What is the role of life in the universe?

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NeutronStar said:
I don't know anything about absurdism, but asking questions about the 'role' of life with respect to the universe is kind of absurd in a way don't you think? The whole idea of having a 'role' assumes some grand scheme of things in which to play a 'role'.
Perhaps we could say that life is an integral part of the universe, thus it has a significant influence on what happens. Perhaps we could change the question and ask instead how life fits into the universe? Or maybe even how it interacts with the universe?

Does life really have any meaning beyond those that experience it? Is life meaningful to a rock? Is life meaningful to a star? Certainly the opposite is true. Rocks and stars are meaningful to creatures that experience life. Therefore from the point of view of living things rocks and stars play an important 'role' to life.

But does life really play any 'role' at all with respect to rocks and stars?
When we study non-living matter, celestial bodies, particles or whatever, we usually ask how it interacts within the system. In this case we’re asking how living matter, and to be more specific, intelligent matter interacts within that very same system.

That's really what you are asking when you ask what 'role' life plays in the universe. It just seems to me that you are almost implying that the universe 'cares' whether or not life exists.
Does the question when changed to how does life interact with the universe suit you better?

Well, going back to the idea that I mentioned earlier,... if the universe becomes conscious of itself through living creatures then I'd say that this is the 'role' of life (with respect to the universe). And I've answered your question fairly thoroughly I would think.
So does the universe use life as a sort of personal consciousness? Collective consciousness? Or are you simply saying life can become conscious of an external universe?

On the other hand, if you tend to have a religious type of view that living creatures are some kind of independent 'souls' that are somehow independent of the universe and might live on in a spiritual form after they leave this universe then your question is moot. In that case, life has no 'role' with respect to the universe. It would only have a role with respect to this higher spiritual form and the universe would merely be a stage of smoke and mirrors (an illusion).
I’m not sure where you got the impression I was suggesting any religious or spiritual ideas. The only thing I’ve asked is whether life plays a role, and in respect to things which are independent of the universe, the only thing I’ve suggested is in the form of a multiverse.

So when you ask the question, "What is the role of life in the universe?" you really need to accompany that question with some sort of assumption of what you believe the universe to be. Is it a self-contained physical system? Or is it just an illusion created by a higher power? The answer to your question about 'roles' highly depends on your initial assumption.

Both situations are equally absurd to me by the way. :approve:
The universe doesn’t really care what I believe it to be, it is the way it is, and it’s up to all of us to figure out how it really is.
 
  • #27
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Vast said:
Does the question when changed to how does life interact with the universe suit you better?
Well, let's just say that it makes more semantic sense to me.

So does the universe use life as a sort of personal consciousness? Collective consciousness? Or are you simply saying life can become conscious of an external universe?
Since living creatures are part the universe I really can't see any division. Therefore if living creatures are conscious in a very real way the universe is conscious. How the whole "one-in-many" thing works I have no clue. But I think it's safe to say that I am this universe. As are all other living creatures.

I’m not sure where you got the impression I was suggesting any religious or spiritual ideas. The only thing I’ve asked is whether life plays a role, and in respect to things which are independent of the universe, the only thing I’ve suggested is in the form of a multiverse.
I didn't mean to imply that you were necessarily suggesting any religious or spiritual ideas, but your whole question beckons those considerations.

If the universe is all there is, then considering life to be the consciousness of the universe is a valid concept. On the other hand, if we think of life (consciousness in particular) as being something completely separate from physical existence, then this introduces the concept that we (conscious beings) may be something totally separate from a physical universe that may very possible be nothing more than an illusion.

The universe doesn’t really care what I believe it to be, it is the way it is, and it’s up to all of us to figure out how it really is.
This is true. But is it really up to anyone to figure it out? Some would argue that merely enjoying the experience of life is the ultimate tribute to life. Don't ask why, just appreciate the result.

I'm not really suggesting any particular philosophy. I'm just pointing out the logic. Why is it any more logical to think that we need to figure anything out, than it is to just assume that we should enjoy it for what it is?

Now, in my case (and probably yours) attempting to figure things out is enjoyable. So we are actually getting the best of both worlds.

But the bottom line is that it may well be impossible to figure out the true nature of the universe. And without knowing that it's anyone's guess what the 'role' of life might be.

Even to talk about 'interaction',… How does life 'interact' with the universe? Well from a purely physical point of view life has very little impact on the universe. In fact, it is so negligible that it may as well be ignored completely. The opposite is obviously quite different. The universe has a huge impact on life, and living things. So I'd say that from a physical point of view the 'interaction' of life with the universe is extremely lopsided.

Once again, moving on to the level of consciousness, and viewing life as a means of brining consciousness to the universe itself. Then life has an extreme impact on the universe because without life the universe would not be conscious of itself.

And finally, if we move into the realm of considering that consciousness might be 'external' to the physical universe then to ask who life 'interacts' with the universe is really asking the wrong question because in this scenario the universe is just an illusion and the real question should be, "How to living creatures interact with their pervader".

I just wanted to avoid using the word "creator". :biggrin:

After all, for all we really know, we may be our own pervader.

By the way, just like you, I also am pursuing these questions. Responding to this thread and considering these ideas is proof of my participation. o:)
 
  • #28
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NeutronStar said:
I don't know anything about absurdism, but asking questions about the 'role' of life with respect to the universe is kind of absurd in a way don't you think? The whole idea of having a 'role' assumes some grand scheme of things in which to play a 'role'.

Does life really have any meaning beyond those that experience it? Is life meaningful to a rock? Is life meaningful to a star? Certainly the opposite is true. Rocks and stars are meaningful to creatures that experience life. Therefore from the point of view of living things rocks and stars play an important 'role' to life.
Information theory tells us that entropy is related to information through probabilities, that the information content of an absolute certainty is zero, and more information is contained in the more improbable events. We learn nothing from a choice of an absolute given. There's no surprise in learning it. But if some highly unlikely event takes place, we sit up and take notice.

So if the information content of the universe as a whole must be conserved at zero, then there must be something in the universe to balance all the effects of entropy in the universe. If the expansion itself of the unverse is seen as an increase in entropy, then there must exist forces to reduce entropy. And life may be that counter-balance to entropy in the universe. Our purpose in life may be to perfect form and structure, at least that seems to be how we define progress.

from:
https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=371369&postcount=2
 
  • #29
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Mike2 said:
Information theory tells us that entropy is related to information through probabilities
I totally reject the notion that entropy is related to information. Entropy is a thermodynamic concept that has been grossly distorted into being related to information. I see absolutely no evidence for this. On the contrary I see very compelling evidence against it.

Now having said that, there are compelling arguments for relating entropy to information. However, those argument define "information" in ways that do not easily translate into what most laymen would mean by the word "information".

The other thing about entropy and information is that the whole concept came into being from a thermodynamic point of view based on an assumption of randomness and statistics.

But quons aren't random. (where quon refers to any fundamental particle). Fundamental particles already contain "information" that cannot changed. In other words, the whole biological thing was predetermined by the information contained in quons. It didn't arise from random statistics or information conservation as entropy would suggest.

The whole entropy/information thing is way overblown in my opinion. Entropy comes in handy for calculating potential energies (which is what it was designed for). But using it in conversations about the complexity of living things of how they came to be is totally irrelevant IMHO.

Although I will grant you that many prominent scientist have chosen to go down that path. I just think it is a totally misguided science.
So if the information content of the universe as a whole must be conserved at zero, then there must be something in the universe to balance all the effects of entropy in the universe. If the expansion itself of the universe is seen as an increase in entropy, then there must exist forces to reduce entropy. And life may be that counter-balance to entropy in the universe. Our purpose in life may be to perfect form and structure, at least that seems to be how we define progress.
This is precisely the type of silly talk that I'm referring to.

The fact that humans mass produce complex technological devices has absolutely no effect on the overall entropy of the universe at all. Our high-tech products, and our resulting thermodynamic waste is extremely local to planet earth. When our sun goes nova anything that humans have done will be completely erased for all intents and purposes. There simply won't be any net effect to the entropy of the universe as a whole because of our activities.

The idea that somehow we exist because the information content of the universe must be conserved is simply absurd. The evolution of life on earth has extremely local thermodynamic effects that cancel each other out. "Information" could have just as easily been conserved without any need at all for any biological activity.

I don't see where the concept of entropy even comes into play as an explanation for 'why' life might have evolved. We can, however, see why the evolution of life does not violate the thermodynamic laws of entropy. But that doesn't mean that life was somehow required to maintain the entropy of the universe.

That idea simply doesn't hold water.
 
  • #30
marcus
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Vast said:
Here’s a [URL [Broken] I wasn’t saying I’d found anything that truly refuted the theory, Susskind and Hawking seemed to make a pretty strong case against the black hole universe theory, mainly on points regarding the merging of black holes, I forget what Smolin’s argument is, maybe two universes merging into one?
I dont understand how there is a case against "black hole universe" idea based on black hole merger.

Recent analysis (like by Modesto, Hosain, ...) suggests that spacetime continues at the former-singularity and undergoes a bounce----that is, it re-expands. Conditions for inflation are present generically (Date, Hussain).

We dont know that the Loop gravity picture is true (of what goes on at center of black hole, or at big bang) or if the bounce is real. But this is the most detailed model we have of how space behaves at these events.


Indeed black holes do sometimes merge, and their inner regions (which used to be considered singularities, before quantization) merge.
If they merge then they merge, regardless. The consequences might well be awful to inhabitants if there were any, totally screwing up the physics of both universes, but that's the breaks. I hope it never happens to our universe.

I can only speculate as to what a merger between two black hole universes might be like. that seems like a good problem for theorists to work on AFTER they get a workable quantum gravity (theory of spacetime) and then build something like the Standard Model into that new framework.
the fundamental physical constants must be intrinsic to however space is represented. I dont see how two universes with different fundamental constants could ever blend, but if they have to blend then it is up to the possessors of a unified theory (a general relativistic quantum physics) to predict the outcome.

You say Smolin had some thoughts about this? I will take a look!
the link you give is this
http://www.edge.org/

Yes, this was a fascinating exchange and is worth re-reading
http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/smolin_susskind04/smolin_susskind.html

It is a lot to assimilate.

I especially like the last two letters where they are printed in two columns side-by-side (so neither has the last word!)

I found several of the arguments we have mentioned here. But I did not find susskind's argument about what happens when black holes merge. If you can tell me where on the page that is, i would appreciate.

I see where Smolin is discussing the possibility that several universes can exist in the pit of a black hole---perhaps like the distinct bubble regions of a multiverse. It looks like is saying that several distinct ("baby universe")regions could form from the bounce.
 
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  • #31
turbo
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marcus said:
I dont understand how there is a case against "black hole universe" idea based on black hole merger.

~SNIP~

I found several of the arguments we have mentioned here. But I did not find susskind's argument about what happens when black holes merge. If you can tell me where on the page that is, i would appreciate.
This passage is located in Susskind's paper: "I make a number of comments about Smolin's theory of Cosmic Natural Selection."

Susskind said:
The question of how many black holes are formed is somewhat ambiguous. What if two black holes coalesce to form a single one. Does that count as one black hole or two? Strictly speaking, given that black holes are defined by the global geometry, it is only one black hole. What happens if all the stars in the galaxy eventually fall into the central black hole? That severely diminishes the counting. So we better assume that the bigger the black hole, the more babies it will have. Perhaps one huge black hole spawns more offspring that 1022 stellar black holes.
From the final (side by side) statements:

Susskind said:
Anyone who has read the recent New York Times article by Dennis Overbye knows that the ultimate fate of information falling into a black hole was the subject of an long debate involving Stephen Hawking, myself, the famous Dutch physicist Gerard 't Hooft and many other well known physicists. Hawking believed that information does disappear behind the horizon, perhaps into a baby universe. This would be consistent with Smolin's idea that offspring universes, inside the black hole, remember at least some of the details of the mother universe. My own view and 't Hooft's was that nothing can be lost from the outside world—not a single bit.
I find this statement to be a bit tough to take. Indeed, "nothing can be lost from the outside world"? If a black hole strips the matter from an orbiting star, and that matter ends up on the opposite side of the BH's event horizon, then matter (and the information that it represents) has disappeared from our universe. In contrast, Hawking radiation - promotion of virtual particles to real status just outside the event horizon, results in a net gain of information in our universe, if we regard virtual pairs as quantum probabilities and real particles as information-bearing entities. Susskind is a smart man, and he drags 't Hooft (a Nobel laureate) in as ballast for his ideas on this point, but I sense a disconnect in his definition of "information". Perhaps it arises from some fundamental differences in the way information is handled in String and QFT as opposed to GR.
 
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  • #32
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I was hearing at the BBC this weekend an interview with James Lovelock, the crator of the Gaia hypothesis, I wonder if some other PF member heard this interview
If you don't know what's about (improbable), its the fact of treating the Earth as a living system able of autoregulation. Wikipedia gives the definition of Gaia according to Lovelock:
"a complex entity involving the Earth's biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_theory
I will like to hear opinions of PF members about this, and about the possibility of other high scale structures having life as one of their characteristics

I find interesting that Wikipedia says that there's a distinction between strong Gaia theories and weak Gaia theories
 
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  • #33
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NeutronStar said:
The fact that humans mass produce complex technological devices has absolutely no effect on the overall entropy of the universe at all. Our high-tech products, and our resulting thermodynamic waste is extremely local to planet earth. When our sun goes nova anything that humans have done will be completely erased for all intents and purposes. There simply won't be any net effect to the entropy of the universe as a whole because of our activities.

The idea that somehow we exist because the information content of the universe must be conserved is simply absurd. The evolution of life on earth has extremely local thermodynamic effects that cancel each other out. "Information" could have just as easily been conserved without any need at all for any biological activity.

I don't see where the concept of entropy even comes into play as an explanation for 'why' life might have evolved. We can, however, see why the evolution of life does not violate the thermodynamic laws of entropy. But that doesn't mean that life was somehow required to maintain the entropy of the universe.

That idea simply doesn't hold water.
Two questions:

What is the probability that a universe exists? The only alternative to something (the universe) is NOTHING. In other words, there is no alternative. So the probability of the universe existing is 100%. Right?

Is the complex structure of life an increase of entropy or a reduction of entropy?
 
  • #34
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Mike2 said:
What is the probability that a universe exists? The only alternative to something (the universe) is NOTHING. In other words, there is no alternative. So the probability of the universe existing is 100%. Right?
This would be like saying that since I don't play the lottery I can't lose, therefore I must win if I don't play! :biggrin:

This is just a very bad application of probability theory.
Is the complex structure of life an increase of entropy or a reduction of entropy?
Life? Just exactly what is it that you are calling life? Are you merely looking at the final product of a living creature, or are you including all of the processes that come together to form life?

If you are looking at the entire process I'd have to say that life doesn't represent either an increase or reduction of entropy. If all the processes involved with the production of a living thing are accounted for the total entropy would be conserved.

You can't just look at a complex animal and say, "Hey that thing is really complicated". You have to look at all of the thermodynamic processes that are involved to produce it and maintain it. Things like respiration, and chemical conversions, waste materials, etc, etc, etc. Once all of these things have been accounted for there is no net change in the entropy of the entire system save for the heat dissipated which will inevitiably increase the entropy of the entire system. So looking at the whole process, life actually increases entropy just like everything else.
 
  • #35
turbo
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Mike2 said:
Two questions:

What is the probability that a universe exists? The only alternative to something (the universe) is NOTHING. In other words, there is no alternative. So the probability of the universe existing is 100%. Right?

Is the complex structure of life an increase of entropy or a reduction of entropy?
According to your post above, the existence of something with a 100% probablility of existence holds NO information. Must we therefore assume that NO information is encoded in the existence of our universe? Do you somehow need to total up the information contained in our universe and arrive at a grand total of NO infomation? Just wondering where this might go...:rolleyes:
 
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  • #36
turbo
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NeutronStar said:
This would be like saying that since I don't play the lottery I can't lose, therefore I must win if I don't play! :biggrin:
A very good friend of mine once told me that he was way overdue to win the state lottery. Like a sucker, I fell right into it and asked him why he thought this might be true, and he told me that since you either win or lose when you play, it was a 50:50 proposition, and he hadn't won yet despite playing every week for several years. :bugeye:
 
  • #37
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Mike2 said:
What is the probability that a universe exists? The only alternative to something (the universe) is NOTHING. In other words, there is no alternative. So the probability of the universe existing is 100%. Right?
NeutronStar said:
This would be like saying that since I don't play the lottery I can't lose, therefore I must win if I don't play! :biggrin:
OK then, what is 100% certain? It is only those things without alternatives, only those truths that are a tautology. You've not mentioned what alternatives could possibly exist to the existence of the universe. I think it is a no-brainer to assert the 100% certainty that the universe exists. We simply haven't examined the consequences of that yet.
 
  • #38
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turbo-1 said:
According to your post above, the existance of something with a 100% probablility of existance holds NO information. Must we therefore assume that NO information is encoded in the existance of our universe? Do you somehow need to total up the information contained in our universe and arrive at a grand total of NO infomation? Just wondering where this might go...:rolleyes:
That's how I read it.

Let's see. If the entropy of the universe as a whole always increases, then where does that leave the uncertainty of its continuted existence? Does the uncertainty increase or decrease? Is it possible that the universe may one day pop out of existence?
 
  • #39
marcus
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turbo-1 said:
This passage is located in Susskind's paper: "I make a number of comments about Smolin's theory of Cosmic Natural Selection."

[quote from paragraph 8 of Susskind 29 July paper]

From the final (side by side) statements:

[quote about Overbye, Gerald 't Hooft, etc etc. information that goes in hole cant be lost]

I find this statement to be a bit tough to take. Indeed, "nothing can be lost from the outside world"? If a black hole strips the matter from an orbiting star, and that matter ends up on the opposite side of the BH's event horizon, then matter (and the information that it represents) has disappeared from our universe. In contrast, Hawking radiation - promotion of virtual particles to real status just outside the event horizon, results in a net gain of information in our universe, if we regard virtual pairs as quantum probabilities and real particles as information-bearing entities. Susskind is a smart man, and he drags 't Hooft (a Nobel laureate) in as ballast for his ideas on this point, but I sense a disconnect in his definition of "information". Perhaps it arises from some fundamental differences in the way information is handled in String and QFT as opposed to GR.
Turbo, thanks for pointing me to the right spot. I see that the two black holes coallescing business is harmless. It's just a quibble about how you do the statistics, or indicates Susskind hasnt understood the CNS idea.
If you stipulate in the model that for one hole you get one baby universe then the model will predict parameters that maximize the total number of holes formed----the total number of galaxies times the average number of holes per galaxy.

About the information loss point----your second quote---Smolin answered that in his half of the side-by-side statement. I will bold the relevant passage about information preservation or loss.

---quote---
The rest of this note concerns Susskind's comments about black holes. He says, "...we have learned some things about black holes over the last decade that even Stephen Hawking agrees with [13]. Black holes do not lose information." From this he draws the conclusion that "the quantum state of the offspring is completely unique and can have no memory of the initial state. That would preclude the kind of slow mutation rate envisioned by Smolin."


This is the central point, as Susskind is asserting that black holes cannot play the role postulated in CNS, without contradicting the principles of quantum theory and results from string theory. I am sure he is wrong about this. I would like to carefully explain why. This question turns out to rest on key issues in the quantum theory of gravity, which many string theorists, coming from a particle physics background, have insufficiently appreciated.


The discussion about black holes "losing information" concerns processes in which a black hole forms and then evaporates. Hawking had conjectured in 1974 that information about the initial state of the universe is lost when this happens. Susskind and others have long argued that this cannot be true, otherwise the basic laws of quantum physics would break down.


As Hawking initially formulated the problem, the black hole would evaporate completely, leaving a universe identical to the initial one, but with less information. This could indeed be a problem, but this is not the situation now under discussion. The present discussion is about cases in which a black hole singularity has bounced, leading to the creation of a new region of spacetime to the future of where the black hole singularity would have been. In the future there are two big regions of space, the initial one and the new one. If this occurs then some of the information that went into the black hole could end up in the new region of space. It would be "lost" from the point of view of an observer in the original universe, but not "destroyed", for it resides in the new universe or in correlations between measurements in the two universes.


The first point to make is that if this happens it does not contradict the laws of quantum mechanics. Nothing we know about quantum theory forbids a situation in which individual observers do not have access to complete information about the quantum state. Much of quantum information theory and quantum cryptography is about such situations. Generalizations of quantum theory that apply to such situations have been developed and basic properties such as conservation of energy and probability are maintained. Using methods related to those developed in quantum information theory, Markopoulou and collaborators have shown how to formulate quantum cosmology so that it is sensible even if the causal structure is non-trivial so that no observer can have access to all the information necessary to reconstruct the quantum state [c]. Information is never lost — but it is not always accessible to every observer.


So there is nothing to worry about: nothing important from quantum physics [d] is lost if baby universes are created in black holes and some information about the initial state of the universe ends up there.


A second point is that there is good reason to believe that in quantum gravity information accessible to local observers decoheres in any case, because of the lack of an ideal clock. In particle physics time is treated in an ideal manner and the clock is assumed to be outside of the quantum system studied. But when we apply quantum physics to the universe as a whole we cannot assume this: the clock must be part of the system studied. As pointed out independently by Milburn [e] and by Gambini, Porto and Pullin [f], this has consequences for the issue of loss of information. The reason is that quantum mechanical uncertainties come into the reading of the clock — so we cannot know exactly how much physical time is associated with the motion of the clock's hands. So if we ask what the quantum state is when the clock reads a certain time, there will be additional statistical uncertainties which grow with time. (In spite of this, energy and probability are both conserved.) But, as shown by Gambini, Porto and Pullin, even using the best possible clock, these uncertainties will dominate over any loss of information trapped in a black hole. This means that even if information is lost in black hole evaporation, no one could do an experiment with a real physical clock that could show it.


I believe this answers the worries about quantum theory, but I haven't yet addressed Susskind's assertion that "we have learned some things about black holes over the last decades. Black holes do not lose information."


I've found that to think clearly and objectively about issues in string theory it is necessary to first carefully distinguish conjectures from the actual results. Thus, over the last few years I've taken the time to carefully read the literature and keep track of what has actually been shown about the key conjectures of string theory. The results are described in two papers [g].


In this case, I am afraid it is simply not true that the actual results in string theory — as opposed to so far unproven conjectures — support Susskind's assertions [h]....
---end quote---
 
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  • #40
turbo
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Mike2 said:
That's how I read it.

Let's see. If the entropy of the universe as a whole always increases, then where does that leave the uncertainty of its continuted existence? Does the uncertainty increase or decrease? Is it possible that the universe may one day pop out of existence?
It would seem that given your model of information, the universe cannot ever cease to exist. It is 100% guaranteed to exist (with an information value of exactly zero) and unless the "information value" of the universe somehow increases, the likelihood of its demise has to be nil. This implies a static infinite universe. I certainly don't have any trouble with such a cosmology, but this model of information has some severe implications for the standard big bang model!
 
  • #41
turbo
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marcus said:
The discussion about black holes "losing information" concerns processes in which a black hole forms and then evaporates. Hawking had conjectured in 1974 that information about the initial state of the universe is lost when this happens. Susskind and others have long argued that this cannot be true, otherwise the basic laws of quantum physics would break down.

As Hawking initially formulated the problem, the black hole would evaporate completely, leaving a universe identical to the initial one, but with less information. This could indeed be a problem, but this is not the situation now under discussion. The present discussion is about cases in which a black hole singularity has bounced, leading to the creation of a new region of spacetime to the future of where the black hole singularity would have been. In the future there are two big regions of space, the initial one and the new one. If this occurs then some of the information that went into the black hole could end up in the new region of space. It would be "lost" from the point of view of an observer in the original universe, but not "destroyed", for it resides in the new universe or in correlations between measurements in the two universes.

The first point to make is that if this happens it does not contradict the laws of quantum mechanics. Nothing we know about quantum theory forbids a situation in which individual observers do not have access to complete information about the quantum state. Much of quantum information theory and quantum cryptography is about such situations. Generalizations of quantum theory that apply to such situations have been developed and basic properties such as conservation of energy and probability are maintained. Using methods related to those developed in quantum information theory, Markopoulou and collaborators have shown how to formulate quantum cosmology so that it is sensible even if the causal structure is non-trivial so that no observer can have access to all the information necessary to reconstruct the quantum state [c]. Information is never lost — but it is not always accessible to every observer.
I would argue for the relativistic situation (which may be contained as a subset of Fotini M.'s work) that information may be lost or gained in our reference frame but that this is not a simple zero-sum game. There is not a simple accounting that can be made saying that information no longer available in one reference frame is automatically available in another.
 
  • #42
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turbo-1 said:
It would seem that given your model of information, the universe cannot ever cease to exist. It is 100% guaranteed to exist (with an information value of exactly zero) and unless the "information value" of the universe somehow increases, the likelihood of its demise has to be nil. This implies a static infinite universe. I certainly don't have any trouble with such a cosmology, but this model of information has some severe implications for the standard big bang model!
I don't get the implication of a static infinite universe. First of all, I don't think it would be possible to even calculate information for an infinite universe. And because of entanglement of all particles I don't think it depends on the size of the universe or the speed of expansion.

NeutronStar said:
This would be like saying that since I don't play the lottery I can't lose, therefore I must win if I don't play!
No, it's more like: I can guarantee a winner as long as someone plays the game.
 
  • #43
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Mike2 said:
No, it's more like: I can guarantee a winner as long as someone plays the game.
Well, in the case of the lottery even that conclusion would be incorrect. There are often times when no one wins even though thousands of people may have played.

I just don't get your original premise that it would be impossible for the universe not to exist. Yet you seem to have absolutely no problem accepting that idea that information does not exist. (i.e. you claim that the total information of the universe must be zero)

Why would it be impossible for the universe not to exist? Just because you personally view the idea of NOTHING as an impossibility?

I personally find it much more impossible that anything exists at all. Yet it obviously does. The universe is impossibe yet it exists, and that's the mystery. A mystery that I dare say no human will ever know the anwser to. At least not via the use of logical reasoning, because whatever the answer is, it must necessarily be illogical.
 
  • #44
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marcus said:
I dont understand how there is a case against "black hole universe" idea based on black hole merger.

Recent analysis (like by Modesto, Hosain, ...) suggests that spacetime continues at the former-singularity and undergoes a bounce----that is, it re-expands. Conditions for inflation are present generically (Date, Hussain).

We dont know that the Loop gravity picture is true (of what goes on at center of black hole, or at big bang) or if the bounce is real. But this is the most detailed model we have of how space behaves at these events.


Indeed black holes do sometimes merge, and their inner regions (which used to be considered singularities, before quantization) merge.
If they merge then they merge, regardless. The consequences might well be awful to inhabitants if there were any, totally screwing up the physics of both universes, but that's the breaks. I hope it never happens to our universe.

I can only speculate as to what a merger between two black hole universes might be like. that seems like a good problem for theorists to work on AFTER they get a workable quantum gravity (theory of spacetime) and then build something like the Standard Model into that new framework.
the fundamental physical constants must be intrinsic to however space is represented. I dont see how two universes with different fundamental constants could ever blend, but if they have to blend then it is up to the possessors of a unified theory (a general relativistic quantum physics) to predict the outcome.
This is just my personal opinion, and it may not mean much, but in the speech by Stephen Hawking given at the GR17 conference he made the statement that whatever enters a black hole remains firmly within our own universe. Now even though there’s nothing conclusive yet and I think even Kip Thorne has not yet reached any definite answer, I find that theories of space and time make much more sense if black holes are nothing more than regions of space, which have undergone extreme warping.

I think its good that physicist explore different theories, and not necessarily confine themselves to one particular model. This argument between Smolin and Susskind shows how concepts can generate devotion to one particular idea instead of being flexible and considering all the different theories.

Not only do I not understand CNS all that well myself, but I also have my doubts that fine-tuning is involved within the universe.
 
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meteor said:
I was hearing at the BBC this weekend an interview with James Lovelock, the crator of the Gaia hypothesis, I wonder if some other PF member heard this interview
If you don't know what's about (improbable), its the fact of treating the Earth as a living system able of autoregulation. Wikipedia gives the definition of Gaia according to Lovelock:
"a complex entity involving the Earth's biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_theory
I will like to hear opinions of PF members about this, and about the possibility of other high scale structures having life as one of their characteristics

I find interesting that Wikipedia says that there's a distinction between strong Gaia theories and weak Gaia theories
My first reaction to this theory, (and I’ve only really come across it a few times) is that many different organism cannot essentially act as one single organism, or behave the same way as an individual organism. Earth is however an ecosystem and it does function together, but I think in a very different way than the individual parts of an organism function together. To me there seems to be a greater degree of organization in an organism, if you look for organization in an ecosystem, you will find patterns, but probably not any organization.
 
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NeutronStar said:
Well, in the case of the lottery even that conclusion would be incorrect. There are often times when no one wins even though thousands of people may have played.
Well, I was assuming of course that the probabilities were distributed amongst the players, so that even if only one player bought a ticked he was sure to win.

NeutronStar said:
I just don't get your original premise that it would be impossible for the universe not to exist. Yet you seem to have absolutely no problem accepting that idea that information does not exist. (i.e. you claim that the total information of the universe must be zero)

Why would it be impossible for the universe not to exist? Just because you personally view the idea of NOTHING as an impossibility?
Here's an argument that should put the matter to rest: When the universe was the size of an atom, no one has any trouble understanding that it would have been described by a single wave equation, complicated as that may be. We are told that the universe was at this quantum size for a short time where it expanded faster than light during inflation. So all the time the universe was at the size of the quantum scale, it was described by a single wave function THAT WAS NORMALIZED TO 1. At what size, then, did that normalization cease to be in effect?

NeutronStar said:
I personally find it much more impossible that anything exists at all. Yet it obviously does. The universe is impossibe yet it exists, and that's the mystery. A mystery that I dare say no human will ever know the anwser to. At least not via the use of logical reasoning, because whatever the answer is, it must necessarily be illogical.
You've gone off the deep end here. Now you're claiming the universe is illogical. Nothing is so absurd. But even if it were so, that would have nothing to do with things after the universe came into being. For now that it does exist, it is impossible for it to cease to exist. Its existence as a whole is a 100% certainty.
 
  • #47
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I don't think his coacervates are still considered part of the early history of life. Rather than trying to mimic cell walls, reseachers are now thinking of two-base RNA's and self-catilyzing molecules.
However, Oparin theory is still considered a possibility, i deduce it from this web
http://library.thinkquest.org/28343/prebio.html
"One of the reasons that Oparin's theory remains sound, is that as a hypothesis, it could be proved wrong"

Maybe Oparin theory has to compete with the with the two-base RNA theory that you're saying, and also with a theory proposed by Lake in 1988

"The January 16, 1988 Science News carried an article proposing another idea for the formation of life on earth. James A. Lake, a molecular biologist at UCLA, proposed that all living things evolved from a single-celled organism which lived in boiling sulfur springs"
http://www.georgiasouthern.edu/~etmcmull/CHEM.htm [Broken]
 
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  • #50
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Your question could be turned around to ask "what is the role of the universe in life?"

The question your orignially proposed goes on the presumption that there is a dualistic nature to the universe, meaning that there is a physical and mental realities . The question also puts consciousenss as a secondary phenomena, which if one subscribes to the anthropic principal is unrealistic.

I can question the "physical" nature of the universe just as you can question the "mental" nature of the universe. Once again duality stalks about and then one has to ask as to whether there really is an "inner" and "outer" world of physical and mantal phenomena which is still a hotley debated issue in philosophy.
 

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