MUST every possible thing happen in a Tegmark L1 Multiverse?

In summary, Tegmark's multiverse hypothesis claims that every possible outcome does happen somewhere, even if we're just considering Level 1 universes.
  • #1
andrewkirk
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I've been looking at one of Max Tegmark's articles about his 'Mathematical Universe' hypothesis, here on arXiv.

As a preliminary, note that Tegmark's framework has four 'levels' of multiverses, with each level being an infinite collection of multiverses at the level below it. The second or third level is to do with quantum superpositions and has strong similarities to Everett's Many-Worlds framework. A Level 1 'multiverse' is just a single spacetime, but Tegmark assumes each Level 1 spacetime is spatially infinite.

One of the attention-grabbing aspects of Tegmark's hypothesis is that it says that everything that can happen, does happen.

That is not surprising when we are talking about quantum superpositions, as Everett says more or less the same thing.

What is surprising is that Tegmark claims this to be the case for every single Level 1 spacetime as well. The claim relies on an assumption that a single Level 2 multiverse, which is an infinite collection of Level 1 spacetimes, considered as a probability space, is ergodic, and that each Level 1 spacetime is spatially infinite. He writes:

Max Tegmark said:
The physics description of the world is traditionally split into two parts: initial conditions and laws of physics specifying how the initial conditions evolve. Observers living in parallel universes at Level I observe the exact same laws of physics as we do, but with different initial conditions than those in our Hubble volume. The currently favored theory is that the initial conditions (the densities and motions of different types of matter early on) were created by quantum fluctuations during the inflation epoch (see section 3). This quantum mechanism generates initial conditions that are for all practical purposes random, producing density fluctuations described by what mathematicians call an ergodic random field.
Ergodic means that if you imagine generating an ensemble of universes, each with its own random initial conditions, then the probability distribution of outcomes in a given volume is identical to the distribution that you get by sampling different volumes in a single universe.

In other words, it means that everything that could in principle have happened here did in fact happen somewhere else.

That last paragraph ('In other words...') does not seem to me to follow from what goes before it. Ergodicity is about expected values, and ergodic properties such as the one I linked above are carefully constrained with uses of the technical terms 'almost surely' or 'almost everywhere'. In an ergodic ensemble of infinite spacetimes, for a given spacetime S, the probability is 1 that an event E that occurs anywhere in the ensemble will occur somewhere in S. But that means that E occurs almost surely somewhere in S, which is not the same as saying that it does in fact occur in S.

I am trying to work out why Tegmark might have written this. Possibilities that occur to me are:

  1. Tegmark is trained as a physicist, not a mathematician, and has never studied formal probability theory, and does not understand that, in an infinite sample space, probability one does not imply certainty.
  2. Tegmark has learned that, but has forgotten it.
  3. Tegmark knows the distinction, but in the course of simplifying his conclusion in order to reach a wider audience, 'simplified' it to the point of making it misleading (which reminds me of Einstein's dictum: 'we should simplify as much as possible, but not more than that').
  4. There is some other reason, beyond mere ergodicity, why every possible thing must happen somewhere in an infinite Level 1 spacetime; or
  5. I have misunderstood ergodicity.
I would greatly appreciate people's thoughts on this.
 
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  • #2
"Everything" happens for a reason... not anything, not just some things, "everything" happens. Ergodic is a new term to me but my initial assessment is something along the lines of "going full circle" of all possibilities. In infinite spaces of finite possibilities it seems to me common sense that things would have to repeat...
 
  • #3
andrewkirk said:
I've been looking at one of Max Tegmark's articles about his 'Mathematical Universe' hypothesis, here on arXiv.

As a preliminary, note that Tegmark's framework has four 'levels' of multiverses, with each level being an infinite collection of multiverses at the level below it. The second or third level is to do with quantum superpositions and has strong similarities to Everett's Many-Worlds framework. A Level 1 'multiverse' is just a single spacetime, but Tegmark assumes each Level 1 spacetime is spatially infinite.

One of the attention-grabbing aspects of Tegmark's hypothesis is that it says that everything that can happen, does happen.

That is not surprising when we are talking about quantum superpositions, as Everett says more or less the same thing.

What is surprising is that Tegmark claims this to be the case for every single Level 1 spacetime as well. The claim relies on an assumption that a single Level 2 multiverse, which is an infinite collection of Level 1 spacetimes, considered as a probability space, is ergodic, and that each Level 1 spacetime is spatially infinite. He writes:
That last paragraph ('In other words...') does not seem to me to follow from what goes before it. Ergodicity is about expected values, and ergodic properties such as the one I linked above are carefully constrained with uses of the technical terms 'almost surely' or 'almost everywhere'. In an ergodic ensemble of infinite spacetimes, for a given spacetime S, the probability is 1 that an event E that occurs anywhere in the ensemble will occur somewhere in S. But that means that E occurs almost surely somewhere in S, which is not the same as saying that it does in fact occur in S.

I am trying to work out why Tegmark might have written this. Possibilities that occur to me are:

  1. Tegmark is trained as a physicist, not a mathematician, and has never studied formal probability theory, and does not understand that, in an infinite sample space, probability one does not imply certainty.
  2. Tegmark has learned that, but has forgotten it.
  3. Tegmark knows the distinction, but in the course of simplifying his conclusion in order to reach a wider audience, 'simplified' it to the point of making it misleading (which reminds me of Einstein's dictum: 'we should simplify as much as possible, but not more than that').
  4. There is some other reason, beyond mere ergodicity, why every possible thing must happen somewhere in an infinite Level 1 spacetime; or
  5. I have misunderstood ergodicity.
I would greatly appreciate people's thoughts on this.
This is a bit off the cuff, but from what I recall the way it works is that the system isn't actually random. The fundamental laws are fully-deterministic (so far as we know). You get probability out by making some simplifying assumptions upon how the underlying physics works. So what is meant by "P > 0 that system is in state S at time T" is another way of saying that the system spends a finite amount of time in this state.

In order to have a system where every state occurs at some point, you have to have underlying dynamics that, given an infinite amount of time, fill the entire allowable phase space of the system in question. I can't be confident that this condition is satisfied in every conceivable mathematical structure that might describe the fundamental mathematical laws of a universe.
 
  • #4
Ir seems fairly obvious our universe is not of infinite age. Which raises a question that is difficult to ignore - why do we reside in a universe that is of a measurably finite age? It seems very odd we would happen to arrive on the scene at a measurable age in a temporally unbound universe. Further compounding matters, it appears our universe, has been in an orderly state as far back as we can determine. Random chance does not offer an entirely satisfactory explanation. for these coincidences.
 
  • #5
Chronos said:
Ir seems fairly obvious our universe is not of infinite age. Which raises a question that is difficult to ignore - why do we reside in a universe that is of a measurably finite age? It seems very odd we would happen to arrive on the scene at a measurable age in a temporally unbound universe. Further compounding matters, it appears our universe, has been in an orderly state as far back as we can determine. Random chance does not offer an entirely satisfactory explanation. for these coincidences.
That we observe our universe in a state where there is a measurably-finite age doesn't seem odd at all to me, given the dynamics we observe. By the time the age of our universe is no longer observable, there will also be no more observers.

The interesting question here is what caused our universe to start in an extremely low-entropy state early-on. This question for sure cannot be answered by the simplistic concept of random thermal fluctuations, with very rare ones producing universes (because it leads to the Boltzmann Brain problem). There have been many attempts to put forth a model which actually does make sense, but so far we just don't know.
 

Related to MUST every possible thing happen in a Tegmark L1 Multiverse?

1. What is a Tegmark L1 Multiverse?

A Tegmark L1 Multiverse is a theoretical concept proposed by physicist Max Tegmark in which all possible mathematical structures exist as separate universes.

2. Does this mean that every possible thing must happen in a Tegmark L1 Multiverse?

Yes, according to this theory, if something is mathematically possible, then it must exist in one of the universes within the Tegmark L1 Multiverse.

3. How is this different from the concept of a parallel universe?

A parallel universe is typically used to describe a separate physical universe that exists alongside our own. In the Tegmark L1 Multiverse, all possible universes exist within the same physical space, but are separated by mathematical structures.

4. Is there any evidence to support the existence of a Tegmark L1 Multiverse?

Currently, there is no empirical evidence to support the existence of a Tegmark L1 Multiverse. It is purely a theoretical concept based on mathematical principles.

5. How does the concept of free will fit into a Tegmark L1 Multiverse?

The concept of free will is a philosophical question that is still debated. Some may argue that in a Tegmark L1 Multiverse, all possible choices and outcomes already exist, while others may argue that we still have the ability to make choices and shape our own reality within the multiverse.

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