Something rather than Nothing.

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Something rather than Nothing.

Postby hyksos on August 21st, 2018, 3:05 pm 

An appetizer from the introduction :
Ancient philosophers didn’t focus too much on what Heidegger called the “fundamental question of metaphysics” and Grunbaum has dubbed the “Primordial Existential Question.” It was Leibniz, in the eighteenth century, who first explicitly asked “Why is there something rather than nothing?” in the context of discussing his Principle of Sufficient Reason (“nothing is without a ground or reason why it is”) . By way of an answer, Leibniz appealed to what has become a popular strategy: God is the reason the universe exists, but God’s existence is its own reason, since God exists necessarily. (There is a parallel with Aristotle’s much earlier invocation of an unmoved mover, responsible for motion in the universe without itself being moved by anything else .)

Subsequent thinkers were less impressed by this move. Hume explicitly dismissed the idea of a necessary being, and both he and Kant doubted that the intellectual tools we have developed to understand the world of experience could sensibly be extended to an explanation for existence itself. In their inimitable styles, Bertrand Russell shrugged off the question with “I should say that the universe is just there, and that’s all,” while Ludwig Wittgenstein suggested there were some things about which we should remain silent: “It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists.”


More :

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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby DragonFly on August 21st, 2018, 8:31 pm 

It appears that existence has to be, given that it is present. 'Non-existence' cannot even be meant, for 'it' has no 'it.

Thus the basic existence bedrock is ever and so it has no input to it, making it to act randomly, at the base, which is the opposite to 'design'.

This also indicates that the bedrock can never be still, having to ever be energetic in its state of having outputs without inputs.

A 'God' Being system of ultimate mind is the polar opposite, having the highest functions as ever operating therein. Beings evolve; they cannot be First and fundamental.

Where does existence come from? It can't have a come from, for its base is ever and its end is never.

What are the particulars of the base existence? It can't have particulars put into it from something else.

Infinite regresses don't work, for the chain would never end. Infinite extent doesn't work, for that can never complete, so we must add 'infinite' to our list of impossibles.

The religious template of our life having to have to come from a Higher Life doesn't work, for the template demands the regress of so forth and so on. Our live came from lower life and non life, and so forth, from more and more simplicity.

The ultimate basis is probably not itself visible, but its secondary traces are seen in our 3D World: interactions show effects, but not the direct causes; light gets emitted from events, but we don't sense the events directly.

Reality is larger/deeper than our 3D space. Particles are not enduring things; they don't have individuality; they are kinks in fields; they may not have trajectories during their here to there. Even fields may not be the final word, but that's what we are down to now.

The finite buck needs to stop somewhere. The Planck size and the Planck time seem to be the absolute lower limits, and from these and more the speed of light maxes out, and also appears to be the fixed ratio of distance to time.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby mitchellmckain on August 21st, 2018, 10:12 pm 

When I was about 13, my rationalist phase (when I came up with a psychology based reasoning for morality), I asked myself this question and this is what I came up with...

If you presume that there is no reason something would exist rather than nothing (and visa versa), then it seemed to me that this could only be a reason why both (or even all) possibilities would be the case. I hadn't heard of the anthropic principle at the time so I suppose if I had I would have said I am therefore logically a part of the possibility that something exists. But now I think it is sufficient simply to say that unless you come up with a reason why there would be nothing rather than something, then there isn't much reason to look for a reason why there would be something rather than nothing. Or if you like a simple two word answer to the question then how about this: why not? (an answer right out of my favorite children's book made into an animated movie: "The Phantom Tollbooth")
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby BadgerJelly on August 22nd, 2018, 3:39 pm 

I have a deep affection for the word “nacent” whilst having deep suspicion toward the word “origin.”

Hyksos -

Perhaps you could provide further guidance as to where this thread is meant to lead?
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Brent696 on August 22nd, 2018, 5:26 pm 

Before we get too far and some would begin to make the argument that "something" is the natural state because no where within this universe is there truly "Nothing", noting perhaps that empty space is not truly empty. Space only appears relatively empty but it is still a dimension of existence and the universe, and its expanding nature is a supportive function in why anything might seem to exist in the first place. If the universe is to be something, then it would have the same appearance at all levels, blocks build complexity.

But some would say that when we die, and consciousness, our individuality, then becomes truly nothing. We cannot say there are pieces of ourselves floating around, our consciousness does not break down into smaller units as does the elements of our body. If the "I" is ever even truly something, then it surely becomes nothing as it would thus lose its substance along with its form.

Which also might pose the question if my self consciousness cannot be divided into smaller elements, how then can we think it is built upon smaller elements.

If we can get past the primitive structural thinking that consciousness is only a product of chemical/neural interactions, we might understand consciousness in a way that it is synonymous with the Life itself, and that all life is interconnect beyond phenomenal expressions of it.

Life is all ONE THING, being manifest through different structures to different degrees. A single cell that expresses life, also expresses a consciousness, even if consciousness at that level does not attain to the same kind of self awareness as we experience.

Life, or consciousness would be like a light, like energy itself, as this light shines through our brains (neural structures) Individuality arises as a shadow from that light. Perhaps a "cutout" shape might be a better example as the whole of the light is restricted and the given shape of the light that does shine through is the shape as it were of our individuality.

Chemical/neural activity them, does not produce the light, but rather shapes that light into individuality. And so like the speed of light, consciousness, or the life principle is also a constant of the universe, a light of a different type perse, expressed through structures that have the capacity to manifest it.

Our individuality then, for all intensive purposes, is an illusion, we think that we are something, our individuality, when in truth we are nothing, and then at death we can fade into nothing because despite the illusion we experience to our existence, we were never actually something. It was merely a trick of the light, or consciousness in this place.

And likewise ultimately, this trick of light and consciousness that produces the mere appearance of reality in ourselves, likewise this illusion of existence could apply to all that seems real to us. So there is in fact Nothing, which only for a time APPEARS as if it is Something.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby someguy1 on August 22nd, 2018, 11:04 pm 

I don't put too much stock into anthropomorphic arguments, but in this case it's appropriate. If there's nothing, nobody can ask the question. If there's something, some parts of that something might evolve self-aware beings that can ask the question. In those instances, the answer is that there's no other answer. If we exist, that's why we exist. If we didn't, we couldn't ask the question. There would be no Descartes to think; and therefore no argument that he exists.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby mitchellmckain on August 23rd, 2018, 12:27 am 

someguy1 » August 22nd, 2018, 10:04 pm wrote:I don't put too much stock into anthropomorphic arguments, but in this case it's appropriate. If there's nothing, nobody can ask the question. If there's something, some parts of that something might evolve self-aware beings that can ask the question. In those instances, the answer is that there's no other answer. If we exist, that's why we exist. If we didn't, we couldn't ask the question. There would be no Descartes to think; and therefore no argument that he exists.


The underlined is a classic ANTHROPIC principle argument.


I don't know if there is such a thing as an anthropomorphic argument. The one google turns up is probably another misspelling. "Anthropomorphic" refers the the human shape. So it might be used to refer to the frequent portrayal of God or gods as some kind of super human, when there is no reason to presume the creator of the universe (if there is one) would have anything like a human shape.

Perhaps a more useful word is "anthropocentric" which means human centered, and this might be the basis of a good criticism of many arguments, for there is no reason to presume that the universe revolves around us. So an example might be the idea that the universe was created for the purpose of human beings -- that might be considered too anthropocentric.

But the anthropic principle is this idea that the fact we exist is a constraint on what the universe can be like. It was first used in a scientific paper to predict the value of a physical parameter, saying that any other value of that parameter wouldn't be consistent with our own existence. But since then many have latched onto this idea and have stretched and distorted the basic idea in different ways. One of the first is this idea that any observation of the universe is constrained by the necessity of having something which can observe. If you look up anthropic principle in wikipedia you will see this idea being stretched even further in both of what it calls weak and strong anthropic principles.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby someguy1 on August 23rd, 2018, 12:49 am 

mitchellmckain » August 22nd, 2018, 10:27 pm wrote:
The underlined is a classic ANTHROPIC principle argument.


Duh, sorry, that's what I meant. Thanks for the correction.

I do find this argument compelling, but not once they start stretching the anthropic principle in other arguments.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Serpent on August 23rd, 2018, 1:34 am 

The answer, obviously, is : Why not?
Existence doesn't need a reason. Reason is one of the uncountable byproducts of existence.
And this particular question is one of its least productive.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby davidm on August 23rd, 2018, 11:16 am 

I don’t think there’s much new in this paper, except to neatly summarize all the issues and potential answers that have been mooted before.

As to the anthropic principle, as the paper notes, it does make various predictions as to what a universe would look given that intelligent observers exist. But the universe also contains a lot of stuff that is extraneous to intelligent observers; i.e., not necessary for our existence, or predicted by it.

It seems to me that explaining why things exist within the universe, is different from explaining why anything exists at all. It makes sense to ask why cars, people, stars and planets exist. These questions can be answered. Why the universe exists, in this form, or why anything exists at all, may not be meaningful questions. It may be that if we were able to explain why everything within the universe exists, then we will have explained why the universe exists.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Braininvat on August 23rd, 2018, 11:43 am 

This thread shows the power of language to formulate questions that lead nowhere. The notion that existence requires a "reason" demonstrates a classic pitfall of overthinking, especially when employing language to structure thoughts. Asking why specific things exist, like quarks and chisels and kittens, is an operational "why," i.e. it asks how the world works and objects are generated. But you can't really expand the scope of that "why" to all existence. It's a semantic mirage.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Brent696 on August 23rd, 2018, 1:01 pm 

It should be noted that science is a child of philosophy and not the other way around, science uses a yardstick, a thermometer, a voltmeter, and ultimately math, as they build their knowledge of "things" in this material world.

Philosophy though uses the instrument of "logic", and it was logic that discovered math and laid the groundwork for science to emerge. ALSO, this universe is still filled with "realities" that are not "things", love, honesty, ethics, ascetic values, beauty, all the way down to existence itself, realities that cannot fit on the length of a ruler, there is no logicometer, the philosopher works between thought and logic, and his one value is the Honesty of his mind.

To EXPLORE the question of "why" is there something rather than nothing, is without a doubt, beyond the ability of science to measure, just as an Infinite Being would be beyond its ability to measure, and if people wish to limit their knowledge base to only those "THINGS" they can measure, surely that is their right. But such self imposed limitations do not nullify the possible existence of an Infinite Being, nor that there might exist a true reason "why" existence has come to be in the first place.

I realize this post is a bit of an aside as it is a defense of philosophy, but it is a one time response to the "asides" that simply want to diminish philosophy. Science might think of philosophy as limited since it is not as easily quantized, but from the philosopher's POV science is limited as it has no means of address other issues, real issues of life such as ethics and justice, so it is that the human race needs both eyes and ears and the knowledge that comes science as well as philosophy, but is some minds would place these two in competition, they should know that philosophy will always come out on top.

Next is a short paragraph from an article, following that is the URL and the first part of the article, for those who wish to explore more out of curiosity, but I am making no argument myself, nor will I defend this post, it is simply informative.

""""""In sum, philosophy is not science. For it employs the rational tools of logical analysis and conceptual clarification in lieu of empirical measurement. And this approach, when carefully carried out, can yield knowledge at times more reliable and enduring than science, strictly speaking. For scientific measurement is in principle always subject to at least some degree of readjustment based on future observation. Yet sound philosophical argument achieves a measure of immortality."""""""

https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2 ... a-science/

Philosophy Is Not a Science

For roughly 98 percent of the last 2,500 years of Western intellectual history, philosophy was considered the mother of all knowledge. It generated most of the fields of research still with us today. This is why we continue to call our highest degrees Ph.D.’s, namely, philosophy doctorates. At the same time, we live an age in which many seem no longer sure what philosophy is or is good for anymore. Most seem to see it as a highly abstracted discipline with little if any bearing on objective reality — something more akin to art, literature or religion. All have plenty to say about reality. But the overarching assumption is that none of it actually qualifies as knowledge until proven scientifically.

Yet philosophy differs in a fundamental way from art, literature or religion, as its etymological meaning is “the love of wisdom,” which implies a significant degree of objective knowledge. And this knowledge must be attained on its own terms. Or else it would be but another branch of science.

So what objective knowledge can philosophy bring that is not already determinable by science? This is a question that has become increasingly fashionable — even in philosophy — to answer with a defiant “none.” For numerous philosophers have come to believe, in concert with the prejudices of our age, that only science holds the potential to solve persistent philosophical mysteries as the nature of truth, life, mind, meaning, justice, the good and the beautiful.

Thus, myriad contemporary philosophers are perfectly willing to offer themselves up as intellectual servants or ushers of scientific progress. Their research largely functions as a spearhead for scientific exploration and as a balm for making those pursuits more palpable and palatable to the wider population. The philosopher S.M. Liao, for example, argued recently in The Atlantic that we begin voluntarily bioengineering ourselves to lower our carbon footprints and to become generally more virtuous. And Prof. Colin McGinn, writing recently in The Stone, claimed to be so tired of philosophy being disrespected and misunderstood that he urged that philosophers begin referring to themselves as “ontic scientists.”
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Brent696 on August 23rd, 2018, 1:22 pm 

Something rather than Nothing:

I suggest a revision, Why are there some Things rather than Nothing.

Perhaps we can think of Something as in the Universe itself, but we are not sure there is only one. But the essential possible function of this Universe, its context of time and space, is what allows for a multiplicity of "things" to exist, at least temporarily.

IF, there is One Thing that is infinite, oneness being the overriding dynamic of an Infinite base, and the One Something brings about this universe, it has also brought about multiplicity.

For nothing to become even some "things" (Universe), Something must have existed prior to, or transcendent to, since time seems to be a dynamic of this universe.

So if the catalyst is "One" and an infinite Something would suggest, then the "Why" of creation may have partly to do with creating a context for our present state of multiplicity.

This would not be the whole reason for existence necessarily, but it is set forth as a clear distinction that would factor into the "Why" of the universe.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby mitchellmckain on August 23rd, 2018, 2:45 pm 

davidm » August 23rd, 2018, 10:16 am wrote:It seems to me that explaining why things exist within the universe, is different from explaining why anything exists at all. It makes sense to ask why cars, people, stars and planets exist. These questions can be answered. Why the universe exists, in this form, or why anything exists at all, may not be meaningful questions. It may be that if we were able to explain why everything within the universe exists, then we will have explained why the universe exists.


Indeed! It rules out answers which talk about God creating the universe, for example. That would explain nothing as far as this question is concerned, because then we can ask why such a God rather than nothing? And although I would support the idea of God being "self-existing" or "neccessary" rather than contingent, I would not do so to the extent that I think they answer this question. ...how to explain... In other words, it can only explain God's existence, IF you think He exists at all. I certainly don't think you can define God into existence.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Serpent on August 23rd, 2018, 3:11 pm 

I noticed a couple of nits in there, so I'll pick them.

In sum, philosophy is not science. For it employs the rational tools of logical analysis and conceptual clarification in lieu of empirical measurement. And this approach, when carefully carried out, can yield knowledge at times more reliable and enduring than science, strictly speaking. For scientific measurement is in principle always subject to at least some degree of readjustment based on future observation. Yet sound philosophical argument achieves a measure of immortality.


Nit #1 - "it employs the rational tools of logical analysis and conceptual clarification in lieu of empirical measurement"
This tacitly, without a definition, demotes all science to the mere measurement of things. Measurement is the least part of science. It includes investigation, observation, juxtaposition, comparison, conjecture, projection, theory, prediction, calculation, experimentation, challenge and proof - and at every stage, the employment of rational tools, logical analysis and conceptual clarification, to everything.
That is, the application of reason to quantified and contained empirical questions.
That leaves philosophy to apply its reason to non-physical questions, which its answers are untestable by any objective agency.

Nit #2 - "And this approach, when carefully carried out, can yield knowledge at times more reliable and enduring than science, strictly speaking."
If I remove the four qualifiers, that sentence is rendered false. It only means what it says if
- it is "carefully carried out" (by whom, according to what standard?)
- "can" (but doesn't have to)
- "at times" (often? rarely? which times?)
- "strictly speaking" ( say what?)

Nit #3 - "Yet sound philosophical argument achieves a measure of immortality"
If you leave in the indefinite qualifier "a measure of" (Can immortality be measured? In what units?) then so do a popular ballad, an old-wives' tale, an amusing epitaph, a famous hoax, and all manner prayers, threats of curses. Longevity doesn't equal validity or utility.

The conclusions of scientific research are always subject to correction and change and even replacement by later, more accurate findings, certainly. The conclusions of philosophical argument are subject to changing attitudes, circumstances and cultural trends.
Logic doesn't change; it can be applied equally well to evolving philosophy and evolving science.

I'm always leery of claims in favour of philosophy that rely on a devaluation of science. Legitimate philosophy has no rivals and nothing to fear. If a philosopher is defensive, I always suspect that his philosophy isn't entirely honest.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Brent696 on August 24th, 2018, 12:02 am 

OK, lets see where I left off,

1st, there is a possibility of true nothingness, the death and dissolution of individuality was given as a metaphor that something can arise from nothing and likewise return to such a state. In physics this would be the Zero-energy model.

""""""(Wiki) A widely supported hypothesis in modern physics is the zero-energy universe which states that the total amount of energy in the universe is exactly zero. It has been argued that this is the only kind of universe that could come from nothing. Such a universe would have to be flat in shape, a state which does not contradict current observations that the universe is flat with a 0.5% margin of error""""""

Likewise if there is a Block Universe in which consciousness is a fundamental factor, then the loss of individual consciousness (death) equals the end of the universe also.

2nd, "Why" one observation is the allowance of multiplicity as opposed to the singularity of an Infinite Oneness.

3rd, It can also be noted that the universe, even as it provides a context of existence, provides also "Protection" for that multiplicity so as not to be absorbed, reintegrated into the Oneness that is the fundamental dynamic of an Infinite Something. This might not seem important unless this universe purpose, is to allow for the rise of individual consciousness,

It is one thing for something to exist, it is another that that something, can actually know itself to be existing. A painting exists, and the universe could have been as such, never knowing anything at all of its own existence, basically and simply unaware. But when consciousness is added to the universe, then through mankind the Universe can actually knows itself and share in the awareness of its own existence.

Other "purposes" might be expanded upon, but then we might have to shift into theology, but within philosophy one might still posit that we, and all this, exists in order to know itself.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby dandelion on August 24th, 2018, 4:53 am 

Regarding the op link, the comment about blurring was interesting, and reference to papers including his about entanglement of that space seems interesting too, but given a space of possible quantum states, perhaps with some dynamic equation breaking relativity’s spacetime covariance without time variable, evolving with respect to variables not treated as special or independent, there seems much more interesting than conveyed.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby davidm on August 24th, 2018, 9:52 am 

Brent696 » August 23rd, 2018, 10:02 pm wrote:

Other "purposes" might be expanded upon, but then we might have to shift into theology, but within philosophy one might still posit that we, and all this, exists in order to know itself.


Not only is there no scientific support for this claim, I can’t think of any good philosophical argument for it, either.

Only sentient creatures that are goal-directed can have purposes. Humans and other sentients are a vanishingly small subset of the universe as a whole, and the universe as a whole cannot come to “know itself” through one of its vanishingly small component parts. At best this is analogical or metaphorical talk.

For the universe to have a purpose, it would have to be sentient. It is not. But if it were, how would you know what its purpose is? To make humans? What warrants this conclusion? If we look at the universe, it is mostly empty space. Why not conclude that the purpose of the universe it to create as much empty space as possible?

If the universe is especially concerned with life, why not assert that its purpose is to create beetles, or microorganisms? There are vastly more of them than humans on this infinitesimal speck in a fathomless void.

The earth is 4.6 billion years old. If all of that time were compressed into a single calendar year, with the origin of the earth on the first day of the year, Jan. 1, and the present counting as the last day of the year, Dec. 31, then modern humans first appeared at less than one-tenth of one second until midnight on the final day of the year. If the purpose of the universe was to create humans, why did it wait so long? Of course this is not even counting the vastly greater vistas of time that existed before the earth came into existence.

You might as well assert that the purpose of the sun is to provide energy to bring humans into existence. But the sun has no purpose. It’s just physics that, fortuitously, life happened to take advantage of. In a few billion years all life on earth will be extinct, and humans will be extinct long, long before that — maybe even quite soon, given climate change. If climate change drives humans into extinction, would it not, using your reasoning, be just as valid to assert that the purpose of the universe was to exterminate humans, as a pest-control measure? Why would that claim of purpose be wrong, but yours right? What criteria could you possibly use to decide between these competing claims?

As someone once noted, it cows could conceive gods, they would look like … cows.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Serpent on August 24th, 2018, 10:44 am 

Brent696 -- But when consciousness is added to the universe, then through mankind the Universe can actually knows itself and share in the awareness of its own existence.

"Is added" begs a question: what/who did the adding? It tacitly presupposes purposeful consciousness prior to the awareness this addition is meant to bring about.
"though humankind" begs another one: It presupposes that humankind is the only consciousness in the universe and therefore crucial to its presupposed purpose.
"share in the awareness" is yet another example: It presupposes a second conscious entity - distinct from the universe and humankind - which is already aware and with which awareness can be shared.

....within philosophy one might still posit that we, and all this, exists in order to know itself.

Does this have any meaning?
Paintings exist but don't know that they exist, and yet have a purpose. Cars exist without ever knowing themselves (or anyway, they didn't until just recently) and yet have a clear, definite purpose. Snails exist, know they exist, but if they have a larger purpose than daily survival, only they know what that purpose is.
Humans exist, know they exist, but if they have a purpose beyond survival, it's whatever purpose they set for themselves. The entities capable of self-awareness are born with; objects that don't know themselves when they're purposely created remain incapable of self-awareness throughout their existence.
To become aware of one's existence, then, is no motivation for a slug; it can hardly provide a raison d'etre for a whole big universe with self-aware entities thinly scattered over its surfaces.

(PS Technically, the deity of cows would be a goddess. Hathor. I may consider joining her cult.)
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Braininvat on August 24th, 2018, 11:09 am 

Not surprising that people are mooo-ving away from the OP topic.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Brent696 on August 24th, 2018, 1:36 pm 

davidm » August 24th, 2018, 9:52 am

Only sentient creatures that are goal-directed can have purposes. Humans and other sentients are a vanishingly small subset of the universe as a whole, and the universe as a whole cannot come to “know itself” through one of its vanishingly small component parts. At best this is analogical or metaphorical talk.

For the universe to have a purpose, it would have to be sentient. It is not.


My philosophical scales of logic are having a hard time balancing the idea that you somehow have purpose while the universe that produced you does not. Out of all the chaos and randomness from the big bang to evolution, only sentient creatures have purpose, and apparently only such purposes as they give themselves.

IF the universe has no purpose, then we, and you, as an insignificant subset, would have no purpose either. Any thought that you might would only be a self deception then. As a creature, your driving force would merely be your belly, simply survival, the same thing that drives evolution. As a subset, even the knowledge we attain as a species will be lost, the consciousness we have, supposedly produced locally as chemical neural activity alone, might help our collective survival for a time, but ultimately it will all be lost, thus deficient of any real purpose other than momentary survival.

1st, if the universe has no purpose, you cannot claim purpose for yourself or humanity.
2nd, you really have no idea whether the universe is conscious or is using us to see itself through.
And 3rd, The longer you continue to cage consciousness within a Newtonian model of reality, the farther you fall behind in modern quantum physics.

From Charmers, to Wallace, to Kaku, to Penrose, many of the great minds are extracting consciousness from our isolated brains to being as it were, a force of nature. It is fast becoming a possible unifying principle beneath the whole of the quantum state.

Obvious when I use the term "consciousness" I am not using as the "you can have it all" crowd of motivational self help healers, or the abuses of the idea as the New Age philosophies have somewhat bastardized ancient eastern thought. But simply as was spoken of Primrose,

""" Penrose believes that consciousness is not computational. Our awareness is not simply a mechanistic byproduct, like something you can make a machine do. And to understand consciousness, you need to revolutionize our understanding of the physical world. In particular, Penrose thinks the answer to consciousness may lie in a deeper knowledge of quantum mechanics.""""

So you can understand my hesitation to simply agree with you it is all a bunch of hooey, everything is haphazard accidents, everything is chaos, except you of course.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Brent696 on August 24th, 2018, 1:49 pm 

Serpent » August 24th, 2018, 10:44 am

It tacitly presupposes purposeful consciousness prior to the awareness this addition is meant to bring about. "though humankind" begs another one: It presupposes that humankind is the only consciousness in the universe and therefore crucial to its presupposed purpose.


Reading my posts above should have pointed out the consciousness is engaged with the principle of life itself, thus the universe does not share in our consciousness as much as we share in its consciousness. At one level the two are the same, we are simply deluded into thinking we own that we have only borrowed.

Serpent » August 24th, 2018, 10:44 am

Does this have any meaning?
Paintings exist but don't know that they exist, and yet have a purpose. Cars exist without ever knowing themselves (or anyway, they didn't until just recently) and yet have a clear, definite purpose.


I am not sure how you think this supports your point, a painting has no purpose until consciousness appreciates it. Remove all life and consciousness on the planet, or the universe if you like, and then have the painting sitting on a table. OR IS IT, who would know, it is and it is not at the same time, welcome to the quantum universe without consciousness, there is only potentiality but no reality.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby hyksos on August 24th, 2018, 1:51 pm 

BadgerJelly » August 22nd, 2018, 11:39 pm wrote:I have a deep affection for the word “nacent” whilst having deep suspicion toward the word “origin.”

Hyksos -

Perhaps you could provide further guidance as to where this thread is meant to lead?

Sean Carroll has not addressed the question about the origins of the Laws of Physics. This is not a little thought I have nagging me in the back of my mind. I would say this to his face -- in public. That's the level of confidence I have in this statement.

First of all, Mr. Carroll squirrels the question into the back paragraphs of his paper. (His possible reasons for doing this are numerous, and I will address those later ). But the question "What is the Origin of the Law of Physics?" gets some spotty lip service in one or two paragraphs.

He does the usual dance we have become accustomed to : pointing at the String Theory Landscape. In the 10500 compactifications we get 10500 different kinds of universes. By the anthropic principle, we find ourselves typing away on this forum in one of those universes where it is suitable for that to happen.

But that dance does not address the question, it only moves it to the back burner. A big dirty secret is left out (intentionally? {expand}) . In every one of those 10500 universes, they all have quantum mechanics, some redux of Field Theory, and gravity. Like all of them do. The question you would shoot at Mr. Carroll in public forum would be :

Why QM, QFT, and GR? Why not some other laws?

But you would have to ask it in a way that is engaging for a room full of people. One of those questions that cause the heads to turn and look at you. I mean, you don't get QM+QFT+GR on accident. You could watch as Carroll blubbers his way through the answer, or gives a terse and dismissive answer and quickly moves on.

Others might find it attractive to attack the topic from a semantics angle. In this we realize that it is inflationary cosmology that "spawns" all these universes in the String Landscape. There is nothing stopping someone from redefining the word "universe" to include all the various pockets/bubbles with differing values of a cosmological constant. Now when Carroll and his cohorts invoke the String Landscape, it is totally a invalid argument. We would not be talking about The Universe, but only the origins of a certain section of it. This would be the equivalent of pointing at the solar system, describing its origins alone, and then slapping one's hands together and declaring, "My work here is done." Someone could ask "But what about all these other star systems and planets outside the solar system?"

Another angle of attack is large scale structure. We know that galaxies are organized into superclusters. Superclusters comprise structures into filaments and voids. Above that organizational principle, scientists believe that structure... well.. it stops. There are no structures above the level of filaments. Beyond that the universe is assumed to be homogeneous in structure and density; like a perfect gas. In the grand scheme of things, that seems like a rather arbitrary cut-off point. If structures cannot give rise to structures forever larger ad infinitum, then this cannot happen in any universe, even all the ones in the String Landscape. It seems to me that the "naturalized" universe with no explanation would necessarily have a fractal structure with no upper ceiling of embedded layers. A fractal requires no explanation from philosophy or science. It just is.

We are not in a fractal. The fact that is stops at a certain size scale means the universe has.. (what do I want to call it?) "such-ness". There is a way the universe is. This such-ness demands explanation. You don't get an upper ceiling like this on accident -- it demands explanation.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby davidm on August 24th, 2018, 2:18 pm 

My philosophical scales of logic are having a hard time balancing the idea that you somehow have purpose while the universe that produced you does not.


I’ve no idea why. Maybe your scales are out of whack?

Out of all the chaos and randomness from the big bang to evolution, only sentient creatures have purpose, and apparently only such purposes as they give themselves.


That’s right.

IF the universe has no purpose, then we, and you, as an insignificant subset, would have no purpose either.


That’s incorrect. Only sentient, goal-driven entities can have purpose.

Any thought that you might would only be a self deception then. As a creature, your driving force would merely be your belly, simply survival, the same thing that drives evolution. her


That is also wrong. I have plenty of purposes and goals beyond simple survival. Sure, survival is a precondition of my other purposes and goals. But then I will die and I won’t have purposes anymore.

As a subset, even the knowledge we attain as a species will be lost, the consciousness we have, supposedly produced locally as chemical neural activity alone, might help our collective survival for a time, but ultimately it will all be lost, thus deficient of any real purpose other than momentary survival.


Yes, everything will be lost to time, and not a trace of us will be remembered anywhere, even assuming there are others capable of memory. So what?

1st, if the universe has no purpose, you cannot claim purpose for yourself or humanity.


Of course I can! In fact, only goal-directed sentients can claim purpose, as noted above. Stars can’t do it. Sand can’t do it. Empty space can’t do it. We can do it.


2nd, you really have no idea whether the universe is conscious or is using us to see itself through.


You have no idea that it is. But yours is the positive claim, so the burden of proof is with you. Produce your evidence, please.

And 3rd, The longer you continue to cage consciousness within a Newtonian model of reality, the farther you fall behind in modern quantum physics.


This makes no sense whatsoever. “To cage consciousness within a Newtonian model of reality” literally means nothing, so far as I can tell.

From Charmers, to Wallace, to Kaku, to Penrose, many of the great minds are extracting consciousness from our isolated brains to being as it were, a force of nature. It is fast becoming a possible unifying principle beneath the whole of the quantum state.


And possibly not. .

Obvious when I use the term "consciousness" I am not using as the "you can have it all" crowd of motivational self help healers, or the abuses of the idea as the New Age philosophies have somewhat bastardized ancient eastern thought. But simply as was spoken of Primrose,

""" Penrose believes that consciousness is not computational. Our awareness is not simply a mechanistic byproduct, like something you can make a machine do. And to understand consciousness, you need to revolutionize our understanding of the physical world. In particular, Penrose thinks the answer to consciousness may lie in a deeper knowledge of quantum mechanics.””””


OK. So?

So you can understand my hesitation to simply agree with you it is all a bunch of hooey, everything is haphazard accidents, everything is chaos, except you of course.


I have observed that people predestined by Jesus to be big wheels have an unusual propensity for nastiness. I, of course, never said that I was any kind of exception to anything about reality. On the contrary, it is you who thinks this about yourself — without the slightest justification for holding yourself in such narcissistic self-regard.


I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Brent696 on August 24th, 2018, 2:24 pm 

hyksos » August 24th, 2018, 1:51 pm

There is a way the universe is. This such-ness demands explanation. You don't get an upper ceiling like this on accident -- it demands explanation.


I realize you are waiting on Badger, but I have addressed this on occasion though I know it might be hard to understand, still I will try to be concise.

We think of existence as buildings, the structure we see are built from blocks, and we take this perception and try to apply it to thee constants.

But the constants are not built, they are divisions in a sense. Taking the Whole of an infinite nothingness, and then divide it, how you divide it produces the qualities in how it wants to draw back into wholeness. A carrot can be sliced straight through, to draw back together there would be equality of force across each surface.

Crinkle cut it and there would be variances in the forces that seek to pull it back together. I realize this is a very crude analogy.

This is why the speed of light exists like a negative and cannot be added to even if the source is traveling forward also. The limit ignores such motion, it cannot be built upon because the constant is not a construct itself.

You start with Nothing, and in what way you divide it, so do you create such forces as would come forth as tensions. One could even use the rubber band theory, where Nothingness is at rest, but as it is pulled apart, so tension seems to be created.

When I use sound and silence as an example, silence is at rest, push forth a compression and a sound is created, but that wave is always seeking to find rest again.

Just some thought on how we contextualize from the macro to the micro, the same principles might not apply to both the same just as there is a variance between Newtonian and Quantum physics.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Brent696 on August 24th, 2018, 2:32 pm 

davidm » August 24th, 2018, 2:18 pm

I have observed that people predestined by Jesus to be big wheels have an unusual propensity for nastiness. I, of course, never said that I was any kind of exception to anything about reality. On the contrary, it is you who thinks this about yourself — without the slightest justification for holding yourself in such narcissistic self-regard.


""""""(David) Only sentient creatures that are goal-directed can have purposes.

Humans and other sentients are a vanishingly small subset of the universe as a whole, and the universe as a whole cannot come to “know itself” through one of its vanishingly small component parts."""""

Since you have one again sought to redefine the argument into a religious one. our debate is over.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby davidm on August 24th, 2018, 2:33 pm 

hyksos » August 24th, 2018, 11:51 am wrote:

Why QM, QFT, and GR? Why not some other laws?


Maybe they are just brute facts.

But then again, it is possible, logically, to envisage assemblages of reality to which the above "laws" (actually descriptions, not laws) do not apply. But these counterfactual actualities do not seem to be how reality works.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby Serpent on August 24th, 2018, 2:42 pm 

Brent696 » August 24th, 2018, 12:49 pm wrote:Reading my posts above should have pointed out the consciousness is engaged with the principle of life itself, thus the universe does not share in our consciousness as much as we share in its consciousness.

In that case, you presuppose a consciousness in the universe prior to the addition of human consciousness, which means the universe doesn't require human consciousness to become aware of itself, which, obviously, is a direct contradiction of supposing that the universe can only know itself through human consciousness.
A perfect self-generating cycle.

a painting has no purpose until consciousness appreciates it.

The purpose of a painting is determined by the painter. It creation, meaning and intent are properties of that painting from the first brush-stroke to the moment of its destruction, even if it is hidden in a dark basement where nobody else ever sees it.

Of course, that wasn't my point. My point was that conscious entities are self-aware without any help, while unconscious things are never going to become self-aware. If the universe is one of the former, it doesn't need humans; if its one of the latter, it doesn't need humans.
Last edited by Serpent on August 24th, 2018, 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby davidm on August 24th, 2018, 2:45 pm 

You could watch as Carroll blubbers his way through the answer, or gives a terse and dismissive answer and quickly moves on.


I’ve no idea why you ridicule and mischaracterize Carroll as “blubbering.” In his paper he clearly addresses this point head-on, here:

This kind of worry generalizes into a concern about explanatory regression: given any purported reason why reality exists, why is that reason valid? One option, following Leibniz and others, is that we reach a level at which further explanation is not required, because something is necessarily true. At the other end of the spectrum, explanations might bottom out with a brute fact: something that simply is the case, without further reason, even though it didn’t necessarily have to be that way. Arguably there is an in-between stance, where there is something that isn’t strictly necessary, but nevertheless satisfies some principle (perhaps of simplicity or beauty) that qualifies as at least a partial explanation. We should be aware of all of these possibilities while examining how our universe might ultimately be explained.


This is hardly blubbering.
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Re: Something rather than Nothing.

Postby davidm on August 24th, 2018, 2:55 pm 

Brent696 » August 24th, 2018, 12:32 pm wrote:
davidm » August 24th, 2018, 2:18 pm

I have observed that people predestined by Jesus to be big wheels have an unusual propensity for nastiness. I, of course, never said that I was any kind of exception to anything about reality. On the contrary, it is you who thinks this about yourself — without the slightest justification for holding yourself in such narcissistic self-regard.


""""""(David) Only sentient creatures that are goal-directed can have purposes.

Humans and other sentients are a vanishingly small subset of the universe as a whole, and the universe as a whole cannot come to “know itself” through one of its vanishingly small component parts."""""

Since you have one again sought to redefine the argument into a religious one. our debate is over.


I have done no such thing, but I understand why you want to end the discussion because, as in the evolution thread, you have no answers to my points. My last paragraph was merely a parenthetical, in response to your typical personal attacks on me. I was merely pointing out the fact that you declared yourself to be a pre-destined big wheel of Jesus, a delusion that obviously must color all of your metaphysics. But of course everything else I wrote was a rebuttal of your claims, and those rebuttals had nothing to do with your announced religious beliefs. Now you are just using an excuse not to have to try to rebut my rebuttals.
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