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Some musings

  1. May 3, 2003 #1


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    Ok, I wondered about something...

    If determinism is true, then information must exist in the universe for all events. Correct? Then, if we look at the Big Bang, where all existence was concentrated in one entity, wouldn't this mean that in this single tiny entity there muct be contained an infinite amount of information?

    How can this be possible?
    This implies that at least one of the following must be true:

    1. The universe is not deterministic.
    2. The universe is not a closed system - external information input.
    3. The Big Bang did not occur.
    4. Infinite compression of data is possible.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2003 #2
    "Infinite" might be a slight exaggeration, thus you have a forth more reasonable choice. As for how it is possible, I have two children thanks to something smaller than the eye can see. According to String theory, scale itself may be simply relative.
  4. May 3, 2003 #3
    I would choose "number 2" according to what wuliheron is saying, for that would account for how his children grew from "little specks of nothing."
  5. May 3, 2003 #4
    i agree with wuliheron, the amount of information contained in the history of the whole universe would be impressively massive, but not infinite. i have often thouhgt about this (usually drunk however), it's a wonderful idea that everything that is/happens was once a singularity, and will probably end up as one aswell.
  6. May 3, 2003 #5
    Simple answer: determinism in the absolute sense is not true.

    What law claims that the information content of the universe should be maintained?

    Some comment on the Universe and closed system:
    We can call the universe a system, but I think we can not apply the term open or closed meaningfully to the universe, only for partial systems. A closed system has a boundary, is limited in some way. The universe has no boundary and is not limited in any way. But it neither an "open" system in the sense that something can go in or out from/to "outside". The universe has no "outside", everything is withing the universe. The term "open" and "closed" can only be meaningfull to systems that have a boundary with other systems. The universe by definition has no boundary with other systems.
  7. May 4, 2003 #6


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    Well, determism assumes that given enough observation, anything that will happen can be predicted. If we combine this with a postulate for an never ending universe, even if it is one where nothing happens towards the end, it means that somewhere out there must lie the information for what will happen tommorrow, next week, centuries... from today, all the way up to infinity. Hence, we have infinite data in the universe. Unless if I made a mistake somewhere...
  8. May 4, 2003 #7
    Why would it necessarily-require an infinite-ammount of data to predict any event? Doesn't this infer that there are an infinite number of 'entities' (particles) interacting within the universe at any given time? But how would you support such a notion?
  9. May 5, 2003 #8

    Another God

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    Lifegazer has a good point.

    Just because determinism means that ..well..the history and future of the entire universe maybe predicted from one bit of information, doesn't mean that the info is contained within that one bit...

    just think of a maths equation. One small sequence of relations can give a whole crap load of information. This is how I think of a deterministic universe. Its a really cool maths equation. Like REALLY cool. And all you need to do, is input a variable, and then suddenly, at that given variable (most likely time=t) the universe can be shown.
  10. May 5, 2003 #9
    Number four. Actually, when you think about it, the singularity (from which the Universe is supposed to have expanded) is often assumed to have been of infinite density.

    Also, according to string theory, the information could have been stored in both wound and vibrational strings, and thus the universe need not have been infinitely dense. IOW, the universe would be both expanding and contracting (at the same time), and thus the infinite information would never really have to "compress", because it would (at the same time) be decompressing.
  11. May 6, 2003 #10
    Following wuli and others, I would think that statement 4 is exaggerated - the total amount of information in the universe is large but not necessary infinite.

    Leibniz had something quite similar in mind in his theory of monads in relation to his deterministic worldview: the central idea is that each single piece of the universe contains information about the whole history of the whole of the universe, if we are good enough in algebra to work it out.

    the world is composed of monads; no two monads are identical; (a monad is not equivalent to an atom or a subatomic particle); each single monad contains all the information about all the other monads in the universe; a 'possible world' is the total set of 'compossible' monads; (we live in the best of all possible worlds, thanks to God); no two monads are identical even across different possible worlds; the monads don't interact with each other, but act harmoniously (thanks to God) as if influenced by each other; an omniscient entity such as God could see the past, present and future of the whole universe simply by looking into any one monad; etc. etc.
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