# Life, the universe and everything

"6. This coincides with the many worlds hypothesis.'
ME
"Only in a semantic way."
JowDawg

Perhaps, you are using a stronger definition of 'coincides' * than me.The reason that I mentioned the many worlds hypothesis is because it coincides ( has things in common with) with the idea that from a physically lawless void anything can spring.

*That is perfectly OK. The problem with writing is that people cannot hear voice intonation. I did not say that insultingly.

Which philosophers?
David armstrong, causal realism

David lewis, systems view of laws of nature

Alexander bird, laws of nature as dispositions.

Google any of the three, and i am sure you will benefit from the study.

I don't see how this addresses what I wrote. Truely random or not, patterns can still exist within random events. They just don't have a causal relation.

Well, i see it as a logical contradiction to say something is random, and not random at the same time.

You can stipulate what you like, but the word 'nothing' respresents an abstract idea, which means how it is applied is entirely context dependent. .

What you ought to be concern with is not how certains words are used by the native english specker of the language. What you ough to concern with is how i used the word when it is defined unambigiously.

Talking about the 'truely' random, and absolute nothing, is empty idealism
To be honest. " abstract ideas" don t even make the cut in modern analytic philosophy.

I don t even know what "empty idealism" even mean. What you ought to know is that singular names refers to things in the world, and not mental entities you come up with in your head. This is for your own good, and a rule of thumb to do meaningful philosophy.

David armstrong, causal realism

David lewis, systems view of laws of nature

Alexander bird, laws of nature as dispositions.
Honestly, I've never heard of any of these people, but I'm not a necessitarian and I find realist philosophers extremely naive.
Also I think confusing a human generated category with actual ontological substance is a mistake.
Well, i see it as a logical contradiction to say something is random, and not random at the same time.
I would agree, so glad I didn't say that. I specifically distingished between causation and pattern.
What you ought to be concern with is not how certains words are used by the native english specker of the language. What you ough to concern with is how i used the word when it is defined unambigiously.
And you ought to get a spell checker.
To be honest. " abstract ideas" don` t even make the cut in modern analytic philosophy.
Always been more continental, myself.
a rule of thumb to do meaningful philosophy.
Heheh, I'm sure it is. Glad you are here to set me straight.

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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.
Can I relate this question to something religious? Lets say creationism for example.

A number of sceptics ask this question. But God by definition is the uncreated creator of the universe, so the question ‘Who created God?’ is illogical, just like ‘To whom is the bachelor married?’

So a more sophisticated question might be: ‘If the universe needs a cause, then why doesn’t God need a cause? And if God doesn’t need a cause, why should the universe need a cause?’

1. Everything which has a beginning has a cause.
2. The universe has a beginning.
3. Therefore the universe has a cause.

The universe requires a cause because it had a beginning, as will be shown below. God, unlike the universe, had no beginning, so doesn’t need a cause. In addition, Einstein’s general relativity, which has much experimental support, shows that time is linked to matter and space. So time itself would have begun along with matter and space. Since God, by definition, is the creator of the whole universe, he is the creator of time. Therefore He is not limited by the time dimension He created, so has no beginning in time—God is ‘the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity’ (Is. 57:15). Therefore He doesn’t have a cause.

In contrast, there is good evidence that the universe had a beginning. This can be shown from the Laws of Thermodynamics, the most fundamental laws of the physical sciences.

1st Law: The total amount of mass-energy in the universe is constant.
2nd Law: The amount of energy available for work is running out, or entropy is increasing to a maximum.
If the total amount of mass-energy is limited, and the amount of usable energy is decreasing, then the universe cannot have existed forever, otherwise it would already have exhausted all usable energy—the ‘heat death’ of the universe. For example, all radioactive atoms would have decayed, every part of the universe would be the same temperature, and no further work would be possible. So the obvious corollary is that the universe began a finite time ago with a lot of usable energy, and is now running down.

Now, what if the questioner accepts that the universe had a beginning, but not that it needs a cause? But it is self-evident that things that begin have a cause—no-one really denies it in his heart. All science and history would collapse if this law of cause and effect were denied. So would all law enforcement, if the police didn’t think they needed to find a cause for a stabbed body or a burgled house. Also, the universe cannot be self-caused—nothing can create itself, because that would mean that it existed before it came into existence, which is a logical absurdity.

In Summary

The universe (including time itself) can be shown to have had a beginning.

It is unreasonable to believe something could begin to exist without a cause.

The universe therefore requires a cause, just as Genesis 1:1 and Romans 1:20 teach.

God, as creator of time, is outside of time. Since therefore He has no beginning in time, He has always existed, so doesn’t need a cause.

God, as creator of time, is outside of time. Since therefore He has no beginning in time, He has always existed, so doesn’t need a cause.
*If* The Flying Spagetti Monster as creator of time(and pirates), is outside of time. Since therefore His Noodliness has no beginning in time, he has always existed, so doesn't need a cause.

False premise.

Oh, and if there is no time, before the universe is created, then the universe had no beginning *in time* either, and therefore the universe is outside of time.

There is some Time inside the universe, but that happened after the beginning. :-)
Aren't god-games fun?

In principle, we can safely assume that a god of sorts can do anything. It can make a living organism from a handful of electrons and quarks. All he has to do to accomplish this is hide behind "Emergent properties". Emergent properties can be mixing water and sand to produce a laptop, or a cell phone or anything else. There is no limit to what can be accomplished(hidden) behind the emergent property label. Anything and everything. If we acquire a close to god status, one day we may be able to mix some carbon, hydrogen and oxygen to self-organise to an Airbus A380. All we have to do i learn how to cause the existence of certain properties that are not otherwise there. Such a manipulation ability would make us true Gods.

Sadly, this isn't going to happen.

*If* The Flying Spagetti Monster as creator of time(and pirates), is outside of time. Since therefore His Noodliness has no beginning in time, he has always existed, so doesn't need a cause.

False premise.
I was once touched by his noodly appendage. So the premise is not false and you best believe it!

I think the problem doesn't come from saying god exists it comes from when we try to define what god is.

I.e. If it could be proven that 'god' necessarily exists it's a moot point to try and define and apply characteristics to such a thing. Am I making any sense?

In Summary

The universe (including time itself) can be shown to have had a beginning.

It is unreasonable to believe something could begin to exist without a cause.

The universe therefore requires a cause, just as Genesis 1:1 and Romans 1:20 teach.

God, as creator of time, is outside of time. Since therefore He has no beginning in time, He has always existed, so doesn’t need a cause.
That's awesome... but what does it all mean? As well you should try and not limit your references to only Judaical beliefs. If you wanna continue this conversation start a new thread. I'll be glad to post in it.

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.
1. I always thought that they WERE the 'perfect' descriptions of what happens.
Eg. If I throw a ball up it will come back down. That is gravity correct... exist in the Platonic realm. The Law of gravity is what we have created to try and explain what occurs.

2. Why must absolutely nothing exist? I'm sure some modern day cosmological models go far ack prior to our universe creation. As well say that we as humans somehow construct a universe contained in a glass case. Nothing didn't exist prior to the universe in the glass case, we did...

3. How do you know that?

4. Well I guess if I grant you premises 2 and 3, which I haven't.

5. Ditto

7. Chaos doesn't imply not logical. In fact it seems MOST logical. Chaos simply implies that things are EXTREMELY sensitive to originating factors. Deterministic to the MAXimum.

8. Says who exactly? I am certain many people believe our own universe is governed by Chaos. Clearly whether or not our universe is dominated by chaos doesn't affect my existence.

9. Yeah it's been well known that people 'believe' the universe was created for us. I don't think it has to do with anything you said though. I think it has to do more so with humans psychological NEEDS.

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I was once touched by his noodly appendage.
Clearly, you're insane:)
I.e. If it could be proven that 'god' necessarily exists it's a moot point to try and define and apply characteristics to such a thing. Am I making any sense?
Like I said before, if no time exists before the universe exists, then you can't have a cause/effect relationship. So, assuming no time existed before the universe, the universe could not be created by a creator. Cause/effect requires Time. And if time did exist before the universe, then creator is not outside time and therefore is part of the universe. A creator is essentially an unnecessary contradiction.

But assuming you could define a creator as logically necessary, and extend our 'logic' beyond our universe to include such a thing, at its most basic, it wouldn't resemble the god of any human religion.

I suppose Deism might work.... but since a deist god has no ongoing interaction with the universe... why bother? Deism's primary utility, when it was popular, was that it allowed people who were basically atheist to be considered religious in a time when being an atheist was *very* dangerous to your social standing.... or even your health.

Clearly, you're insane:)
Lol :D Thanks.

But assuming you could define a creator as logically necessary, and extend our 'logic' beyond our universe to include such a thing, at its most basic, it wouldn't resemble the god of any human religion.
Agreed, so does it still qualify to be 'god'? Something I ponder about. Assuming you made no comments on my other posts I guess my points were ok right... wasn't so sure about some of it. lol :D

Agreed, so does it still qualify to be 'god'?
By the time you get to this point, you're playing god-of-the-gaps beyond what I consider even remotely reasonable, but there are lots of people who don't care about logic or reason, where gods are concerned. Pretty much any conception of 'god' is fair game for someone, which is why I don't have much use for the word or the concept.

*If* The Flying Spagetti Monster as creator of time(and pirates), is outside of time. Since therefore His Noodliness has no beginning in time, he has always existed, so doesn't need a cause.

False premise.

Oh, and if there is no time, before the universe is created, then the universe had no beginning *in time* either, and therefore the universe is outside of time.

There is some Time inside the universe, but that happened after the beginning. :-)
Aren't god-games fun?
You obviously can't grasp the concept. Your logic is irritating.

Logic can do that to people with irrational beliefs.

By the time you get to this point, you're playing god-of-the-gaps beyond what I consider even remotely reasonable, but there are lots of people who don't care about logic or reason, where gods are concerned. Pretty much any conception of 'god' is fair game for someone, which is why I don't have much use for the word or the concept.
I'm not saying it's my belief or anything, I don't see it really as god-of-the-gaps though. It fills a void that science will never attain.

the_awesome said:
You obviously can't grasp the concept. Your logic is irritating.
Ah, I love when people claim that others aren't 'intelligent' enough or they are 'arrogant' etc. that they MUST not understand their ideas because they don't agree with them... isn't that begging the question mixed in with a bit of ad homininem?

Logic can do that to people with irrational beliefs.
You mean like yours?

apeiron
Gold Member
Hi Witt - this is a well-posed set of points.

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.
Agreed that they would be emergent regularities that are part of the system, not transcendant. But there are then two different takes on this.

The first is that the regularities are just supervenient and thus causally impotent. The laws are just how the micro-stuff locks together.

The second, which is the basis of systems thinking, is that the global level that emerges acts with downwards constraint. It is the top-down source of action.

So the laws would not move things to and fro (that would be local constructive action). But they would frame local actions in a way that strictly limits their freedoms.
This is why the best laws are equations like F = ma which describe a symmetry.

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.
Again, I would agree that even the laws of nature are not timeless but must have developed/evolved in time. Or "time" as even dimensionality must have developed.

But does there have to be a "creation" - a punctate act? A crisp initial event? Or can things slid into being from a fog of vague potential?

And while there would have been a pre-reality in which what we take as real did not exist, would this be the same as nothing existing, or just no- real things (no actual crisp things).

So ruling out infinite existence in favour of a developmental perspective leaves you once more with at least a pair of options to consider. Crisp creation vs vague creation.

3. If there are no laws of nature than everything is allowed
Agreed, initially anything would have been possible. This would indeed be the definition of a vagueness (but a paradoxical feature of a nothingness, or even an everythingness).

Then laws would be part of the self-assembly, the self-organisation, as the anythingness that was originally possible develops into the subset that is the lawful, self-constraining, actual.

Note how the very acceptance of the notion of lawful implies the complementary existence of a wider space of possibility. Laws stop some things from happening, and so permit the other freedoms to dominate. Or other symmetries, following Noether.

4. This explains how something can come from nothing.
Still got two rival camps here. Was there a crisp nothing that was interrupted by a punctate creation event and instantly there was a realm of law?

Or was there a vagueness whose symmetry was spontaneously broken leading to the rapid development of an SO realm in a new more ordered state? The way the chaos of vapour condenses into the more constrained and "lawful" state of water, then ice.

5. Since this creation is not restricted by any law of nature almost everything actually happens.
This is where the two lines of thought really diverge.

My approach is teleological. The ends justify the means. In an SO fashion. The creation could not have gone off in any direction (even if all directions were initially open) as only (perhaps) a single outcome could equlibrate every arising source of tension or conflict. Only one interlocking set of laws would have actually locked together.

So early on, every direction is being explored (via fluctuations or their vague analogy). But almost all directions got actively suppressed as a result of the emergence of a context of constraints. The lawful patterns.

So this is anti-multiverse, anti-many worlds, anti-landscapes, like thinking. It would be strong anthropic principle, not weak.

It would be chaotic attractor style thinking. Start the system off in any choice of initial conditions and it would have to find itself sliding down into the basin of the attractor. There would be no splitting of the one into the many. Instead the many (the vague many) would converge towards the one mutual constraints satisfying outcome.

6. This coincides with the many worlds hypothesis.
Again two contrasting paths of thought are possible. One in which there is no teleological selection mechanism that constrains the results, the other in which only a single synergistic outcome is possible (as the outcome brings itself into existence precisely by suppressing all the alternatives).

7. Most "universes" will be chaotic ( even their laws of nature will be chaotic, IE;not logical).
Ditto. And note that chaos is no longer chaotic anymore! They can conceal teleological attractors. All roads may lead to Rome.

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.
Here again, two stories depending on the choice of creation approaches.

In my view, even though it is strong anthropic, life is irrelevant to the model. What I am arguing is that the causality is teleological. What exists has bootstrapped itself into being by suppressing all other possible outcomes. It is an act of reduction. So the universe created itself through its development of lawful regularity, its emergent synergy.

But the buck stops there. Humans are not part of this activity. We are not acting backwards in any way that we can detect (forget QM qualia extremism) to shape up what we find exists.

So we can say yes to an anthropic universe story (as a good candidate level of focus for our SO cosmology) and no to human involvement in the kind of downward constraints causality I am talking about.

The human part of the creation story would remain the weak anthropy position (in this particular view of things).

9. That is why we are amazed at the stunning "coincidences" that our universe seems to be made just for us.
It would be no coincidence that the universe exists - if strong anthropy applies at that level.

And human existence is a chance extra that is merely consistent with the bigger story.

We would arise as one of the unsuppressed freedoms.

Perhaps that though is a new way of looking at things for many. Instead of being the created, we were merely the un-prevented!

In the long run of course - because the universe is ruled by the second law and its heat death fate - humans and all other forms of dissipative structure will indeed become "prevented". Suppressed as local possibility because the universe has finally achieved its full teleological purpose - to become crisply a nothing. An infinite cold and still void.

Where once there was everything (vaguely), finally there will be a big fat nothing - or as near nothing as it proved possible to get. Just three flat spatial directions and a QM background rustle of de sitter event horizon "black body" radiation.

Existence as the gradient from everything to nothing via something.

Or you could go back to the traditional view - nothing existed, then for no reason something was created, then it is all going to decay. A fate that seems so objectionable in this ontology that people dream of the rebirth, the hope, of big crunch bounces, oscillatory creation, black-hole spawning multiverses - anything to avoid the dread of the heat death.

You mean like yours?
You got me. I was so got.

If you can't refute what I said with anything but an insult, its your logic that fails.

I'm not saying it's my belief or anything, I don't see it really as god-of-the-gaps though. It fills a void that science will never attain.
How else would you define god-of-the-gaps??
Ah, I love when people claim that others aren't 'intelligent' enough or they are 'arrogant' etc. that they MUST not understand their ideas because they don't agree with them... isn't that begging the question mixed in with a bit of ad homininem?