The Mathematical Universe

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

Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby rajnz00 on April 11th, 2017, 10:25 pm 

Hi Dave,
As previously stated (somewhat emphatically), there is no way to Mathematically create True Randomness. You can take that to the bank.
I did. I was quite excited about it – thought at last I have a deposit for a house, but the bank manager was not having any of it. Far from taking that as my 20%, he wouldn’t even give me a dime.
I am really puzzled by your fascination with maths. I had a look at someguy1’s post on March 16th, 2017, 8:53 pm. He's not as emphatic as you, but he pretty much answers all your claims, quite patiently. It is evident he really knows his stuff. Unlike others who evidently don’t. For example, “In math 3 doesn't exist "before 4" or something. (like you keep harping on to me) Everything is a set.”
Anyway I’m done with this thread.
Except for one more thing
vivian maxine » April 6th, 2017, 4:10 pm wrote:I've been into the "New Math". It has absolutely fogged my brain. 4/5 is smaller than 5/8. Says so right here in this Math Made Easy book.
What!! Who wrote that book? Wasn't Dave by any chance? :)
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby hyksos on April 12th, 2017, 3:17 pm 

Perhaps the excitement surrounding Cellular Automata as being physically motivated is still a kind of grounded excitement. It may be reasonable in a final assessment, but for an entirely different reason than the reasons beaten to death in this 8-page discussion. Maybe Dave_O has discovered chaos theory in cellular automata. That's good progress, I would say.

There does exist the deep topic of platonism in mathematics. It's a topic worthy of book-length expository.

There does exist the topic of determinism in quantum mechanics. Another topic deep enough for book-length expository.

The topic of in-computability in math. Also could fill a whole book. No doubt.

There are (variously) topics of Mathematical Universe Hypothesis, the Simulation Hypothesis, and even Schmidhuber with his metaphysical idea that the universe we inhabit is computable. (The "computable universe hypothesis"?)


Perhaps what Dave_O is discovering about the world is not "World is math" but maybe he has, in his later years, stumbled upon what the rest of us have been calling Chaos Theory. Decades ago, the idea that the world around us operates on Chaos Theory was laughed away as crackpottery. (see the biography of Benoit Mandelbrot). But today, Chaos Theory is now universally understood to be a very accurate depiction of how our universe operates.

Completely deterministic, simple, local rules can give rise to extremely complex dynamics and very intricate temporal and spatial patterns. This happens when there is feedback among them coupled with sensitivity to initial conditions.

We have this idea that the intricacy and complexity of the forest floor ecosystem derives from the inherent noisiness of the real world. This can be countered with chaos theory :: that intricacy and noise could, in principle, arise from deterministic rules that are shockingly simple. So while from the level of macroscopic human scientists and their energy-limited measuring sticks, there could be an apparent randomness. And that apparent randomness could, in principle, be created by deterministic simple processes.

I thought that someone on this forum needed to say this. The principle idea is not bankrupt. Someone should have extended that much to Dave_O. No one yet has.

There is an entirely separate issue regarding determinism in quantum mechanics. The die-hards have been given free reign in this thread to shout that argument down everyone's throats. (forum regulars were variously insulted, told to "look up Bell's Inequalities" , deemed "research-impaired", told that they "don't understand probability" and other social misgraces).

But at the end of the day , quantum mechanics is severely limited in metaphysical scope. QM provides no coherent narrative about the world. The Interpretations of QM run the board. The Formalism of QM is barely more than a calculating device. The universe we inhabit follows the results of that calculating device with extreme precision. Nobody really knows why. Nobel prize winner in physics, Eugene Wigner didn't understand it either. The way in which the fundamental particles obey math , Wigner wrote "..borders on the mystical..." (end-quote). If you believe some guy on this forum understands this topic better than Eugene Wigner, I recommend you to turn the volume up on your skepticism.

But yes, Chaos Theory is a particular branch of mathematics. It should not be used as a synonym for "math" itself. Chaotic systems can give rise to noise that passes all statistical tests of randomness, even when the creator of the algorithm knows it is purely deterministic. One example would be block ciphers in cryptography. They must be deterministic because they must be reversed (decrypted) eventually. But the resulting ciphertext is unreadable noise.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby Athena on April 20th, 2017, 9:50 am 

vivian maxine » June 20th, 2016, 11:49 am wrote:Perhaps what they are really saying is that the universe came into being with designs that formed patterns which enabled us to explain the designs mathematically. Perhaps, for that reason, they are saying mathematics is the universe. Maybe they simply mean all the patterns were there that enabled the term. Almost everything in the universe seems to have some form of balanced pattern. And perhaps we are saying we can't use the word "mathematics" for that because we already use it after the fact. But, can we use it? If not, then what term can we use?

What confused me at the start was the statement "Mathematics is the Universe". I am probably far off base here but does "The Universe is mathematics (mathematical) fit? Is mathematics always dealing with patterns? If it is, then mathematics came into being at the time the universe came into being. Not before but with - mathematics being the pattern the universe formed as it came into being.

I am not a mathematician. Can someone who is answer one question. Does everything that mathematics deals with fall into patterns? If not, all I've said above is gibberish. It probably is anyway.

Carry on, Ronjanec. Keep us thinking.

In experiments to understand the universe at the time of the big bang, humans have created new elements that last only seconds. I think claiming that something that lasts only a few seconds is an element, is an exaggeration. But the possibility that at the time of the big bang atoms may have combined in ways that don't work, would indicate things happened spontaneously without a plan.

Cicero said, "By them [the Greeks] geometry was held in the very highest honor, and none were more illustrious than mathematicians,. But we [Romans] have limited the practice of this art to its usefulness in measurement and calculation."
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby GaryCGibson on April 24th, 2017, 4:42 pm 

I read 'Flatterland' (2000) by Ian Stewart recently. It takes a 2-dimensional young women (a line) through an extra-dimensional math Universe. It's quite enjoyable reading and eventually gets to the Multi-verse, strings, branes etc.
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Re: The Mathematical Universe

Postby someguy1 on April 24th, 2017, 6:56 pm 

GaryCGibson » April 24th, 2017, 2:42 pm wrote:I read 'Flatterland' (2000) by Ian Stewart recently. It takes a 2-dimensional young women (a line) through an extra-dimensional math Universe. It's quite enjoyable reading and eventually gets to the Multi-verse, strings, branes etc.

Haven't read that but wouldn't a line be 1-dimensional? Kind of a boring world, you keep butting heads with people or running into (rhymes with) brass poles. <joke>Not unlike this forum</joke>.
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