On Thu, Feb 10, 2011 at 12:41 AM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com>wrote:

>  On 2/9/2011 7:18 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
>
> Brent and 1Z,
>
> The paper you referenced says the following:
> "No doubt life, as we know it, depends sensitively on the parameters of our
> universe. However, other forms of life might exist under different
> conditions."
>
> I agree with that statement.  Certainly there are other arrangements of
> laws which would permit life to exist.  The question is how often is it,
> among all possible structures, that intelligent life is possible?  It does
> not appear easy.  Try inventing your own set of physical laws which if
> followed from the beginning to the end which would permit life to evolve and
> exist.  It takes a lot of consideration and thought for people to design
> virtual realities which support artificial life (alife), even when it is
> very simple compared to the life we know.  Consider what is necessary just
> to support evolution:
>
> 1. An chemistry rich enough to construct self-replicating machines
> 2. The ability for life to reliably encode, read and copy information
> (necessary to record results of natural experiments, as DNA does for us)
> 3. Unreachable entities (in our case stars) which provide limited
> energy/resources at a fixed rate for life forms to compete over during the
> course of trillions of generations
> 4. This energy source must not easily attainable or duplicated by life (if
> fusion were biologically possible life would consume all the potential
> energy long before it could evolve intelligence)
> 5. No easy shortcut to get an unlimited or infinite amount of energy
> (Something like the laws of thermodynamics, otherwise life has no incentive
> to increase in complexity once it discovers such a trick)
> 6. Re-usability or resupply of materials used by life (If biological
> material or waste can't be broken down to be reused by other life forms then
> such material or resources would run out)
> 7. Long term stability of environment and constancy of physical laws,
> otherwise life would be quickly wiped out or the validity of the information
> recorded from natural experiments becomes invalidated
>
> I think the above rules are necessary not just for life as we know it in
> this universe, but life anywhere.  Our own universe seems just complex
> enough, but no more complex than is necessary, to provide each of these
> requirements.  What do you think the chances are that any random object in
> Plato's heaven, or any random Turing machine will support intelligent life?
> 1 in 10, 1 in 1000, 1 in a billion?
>
>
> You kind of jumped categories there.  Life doesn't take place in Platonia
> and it isn't computed on random Turing machines.  For all you know 1-7 supra
> are each practically inevitable.  Just because you can talk about universes
> with different parameter values doesn't show they exist or that they are
> more probable than the one universe we know to exist.
>
>
How can you be so sure our universe isn't something in Platonia?  Do you
think life forms can tell the difference between living in a platonic
universe and a physical one?  If so how?

I realize that talking about other possibilities does not make it so, but
I've outlined several reasons.  It provides greater explanatory power and
has fewer assumptions.  Your single universe theory assumes rather
arbitrarily that all other universes do not exist, despite evidence
suggesting the contrary.  It may not be enough to convince you of their
reality, but neither should the lack of an ability to see them be taken as
evidence that they don't exist.


>
>
>
> I think the universe's apparent Fine-Tuning is controversial only to a few
> general types of audiences:
> 1. Physicists who believe in a grand theory of everything which will
> explain logically why this universe has to have the physical laws it does,
> and why no other physical laws are possible.
> 2. Those who consider the idea that there are multiple universes to be
> ridiculous or unscientific.
> 3. Those who consider it only as a justification for intelligent design
> theories.
>
>
> You apparently didn't read Vic's paper.  He considers each parameter
> claimed to be fine-tuned and shows that it either is merely a convention or
> that it could take a significant range of values without precluding life.
>
>
I read the paper, and he considers only a few (5) fine-tuned parameters,
several of which I hasn't seen used as arguments for fine tuning, such as
the equivalence of the number of protons and electrons.  He ignores most of
the 26 or so dimensionless and independent parameters in the standard model.
 He does state that many of them have a range over which life as we know it
is possible, but even if that range was as much as 50% for each of them, the
chance that they would all be just right would be (.5)^26.  There are also
things like the fact that there are 3 spatial dimensions.  If there were
more, or fewer orbits would be unstable and decay.  Also if there were fewer
creatures couldn't have digestive tracts without being bisected.  Changes in
the strength of the strong nuclear force as small as 1 part in 200 its
current value would prevent heavier elements such as Carbon, from forming in
stars.  See page 7 of Tegmark's paper for an illustration of where the ratio
between two parameters must fall for there to be life as we know it:
http://space.mit.edu/home/tegmark/multiverse.pdf

This interview with Susskind is also good:
http://www.closertotruth.com/video-profile/Is-the-Universe-Fine-Tuned-for-Life-and-Mind-Leonard-Susskind-/431

Since there may be many forms of possible life completely alien to the
carbon based life we are familiar with, I instead considered requirements
for life anywhere (excepting life as an initial condition, which Rex brought
up), but that seems like an edge case to me.



>
>
> Fine-tuning is a direct consequence of the anthropic principle once one
> assumes multiple universes.  Say you were completely agnostic on the
> question of there being other universes, but you decided the probability of
> any random universe having those seven necessary properties necessary for
> life was 1 in 1000.  You must then decide between there being only one
> universe (the one you see) and wonder why we were fortunate enough to hit
> the 1 in 1000 chance to be alive, or you conclude multiple universes exist,
> and there is no mystery or luck involved.  One's confidence that there is
> only 1 universe should be roughly proportional to the likelihood that life
> exists in any randomly selected possible universe.
>
>
> Unlikely things happen all the time.  By your argument there must be many
> Jason Resch's.
>
>
Unlikely things happen many times because many things happen.  But by
positing only one universe there would be only one selection of physical
laws (unless you think the physical laws periodically change spontaneously).
 Therefore for there to be a single universe with constant laws and for it
to be just right for life to exist or evolve, is improbable.

I believe there are many copies of myself.  It is a natural consequence of
the universe being infinitely large, just as all the works
of Shakespeare occur in the digits of Pi an infinite number of times.


>
>
>
> That the Anthropic Principle + Mathematical Realism explains the appearance
> of Fine Tuning is just one of its many attractions.  Among the other appeals
> of mathematical realism are that it answers some longstanding questions:
>
>
> That it could explain anything is one of it's flaws.
>
>
>
That is an interesting thought.


>
> Eugene Wigner's "The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of
> mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift
> which we neither understand nor deserve."
> Einstein's "The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is
> at all comprehensible."
> John Wheeler's "Why these particular equations, not others?"
>
> If mathematical reality is taken as true the appearance of a physical
> reality is a direct consequence.  If one starts with a physical reality,
> however, one
>
> I am curious to know at what point do you consider the items in this
> progression to no longer be real and what point you begin to apply the label
> of immaterial or abstract:
>
>
> I don't take anything to be the "really real".  There are degrees of
> confidence, but the list below is not a progression by my estimation.  I
> feel fairly confident in 3.  1 and 2 are good working hypotheses.  4 is
> speculative.  The rest are abstractions or fictions.
>
>
You sound certain that they are fictions.  Are you?

>
> 1. The matter and space beyond our cosmological horizon which we can
> neither see nor interact with
> 2. Other theorized cosmic inflation events (new big bangs) happening
> elsewhere or very far away
> 3. Events or people which exist in the distant past
> 4. Other branches of the multiverse as postulated by Everett
> 5. Other solutions to string theory which define other possible physics
> 6. Altogether different physical laws and universes, defined by the
> equations completely unlike those of string theory
> 7. Universes which exist with simple rules, finite state automata like John
> Conway's game of life
> 8. Turing machines executing programs
> 9. Mathematical structures defined by equations, such as the Mandelbrot set
> 10. Simpler mathematical structures, spheres, circles, triangles
> 11. Integers
>
> If Mathematical objects have an objective reality then what is abstract vs.
> what is physical becomes a matter of perspective.  You call this world
> physical because it is the abstract mathematical object you find yourself
> in, someone in another mathematical object / universe might consider this
> one we inhabit to be abstract.  I see no value in placing labels of
> existence of "physically real" to anything which is possible, but a lot of
> value from deciding possible things exist too.
>
>
> "Possible" is a very ambiguous word.  Logically possible = not self
> contradictory, is the weakest kind of possible.  Nomologically possible is a
> little stronger.  What kind of possible do you mean?
>
>
>
I think when I use the term I usually mean logically possible.


> It answers many questions and eliminates the apparent arbitrariness which
> is required for this to be the only possible reality.  Have scientists
> discovered any principle or evidence which suggests this is the only
> possible universe?  If not what is your motivation for believing it?
>
>
> Has science found any principle or evidence suggesting there is no teapot
> in orbit around Jupiter?
>

There are reasons to believe it is improbable that a teapot is in orbit of
Jupiter.  Likewise I think there are reasons to believe the existence of a
single universe with constant laws is improbable.

By what means or mechanism could this universe be blessed with existence
when so many less fortunate, yet logically possible universes were not?

Jason


>
> Brent
>
>
>
> Jason
>
>
> On Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 1:15 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com>wrote:
>
>> On 2/9/2011 7:57 AM, Jason Resch wrote:
>>
>>> 1Z,
>>>
>>> How do you define existence?  For something to exist must it be something
>>> you can see and feel, or would you say it has to be something that can be
>>> studied objectively?  Would you agree that for something to have objective
>>> properties, it must exist?  Clearly there are things humans have discovered
>>> which we can't see or feel, but we think they exist because we see their
>>> effects: wind, dark matter, black holes, etc.  Or theories suggest their
>>> existence: extra-solar life, strings, and so on.
>>>
>>> I would argue that mathematical objects exist because this universe's
>>> existence does not make sense in isolation.  Imagine you were in a
>>> windowless bathroom.  Should you doubt the existence of the rest of the
>>> world because you cannot see it, or would there be clues to support the
>>> existence of things outside that room?  The finely tuned physical constants,
>>> laws, dimensions, etc. of this universe suggest that this universe is one of
>>> many, perhaps one among all possible structures.  Just as we see the affects
>>> of wind and know it exists, one can look at the fine tuning of this universe
>>> and believe in the existence of all possible structures.  Every such
>>> structure is a mathematical entity.  If you doubt the existence of
>>> mathematical objects, how do you explain fine tuning? (
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe )
>>>
>>> Jason
>>>
>>
>>  Fine-tuning is a very speculative and poorly supported peg to hang
>> existence on:
>>
>> http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/Fallacy/FTCosmo.pdf
>>
>> Brent
>>
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