On Wed, Sep 10, 2008 at 12:30 AM, nichomachus
> But what I wonder about is the implication that the physics of the
> universe are themselves unfolding in a computation of some sort. I
> mean, I agree with this idea, with this model of thinking about
> physics. But I am afraid the analogy breaks down, because I am unsure
> how we can know anything about the direction in which this presumed
> computation is occurring relative to our experience of time. We all
> know that the fundamental laws of physics are time reversible. How can
> someone living in the universe tell which direction the underlying
> program is executing in relative to the evolution of the universe in
> the up entropy direction. Perhaps, for all we know, the direction of
> computation is counter to the direction in which we seem to experience
> time. Perhaps it is in some orthogonal direction. Is there any way to
> tell? Maybe not, until we can finally understand the most fundamental
> physical laws governing our existence.
> These are thoughts that bug me late at night. But understand that I am
> not disagreeing with anything you said.
Max Tegmark had a paper recently with a good explanation of why the
relations that describe the structure of the universe might be computable,
it would be incorrect to link the time dimension of the universe with the
way computers process information linearly. In essence, he says, the
universe is composed of computable relations but the entire structure exists
as an unchanging four-dimensional block which simply is. After some
searching though, I could not find the paper perhaps someone else on this
list recognizes it and could provide a reference.
If the universe is a four-dimensional mathematical structure, without any
direction of computation (atleast the computation is not tied to any
particular dimension of space-time), then how come it seems we have a
progression of time? I would say this is a property of us and our
perceptions, which in turn are a product of evolution. Biology first
learned to process and record information through DNA, through the dimension
of time, later brains developed and they too processed and stored
information through the dimension of time, in the same direction. But why
this dimension out of the 4, and why this direction and not the other?
Something I read once suggested that the brain encodes information in one
direction because to record information requires expenditure of energy, and
expending energy increases entropy of the universe, and entropy of the
universe is always increasing in one direction of the time dimension.
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