The theory of everything

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1. You could discover a new theory every single day for the next trillion years, and there will be plenty left to discover. Physics is inexhaustible,

2. and any attempts to lay a finite TOE definition down will result in failure.

3. It's not just the TOE that is forced to these rules, but all these physical systems. So how
are you going to tie these systems together when you will never fully understand any system? You can't and that is why people like Stephen Hawking is coming across. You will never explain all of the fundamentals experiments with a TOE, ever.
1. True. There are plenty of things which are too difficult to derive directly from the first principles. Take organic chemistry for example.

2. False, if by TOE we mean "the most deep (fundamental) theory"

3. You logic is wrong.

Finite set of Peano axioms defines a world of number theory - you can study all the consequences of these few axioms for, as you say, trillions years.

You can explain the rules of Chess game on a small piece of paper, and it keeps so many people occupied for so many years.

If you remember, there is even simpler thing, the "LIFE" game on an infinite board, simple rules, infinity of possibilities.

So an infinite complexiness of our world can be a result of a small set of TOE equations.
 
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Dmitry67 said:
So an infinite complexiness of our world can be a result of a small set of TOE equations.

This flies directly in the face of Goedel's incompleteness theorem. A mathematical equation that describes a complete and final theory. When you see that(as opposed to just musing over it), let me know.
 
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DaveC426913 said:
This is what I'm sayin'. Is this not https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=2113879&postcount=8"?


The TOE merely reconciles the 4 fundamental forces, no more.
...and those 4 forces give rise and constitute everything that was or ever will be in what we perceive as 'universe'. In principle, we should be able to derive and mathematically 'reconstruct' all the known phenomena if we have the solid basis of having a unified field. But i don't believe this, there are too many limitations and obscurities on the way. How can we find consciousness when an individual changes 98% of the atoms of his body in a year? The atoms in the molecules of the brain are said to change even sooner - every 6 months and the perception of preservation of the self in this process is astonishingly convincing.

It's amazing how arrogant humans can be - just 140 years ago our great grandparents didn't have electricity and were using candles and rode horses and carts and today we are already confident that we have the power to know all there is to know about the universe. I think we need to calm down and see if we can make it through to the next century first. As Michio Kaku says - the transition between type 0 civilisation and type 1 is the most perilous and the biggest challenge.
 
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SixNein

Gold Member
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It's amazing how arrogant humans can be - just 140 years ago our great grandparents didn't have electricity and were using candles and rode horses and carts and today we are already confident that we have the power to know all there is to know about the universe. I think we need to calm down and see if we can make it through to the next century first. As Michio Kaku says - the transition between type 0 civilisation and type 1 is the most perilous and the biggest challenge.
I think the limitations of physics is misunderstood by most people. We know almost nothing about our universe; however, people think they are so close to "reading the mind of God". While I find it comical sometimes, it's a very dangerous mindset for people to have. In many ways, science has made mankind weaker. Modern man is very depending on technology, and the technology is very fragile.

"I think we need to calm down and see if we can make it through to the next century first"

You have no idea how much I agree with this statement. This century has the appearance and feel of being dangerous. It's almost like a modern day version of 1348 is around the corner.
 

baywax

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Does not the idea of "uncertainty" do away with the idea of a "theory of everything"?

What I mean is, isn't it uncertain whether or not there is consistency throughout the universe? How could a theory encompass the unknown? Wouldn't it be the "theory of the unknown"?
 

apeiron

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It is a good point that our laws are likely to be local. Even in the history of our own universe they may have evolved to their present apparently stable state. And multiverse thinking is now standard, so how can you have a TOE that stands behind everything possible rather than just a TOE that is for our particular observable universe.

So an uber-TOE seems a tall order considered like that. But does that mean it has already been ruled out a priori by Godel?

No, if you accept the modelling relations argument of those who study epistemology. Godel just separated modelling into the bit that can be formalised and the bit that must remain informal (that is, the theory bit and the measurement/observation/axiom-forming bit).

So a TOE may be impractical but not formally impossible.

Thus when it comes to Godel, really the reaction should be - what a neat result. He used paradox to defeat the dream that logic is also reality. He reminded people that logic can only model reality.

The proper consequence of that is people should have then become more open-minded and questioning about the logics they were using. Physicists employ a certain brand of logic (one that is pinned to atomism, mechanicalism, locality, monadism, etc) and continue to have religious faith in it.

Within physics, there are those like Penrose who are openly Platonist. But the more common reaction to those who heard of Godel was to say they were then just going to be hard-nosed scientific empiricists - Hawking being a prime example of this camp.

However this is also just a way to employ the old logic in an unexamined fashion. An empiricist can say well, I'm using it, but I'm not actually commited to it as it is observation which really now drives me.

Godel demands a response, but not this one. What logic should be used for formulating putative TOEs seems a metaphysical question - which it is. But empiricism has been used to drive metaphysics out of the temple, leaving amateurs, like Hawking and Penrose, in charge. Not that they aren't good at the other stuff they do.
 
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I think physicists are too afraid of the implications of the Godel's theorem. Dont overestimate the power of Godel!

We dont have TOE equations yet, so lets take as an example a world of Turing machines as example.
The 'laws' of that world are simple and even more, they are deterministic.
Still, there are some statements (would the Turing machine ever stop for that combination of a program and data?) which can not be derived from the 'laws' of such universe.

Does Godel (well, itis more related to algorithmically indecidable statements, but it is closely related to Godel) in that universe ruin everything? no. Does it make that universe non deterinistic? no. Nothing to worry about.
 
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The proper consequence of that is people should have then become more open-minded and questioning about the logics they were using. Physicists employ a certain brand of logic (one that is pinned to atomism, mechanicalism, locality, monadism, etc) and continue to have religious faith in it.
Equating the science of physics with religion is as insulting as it is inaccurate. Physicists base their beliefs about the universe on obsevable phenomena, religions are based on fantastical opinion.

If you have faith in religion, you are welcome to it, but its not the same standard as science.
 
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Equating the science of physics with religion is as insulting as it is inaccurate. Physicists base their beliefs about the universe on obsevable phenomena, religions are based on fantastical opinion.

If you have faith in religion, you are welcome to it, but its not the same standard as science.
There may be some testable things:
http://www.scimednet.org/library/articlesN75+/N76Parnia_nde.htm [Broken]
 
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apeiron

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Replying to Dawg - wasn't it Hawking who spoke of knowing the mind of god, Einstein asserting that god doesn't play dice?

And if you read what I wrote, I was saying that physics too often stoops to faith-based positions, even as it adopts a holier-than-thou empiricist rhetoric.

Replying to Dmitry - I have a little inside knowledge of the NDE research as Fenwick confessed to me many years ago about the little operating room experiment he was running. Indeed, I've had the opportunity to follow psi research closely.

On the whole, you could say they do science to a higher standard than ordinary scientists. But even so, when they get results, I still put it down to artifact or fraud. And that would be an article of faith on my part as a determined sceptic! Even where I could not spot the trick, I still came away believing there must be one.
 
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Replying to Dawg - wasn't it Hawking who spoke of knowing the mind of god, Einstein asserting that god doesn't play dice?
Neither one has belief in a personal gawd, its a metaphor.
And if you read what I wrote, I was saying that physics too often stoops to faith-based positions, even as it adopts a holier-than-thou empiricist rhetoric.
I've met physics, he never stoops.

Empiricism works. When it stops working, we'll stop using it.
Faith has no predictive value. Might as well roll the dice.
 

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