# Why something rather than nothing?

apeiron
Gold Member
This is why I suggested Frank's paper. It talks about why random local processes - like tossing the needle - are indistinguishable from an aggregation of deterministic local processes.

You see the same story with fractals. The same patterns can be generated using random processes or deterministic iterative equations.

There is something important going here that could be related to physical theory - the existence of local symmetries (as in gauge symmetries of particle physics) within the self-organising contexts of global constraints (as in soliton models of particles).

But I don't see random numbers as being the key. Rather it is the deeper principles of symmetries and symmetry-breaking.

baywax
Gold Member
abstract truths are dependent on concrete reality,
An event (like an object) generates a stimulus which is then received by neuronal receptors which is then interpreted as information about the event. What comes first? The stimulus or the information?

To say that numbers are eternal and atemporal is incorrect since a number is an assigned description of a phenomenon like an event. The assignment is performed by the brain. When the brain discontinues in its very temporal way... the number also discontinues. But the event may or may not continue indefinitely.

So I'd have to say that the event is the primary function. It is the driver of the process. The information about the event is generated by the stimulus of the event and may not, in any way, properly describe the event... except to the satisfaction of the observer... re: brain.

How does that relate to information theory? I don't see the connection.

It's information that you are perceiving as the classical macro world. The question is whether the 'filter' and interpreter found inside one's brain is objectifying the incoming data correctly 1:1. Anyone can see that how we view the macro world is also part of how we are structured, dependent on frames of reference, eyes' resolution, etc. Essentially, what we use for measurement/observation is influencing how we interpret the outside world.

But anyway, I believe that quantum fields are vague potential. They then develop into crisply dichotomised classical states via decoherence.

Doesn't this make your 'world' just as abstract and dependent on your perception as i implied in my previous post?

A photon exchange was seen to occur crisply here, and equally crisply not here, not here, nor even over here. (So signal~noise in that one locale is chosen, all the other a priori equally-likely locales discarded).

Just because classical reality is not the complete story, that does not make QM the complete story. Instead, what we want to do is see how they are complementary aspects of the one larger story.

Just asking the question of "what could be the prime mover" is a very classical phrasing of causality, by the way. As I say, I prefer to break up this mystery by putting all the potential in the beginning (vagueness, QM vagueness even). Then putting all the teleological purpose in the future (classical reality exists to decohere quantum vagueness, take its raw unformed potential and collapse it to crisply taken history).

Uncertainty certainly exists in nature, but it is severely constrained (by the classical structure of the universe). Properties like mass, length, speed and energy are 99.99...% fixed on the whole. The only way to observe QM fuzziness or vagueness is to isolate some aspect of the universe. To hold back the weight of classical constraint that wants to decohere everything it touches.

That is why QM experiments need chilled equipment, isolation from interference, all sorts of artificial stuff. The world wants to be as classical as possible.

QM is not the fundamental stuff of reality (and so the classical realm some kind of delusion). QM is just the vague stuff out of which crisp reality arises.

OK, let me put the question differently, as it seems i wasn't able to get my message across last time - what is the something found in the OP? Potential?

Without agreement over what a 'something' is, this discussion isn't going anywhere. And as far as i have been able research it, those who are working on a TOE don't know either. How would the proposed strings/loops create exactly the objects i see in front of me and the spacetime around them?

We have to agree first what a something is, do you agree? And everyone in the physics community seems to have a different interpretation on this issue, so it becomes as much a religion as the suggestion that reality might be made out of math, information or be simulated.

How is your belief that abstract potentials constrained by global laws are creating the netbook on my desk different than the 'religion' you accused some of the members here?

apeiron
Gold Member
How is your belief that abstract potentials constrained by global laws are creating the netbook on my desk different than the 'religion' you accused some of the members here?
It is not about beliefs but about models. So I propose a particular modelling approach in rivalry to other modelling approaches. Religion would instead be about belief, revelation and other such non-modelling concepts.

So I'm afraid we are not even on the same page here.

It is not about beliefs but about models. So I propose a particular modelling approach in rivalry to other modelling approaches. Religion would instead be about belief, revelation and other such non-modelling concepts.

So I'm afraid we are not even on the same page here.

It's about beliefs that an untestable model is true. Unless we found evidence what a 'something' really is(i.e. one of the interpretations won over the others, or a TOE emerges somehow within our lifetime), any model is simply a proposition. It can be wrong or right, but there is no way to confirm it at this time. You can ascribe the 'religion' label to any interpretation of qm, including yours that seems to be based around decoherence.

The 'something' needs to be precisely defined first, then it might be possible to discuss and find a solution to the OP "why something rather than nothing".

apeiron
Gold Member
It's about beliefs that an untestable model is true. Unless we found evidence what a 'something' really is(i.e. one of the interpretations won over the others, or a TOE emerges somehow within our lifetime), any model is simply a proposition. It can be wrong or right, but there is no way to confirm it at this time. You can ascribe the 'religion' label to any interpretation of qm, including yours that seems to be based around decoherence.

The 'something' needs to be precisely defined first, then it might be possible to discuss and find a solution to the OP "why something rather than nothing".
No, models are tied to measurements - to predictions. They also serve purposes. So the degree to which they work is an issue of pragmatics not ontology.

We don't need to know what "really is" to have something we feel "really works".

Interpretations of QM are of course strictly speaking superflous to the model itself. But to make better models, we would need interpretations that point in the direction of some more comprehensive model (with a new level of measurement to match).

You could call the discussion of interpretations meta-physics - the scoping out of the next step. It would only be a religion if we made these further choices as a matter of unsupported belief or divine authority.

No, models are tied to measurements - to predictions. They also serve purposes. So the degree to which they work is an issue of pragmatics not ontology.

It's the opposite, as your model seems to claim to describe all reality which would be an issue of ontology. We cannot comment on why there is something rather than nothing wthout some kind of ontology at hand.

If your proposed model only addressed certain narrow aspects of reality, without making general claims how everything works together, then yes, you could say your model has something worthwhile to say that could hint at something, without straying into religion/philosophy territories.

We don't need to know what "really is" to have something we feel "really works".

True, but this is not enough to adderess the OP question. We need a kind of knowledge that simply isn't there at all.

Interpretations of QM are of course strictly speaking superflous to the model itself. But to make better models, we would need interpretations that point in the direction of some more comprehensive model (with a new level of measurement to match).

You could call the discussion of interpretations meta-physics - the scoping out of the next step. It would only be a religion if we made these further choices as a matter of unsupported belief or divine authority.
You were the one who suggested that the proposition that mathematics could be at the basis of all reality was a 'religous movement'. I think your model, and any other for that matter, is currently in exactly the same boat. Let's not turn this into - 'my untestable proposition is better than yours because it seems to make more intuitive sense to me'.

An event (like an object) generates a stimulus which is then received by neuronal receptors which is then interpreted as information about the event. What comes first? The stimulus or the information?

To say that numbers are eternal and atemporal is incorrect since a number is an assigned description of a phenomenon like an event. The assignment is performed by the brain. When the brain discontinues in its very temporal way... the number also discontinues. But the event may or may not continue indefinitely.

So I'd have to say that the event is the primary function. It is the driver of the process. The information about the event is generated by the stimulus of the event and may not, in any way, properly describe the event... except to the satisfaction of the observer... re: brain.
Number corresponds to both a concept in the brain as well as to a quality known as quantity(in terms of time, length or objects, etc) that exists independent of the brain, and is a property of things, such as the physical world. It is ridiculous to say that without the brain different quantities do not exist, and this is what is described in part when one uses the word 'number'. One could argue that quantities could exist even without any material representation, as it is conceivable that the possibility of say there being 3 as a possible quantity does not depend on any particular thing*(There can be 3 seconds, 3 meters, 3 apples, 3 empty spaces, 3 relationships, etc).

A number is both a concept as well as the description of the observed eventuality of there being a number of some thing not only in the world but even in mathematics. I would also say that mathematics can also be considered eternal, as even without brains relationships described by it will not cease to exist. Mathematics can be considered to be discovered not created, even if the ideas found are forgotten they can be rediscovered. So if they were erased from all books and thus were not found written in any medium yet were found again at a later date, is it not that they exist independent of the physical? For example, if a particular theorem is proven, and forgotten, it is impossible for someone who starts with the same premises later to prove this false and arrive at another theorem that contradicts it.

E.g. Physical phenomena is described by mathematics, even if humans all died, it wouldn't change the fact that the relationships, and interactions are related in the mathematical way used to describe them. One could also say that even if the physical ceased to exist, the abstract idea of a simulation indistinguishable from the real world would also be described by these mathematics... and as this simulation can be discovered and rediscovered independently again and again, it would seem to have an existence outside of the concrete world.

apeiron
Gold Member
It's the opposite, as your model seems to claim to describe all reality which would be an issue of ontology. We cannot comment on why there is something rather than nothing wthout some kind of ontology at hand.

If your proposed model only addressed certain narrow aspects of reality, without making general claims how everything works together, then yes, you could say your model has something worthwhile to say that could hint at something, without straying into religion/philosophy territories.
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I don't see any validity in this at all. Although I have no problem straying into the territory of philosophy (which is modelling). It is the religion charge that does not stick.

Yes, what I am talking about here is a model of causality - a logic. A general model of how things, anything, happening.

You were the one who suggested that the proposition that mathematics could be at the basis of all reality was a 'religous movement'. I think your model, and any other for that matter, is currently in exactly the same boat. Let's not turn this into - 'my untestable proposition is better than yours because it seems to make more intuitive sense to me'.
A model of causality is testable. It is tested against reality. And where we get beyond measurements (as pre-big bang probably) then we can extrapolate. That is what you are doing (though probably not with complete consistency as I point out in the action~reaction thread). I say a different model of causality yields different expectations about philosophical questions such as why something rather than a nothing.

qsa
But I don't see random numbers as being the key. Rather it is the deeper principles of symmetries and symmetry-breaking.
You are getting close now. Random numbers ooze symmetries. Average a number of throws you get the same average whether 100 times or 1000000 times. Like you said, this is the beauty of random, chaotic but fully deterministic in the end (average, geometric average ....Frank’s), you will get p=1/6 for each face on a dice in the end. In my model in 3D, any point (not constraint) pulses lines everywhere and if you go on a surface of a ball around it you see the same thing. The EM I told you about is nothing but random numbers symmetry in action. I will have more on all of this later.

baywax
Gold Member
Number corresponds to both a concept in the brain as well as to a quality known as quantity(in terms of time, length or objects, etc) that exists independent of the brain
Your statement cannot be proven to any satisfactory degree. One reason is because it is your brain doing the talking. There is no independent "observer" that is not a brain to verify that numbers exist other than in the form of a concept.

(There can be 3 seconds, 3 meters, 3 apples, 3 empty spaces, 3 relationships, etc).
The number 3 or any other quantification is purely invented rather than discovered. Where do you start counting when each event or object is composed of a large, unknown number of sub-events/objects?

Putting a number to a quantity is the same as putting a name to face. It is an invention that takes place in response to a specific stimulus. The significance of the stimulus is determined by various genetic traits that most likely have to do with survival.... and little to do with the actual stimulus. We are compelled to count the countable parts out of a primal urge to control our environment... in the interest of survival.

E.g. Physical phenomena is described by mathematics, even if humans all died, it wouldn't change the fact that the relationships, and interactions are related in the mathematical way used to describe them.
If humans all died neither math or any other language would be in use or exist. The very concept and idea of "relationships" will have faded with the last human.

One could also say that even if the physical ceased to exist, the abstract idea of a simulation indistinguishable from the real world would also be described by these mathematics... and as this simulation can be discovered and rediscovered independently again and again, it would seem to have an existence outside of the concrete world.
To have an "abstract idea" you need a physical brain.

Your statement cannot be proven to any satisfactory degree. One reason is because it is your brain doing the talking. There is no independent "observer" that is not a brain to verify that numbers exist other than in the form of a concept.
Hmmm, how can I talk, conceive, and describe something that not only doesn't exist but cannot exist even as a potentially conceivable form? And how can that define aspects of the world independent of my existence?

Most scientists assume that the world is governed by the natural laws and that these are unchanging, to say that numbers depend on humans, is to question the laws governing the cosmos prior to human existence or logic applying to the universe(e.g. when 1 atom chemically bonds with another we have two atoms not 3 or 0.).

The number 3 or any other quantification is purely invented rather than discovered. Where do you start counting when each event or object is composed of a large, unknown number of sub-events/objects?
Is it possible to invent, to create a concept? The concept is but a possible way to categorize. That which the concept attempts to describe, cannot possibly be created merely by the act of describing an observed quality of the world. E.g. Quantities of things existing does not depend on humans, even if never counted in all eternity ten atoms a top a rock in planet x4060214 would still be ten atoms sitting there not 4 or 12.

Putting a number to a quantity is the same as putting a name to face. It is an invention that takes place in response to a specific stimulus. The significance of the stimulus is determined by various genetic traits that most likely have to do with survival.... and little to do with the actual stimulus. We are compelled to count the countable parts out of a primal urge to control our environment... in the interest of survival.
The descriptive word 'number' is like a name, but that which it describes is like a face. A face is described by the word 'face' but does not depend on the word for its existence. The properties of magnitude and quantity described by numbers do not depend on human thought for their existence.

If humans all died neither math or any other language would be in use or exist. The very concept and idea of "relationships" will have faded with the last human.
Even if no one has the concept of 'relationships' those relationships do exist and would continue to exist, the earth would still orbit the sun, and it would still be in a way describable by an equation, even if no one writes that equation.

To have an "abstract idea" you need a physical brain.
That is debatable. I think it would be foolish to argue that the brain creates ideas, and this is seen by many calling new findings in fields like mathematics 'discoveries'. If we take it the brain does not create ideas, the opposite must then be true. That is they must exist at least as a potential arrangement of information that can be instantiated in brains but exists independently of them. In chess if a particular game state has not been reached by the players it does not mean it does not exist, as the rules implicitly allow for such a state to exist as a possible outcome. The rules governing the function of the brain, implicitly allow an almost infinite number of states to be reached, each of these states exists as a potential outcome of following the rules in a specific environment with certain sensory organs*(I would even venture to say that it does not matter what medium is used to implement the rules.).

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baywax
Gold Member
Hmmm, how can I talk, conceive, and describe something that not only doesn't exist but cannot exist even as a potentially conceivable form? And how can that define aspects of the world independent of my existence?

Most scientists assume that the world is governed by the natural laws and that these are unchanging, to say that numbers depend on humans, is to question the laws governing the cosmos prior to human existence or logic applying to the universe(e.g. when 1 atom chemically bonds with another we have two atoms not 3 or 0.).

Is it possible to invent, to create a concept? The concept is but a possible way to categorize. That which the concept attempts to describe, cannot possibly be created merely by the act of describing an observed quality of the world. E.g. Quantities of things existing does not depend on humans, even if never counted in all eternity ten atoms a top a rock in planet x4060214 would still be ten atoms sitting there not 4 or 12.

The descriptive word 'number' is like a name, but that which it describes is like a face. A face is described by the word 'face' but does not depend on the word for its existence. The properties of magnitude and quantity described by numbers do not depend on human thought for their existence.

Even if no one has the concept of 'relationships' those relationships do exist and would continue to exist, the earth would still orbit the sun, and it would still be in a way describable by an equation, even if no one writes that equation.

That is debatable. I think it would be foolish to argue that the brain creates ideas, and this is seen by many calling new findings in fields like mathematics 'discoveries'. If we take it the brain does not create ideas, the opposite must then be true. That is they must exist at least as a potential arrangement of information that can be instantiated in brains but exists independently of them. In chess if a particular game state has not been reached by the players it does not mean it does not exist, as the rules implicitly allow for such a state to exist as a possible outcome. The rules governing the function of the brain, implicitly allow an almost infinite number of states to be reached, each of these states exists as a potential outcome of following the rules in a specific environment with certain sensory organs*(I would even venture to say that it does not matter what medium is used to implement the rules.).
I'm sorry but I stand by the ancient rhetorical axiom

"who's counting?"

I'm sorry but I stand by the ancient rhetorical axiom

"who's counting?"
The problem with that is that even if all humans die and only a single healthy man from a tribe unable to count remains. He will still need two legs to stand on and he will walk on two legs, even if he can't count them. He will need two eyes for stereoscopic vision, and he will only see the earth orbiting one sun, and only one moon orbiting the earth. Even without knowing quantities, you need more than 0 quantity of water and 0 quantity of food to survive.

And again, this seems to imply that if you don't count it the quantity does not exist. Which would suggest that counting creates the quantity, that's like saying that measuring creates the result obtained. But how can that be? How can you measure something if it doesn't exist? Counting can be considered a type of measuring, whatever is measured must exist independent of counting or else there would be nothing to count.

qsa
In this model, nature comes about in such an automatic way. Pick a line and throw two random numbers. One denotes the position and the other length of pieces of lines, then you get a free particle which all of QM and QFT books have the opening in it. The particle exists in all space with the same probability. Next add constraint with the simplest expression and you get your particle in a box in 1D. Add the same constraint for the second axis just after the first one; you get the 2D picture (you can go to N). Also, the constraints splits the throws into two set of lines, one represent the momentum energy (these lines are confined to inside of the particle) and the second, get ready, represent mass and the lines can go to the end of the universe and that is how gravity gets created, that is when these lines interact with other lines of other particles (with a very simple expression again amounting to logic)! When particles come close and touch each other they interact with the internal lines and that is your get the other forces i.e. EM.
I just found out about this fantastic paper which comes close to my idea, with lots of math , of course. I guess I have to work much harder now!

http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/hep-th/pdf/0507/0507109v4.pdf

The Dirac – Kerr-Newman electron.

Alexander Burinskii
Gravity Research Group, NSI, Russian Academy of Sciences, B. Tulskaya 52, 115191 Moscow, Russia

here is the last paragraph

In the considered Dirac – Kerr-Newman model the
Dirac wave function plays the especial role of a ‘master
equation’ which controls the polarization and set a
synchronization of tetrad. The perspective models of another
sort, in which the Dirac equation ‘feels’ the Kerr
geometry, i.e. has a back reaction from the Kerr geometry,
may be based on the stringy structures of the Kerr
geometry. It has to use some initially massless Dirac solutions
on the Kerr space-time, forming a foliation over
the complex Kerr string. The non-zero mass term of the
Dirac equation appears in this model by averaging over
the string length
, similar to the appearance of the mass
in the massless dual string models. We expect to consider
such a model elsewhere.

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Without a valid theory on how a wavefunction becomes something, there isn't going to be any progress. From a philosophical perspective, the wave function seems to be transcending the space-time bound as a more fundamental ontological explanation for our observations. The real problem we have here is the problem of mind and consciousness and how wavefunctions become observable matter particles. The answer to the OP is going to range from - the something is a branching actuality in a multiverse of possible outcomes to extreme theories of minds creating actualities. So the OP is not even a philosophical question, as it presupposes the existence of knowledge that isn't available. This, imo, is the border between philosophy and religion and sadly the important questions still seem to lie deep into the domain of religion and faith.

qsa
Without a valid theory on how a wavefunction becomes something, there isn't going to be any progress. From a philosophical perspective, the wave function seems to be transcending the space-time bound as a more fundamental ontological explanation for our observations. The real problem we have here is the problem of mind and consciousness and how wavefunctions become observable matter particles. The answer to the OP is going to range from - the something is a branching actuality in a multiverse of possible outcomes to extreme theories of minds creating actualities. So the OP is not even a philosophical question, as it presupposes the existence of knowledge that isn't available. This, imo, is the border between philosophy and religion and sadly the important questions still seem to lie deep into the domain of religion and faith.
The standard interpretation is good enough for the majority. To progress we need not stop at such problems too long ,although it should be ok for some people to try to beat this problem to death. More important and pressing issues are at hand. ie. quantum gravity, nature of particles, QFT reliability and meaning, the interrelations between all the main models and so on. Mixing religion and physics has long stopped to be valid and the competition has not been usefull since Kepler, maybe even longer than that. I believe each has its own arena now.

The standard interpretation is good enough for the majority.

I have no idea what you are talking about when you say majority and standard interpretation. The latest polls indicated that MWI is supported by the majority, whereas the standard interpretation is is still the Copenhagen - measurement causes collapse. So what exactly did you mean by "The standard interpretation is good enough for the majority"?

And how exactly does measurement causes collapse give you an idea as to what reality or "something" is? What kind of philosophical questions does "measurement causes collapse" answer? Is there an answered philosophical question at all by the standart "interpretation"? Please clarify, as i have no idea what you meant by that statement.

To progress we need not stop at such problems too long ,although it should be ok for some people to try to beat this problem to death.
You sound like you think there has been a resolution to the interpretational debate. You are wrong. Very deeply wrong.

More important and pressing issues are at hand. ie. quantum gravity, nature of particles, QFT reliability and meaning, the interrelations between all the main models and so on.

Huh???? You think QFT reliability(whatever that means) is more important that knowing what reality is and what exactly is going on, outside of how we observe...errr, the universe? The nature of reality and the world is less important than the interrelations between physics models? I am not sure that you understand what is at stake and what is being questioned.

Mixing religion and physics has long stopped to be valid and the competition has not been usefull since Kepler, maybe even longer than that. I believe each has its own arena now.

What kind of mixing are you proposing? Be specific.

qsa
I have no idea what you are talking about when you say majority and standard interpretation. The latest polls indicated that MWI is supported by the majority, whereas the standard interpretation is is still the Copenhagen - measurement causes collapse. So what exactly did you mean by "The standard interpretation is good enough for the majority"?
from wiki

""According to a poll at a Quantum Mechanics workshop in 1997[7], the Copenhagen interpretation is the most widely-accepted specific interpretation of quantum mechanics, followed by the many-worlds interpretation ""

I don't think the many-worlds helps in collapse either since it denies it and certainly does not support your "The real problem we have here is the problem of mind and consciousness ".

And how exactly does measurement causes collapse give you an idea as to what reality or "something" is? What kind of philosophical questions does "measurement causes collapse" answer? Is there an answered philosophical question at all by the standart "interpretation"? Please clarify, as i have no idea what you meant by that statement.

You sound like you think there has been a resolution to the interpretational debate. You are wrong. Very deeply wrong.
I did not say that. I am sorry you misunderstood. I just said there are more pressing issues.

Huh???? You think QFT reliability(whatever that means) is more important that knowing what reality is and what exactly is going on, outside of how we observe...errr, the universe? The nature of reality and the world is less important than the interrelations between physics models? I am not sure that you understand what is at stake and what is being questioned.
I would say at least 99% of work in physics revolves around finding a good model that corresponds to reality i.e. experiments. GRW and the likes are great, really great. But the 99% know what is at stake when they work with Axiomatic QFT,String, LQG, AS, CDT, Twister and all kinds of combinations not to mention the many cosmological models based on GR. one look at what is been published in arxiv is enough.

What kind of mixing are you proposing? Be specific.
I'll be more blunt. Ever since the discovery that the earth is not flat and and the sun(and the universe) does not revolve around the earth and animals where not saved by a boat; classical religion , no matter how hard it tries it has lost grounds big time. I feel some people try to salvage this loss by finding loopholes in modern science. No need really, I think all humans (don't mind some with strong back reaction) respect religion come what may.

I'll be more blunt. Ever since the discovery that the earth is not flat and and the sun(and the universe) does not revolve around the earth and animals where not saved by a boat; classical religion , no matter how hard it tries it has lost grounds big time. I feel some people try to salvage this loss by finding loopholes in modern science. No need really, I think all humans (don't mind some with strong back reaction) respect religion come what may.

You could be religious without belonging to any particular religious dogma.

qsa
You could be religious without belonging to any particular religious dogma.
I agree.

Why not? The general form is first explicated by the philosopher Robert Nozick. Why don t you ask him? Ops, his dead.

No. In my hypothesis, I never called existence brute fact. My hypothsis does assume existence of the world, and is a justified assumption, unless you want to doubt it. Do you?

Brute fact has a technical meaning in philosophy.

X is a brute fact if and only if 1. X is contingent, and 2. It is not entailed by other facts.

2 is not completely precise, because i don t want to get into all the technical stuff here.
The basic idea is that X is the effect, or result of some other facts. That is to say, There is not facts q, such that q implies the existence of X.

"See no big words either, other than "ontological". Was that too big for you?"
What are you talking about? It is tiny!
Now for X to be brute fact there should another fact to prove it.Now,for the existence of the other fact which proves the fact X,it needs to be a fact too.So,where this cycle stars..is where it ends.

You could be religious without belonging to any particular religious dogma.