This paradox has its origin in perception rather than fundamental physics: If I fill a huge jar with sugar and proteins and minerals and shake it, there is no reason why I can't produce a talking rabbit, or even a unicorn with two tails. Yet out out of the vast menagerie of novel objects and creatures I could produce, I always seem to get a bubbling cloudy liquid. The solution, of course, is that there is an even larger menargerie of objects, all of which look the same to me (like a bubbling cloudy liquid, in fact). Similarly, there is no reason ehy such object, could not appear out of the quantum vacuum, but it must be the case that this vacuum throws up a lot of different objects and events that look to us like 'empty space' and 'nothing happening' (although I suspect that the case of the paradox you give of the double slit experiment has its origins in considering too large a set of states as 'possible'; the positions of the photons are not really free variables, with the apparently 'artificial' physical laws following from the initial data. It's like asking why the pegs on my washing line always follow the 'coshine law'...). I described a special case of this in a posting on this list a while ago, suggesting that we're almost certainly not in a simulated, 'second order' universe: Basically, for every arrangement of matter you could append to our universe that would look like some creature controlling/observing us, there would be many more arrangements that looked like no living creature. And every time you looked for your 'God' and found only space-dust, the universe would get bigger and harder to simulate, amking finding god less likely next time you looked. Depending how quickly this unlikelyness increased after each failed attempt, you might expect to look forever and find, along with a lot of dirt and some bacteria, eventually, beings that would have been smart enough to simulate your ancestors or earlier self, but never you and your current 'known universe.'
--Chris Collins ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jesse Mazer" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> To: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 8:38 PM Subject: Re: Why no white talking rabbits? > >From: Eric Hawthorne <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> > >To: [EMAIL PROTECTED] > >CC: [EMAIL PROTECTED] > >Subject: Re: Why no white talking rabbits? > >Date: Fri, 09 Jan 2004 10:36:41 -0800 > > > > > >Hal Finney wrote: > > > >>What about a universe whose space-time was subject to all the same > >>physical laws as ours in all regions - except in the vicinity of rabbits? > >>And in those other regions some other laws applied which allow rabbits > >>to behave magically? > >> > >> > > > >While this may be possible, we seem to have found so far that the universe > >admits of many > >simple regularities in its complex systems and its fundamental laws. > >Therefore many of the > >essential properties (future-form-and-behaviour-determining properties) of > >these complex > >systems admit of accurate description by SIMPLE, SMALL theories that > >describe these > >simple regularities in the complex systems. > > But that's an empirical observation about our universe, it doesn't tell us > anything about *why* this should be true if you take seriously the > "everything that can exist, does exist" theory that this list is meant to > discuss. For example, if you consider the set of all possible Turing machine > programs, then for any given complexity, there are an infinite number of > programs that are more complex than that but only a finite number less > complex. So it seems like you need to assign progressively less measure to > the more complex programs in order to get a high likelihood of living in a > universe defined by a simple program (assuming you believe in 'universes' at > all, which advocates of TOEs that deal with first-person probabilities might > not). One solution might be that more complex programs tend to run simpler > ones inside them somehow, increasing their measure (like a detailed physical > simulation which contains, among other things, a simulated computer running > a simpler program), but then you have to address the problem in that > Chalmers paper I posted about how to identify instantiations of a given > program in a way that doesn't imply that every program instantiates every > other possible program. > > Also, the problem with taking the "white rabbit" example too literally is > that programs that create orderly phenomena like talking white rabbits would > almost certainly be very rare unless you had a measure that was specifically > picked to make them likely--this is why I prefer examples where the laws of > physics break down in a region in a more random way, like getting a > completely wrong pattern of photons hitting the screen in the double-slit > experiment. Among the set of all possible distributions of photons you could > get in this experiment, the number of possible "wrong" ones should vastly > outnumber the number of "right" ones that quantum mechanics assigns a high > probability to, so why do we never see such violations? This is another form > of the "white rabbit problem", but without the misleading orderliness of > examples like an actual talking white rabbit, a man walking on water, etc. > > Jesse > > _________________________________________________________________ > Worried about inbox overload? Get MSN Extra Storage now! > http://join.msn.com/?PAGE=features/es >