On self-defining laws of physics

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@OP

That is similar with something I've been pondering about for a while (if I understood what you're saying correctly), which can be compressed in one sentence as:

"Order is just a particular case of Chaos"

This particular paradigm is an interesting aspiration at explaining why is there something rather than nothing.

But to try and spin it differently:
The basic premise in your formulation is that there is indeed a property, a being called "rule/law" that appeared arbitrarily in the great soup of chaos, then this rule caused self-selection and and a mesh of simulacrum from which the universe as we perceive it emerged.

However, consider this approach (I'll try to keep this very short):

There are no objective laws of physics, no rules by which the universe operates, however loose or restrictive. It is We who created the laws of physics. We do not discover the order in the universe, we create order in the universe: Mind creates the universe. It is not an objective rule that creates self-selection, but Mind that selects it's version of the universe.

I suppose if your first formulation would be similar with the Many-Worlds interpretation of QM than this one is a pseudo-solipsist derivative of the so called Many-Minds interpretation of QM.
 

apeiron

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"Gradients" and "scale" just coincidentally important in evolution?
A gradient is simply a potential that can become something actual. So it is another way of alluding to "second laws". First laws state what exists, and second laws spell out the direction for change.

You will note how development is the downhill gradient of entropification, so is again the basic gradient. Evolution is its antithesis, an uphill ascent towards negentropy or complex organisation. So evolution can only be found nested in development - [devo [evo]]. Perhaps a crucial issue for cosmic darwinism approaches?
 

ConradDJ

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"Order is just a particular case of Chaos"
Very nice.

The basic premise in your formulation is that there is indeed a property, a being called "rule/law" that appeared arbitrarily in the great soup of chaos, then this rule caused self-selection and and a mesh of simulacrum from which the universe as we perceive it emerged.
No, that's not it. There's nothing that causes self-selection, in this scenario.

It's just that in this vast mess of connected and unconnected happening, there might happen to exist interconnected subsets of events that could define themselves as distinct sets -- could define selection criteria that distinguish their own membership. Even if it's only the "rule" that they all connect with each other.

If sets like that happen to exist... then they exist, that's all. But within such a set -- only for the events that make up that set -- there is a "rule" that they all happen to "obey". Then within that set, given the context of that rule, there could be a subset that happens to define a further, more specific "rule"... and so on. At some point these rules might include rules of partial ordering that correspond to time-sequences among events... but the self-selection process originally is not something that happens in an absolute overall time.

The idea of self-definition or self-selection is merely that these sets have no "rules" or structures that are not actually definable ("observable") from within the set, on the basis of the set's own rules and structures.

Essentially my logic is this: all the rules and structure in the world we observe, can be defined observationally -- that is, in terms of other observable rules and structures of this same system. So it manifestly is a "self-defining" system, in a specific sense. And if such structures can exist, then a scenario like the one I'm trying to describe, makes sense. We don't have to posit anything more than a "great soup" where anything is allowed. No absolute "being" or principle has to be introduced.

I'm sorry I have such trouble stating this notion clearly. That could be a sign that it just makes no sense... or, that we're just not used to thinking about systems of this kind.

If it does make sense, a further step would be to think about what a complicated self-defining system would look like. Presumably it would contain many different layers of structure, some of which are extremely simple in their definition, and others that require many previous layers of structure to define themselves. Then we could compare that with the kinds of physical structure in the universe we observe.
 

ConradDJ

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Development is "pure" self organisation. There is a bag of materials. A beaker of chemistry. Someone has set up some initial conditions (the local substances) within some global boundary constraints (the global form or organisation). And then this system runs down its gradient of development. A reaction proceeds to its equilbrium.

Evolution is then a system that can take some degree of control over the initial conditions/boundary constraints. It is a system with the memory mechanisms (the "semiotic" or symbolic stuff like DNA, membranes, words, neurons) to harness naturally occuring developmental gradients.

Aperion -- Thanks once again for your lucid summary. I don't have much time this morning, but I want to pursue this issue -- I'll take a look at Oldman's thread on "How Does Evolution Work", since that's a question I've been thinking about. And Oyama's book looks very interesting.

Meanwhile, do you have some sort of typology of different kinds of "development" or of "self-organizing systems"? That might help me bring the idea into focus.
 

apeiron

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Meanwhile, do you have some sort of typology of different kinds of "development" or of "self-organizing systems"? That might help me bring the idea into focus.
If you are starting from scratch, then Stuart Kauffman's books would be good both because they are simply written yet also present a great variety of detailed models.

You would be right that the same basic phenomenon has a great many names.

Autocorrelation, percolation, criticality, scalefree networks, renormalisation, non-extensive entropy, far from equilibrium thermodynamics, edge of chaos, fractal geometry, phase transitions, spontaneous symmetry breaking, Ising spin glass, dissipative structures, turbulence, constructal theory....

Actually Bejan's work could be a good place to start....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructal_theory
http://www.constructal.org/en/theory/presentation.html [Broken]
 
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I'm sorry I have such trouble stating this notion clearly. That could be a sign that it just makes no sense... or, that we're just not used to thinking about systems of this kind.
I think it's rather the latter.
This is definitely something familiarly unfamiliar. Nothing less than an oxymoron suffices in describing our context of discussion really. :)

No, that's not it. There's nothing that causes self-selection, in this scenario.

It's just that in this vast mess of connected and unconnected happening, there might happen to exist interconnected subsets of events that could define themselves as distinct sets -- could define selection criteria that distinguish their own membership. Even if it's only the "rule" that they all connect with each other.

If sets like that happen to exist... then they exist, that's all. But within such a set -- only for the events that make up that set -- there is a "rule" that they all happen to "obey". Then within that set, given the context of that rule, there could be a subset that happens to define a further, more specific "rule"... and so on. At some point these rules might include rules of partial ordering that correspond to time-sequences among events... but the self-selection process originally is not something that happens in an absolute overall time.
Hmmm, I'll try to make up an analogous example to make sure I fully understand where you're coming from with this...

...

Ok, going back to the "soup". this soup of chaos is made of infinitely many components, whatever those may be; but for the sake of brevity let's oversimplify it and say these components are cubes of different colours. Now in this soup of coloured cubes there just so happens that the red cubes, besides being red also attach to each other if they "meet".
So we have the self-defined set of red cubes (nothing "exterior" to the set defines/forms/constricts it, there is no exterior rule by which a particular set is a set... the set exists solely because it's objects have one or more "natural" intrinsic proprieties?) and a mechanism of self-selection (in itself, and emergent propriety "resulting" from the state that the set is self-defined...?).

A "consequence" of these 2 basic states, is a new background intrinsically separate from the first background (chaos) yet very much a part of it. Some objects from this set might have intrinsic qualities that would "create" another new background and so on, until the pattern is in itself more and more complex, yet just as much an indistinguishable part of the first primordial(?) background.

Am I on the right track here? :)
 

ConradDJ

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this soup of chaos is made of infinitely many components, whatever those may be; but for the sake of brevity let's oversimplify it and say these components are cubes of different colours.

tauon -- Thanks for hanging in with me on this!

Rather than think of the basic "components" as things with certain intrinsic properties, I tend to think of them as momentary events, that have no definable characteristics in themselves. I want to assume as little about them as I can. Maybe most of them just happen all by themselves, and don't even connect to any other events -- they're not even "interactions". But only those that do happen to be interactions, can participate in an interaction-web like the one we observe in our universe. Only those that happen to connect two other events -- events which also happen to connect two other events, and so on... can participate.

So far we don't even have a distinction between "things" and their "connections" -- just events that link other events to other events, moment-to-moment.

Of those random events that happen to participate in such a web, there might then be a subset -- a web with a more specific topology... which would provide a context of definition for a still more specifically-structured subset of random events.

I appreciated the paper Apeiron mentioned above (#45)...
http://evodevouniverse.com/EDU2008Papers/HeylighenSOTimeCausalityEDU2008.pdf" [Broken]

...because the author (Francis Heylighen) begins in a very similar way. And he heads in a direction I've explored also: he proposes that the initial interaction-web would consist in two basic kinds of patterns -- (a) infinitely many strings of interactions that loop back on themselves, and (b) infinitely many strings that don't. These patterns aren't exclusive -- they all exist in superposition, so to speak. Any given event might happen to participate in many loops, and also in many non-looping strings of events.

He points out that the non-looping part of the interaction-web can be seen as a "partial ordering" of the events -- in other words, we begin to have something like a time-sequence, though there's not yet any structure that would define an "arrow of time", a direction from past to future.

I would point out also that the other part of the web -- consisting of all the looping event-strings -- might be identified with another aspect the structure we find in QM. In the Feynmann (path-integral) picture, every interaction happens in an infinite number of ways -- but nearly all of those alternatives "cancel each other out" through phase interference, and end up making no statistical contribution to the actual interaction we observe. In terms of web-topology, each of these "virtual" interactions connects with an interaction of opposite "phase" to form a closed loop... in effect, undoing itself, fading into the quantum vacuum of unobserved events.

But to emphasize again -- "in reality" -- from the point of view of an omniscient observer standing outside the web -- there is nothing that defines some of these strings of events as more "real" than others. Nothing happens to the looping part of the original web -- but it may be that at a higher level, only interaction-structures made of the non-looping strings can trade information with other such structures. The "virtual" event loops are all still "there", but don't participate in the higher-level communications-structure.
 
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ConradDJ

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You would be right that the same basic phenomenon has a great many names.

Autocorrelation, percolation, criticality, scalefree networks, renormalisation, non-extensive entropy, far from equilibrium thermodynamics, edge of chaos, fractal geometry, phase transitions, spontaneous symmetry breaking, Ising spin glass, dissipative structures, turbulence, constructal theory....

Well, that's just the question, for me -- do all these things really refer to "the same basic phenomenon"? Certainly there are many interconnections. But it would seem to be an article of faith that there's a single kind of process at work here.

I wanted to say -- I have a hard time getting a clear picture of this "basic phenomenon" of development, where in contrast, I have a very clear idea of the process of evolution.

But, when I looked at Oldman's thread on How Does Evolution Work --https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=212403"

-- I found lots of confusion, even when "evolution" was taken purely in a biological sense. So it seems it's not at all easy to work out a clear concept of evolution either... or to explain just what it is about biological evolution that makes it so uniquely creative.

So I'll work on Oldman's question and see what I can come up with. And in the meantime, refrain from disparaging your concept of development!

Thanks again -- Conrad
 
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apeiron

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But, when I looked at Oldman's thread on How Does Evolution Work --https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=212403"

-- I found lots of confusion, even when "evolution" was taken purely in a biological sense. rad
Yes, the thread constantly confuses evolution and development.

Development is the running down of an entropy gradient. A nakedly self-organising action.

Evolution is about mechanism that can harness developmental potentials. You do not have just one entropy degrading or dissipative system but instead a variety of systems in competition. And the most effective or best adapted degrader wins.

And it does require a "machinery" - a negentropy. A structure that does not get degraded as it degrades.
 
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baywax

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And it does require a "machinery" - a negentropy. A structure that does not get degraded as it degrades.
Sort of like how energy can neither be created nor destroyed?
 

apeiron

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Sort of like how energy can neither be created nor destroyed?
No, I meant like DNA, membranes and other cellular structures that can continually repair themselves. The stuff that organises the degrading action.
 
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Yes, the thread constantly confuses evolution and development.

Development is the running down of an entropy gradient. A nakedly self-organising action.

Evolution is about mechanism that can harness developmental potentials. You do not have just one entropy degrading or dissipative system but instead a variety of systems in competition. And the most effective or best adapted degrader wins.

And it does require a "machinery" - a negentropy. A structure that does not get degraded as it degrades.
I think that there is still a lot of confusion between evolution and development perhaps because folk have a tendency to talk in generalities, rather than specifics. In my experience an absence of examples and a plethora of profundities betrays confusion.

Let me ramble on about this a bit longer. I'm still confused.

There is a kind of change that incorporates one or more clever tricks, either happenstance or invented. An example is the chance interactions between crowded atoms that first created a molecule, perhaps template shaped, that made it easier for another like it to form. Such a replication trick has great "developmental potential", later realised by natural selection. Is this the kind of machinery that involves negentropy you were thinking of and that should be labeled as "evolution"? And should its later history be described as development? or further evolution?

It seems to me that self-replication is the one absolutely necessary feature of what we call biological evolution. But it doesn't tell a sufficiently complete story, say including how DNA may have emerged from a class of template-shaped molecules (was this just by "nakedly self-organising action"? or were mechanisms and negentropy also important here, so that we should talk of DNA evolving from simpler stuff?

Perhaps we just don't know how DNA came to be.

Then there are our own clever invented tricks. Like the (now ancient) trick of storing instructions for a computer as binary numbers together with similarly formatted data that is to be manipulated. Again, great emergent consequences! Here commercial competition mimics natural selection. Are we to call this the evolution of computers, or their development?
 

apeiron

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An example is the chance interactions between crowded atoms that first created a molecule, perhaps template shaped, that made it easier for another like it to form. Such a replication trick has great "developmental potential", later realised by natural selection. Is this the kind of machinery that involves negentropy you were thinking of and that should be labeled as "evolution"? And should its later history be described as development? or further evolution?
In your example, molecules would indeed be locally negentropic. And were paid for by the entropy of latent heat that would have been released in the bond forming. But this is just development.



It seems to me that self-replication is the one absolutely necessary feature of what we call biological evolution. But it doesn't tell a sufficiently complete story, say including how DNA may have emerged from a class of template-shaped molecules (was this just by "nakedly self-organising action"? or were mechanisms and negentropy also important here, so that we should talk of DNA evolving from simpler stuff?
DNA would have developed then evolved. Nucleic acids can arise spontaneously. But the machinery of DNA - with all its repair mechanisms, its replication mechanisms, etc, is quite a package refined over time.



Then there are our own clever invented tricks. Like the (now ancient) trick of storing instructions for a computer as binary numbers together with similarly formatted data that is to be manipulated. Again, great emergent consequences! Here commercial competition mimics natural selection. Are we to call this the evolution of computers, or their development?
Computers are an example of pure mechanism. They have no development or SO inherently. And would you say they evolve or that their human designers are driven by competition?
 

baywax

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No, I meant like DNA, membranes and other cellular structures that can continually repair themselves. The stuff that organises the degrading action.
I see. The repairs usually involve cell death and the growth (mitosis) of new tissues/structures. This is where mutations can take place (the crap shoot of mitosis) after repeated cell deaths and new growths. These mutations can result in new, beneficial selections or in malignant growths such as cancer and the death of the organism. So, in this case, it is the mechanism of decay/ that organizes the degraded (not living) organism back into the ecosystem.
 

apeiron

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I see. The repairs usually involve cell death and the growth (mitosis) of new tissues/structures. This is where mutations can take place (the crap shoot of mitosis) after repeated cell deaths and new growths. These mutations can result in new, beneficial selections or in malignant growths such as cancer and the death of the organism. So, in this case, it is the mechanism of decay/ that organizes the degraded (not living) organism back into the ecosystem.
These are some curious statements.

Repairs maintain the structure. Keep the system on track. Cell division in the body is not about evolution except perhaps in specialised senses. Such as synaptic competition during brain development.

Cancer would be an example of "development" in the general entropic sense I was suggesting. Cancer is simply explosive unregulated cell growth. The mutations that cause cancer are about essential bits of the usual regulatory machinery "falling off". Remember the role normally played by fail-safe mechanisms - apoptosis.
 

baywax

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These are some curious statements.

Repairs maintain the structure. Keep the system on track. Cell division in the body is not about evolution except perhaps in specialised senses. Such as synaptic competition during brain development.

Cancer would be an example of "development" in the general entropic sense I was suggesting. Cancer is simply explosive unregulated cell growth. The mutations that cause cancer are about essential bits of the usual regulatory machinery "falling off". Remember the role normally played by fail-safe mechanisms - apoptosis.
For sure apoptosis. Its the mutation that shuts down the P52 gene that can arise (1 in 7 chance) during mitosis. Your right though...I'm probably wrong to assume that beneficial mutations can arise out of mitosis and be carried into next generation. Although I hadn't heard about synaptic competition being something that can continue in a species. (edited)
 
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tauon -- Thanks for hanging in with me on this!

Rather than think of the basic "components" as things with certain intrinsic properties, I tend to think of them as momentary events, that have no definable characteristics in themselves. I want to assume as little about them as I can. Maybe most of them just happen all by themselves, and don't even connect to any other events -- they're not even "interactions". But only those that do happen to be interactions, can participate in an interaction-web like the one we observe in our universe. Only those that happen to connect two other events -- events which also happen to connect two other events, and so on... can participate.

So far we don't even have a distinction between "things" and their "connections" -- just events that link other events to other events, moment-to-moment.

Of those random events that happen to participate in such a web, there might then be a subset -- a web with a more specific topology... which would provide a context of definition for a still more specifically-structured subset of random events.
and I thank you for having the patience to explain me your idea. :)
but moving on (now that I have at least a basic understanding of what you're saying), I think you mentioned in a previous post what a complicated self-defining system would look like or how could we describe it... that may be quite difficult as the matter is ubiquitously non-intuitive, and there's little chance of formalizing it without a para-consistent mathematical system... sadly none of today's mathematics can formulate such a background and structure, which I think is quite creative and original and definitely worth more attention.
 

baywax

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and I thank you for having the patience to explain me your idea. :)
but moving on (now that I have at least a basic understanding of what you're saying), I think you mentioned in a previous post what a complicated self-defining system would look like or how could we describe it... that may be quite difficult as the matter is ubiquitously non-intuitive, and there's little chance of formalizing it without a para-consistent mathematical system... sadly none of today's mathematics can formulate such a background and structure, which I think is quite creative and original and definitely worth more attention.
This may be something.

You can't have zero without a comparative like 1 or -1. From here you can begin to see the web of relation and support in most things.

Doris Day had it when she sang... "You can't have one without the other".
 

ConradDJ

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I think you mentioned in a previous post what a complicated self-defining system would look like or how could we describe it... that may be quite difficult as the matter is ubiquitously non-intuitive, and there's little chance of formalizing it without a para-consistent mathematical system...

Thanks, tauon. This is from the OP --
The question is – could there happen to exist, within this original chaos, some sort of system that defined its own rules? Suppose for example there happened to be a web of the kind of events we call “interactions”... The “rule” defined by this system would just be that every event in the web has to link two other events within the system.

So now we have a subset of events that is not entirely unstructured... The question then becomes – could there happen to exist with this some web that defines a further level of structure for itself, building on the original rule?... within which there might happen to exist webs with a further level of definition – and so on.

So if our universe were a very complicated self-defining system, presumably it would consist of distinct levels of structure -- each level requiring a more complex context of definition than the previous levels.

To me one of the most striking things about physics is that the basic structures are in fact all so different in how they're defined.

Gravitation, for example, is in a way extremely simple and general, affecting all matter and even energy in the same way. But to define it at all, you need to refer to distances in space and time, because the spacetime metric is what's essential to this structure.

On the other hand, the basic structure of the electromagnetic field is simpler, in that it doesn't define a metric or require one for its own definition. So it seems as though the relationship between electrostatic and magnetic forces reflects a more primitive level of "geometry" -- a structure relating different directions in 3-dimensional space -- that might have defined itself prior to the emergence of the gravitational metric.

And there are other kinds of structure in QM that don't refer to spacetime geometry at all -- I'm thinking of quantum "phase" relationships, defined as relations between angles in an abstract space.

If we could somehow order all the different kinds of regularities we see in physical interaction, into a hierarchy, where each level depended for its definition only on the regularities established at lower levels... that would validate this approach.

I think of this as a kind of "archaelogy" of physics, trying to identify various aspects of the structure of physics we observe as representing more primitive "fossil" layers of self-definition.

Whether some new mathematics would be needed for this, I have no idea. My guess would be -- if this approach ever actually works -- that once we see the structural hierarchy put in the right order, it will seem pretty obvious. Right now it's not at all obvious -- as you put it nicely, "the matter is ubiquitously non-intuitive".
 

baywax

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Thanks, tauon. This is from the OP --



So if our universe were a very complicated self-defining system, presumably it would consist of distinct levels of structure -- each level requiring a more complex context of definition than the previous levels.

To me one of the most striking things about physics is that the basic structures are in fact all so different in how they're defined.

Gravitation, for example, is in a way extremely simple and general, affecting all matter and even energy in the same way. But to define it at all, you need to refer to distances in space and time, because the spacetime metric is what's essential to this structure.

On the other hand, the basic structure of the electromagnetic field is simpler, in that it doesn't define a metric or require one for its own definition. So it seems as though the relationship between electrostatic and magnetic forces reflects a more primitive level of "geometry" -- a structure relating different directions in 3-dimensional space -- that might have defined itself prior to the emergence of the gravitational metric.

And there are other kinds of structure in QM that don't refer to spacetime geometry at all -- I'm thinking of quantum "phase" relationships, defined as relations between angles in an abstract space.

If we could somehow order all the different kinds of regularities we see in physical interaction, into a hierarchy, where each level depended for its definition only on the regularities established at lower levels... that would validate this approach.

I think of this as a kind of "archaelogy" of physics, trying to identify various aspects of the structure of physics we observe as representing more primitive "fossil" layers of self-definition.

Whether some new mathematics would be needed for this, I have no idea. My guess would be -- if this approach ever actually works -- that once we see the structural hierarchy put in the right order, it will seem pretty obvious. Right now it's not at all obvious -- as you put it nicely, "the matter is ubiquitously non-intuitive".
Excellent ideas here ConradDJ.

I spent 12 years as an archaeologist and through most of those years I thought there was a hierarchy to the evolution of cultures and of species etc... however, it has become increasingly clear that there are leaps and bounds in culture and invention then, in accordance with environmental or political rule... the advances can be and are lost to the elements until "discovered" again.

Whether this sort of convoluted evolution applies to the development of the physical laws or natural laws of the universe or not is questionable but, I imagine there were fits and starts to the development of gravity, electro-magnatism, static charge and the e-vent of energy itself.

How would one go about excavating and organizing any of the evidence of these developments?
 

ConradDJ

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Baywax, thanks for encouragement...!
I spent 12 years as an archaeologist and through most of those years I thought there was a hierarchy to the evolution of cultures and of species etc...

Well though, there is hierarchy in these evolutionary histories, if only in a very limited sense... in that complex structures do require simpler ones as precursors. Otherwise you're certainly right -- evolution has no predestined path "forward", it's just -- whatever happens to happen.
How would one go about excavating and organizing any of the evidence of these developments?

Good question. But I'm thinking that the evolutionary picture in physics may be a lot simpler than in biology or human culture, so if there are distinct structural layers, they should be fairly evident. My basic assumption is that the measurement of distances in space and time is a "late" development that requires complex structure for its definition -- so I'm looking for aspects of physical law that don't seem to depend on this.

Electromagnetism is the outstanding example -- it seems very basic, in that essentially all communication and all physical structure (at least from the atomic level) depends on it. It has several distinct, interdependent aspects, with e-static and magnetic fields, connected with charge-conservation and spin-angular momentum.

All this structure has to do with changes in direction in 3-space. And there's an intriguing kind of "self-measurement" going on here -- this business of a moving charge generating an orthogonal magnetic field, which in turn affects the motion of a charge, for example. So I'm trying to see what aspects of this structure might be definable without the measurement of distances or velocities... just focusing on how a network of directed vectors might define itself, "selecting itself" out of an underlying network of interaction-events that had no predefined spacetime structure.

My guess is that if we could get one or two relatively simple structural layers to come into focus, the "methodology" for untangling the deep complexity of particle physics might also begin to be clear. And if it were possible to sort this out into a series of stages, where we could see how each stage might define itself on the basis of the prior ones, that in itself would be compelling evidence for an evolutionary approach.

-- Conrad
 

baywax

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Baywax, thanks for encouragement...!



Well though, there is hierarchy in these evolutionary histories, if only in a very limited sense... in that complex structures do require simpler ones as precursors. Otherwise you're certainly right -- evolution has no predestined path "forward", it's just -- whatever happens to happen.



Good question. But I'm thinking that the evolutionary picture in physics may be a lot simpler than in biology or human culture, so if there are distinct structural layers, they should be fairly evident. My basic assumption is that the measurement of distances in space and time is a "late" development that requires complex structure for its definition -- so I'm looking for aspects of physical law that don't seem to depend on this.

Electromagnetism is the outstanding example -- it seems very basic, in that essentially all communication and all physical structure (at least from the atomic level) depends on it. It has several distinct, interdependent aspects, with e-static and magnetic fields, connected with charge-conservation and spin-angular momentum.

All this structure has to do with changes in direction in 3-space. And there's an intriguing kind of "self-measurement" going on here -- this business of a moving charge generating an orthogonal magnetic field, which in turn affects the motion of a charge, for example. So I'm trying to see what aspects of this structure might be definable without the measurement of distances or velocities... just focusing on how a network of directed vectors might define itself, "selecting itself" out of an underlying network of interaction-events that had no predefined spacetime structure.

My guess is that if we could get one or two relatively simple structural layers to come into focus, the "methodology" for untangling the deep complexity of particle physics might also begin to be clear. And if it were possible to sort this out into a series of stages, where we could see how each stage might define itself on the basis of the prior ones, that in itself would be compelling evidence for an evolutionary approach.

-- Conrad
That's a great approach!

I just want to add that you can see the lack of resistance offered by distance, velocity, and all things that have to do with space when you see lightning taking place on earth from space.

Of course we are amazed that there are simultaneous discharges of lightning over huge distances... sometimes half or three quarters of the way around the globe... but, these could almost be compared... (without using metaphor!) to quantum simultaneous location. (if that's the correct term):redface:
 
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I think Aperion posted:
The question was about how a universe (or even multiverse) might emerge through some sort of self-organisation out of pure possibility, a chaos of geometry of some kind, a quantum foaminess of some infinite description.
I personally liked the post "Order is a particular form of Chaos."

James Hartle discussed some of these features in his talk in Cambridge, England commemorating Stephen's Hawkings 60th birthday. The following is from his talk "Theories of everything and Hawkings wave function of the universe" published in THE FUTURE OF THEORETICAL PHYSICS AND COSMOLOGY,2003.

My colleague Murray Gel-Mann used to ask me "If you know the wavefunction of the universe, why aren't you rich?". A quantuum mechanical theory of the Hamiltonian and the initial state does predict probabilities for everything that might happen in the universe. However only a few things are predicted with near certainty. The vast majority of alternatives are predicted with approximately 505-50% probabilities giving no useful information. That's the sense in which a 'theory of everything' is not a theory of everything....It is only because so little of the complexity of the present universe is predicted byt the fundamental universal laws that we can discover them...the regularities of of interest in (many) subjects are not predicted by the universal laws with near certainty even in principle. They are frozen quantum accidents that produce emergent regularities.
"Frozen accidents" is terminology attributed to Murray Gel-Mann.

And Roger Penrose also had some interesting comments in his talk, "The problem of spacetime singularities:implications for quantum gravity"

There is a very different structure...at the Big Bang from the kind of structure we find in a black hole's singularity. (The Weyl curvature at later times diverge to infinity; at the Big Bang the Weyl curvature is essentially zero.) This initial constraint is actually enormous. Calculations show that the chance of it having arisen purely by chance is less than about 1 in 1010123+ . If one takes the the view that the sought for "quantum gravity theory" is just the imposition of standard quantum field theory on standard relativity, each being time-symmetric, one finds it very hard to see how to get this extraordinary time -asymmetry. Yet this time-asymmetry is an actual feature of our universe. How do we find the appropriate asymmetric theory?
+ The power published and shown above may have a typographical error....
 

baywax

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ConradDJ there's another way to objectify and solidify whether or not there is an evolution of the laws of nature taking place and that would be by measuring changes within the laws themselves between say 1900 and 2000. If there is an evolution taking place and the changes that would come with it, the law of gravity, conservation laws etc... would show change over that 100 years. Mind you, the evolution of a natural law is probably measured in millions if not billions of years so the increments of change will be miniscule and would require pain staking observation and research. I only mention this idea because someone once said that all the theorems they learned in science, 30 years ago, have been proven to be wrong today. I wondered if this was not an indication that the natural laws had been evolving over that period of time rather than humans just getting it wrong all the time.:smile:
 

ConradDJ

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ConradDJ there's another way to objectify and solidify whether or not there is an evolution of the laws of nature taking place and that would be by measuring changes within the laws themselves between say 1900 and 2000.
Hi baywax... I just want to point out that the evolution of laws of physics doesn't necessarily mean that they have changed over time, in the sense you mean. I just posted a long note about this in another thread, you may be interested --

https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=2368754#post2368754"

Thanks -- Conrad
 
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