The Mathematical Universe

Discussions on the nature of being, existence, reality and knowledge. What is? How do we know?

Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby mitchellmckain on April 29th, 2017, 6:56 pm 

Dave_Oblad » April 29th, 2017, 2:45 pm wrote:Hi mitchellmckain,

mitchellmckain wrote:Pi is a fixed, unchanging abstraction, and certainly not alive. Our existence is different in nearly every way -- dynamic, concrete, and alive. Furthermore, I do not buy into this idea that pi must be distinguished from things which are invented. Were airplanes really invented when the requirements of flight are found in the mathematical laws of nature? I dispute the idea that any of the thinking behind mathematics is any more inevitable than airplanes. Yes pi has a singular value, but living things are very very different. I deny that we (that living things) can be confined to any such singularity of existence because while our past is fixed our future is a superposition of possibilities.

Once again, I'm not talking about how something is computed. I'm specifically trying to describe what it means to EXIST!

Pi is mathematically computed.
The Universe is computed but within a Growing Cellular Logic Network.
Pi is <Not> Dynamic while a Logic Network <Is> Dynamic and is internally interactive.

Don't mix the two definitions of what it means to be COMPUTED.

This has lead my Thread astray for several pages now. A Logic Network can Compute.. but not like any Turing Machine or Instruction Based Procedure Driven Stepped Mechanical Device via Iterations.

It is hard to see how I could do any such mixing when I haven't even used this descriptor, "computed," in what I said. I have no idea where and when you imagine that I was talking about how something is computed. And that makes it difficult to understand what you are trying to say to me. All this boils down to your belief that the universe is complex but deterministic and it is a belief with which I completely disagree. The universe is not just complex and deterministic (in some part) but also indeterministic (in other parts).


Dave_Oblad » April 29th, 2017, 2:45 pm wrote:In any case, it appears I have failed to communicate my concept of what it means to have a defined "Existence".

Simply restated:
Determinism = Existence. (has structure)
Randomness = Non-Existence. (has no structure)
I really can't express this any more simply.

First we had "god of the gaps" arguments (appealing to Plank's scale) and now we have a version of the ontology argument which simply defines what you want to claim into being the case. Needless to say I dispute your equivocating definitions. Determinism and existence are utterly distinct concepts. Furthermore, I could even argue that there is something rather flawed in your idea which equates a lack of structure with non-existence, for if such was the case it would practically render the word "structure" meaningless. There is structure because there is also lack of structure. Of course it is not a black and white thing but quantitative and some things have more structure and other things have less.

In a way this all goes back to the cosmological argumentation that everything must have a cause. But however self-evident this premise may seem to you, it is not so to me, and thus the argument lacks objectivity.

Diving back into my perspective on ontology. The energy like substance of all things can have different forms because by itself (even if in abstract), it is formless -- the pure potentiality of being alone. If you argue that it always has a form of some kind then I would argue that such forms include ones which are highly unstructured, indeterministic and random -- and none of these adjectives equate to non-existence.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby hyksos on April 29th, 2017, 7:09 pm 

someguy1 » April 29th, 2017, 10:34 pm wrote:Now, is it interesting and strange that our formal logical manipulation of symbols corresponds to physical reality? Yes, it's a puzzler. Does it prove that the universe "is" a matrix or some mathematical structure? No, it doesn't. The imagery is suggestive and metaphorical but nothing more, until a better argument or better evidence shows up.

"...until better evidence shows up."

Wait a second here. Are you suggesting that the strangeness of entanglement , and the strangeness of quantized angular momentum is simply due to our current ignorance?

Are you adopting the position , that in the future we will have resolved the "substance" of the universe back into a physico-mechanical picture? That we will have re-retrieved a lost mechanistic view of the universe? Is it just a matter of time?
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby hyksos on April 29th, 2017, 7:37 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 29th, 2017, 9:13 pm wrote:What we call the "laws of nature" are a way of describing the geometrical space-time structure of the physical universe. Thus its substance "obey" these so called "laws" only because they accurately describe the thing which it composes.

Why in the world are you putting the word "obey" in scare quotes there? Why are you putting the word "laws" in scare quotes? Stop talking in blustery metaphors and tell me literally what you mean.

You need to do this, because as your response stands now, if anyone were to take your scare quotes seriously, then it appears that you really don't believe the universe is composed of a substance. You seem to be dancing around the claim of what you really think. As much as I can make out, you seem to be leaning heavily on the idea that GEOMETRY can be described by mathematics. You are sneaking a semantic hat trick passed the people on this forum. Geometry is itself a branch of mathematics.

Quantum physics is part of that description and the most accurate of such descriptions so far. All of these descriptions exist as far as we know for sure in the minds of human beings or encoded in various media of human communication. I am a nominalist in that way and opposed to Platonic idealism.

Tell the people on this forum that no geometrical intuition is helpful in resolving why quantum mechanics describes our universe. You cannot rely simply on geometry. There is no visuo-geometric metaphor for quantized angular momentum. Tell them you know it.

There is not even a to be found in the path integral any sort of mechanism. Barely is there even a 'narrative' explanation for the path integral. The most you can squeeze from that lemon is that "particles go everywhere before they go there" -- which is no narrative at all.

Geometrical intuition fails and fails violently in quantum mechanics. You are not visualizing some geometrical surface in your head. You know this. I know this. And now at this juncture I want you to tell the rest of the people on this forum that you know it. Admit this truth from a position of authority.


Nobel Prize winners in physics don't even have visual metaphors for QM. Nobody does. Not even the guy who wrote your textbook.


My position is that our primary access to reality is subjective and that the objective is thus a product of abstraction. But we have excellent evidence that there is an objective aspect to reality but not sufficient evidence to claim that reality is exclusively objective.

Logical positivism disappeared quickly from philosophy departments precisely because physics took a wild turn into abstraction and became successively more isolated from "concreteness".

If you really claim to have studied quantum mechanics, you know damned well that it became impossible to DISPENSE WITH ABSTRACTIONS , and speak of the mechanical actions of substances. You know this. Quantum mechanics erodes these distinctions. There is little hope (no hope really) that quantum theory will resolve itself back into some sort of purely deterministic, geometrically-intuitive mechanism.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby someguy1 on April 29th, 2017, 7:39 pm 

hyksos » April 29th, 2017, 5:09 pm wrote:
someguy1 » April 29th, 2017, 10:34 pm wrote:Now, is it interesting and strange that our formal logical manipulation of symbols corresponds to physical reality? Yes, it's a puzzler. Does it prove that the universe "is" a matrix or some mathematical structure? No, it doesn't. The imagery is suggestive and metaphorical but nothing more, until a better argument or better evidence shows up.

"...until better evidence shows up."

Wait a second here. Are you suggesting that the strangeness of entanglement , and the strangeness of quantized angular momentum is simply due to our current ignorance?

Are you adopting the position , that in the future we will have resolved the "substance" of the universe back into a physico-mechanical picture? That we will have re-retrieved a lost mechanistic view of the universe? Is it just a matter of time?


Simply being open-minded. I said your imagery is suggestive and metaphorical, and nothing more. I have no way of knowing whether that will remain true in the future.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby hyksos on April 29th, 2017, 7:44 pm 

I consider that the universe is made of a substance (like energy) which is capable of having a form and structure that is mathematical (i.e. mechanical) but that the physical universe is not an absolutely perfect mathematical and mechanical form of that substance in the sense that some events are not determined by initial conditions


"...having a form and structure that is mathematical (i.e. mechanical)"

hmm...

....mechanical form of that substance...

"Mechanical form"?
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby Dave_Oblad on April 29th, 2017, 8:54 pm 

Hi mitchellmckain,

If you will bear with me a moment, I'll explain how this all came about.

It basically started when I bought my first PC (to play Doom with a friend over the modem).

Awhile later I came across a Fractal Generator in some Math Magazine. You put in some numbers and it created a fantastic Fractal. I noticed in one of them a shape that looked remarkably like the head of Micky Mouse. I gave my friend those values and he also confirmed the structure I had seen.

That set the stage for believing that Math, in a simple form, can define complex structures and patterns. Fast forward a few years and I was playing a 3D game that allowed one to explore an artificial Planet created from Fractals. Very realistic looking and cool.

The downside is that Fractals create Dead Static places.. they have no "Time". Still later I started playing with CA's. Originally 2D, like Conway's "Life" program. I started playing with the rules and eventually added more Dimensions. 3D constructions were hard to display and explore. But they had Life, in the sense I could watch them evolve into wonderful interactive geometries. 4D CA's are just as easy to code up, but nearly impossible to wrap my head around what was happening to what.

In all cases, one must allow two or more layers of "Time" or the patterns could annihilate themselves. This naturally led to using rules that connected the current layer of Time with History. Too many layers of Time would chew up available memory too fast, but a lot of them, from an initial defined kernel, could expand to really fascinating interactive Geometries.

I wondered, given the deterministic and repeatable nature, if a set of Rules and enough Memory could Big-Bang itself into something like our Universe? Granted, the limitations of my PC and CPU speed and memory restraints would never allow me to witness more than a few first Nano-Seconds of a real Universe Big-Bang. So I gave up. Just because I have physical restrictions with my PC doesn't imply the Solution has any upper Limits.

But this idea has never left me.

Fast forward the clock again to about 8 years ago. Being a Science geek and reading many papers with debates about what our Universe was made of and how it started, perhaps from nothing, my ideas came flooding back.

I saw the potential that, given an infinite set of possible Rules and initial Kernels, a CA solution might describe a fully functional Universe. That the interactive effects and high complexity might yield Chemistry, Life and possible self-aware Life.. all embedded in a single deterministic solution from possibly.. a very simple Rule Set.

Such self aware beings, embedded in such a Logic Solution, would go about their daily lives, never aware they Exist solely inside a Logical Solution of a CA.

That lead me to question if I had any right to declare my Existence is more Real than their Existence?

I realized their Existence would be in a Universe that was Scaled, Steppish, Expanding and would have an Arrow of Time, assuming they Existed on the 3D surface of an expanding 4D CA. They would believe their Universe is solid and tangible and mostly predictable.. at their Macro Scale. They would be hard pressed to explain how Time had a beginning and how their Measured Something could come from Nothing.

So, I took these ideas and came to this site to try them out.. You know the rest.. lol.

The hardest part is to accept the possibility that one's Existence may simply be within the Solution of a Problem that is sort of Mathematical by Nature.

So, I'll happily drop this Model when I hear something that explains how our Reality came to Exist with a better definition of "Time", "Space", and "Substance" (the origins of).

If one truly understands this Model, then all questions should have predictable answers. It's not about Numbers, it's how I define Existence.

If anyone really understood how deeply I've explored this concept and I were to offer some predictions, everyone would think I'm even crazier.. than they do now.. lol. For example, I believe Particle World-Lines are self repairing and our History still Exists, all the way back to the beginning. The ripple effect from History to Now.. could cause some very bizarre short lived effects. Probably too bizarre to openly voice at this time.

Anyway, I expect to be accused of more hand waving and being avoidy.. but what's a fella to do? I suspect this Model has leeway for a certain amount of Randomness caused by Race Conditions, that iron themselves out eventually.

Ok, I have to run now and get back to my life. Later my Friend.

Regards,
Dave :^)

Oh wow, this thread got active while I was typing this.. I will have to come back later and catch up.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby mitchellmckain on April 29th, 2017, 9:09 pm 

hyksos » April 29th, 2017, 6:37 pm wrote:
mitchellmckain » April 29th, 2017, 9:13 pm wrote:What we call the "laws of nature" are a way of describing the geometrical space-time structure of the physical universe. Thus its substance "obey" these so called "laws" only because they accurately describe the thing which it composes.

Why in the world are you putting the word "obey" in scare quotes there? Why are you putting the word "laws" in scare quotes? Stop talking in blustery metaphors and tell me literally what you mean.

Your unrelenting hostility is quite tiresome, but I suspect it derives from frustration that I will not play into any of the canned rhetoric you have at your disposal -- too bad! YOU used the word "obey" like it was a person obeying some kind of commandment. I quoted it because I do not agree that such a usage is in any way applicable to the situation. AND I EXPLAINED WHAT I MEANT RIGHT THERE IN THAT SENTENCE!!! That is in fact the structure of that sentence to explain the only meaning I would give to the words "obey the laws of nature" because the substance of the universe is not little guys running around deciding to obey the commands of some other guy called "nature".

hyksos » April 29th, 2017, 6:37 pm wrote:cYou need to do this, because as your response stands now, if anyone were to take your scare quotes seriously, then it appears that you really don't believe the universe is composed of a substance.

This is the first time in my life I have EVER heard the use of the word "scare" to describe quotes and I find it bizarre in the extreme. I did not put the quotes on the word substance and I made it abundantly clear that I believe that not only the universe but every existing thing is made of the same energy-like substance.

hyksos » April 29th, 2017, 6:37 pm wrote:You are not visualizing some geometrical surface in your head.

On the contrary, I see a general overall trend in the development of physics to embody its lore in the form of geometry: GR, Kaluza Klein, and M Theory, because quantum field theory revolves around the idea of symmetry. Fortunately some of us can stretch our minds to see geometry beyond the limits of two dimensional surfaces in a three dimensional space. Time spent studying topology can be a distinct advantage in this.

hyksos » April 29th, 2017, 6:37 pm wrote:
My position is that our primary access to reality is subjective and that the objective is thus a product of abstraction. But we have excellent evidence that there is an objective aspect to reality but not sufficient evidence to claim that reality is exclusively objective.

What you are doing now is a disgusting re-hashing of logical positivism.

Which simply tells me that you either have no understanding whatsoever of logical positivism or this is like the typical tactic of rhetoric of an ignorant redneck who simply calls everything they don't like or don't understand by the word "communist."

The essence of logical positivism is idea that metaphysics is meaningless. I do not support this idea and have explained my own position on topics of metaphysics in this thread, so your ranting here is totally absurd!
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby mitchellmckain on April 29th, 2017, 9:45 pm 

Dave_Oblad » April 29th, 2017, 7:54 pm wrote:Hi mitchellmckain,

If you will bear with me a moment, I'll explain how this all came about.

It basically started when I bought my first PC (to play Doom with a friend over the modem).

Awhile later I came across a Fractal Generator in some Math Magazine. You put in some numbers and it created a fantastic Fractal. I noticed in one of them a shape that looked remarkably like the head of Micky Mouse. I gave my friend those values and he also confirmed the structure I had seen.

The wall above this computer is covered in fractal pictures which I printed out decades ago in my own explorations.

Dave_Oblad » April 29th, 2017, 7:54 pm wrote:That set the stage for believing that Math, in a simple form, can define complex structures and patterns. Fast forward a few years and I was playing a 3D game that allowed one to explore an artificial Planet created from Fractals. Very realistic looking and cool.

And I have quite agreed that math can account for the complexity of the universe. Where I have disagreed is with the idea that math can account for everything we experience as human beings. Therein lies our disagreement, compatibilist versus incompatibilist.

Dave_Oblad » April 29th, 2017, 7:54 pm wrote:The downside is that Fractals create Dead Static places.. they have no "Time". Still later I started playing with CA's. Originally 2D, like Conway's "Life" program. I started playing with the rules and eventually added more Dimensions. 3D constructions were hard to display and explore. But they had Life, in the sense I could watch them evolve into wonderful interactive geometries. 4D CA's are just as easy to code up, but nearly impossible to wrap my head around what was happening to what.

Yes I spent a good amount of time writing my own version of the Game of Life and playing with different sets of rules also.

Dave_Oblad » April 29th, 2017, 7:54 pm wrote:I wondered, given the deterministic and repeatable nature, if a set of Rules and enough Memory could Big-Bang itself into something like our Universe? Granted, the limitations of my PC and CPU speed and memory restraints would never allow me to witness more than a few first Nano-Seconds of a real Universe Big-Bang. So I gave up. Just because I have physical restrictions with my PC doesn't imply the Solution has any upper Limits.

I have little doubt that it can lead to something like our universe, at least superficially. But I do not believe this can lead to our actual universe because our universe is not deterministic -- not by the objective evidence and not by our most basic human experience either.

Dave_Oblad » April 29th, 2017, 7:54 pm wrote:But this idea has never left me.

Fast forward the clock again to about 8 years ago. Being a Science geek and reading many papers with debates about what our Universe was made of and how it started, perhaps from nothing, my ideas came flooding back.

I saw the potential that, given an infinite set of possible Rules and initial Kernels, a CA solution might describe a fully functional Universe. That the interactive effects and high complexity might yield Chemistry, Life and possible self-aware Life.. all embedded in a single deterministic solution from possibly.. a very simple Rule Set.

I explained why I do not believe this is the case. All you are describing is a very very fancy computer/holo-novel and I do not believe the characters in a novel are conscious living beings no matter how realistic the artwork. Again the crucial difference is that conscious beings make choices out of a superposition of real future possibilities. That is the one thing that your fancy holo-novel does not have and it is what makes the difference between inanimate recordings and actual living conscious beings.

Dave_Oblad » April 29th, 2017, 7:54 pm wrote:That lead me to question if I had any right to declare my Existence is more Real than their Existence?

real? sure. Rocks, video tapes and the characters in books are all real but they are still inanimate objects.

Dave_Oblad » April 29th, 2017, 7:54 pm wrote:So, I'll happily drop this Model when I hear something that explains how our Reality came to Exist with a better definition of "Time", "Space", and "Substance" (the origins of).

Ah! This explains much! I see the same thing happening among the religious. They got this idea of how the universe came into existence, and even though they have no objective proof that this is what actually happened, they haven't heard anything which sounds better to them and so they will answer all questions about the universe in accordance with this idea even if they must ignore all evidence which doesn't agree with their conclusions.

Dave_Oblad » April 29th, 2017, 7:54 pm wrote:If one truly understands this Model, then all questions should have predictable answers. It's not about Numbers, it's how I define Existence.

Understood. It is not how I define existence, or the vast majority of other people for that matter.

Dave_Oblad » April 29th, 2017, 7:54 pm wrote:Anyway, I expect to be accused of more hand waving and being avoidy.. but what's a fella to do? I suspect this Model has leeway for a certain amount of Randomness caused by Race Conditions, that iron themselves out eventually.

Not by me... I find these tactics quite distasteful. It is quite enough for me to simply say that I disagree and see things differently than you do. There is nothing wrong with a difference of opinion. The diversity of human thought is a valuable asset to human civilization.

But... yes I have compared some of your arguments to theological arguments which I have found wanting and I hope you are not too offended by this. I just couldn't help seeing the similarities. Anyway, a lot of people still stand by such arguments even though I do not.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby someguy1 on April 29th, 2017, 10:23 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 29th, 2017, 7:45 pm wrote:
Dave_Oblad » April 29th, 2017, 7:54 pm wrote:Anyway, I expect to be accused of more hand waving and being avoidy.. but what's a fella to do? I suspect this Model has leeway for a certain amount of Randomness caused by Race Conditions, that iron themselves out eventually.

Not by me... I find these tactics quite distasteful. It is quite enough for me to simply say that I disagree and see things differently than you do. There is nothing wrong with a difference of opinion. The diversity of human thought is a valuable asset to human civilization.


I take exception to this. There is no "diversity of thought" involved.

The Church-Turing thesis is an 80 year old article of faith among computer scientists. If the OP has a proof or even an interesting bit of evidence that it's false, this would constitute publishable work that would revolutionize the field of CS overnight.

OP has stated repeatedly that cellular automata are not Turing machines. If that is true, the OP has overthrown 80 years of almost universal consensus in computer science and his name would be known the world over should he publish his evidence.

I challenged him on this point and he went off on some tangent about my running numbers through my head. That's handwaving and it's a deflection.

OP has claimed repeatedly to be a computer scientist yet is obviously unfamiliar with the very basics of the field. He is unable to engage regarding his claim to have falsified the Church-Turing thesis and shows no evidence of even understanding the point.

There is nothing inappropriate about my calling him out on this. What is distasteful is his repeatedly throwing personal insults at me every time I debunk one of his claims and show that he doesn't know anything about math and doesn't know anything about computer science, despite his repeated claims on this forum to be an expert in both.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby mitchellmckain on April 29th, 2017, 10:39 pm 

Computer science is something which has come into being during many of our own life times and has thus been evolving considerably during that time. Furthermore, computers are a useful tool in so many fields that I think you will find considerable expertise developed outside the computer science department of any university.

For example, as an undergraduate in the math and physics departments, numerical analysis (computer techniques in problem solving) was a specialty of mine, taking three years of classes on the subject. Also as a graduate student in the physics department I worked in the high performance computing building on a parallel processing supercomputer. Even in that time between graduate and undergraduate things changed dramatically so that room sized computers shrank down a bit of electronics which you could hold in your hand. What was cutting edge graphics at the beginning of that period would now be considered obsolete and painfully inadequate.

The point is that it is well within the realm of possibility that many of us worked on the cutting edge of developments of computer science without even much overlap, especially with regards to someone's dogma about what constitutes a formal curriculum of computer science.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby someguy1 on April 29th, 2017, 10:58 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 29th, 2017, 8:39 pm wrote:The point is that it is well within the realm of possibility that many of us worked on the cutting edge of developments of computer science without even much overlap, especially with regards to someone's dogma about what constitutes a formal curriculum of computer science.


If OP has one single example of a CA that is not a TM, that would cause a worldwide earthquake in the field of computer science. It would be the most dramatic development in the field in 80 years.

Now I have not yet seen OP engage with this remark in any way. I'll be happy to stipulate that someone could be a computer scientist and skipped the bit about Turing machines. If that's your point I'll grant it to you. I retract my comments regarding anyone's educational background. Let me stick to the technical point.

And the technical point is this: If OP has one single example of a CA that can not be implemented as a TM, he needs to publish it because it would cause an absolute revolution in computing, and also in physics. Many physical theories are computational these days and if the Church-Turing thesis has been broken, that has huge implications for cosmology and speculative physics.

If OP's statement that there is a CA that's not a TM is true, the entire world as we know it changes.

The simple resolution here is that there is no world-changing discovery. Rather, every CA is a TM. OP sees CAs as dynamic and TMs as static, but that's a personal view. In terms of what they can compute, CAs are TMs. The converse is is only partially true. Some TMs are CAs. One such is the famous Rule 110, which is known to be Turing complete.

The OP is well advised to simply take a few hours and read some Wiki pages; or take a few weeks and read some websites; or take a few months and take some MOOCs. There are some great courses online these days. We can all pick up some of the things we missed back in school.

OP believes the universe is a CA. And his belief is important to him. He's been talking about it for six years. So why wouldn't he spend a little time and come up to speed on what that means and what it entails? If for no other reason than to strengthen his own arguments against the likes of me.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby mitchellmckain on April 29th, 2017, 11:22 pm 

It was never my intent to claim you did not have a legitimate objection to the claims of Dave. I certainly have had many objections myself on more philosophical point as well as the issue regarding the Bell's inequality experiments. BUT, you will notice that this Turing-Chruch thing was not one of the issues discussed in the post of his I was responding to. Nor was Turing mentioned in the OP, so I had to search for it and found it on the second page of the thread.

I suppose I was sympathizing with Dave largely because of my own struggle with the emotional rampage of another discussion member which I cannot even comprehend the reason for let alone see much logical coherence in the majority of his excessively aggressive rhetoric. I frankly feel like I am somehow fallen into some kind bigotry zone of his and thus become a target of irrational unthinking hatred.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby someguy1 on April 29th, 2017, 11:51 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 29th, 2017, 9:22 pm wrote:It was never my intent to claim you did not have a legitimate objection to the claims of Dave. I certainly have had many objections myself on more philosophical point as well as the issue regarding the Bell's inequality experiments. BUT, you will notice that this Turing-Chruch thing was not one of the issues discussed in the post of his I was responding to. Nor was Turing mentioned in the OP, so I had to search for it and found it on the second page of the thread.


Yes that was confusing on my part. In a post on this page he said CAs were fundamentally different than TMs. I didn't quote that, so it wasn't clear what I was responding to. I don't quote the OP because he made it very clear he doesn't want to interact with me, and I regard quoting as addressing the individual. But now I can see that this policy of mine is counterproductive to anyone having any idea what I'm talking about. I'll try to remedy that but also respect the OP's wishes that I not address him.


mitchellmckain » April 29th, 2017, 9:22 pm wrote:I suppose I was sympathizing with Dave largely because of my own struggle with the emotional rampage of another discussion member which I cannot even comprehend the reason for let alone see much logical coherence in the majority of his excessively aggressive rhetoric. I frankly feel like I am somehow fallen into some kind bigotry zone of his and thus become a target of irrational unthinking hatred.


Yes this a crunchy thread. What a great description of exactly how I feel the OP is treating me!

I initially jumped into this thread to talk about the OP's erroneous (in my opinion) use of the example of the computability of pi as evidence of some metaphysical stance about the universe. I said at the time that I was discussing his mathematical argument and taking no position on the metaphysics.

For whatever reason, OP misunderstood me and concluded that I was attacking his thesis that the world is a CA (I'm not, I'm attacking his argument). And he also concluded, for reasons I still am baffled by, that I didn't understand iteration.

This conclusion was so bizarre in my mind, and also so funny, that I confess I gave wing to my sense of sarcasm, and played dumb for a couple of posts in what I thought was an exaggerated way and that my sarcasm would be obvious to the OP. Like saying I took a programming class but they didn't cover iteration. That kind of stuff. Over-the-top mocking, not personal insults. Maybe that's a fine line. I'll plead guilty to that for a reduced sentence.

However, OP really overreacted (IMO of course) and started calling me names, and specifically stated that he wished no further communication between us.

I have respected OP's wishes and have not addressed him directly, but from time to time, just recently this evening, he addressed me directly. If he's changed his mind he should say so. Instead he immediately reiterated his personal insults of several weeks ago. That doesn't seem very conciliatory to me in the least.

Thanks for bringing this up. I don't want to be fighting with people here. My only original point was that pi is computable and most real numbers aren't computable, hence OP is arguing from an extreme special case. Who could take offense at an observation like that?
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby mitchellmckain on April 30th, 2017, 12:55 am 

Well... I reviewed the thread and from what I can tell David was put off by your flippant remarks equating your discussion and this thread with trash. You must not let your frustration with people not accepting your arguments leading you to make comments like that. Better to simply break off the discussion and limit yourself to what you can respond to in a civil manner. The vast majority of discussion do not result in converting other people to your point of view (now matter how right you may be) and you just have to accept that others will disagree with you (even if it makes no more sense to you than saying the Earth is flat). At that point, I would simply restate my own position so they know that and how I disagree, then leave it there.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby hyksos on April 30th, 2017, 2:46 am 

On the contrary, I see a general overall trend in the development of physics to embody its lore in the form of geometry: GR, Kaluza Klein, and M Theory, because quantum field theory revolves around the idea of symmetry. Fortunately some of us can stretch our minds to see geometry beyond the limits of two dimensional surfaces in a three dimensional space. Time spent studying topology can be a distinct advantage in this.

Ladies and gentlemen,

For the record..I don't know who this mitchellmckain guy is. In no shape or form does this man have a visual metaphor for quantum mechanics in his head.

Nobody does.

Roger Penrose has written in his book that himself, as well as many of his colleagues at Cambridge agree that quantum mechanics does not even give us a picture of reality at all. Now this mitchellmckain is pretending like he can "stretch his mind to see". This is utter absolute BS.

For anyone present, this Penrose book is very recently published. Upon request, I will take a photograph of the exact page and post it on this forum. But in case you have not been paying attention the nucleus of atoms is not a bunch of balls connected by springs. Far from it, the entire nucleus will take on an angular momentum that is quantized. The math is correct, but there are no visual metaphors. And NO : Kaluza-Klein , GR and "M-Theory" do not provide one. The entire history of the development of quantum mechanics did not proceed with men having mechanical metaphors in their heads : upon which they then wrote equations to depict them. Anyone on this forum, or elsewhere, who tells you differently is lying to you.

Most of the Standard Model was developed by a belief in the consequences of equations, in the complete lack of any "understanding" what they really mean. Prove this to yourself by reading that history. By the 1970s, men in tweed jackets would go to symposiums and scrawl equations all over a chalkboard, point at them and refer to how this particular eigenstate is realized as real in "our reality" whereas the other one would be real in "another reality" which had split from this one. And then they would golf clap at this presentation. Yes this really happened. You can bet Dr. Penrose was sitting among the audience.

Regarding mitchellmckain's ridiculous reference to M-Theory. Let it be known that string theorists are only aware of the possibility of compactification on an extremely large class of Calabi-Yau manifolds. Absolutely no string theorist is "visualizing" a particular manifold in 11 dimensions. The suggestion that this is what they are doing is silly. mitchellmckain's little diatribe about, "Some of us can stretch our minds" was just ... too childish to take seriously.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby hyksos on April 30th, 2017, 3:02 am 

I beg of you forum users. I implore you ---> Get a copy of Feynman's book QED : Strange Theory of Light and Matter

(Without sitting through 3 years of graduate school) Feynman will explain to you the procedure of the Path Integral Formulation. That integral still lies at the center of all physics and the field theories of the Standard Model -- to this day. It is still used in M-Theory, as M-Theory is itself a certain exotic type of quantum field theory.

If you make it through the entire book, you will see very clearly what I mean when I claim that QM provides no narrative of the world, certainly no mechanism either. Why the universe acts this way is forever a mystery to all involved.

Regarding the 'symmetries' that mitchellmckain attempted to talk about: those are actually algebraic symmetries in Lie groups. Absolutely nobody asserts that such symmetries are reflected in some sort of surface which they "stretch their minds to see". Those Lie groups are only ever used by contemporary physicists to attempt to find deeper connections between existing formalisms of different field theories.

In the case of M-Theory, they only ever show that in limiting cases of "low energy limit" it will reproduce the same "consequences" of some pre-existing field theory. The mathematical dillitantes give this procedure a name: they call it Effective Field Theory. That type of approach to physics is so deep into mathematics : that Roger Penrose was led to conclude that quote

String Theory , while "mathematically important" has little bearing on our actual universe.

( I will take a photograph of the page in which he says this exact statement. So furnished upon request.)

Generally speaking, the discipline of physics departed from visual metaphors sometime in the 1930s and never came back.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby mitchellmckain on April 30th, 2017, 1:08 pm 

Another off the wall rant... (mixed with physics to be sure) and I would certainly endorse his recommendation to explore all this stuff for yourself. One of the things that you will see is that just like Feynman's path integral formulation there is quite often more than one way of looking at the same things.

Nowhere in my posts did I use the word "metaphor" or talk about having a visual metaphor of quantum mechanics in my head. Nevertheless, hyskos is WRONG, because I do have such a visual metaphor (i.e. picture/visualization) of quantum mechanics in my head. I will explain/describe this picture shortly. But first what did I ACTUALLY say?

mitchellmckain » April 29th, 2017, 12:13 pm wrote:What we call the "laws of nature" are a way of describing the geometrical space-time structure of the physical universe. Thus its substance "obey" these so called "laws" only because they accurately describe the thing which it composes.


mitchellmckain » April 29th, 2017, 8:09 pm wrote:I see a general overall trend in the development of physics to embody its lore in the form of geometry: GR, Kaluza Klein, and M Theory, because quantum field theory revolves around the idea of symmetry.


Despite hyskos weirdly emotional ranting I stand by these statements as I actually said them and not as hyskos chooses to twist and characterize them as something for his rhetoric to expostulate about.

Now, what I WILL acknowledge is that science does not have a perfect geometrical description of the universe. I NEVER claimed any such thing. M-theory as an 11 dimensional supergravity has been cast in such a form, but it is not perfect because this theory does not have all the kinks worked out. Nor has it been established as scientific fact. Nevertheless, this overall trend in physics remains and is a cause to envision where it is all leading to -- enough so that this is the direction taken for the majority of the search for a unified theory in physics.


Now as I promised... my picture/visualization of quantum mechanics...

It revolves around the idea of virtual particles and thus has this picture of virtual particle pairs of every kind appearing and disappearing in every bit of space for varying amounts of time but all, of course, in intervals of time less than the amount allowed by the energy-time uncertainty principle. This I envision to be the medium in which the wave functions of quantum mechanics exist. A virtual electron is actually the same as any other electron and it behaves the same way as any other electron the only difference is the accounting of energy, which can be somewhat nonlocal. Thus one electron spreads out like a wave because it becomes lost in a sea of virtual electrons and it is only when there is an interaction (like a measurement) that one of these "virtual electrons" are singled out as the "real electron," and thus the wave collapses/decoheres to a point.

This is just one counter-example because the truth is that hyskos is quite wrong in his claim that nobody has a picture in their head of quantum mechanics. The truth is that every interpretation of quantum mechanics represents such a picture that different scientists have. Thus the real problem is not the absence of visual metaphors in quantum physics but that we have too many and have not decided between them. We do not, however, confuse these pictures with the actual science which is indeed the mathematics which works. These visualizations are simply the tools of our imagination used for exploring ideas of where to go next in the work of scientific inquiry. In fact, the truth is, we don't necessarily HAVE to decide on one picture, but just as particle and wave pictures of electrons and photons we can keep different representations of these things simultaneously and thus capture reality to some degree between them.

Are there objections to my particular visualization of QM? Of course. The one made by my professor at university was that he sees virtual particles as an artifact of perturbation theory (i.e. a feature of an approximation method). He is one of these physicists who is looking for a nonperturbative completely geometric unified field theory. And thus we can add the objection that my visualization above is NOT a geometric one. But the fact is that I do not tie myself down to a single visualization of reality but like most physicists have learn the value of looking at things in many different ways. For a geometric way of looking at QM I would turn to the branes of M-theory, which sees all the particles of QFT as the different possible vibrational modes in the various dimensional strings, surfaces (and higher dimensional branes) which I ultimately connect in my mind to the structure of an 11-dimensional space-time itself.

Why do we look for such a geometrical embodiment of natural law? I lay this largely at the feet of a startling discovery by a Swedish scientist named Kaluza. He found that when you redid Einstein's GR field equations in five dimensions you get not only gravity but also electrodynamics also. It is a very attractive idea that with additional dimensions and other fixes, the geometric description of the universe in General Relativity might be made to describe all physics and not just gravity and electromagnetism. The role of Klein in this was to propose that the unseen 5th dimension was rolled up very small to Plank's scale. Anyway that same idea underlies the formulation of M-theory as an 11-dimensional supergravity.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby hyksos on April 30th, 2017, 2:43 pm 

mitchellmckain's response is mostly honest.
mitchellmckain » April 30th, 2017, 9:08 pm wrote:
Nowhere in my posts talk about having a visual metaphor of quantum mechanics in my head.

mitchellmckain » April 30th, 2017, 9:08 pm wrote:
science does not have a perfect geometrical description of the universe. I NEVER claimed any such thing.

mitchellmckain » April 30th, 2017, 9:08 pm wrote:
These visualizations are simply the tools of our imagination used for exploring ideas of where to go next in the work of scientific inquiry. In fact, the truth is, we don't necessarily HAVE to decide on one picture,

These are consistent statements with what Penrose has said. The formalism QM is successful as a science, but does not serve to us any clear narrative or mechanism. The interpretations run the board between disciplined people in academia. An example is given below.


Are there objections to my particular visualization of QM? Of course. The one made by my professor at university was that he sees virtual particles as an artifact of perturbation theory (i.e. a feature of an approximation method). He is one of these physicists who is looking for a nonperturbative completely geometric unified field theory. And thus we can add the objection that my visualization above is NOT a geometric one. But the fact is that I do not tie myself down to a single visualization of reality but like most physicists have learn the value of looking at things in many different ways.

"... he sees virtual particles as an artifact of perturbation theory..."
Right. So I think you can agree with the following material : When the path integral is taken in field theories, these interactions with the virtual particles are included as well. One of the reasons why they are included is because , (while "virtual") they can be very very heavy (in terms of mass.). The path integral recognizes that the heavier they are, the shorter-lived they are as well. In any case, the virtual particles have an effect and it is presumed to be a real effect.

For a geometric way of looking at QM I would turn to the branes of M-theory, which sees all the particles of QFT as the different possible vibrational modes in the various dimensional strings, surfaces (and higher dimensional branes) which I ultimately connect in my mind to the structure of an 11-dimensional space-time itself.

In risk of going in circles here, or pulling the thread into semantics. When disciplined people like mm say "A geometric way of looking at" they in some cases referring to Algebraic Geometry or in even topology. Those topics are far more abstract than most people are comfortable with. The choice of 11 dimensions here is not due to some visual mechanism unfolding in 11D, but is instead arrived at by algebraic methods, mostly about symmetry. They say things like "There will exist a manifold with these and these properties" but don't know much more about it than that. It's really feeling around on an elephant in the dark.

But I'm going in circles because he already honestly admitted to this. These words are not for mm, but for other people who might be watching the discussion from afar.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby mitchellmckain on April 30th, 2017, 7:08 pm 

Well now we have a response from hyskos which is mostly civil.

It would seem that his objections mostly had to do with my previous explanations were not the whole of the truth (as if any explanation could ever be that anyway). He disguises this as a declaration of his victory and my capitulation, though I do not know how he can do that when so many of his comments were proven to be downright incorrect.

Nevertheless it is a happy day when a state of communication is achieved and there is at least hope on the horizon that at least the current hostilities are at an end.

hyksos » April 30th, 2017, 1:43 pm wrote:So I think you can agree with the following material : When the path integral is taken in field theories, these interactions with the virtual particles are included as well.

Yes, of course. The Feynman path integral is a non-perturbative method. Indeed I have little doubt that the idea of virtual particles are not in any way a necessary part of physics and everything can be explained without resorting to them. But I think we can take your words to be admitting that the concept is at least a convenient way of explaining some things.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby Dave_Oblad on April 30th, 2017, 7:41 pm 

Hi Guys,

I'm going to start by offering someguy1 an apology for calling him a Troll. I've never cast an disparaging remark towards any other member on this site and I should not have done so here. I will ask everyone to keep their remarks clear and concise as possible. I'm not the sharpest pencil in the box and am easily confused when faced with sarcasm.

Further, I'll admit that a Turing Machine can produce a CA with the proper program. But a single Turning Machine doesn't multi-task and can run into issues (Ie: the halting Problem). Thus, a real CA of the type I'm talking about, would require a growing Army of such Machines that allow each Machine to react, not only to the current instruction at hand, but all the historical memory of every other Machines output from History. It's even worse than that, my model has no Time, meaning information is not restricted to only moving forwards but also backwards into what may be called History. That would be a true 4D Model.

Remember that a simple 2D CA has Neighbors tied to Neighbors. One cell outputs to a bunch of cells and in return, reacts to the outputs of a bunch of Cells. In 2D, we need a new blank layer of Time to propagate the previous logic setup to the next configuration. But if one keeps a history of all layers, then one can tie neighbors to the status of previous neighbors from earlier layers. This literally means an oscillator configuration in history can still influence all new layers being added.. forever. Furthermore, it means that a new oscillator setup can influence history because History has Neighbor Cells too reaching back to still earlier Layers.

Now do you understand how hard it is to witness a simple True 3D CA? But a True 3D array still only has One single new 2D surface being added each iteration. To get something more approximating our Universe, I have to add a new 3D surface every iteration. This is almost impossible to see on a 2D Monitor. Yes, You can focus and filter out all previous layers, and you may see a lot of interesting Geometry in the current (updating) 3D Surface, but it doesn't make any sense. Some super structures may appear, but without seeing the underlying history, it's hard to explain their persistence. Without seeing the underlying History, it's impossible to recognize the reason for the sudden appearance and disappearance of temporary splotches.

It's like looking at the Quantum at Planck resolutions. Mitch, you played with this stuff.. try it yourself. The coding is pretty easy.. the display is a bit harder. Try two views from slightly differing angles and use stereoscopic techniques (crossing your eyes to make two image into one). The downside is it will suck up memory like a banshee (technical term.. lol) and slow down very rapidly.

Now, our friend Raj doesn't want to believe we are exposed to anything other than "Now" as the current 3D layer. I've made many arguments that History is not erased and is still mostly dynamic. I even proposed such in a thread called "Lost in the Wash" several years ago:
http://sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=23752

Not many people will get it, unless they understand this model.

And just for fun, this popped up in my browsing today:
http://www.digitaljournal.com/science/experiment-shows-future-events-decide-what-happens-in-the-past/article/434829
I haven't had the time to search it thoroughly.. but it looks very interesting.

Ok, I have to run (pick up my dog from the groomers).. Later my friends.

Best wishes,
Dave :^)
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby mitchellmckain on April 30th, 2017, 9:43 pm 

Dave_Oblad » April 30th, 2017, 6:41 pm wrote:It's like looking at the Quantum at Planck resolutions. Mitch, you played with this stuff.. try it yourself.

I haven't done any coding for quite some time and no longer have functioning software for it. (Old programs mostly don't work on new computers...) I am retired as far as that goes.

Dave_Oblad » April 30th, 2017, 6:41 pm wrote:Now, our friend Raj doesn't want to believe we are exposed to anything other than "Now" as the current 3D layer. I've made many arguments that History is not erased and is still mostly dynamic. I even proposed such in a thread called "Lost in the Wash" several years ago:
http://sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=23752

Not many people will get it, unless they understand this model.

http://www.digitaljournal.com/science/experiment-shows-future-events-decide-what-happens-in-the-past/article/434829

In other words, insisting on physical determinism will lead to throwing away local causality (or physical realism). Most scientist would rather give up physical determinism instead.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby Dave_Oblad on May 1st, 2017, 7:17 pm 

Hi Mitch,

Sadly, I'd love to provide the coding or a working demo, but I lost it all. I got an email from a friendly company (Sierra Doors who I was doing some work for) with an attached Screen Saver to try out. Like an idiot, I immediately launched the Screen Saver. It said stand-by and my hard drive went into over-time prepping something I assumed. Alas, my hard-drive had reformatted itself and I lost everything. That will learn me. Anti-Virus software was still pretty primitive back then I suppose. Since that time, I started backing up all my important work on floppies and later, CD's.

Apparently, the Email of the web server at Sierra Doors (now a defunct company) got compromised by a hacker and I called them to warn them to shut it down and send a warning to all other email recipients about the danger from the so-called Screen Saver.

Around that time I was also working on a Polygon Renderer to make my own version of the Doom Engine, to make some original PC games and get rich. Rats.. never completed and I lost the will to continue. But then Id-Software published the Doom Engine and Editor. The following months had me occupied in making my own Wad files and posting them on Doom web sites.. for others to enjoy. I still have all those.

Anyway, back on track. Once one makes the connection that a fixed solution can exist for an Algorithm, and that complexity is not an issue, then I had to wonder if such a solution might have Intelligent Characters running about, living out their respective lives, within the Solution.

The typical response I get is that such a Solution can't become <Real> until it is Physically Computed by us. Of course, the Characters held within such a Solution would make that exact same claim. That they Exist in a Real Universe and we only Exist as some sort of potential abstraction. That they would have to Physically Compute us.. before we can be called <Real>.

It's obviously about the definition for what is truly "Real".. and can legitimately be described as "Exists".

Hence the main reason this thread is in Meta-Physics. What does it mean to "Exist"?

Ok, I have to get back to work.. later.

Best Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby someguy1 on May 1st, 2017, 8:38 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 29th, 2017, 10:55 pm wrote:Well... I reviewed the thread and from what I can tell David was put off by your flippant remarks equating your discussion and this thread with trash.



Can you please supply a specific reference? I don't recall expressing such a sentiment. I'd very much like to know the specific quote that you interpreted that way. If I'm wrong I'm wrong, I just want to see the quote. I truly have no idea what you're referring to.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby mitchellmckain on May 1st, 2017, 9:35 pm 

someguy1 » May 1st, 2017, 7:38 pm wrote:
mitchellmckain » April 29th, 2017, 10:55 pm wrote:Well... I reviewed the thread and from what I can tell David was put off by your flippant remarks equating your discussion and this thread with trash.



Can you please supply a specific reference? I don't recall expressing such a sentiment. I'd very much like to know the specific quote that you interpreted that way. If I'm wrong I'm wrong, I just want to see the quote. I truly have no idea what you're referring to.


It was on page 4 of the thread. It could have been misinterpreted but the general attitude of that post before he called you a troll looked rather flippant to me and it was following what he saw as an ad-hominem in your previous post. These could have contributed to a misunderstanding. After all, he has retracted this just now, so perhaps he reread the section and thought better of making such a condemnation.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby someguy1 on May 3rd, 2017, 7:37 pm 

Dave_Oblad » April 30th, 2017, 5:41 pm wrote:I'm going to start by offering someguy1 an apology for calling him a Troll. I've never cast an disparaging remark towards any other member on this site and I should not have done so here. I will ask everyone to keep their remarks clear and concise as possible. I'm not the sharpest pencil in the box and am easily confused when faced with sarcasm.


Hey Dave,

Very much appreciated. Apology accepted.

For my part I apologize for the sarcasm. Clearly sarcasm doesn't work very well online and my doubling down on it benefited nobody. I would have been far better off just making my point in a straightforward manner. Lesson learned.

All the best,

- sg
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby hyksos on May 9th, 2017, 5:22 pm 

All this talk of the future effecting the present and the past...

In Quantum Electrodynamics, it is possible to re-interpret a positron as an "electron moving backwards in time". You can do this in QED path integrals, and the same predictions show up at the end as if you were using the 'regular' theory.

mitchellmckain can corroborate this, if he feels the need.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby mitchellmckain on May 9th, 2017, 10:04 pm 

hyksos » May 9th, 2017, 4:22 pm wrote:All this talk of the future effecting the present and the past...

In Quantum Electrodynamics, it is possible to re-interpret a positron as an "electron moving backwards in time". You can do this in QED path integrals, and the same predictions show up at the end as if you were using the 'regular' theory.

mitchellmckain can corroborate this, if he feels the need.


Sure, I can confirm that. BUT, I am not so sure that your suggestion this somehow validates the future effecting the past. This is simply connected with the fact that the majority of physics is reversible and has no preferential direction in time. But this is never taken by scientists to mean that causality is ever reversed, as if causality were going both ways at the same time (though there is an interpretation of QM, called transactional, based on this idea). It only means that time reversal is part of a symmetry in the laws of nature (actually see the Noether thread in the physics section, where it shows up in the chart as CPT symmetry because you also have to reverse charge and parity at the same time)

In fact, I do think this is connected with the idea of physical determinism because the same physics is also deterministic. This aspect of physics is indeed like a videotape which can be run either forwards or backwards without any logical inconsistency. However, the MAJORITY of physics is not the same as the TOTALITY of physics, because there are features of physics which do distinguish an arrow of time and one which even singles out the present moment as special.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby nameless on May 25th, 2017, 7:21 pm 

Dave_Oblad » Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:35 pm wrote:The Mathematical Universe

The (imaginary) 'Mathematical Universe', the 'Universe' that math is capable of describing is, and always will be a truncated, incomplete 'Universe'; although viewed through a grid (of the conditional duality of thought/ego), the Universe always = One!
That's it!
The 'Mathematical Universe = One!
Helpful? *__-
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby Braininvat on May 25th, 2017, 10:02 pm 

Not really.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby someguy1 on May 25th, 2017, 10:10 pm 



I agree with the sentiment. The universe that can be described is not the universe. The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
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