #19
    Perhaps this will make the anthropic principle easier to understand. Imagine a parade. On both sides of the street are crowds. Someone says ," WOW! What a stunning coincidence that they just happened to put a parade down a street that was crowded on both sidewalks! The anthropic principle would say," its not a coincidence at all."
    In other words we exist in a universe that is set up to create life because we could not exist in any other kind of universe.
     
  21. Aug 3, 2009 #20
    Huh?

    I meant the reason for the 'common misunderstanding' is egotism.
     
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