# Re: Why is there something rather than nothing?

```On 9/22/2011 1:19 AM, Jason Resch wrote:
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On Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 10:40 PM, Stephen P. King <stephe...@charter.net <mailto:stephe...@charter.net>> wrote:
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On 9/21/2011 11:00 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
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On Sep 21, 2011, at 9:11 PM, "Stephen P. King"
<stephe...@charter.net <mailto:stephe...@charter.net>> wrote:

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```    On 9/21/2011 9:24 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
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On Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 6:07 PM, Stephen P. King
<stephe...@charter.net <mailto:stephe...@charter.net>> wrote:

On 9/21/2011 3:06 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
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On Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 12:47 PM, Craig Weinberg
<whatsons...@gmail.com <mailto:whatsons...@gmail.com>> wrote:

On Sep 21, 12:20 pm, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com
<mailto:jasonre...@gmail.com>> wrote:

Sorry to jump in here..

>
> The Mandelbrot set has a definition which we can use
to explore it's
> properties.

In this kind of context, I think it is useful to make
the distinction
that the Mandlebrot 'set' IS a definition.

Then the important question is whether humans had to write
it down for it to exist.
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```        [SPK]
Why is the question of whether some set of properties
occur given some set of rules and the implementation of
those rules by some process tied to the existence or
non-existence of an object? Since when was it even a
```
meaningful question? Is existence a property? No, it is not!
```

My point is that existence is independent of our implementing
or discovering such properties.  Mandelbrot didn't have to
discover the definition of the Mandelbrot set for the set to
have the properties it has.  He only had to discover it for us
to learn about some of its properties.  If there is another
Mathematical object, and one of its properties is that it
contains self-reproducing patterns which behave intelligently
and form civilizations, we need not find such objects nor
simulate them for those intelligent agents to be.

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```    [SPK]
And my point is that the *properties* cannot be said to be
definite absent specification by equation, rule or equivalent.
Existence is not contingent. Period.

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I agree existence is not contingent.  But I go further and say
the properties of those extant things is not contingent either.

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```    [SPK]
Could you please explain to us how that claim is consistent
with the mutual non-commutativity of canonical conjugate variables
(aka properties) in QM?

AFAIK, a wave function or state vector, absent the
specification of a measurement basis must be considered to be in a
state where all of its observable properties are in a state of
linear superposition, this they are 'indefinite" and thus it
follow that they are indeed contingent on the specification of a
basis. Where am I going wrong?

```
This uncertainty of properties is an artifact of observation, more specifically Quantum Mechanics is a consequence of the observer's inability to self locate within an infinite structure. See:
```http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0001020
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```
[SPK]
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I never quite understood how the non-commutativity of certain observables with respect to each other and the Pontryagin duality (manifesting as a Fourier transform for example) between discrete and compact spaces (inducing basis vectors) follows just from the inability to self locate. It seems to me that it is the introduction of the Hilbert space and its linear algebraic structure that induces the uncertainty. The inability to self-locate seems to just be consistent with the 'no preferred basis" aspect.
```    I would like to read Russell's comment on this.

```
```and
http://arxiv.org/abs/1008.1066
```
The objects in the individual branches have properties, it is only we observers who are uncertain of them. (We don't know which branch, or which one of us, we are in or are)
```[SPK]
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I did not notice anything new in this paper, by Aguirre et al, that Russell didn't cover in his paper.
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Would you say the set was non-existent before Mandelbrot
> found it?

I would say that it is still non-existent. What exists
would be a
graphic representation, for instance, of the results
of thousands of
individual function calls which require our visual
sense to be grouped
into a set. Our recognition of pattern against the set
of generic
iterations of the equation plotted visually is what
gives it
explorable properties: The concrete event of the
plotting on a screen
or pencil and paper.

Yet we have only seen an infinitesimally small part of
it.  What ontological status shall we ascribe to the
unseen parts?
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```
[SPK]
Currently unknown. ".../what we/ cannot /talk about we/
must pass over in silence. " or admit that we are only
speculating.

The properties are onknown to us, or to you.  Doesn't mean it
is unknown to everyone.  We know that if we look at a spot we
have never looked at before we will see something.  Each time
we conduct this "experiment" we affirm that it existed, even
though we had no confirmation by previously looking at it.  Why
should we ever assume it's existence as a complete and coherent
structure is unknown?

```
```    [SPK]
No, experiments reveal properties, not existence. Again,
existence is not contingent on observation or measurement or
anything at all.
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This is what I have been saying!
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```    [SPK]
My apologies for misunderstanding your claim.

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```    Thus the entire question of "does it exist" is a red herring.
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There are many people, even on this list, who would say most
possible worlds do not exist.  So there is a reason to affirm the
existence of things we cannot see or define, for we cannot see
nor define everything.
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```
[SPK]
So, what difference does their belief make to whether
something exists or not? This would be a nice example of a Bp&~p.

```
None, but we are trying to explain our positions to others, so it is not meaningless or pointless to suggest things like "everything exists".
```
[SPK]
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I make a big deal about statements of existence because a lot of people think of the term as if it is denoting a property, like redness or velocity. Properties go to the content of experience and must not be considered as seperate from at least the potential of observation. Existence, per se, has no such contingencies.
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```            >  If we have to define something for it to exist,
then what
in it?

The universe always has/is/results from awareness.

Then you get into a bootstrap problem.  How did the first
aware creation come to be if there was not already some
structure with a previous history during which that
creature evolved?  Your idea suggests the universe and its
5 billion history were created when the first life form
opened its eyes.

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```        [SPK]
A bootstrap problem can only occur if there is a
boundary that cannot be overstepped or crossed by some means.

Yes, like evolving a conscious brain without having had an
environment or history of evolution.
```
```    [SPK]
Obviously that cannot happen so why bring it up?
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Craig brought it up. (see above) "this unuverse results from
awareness"
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```    [SPK]
OK.

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Why is it assumed that there had to be a structure with
no prior history that somehow just appears and all else
proceeds from it? We chastise silly creationists for making
the same claim!

Who is assuming this?

Existence is eternal,

Yes.

just because we observe a finite universe does not mean
that the total universe is not infinite or that that finite
observed universe is the totality of existence.

Yes.

It could be just the simple fact that a finite system
(within an infinite Totality)  with finite physical
resources can only resolve a finite universe (which is just
a finite subset of the Totality. Not too complicated at all.

Yes.

There is no need to concoct weird explanations such as
Singularities and Inflatons and Dark Energy, just use some
observation, logic and a liberal dose of Occam's razor.

Okay.

```
```        This idea is not unlike Wheeler's participatory universe,
which I think has some merit.  With Wheeler's idea,
however, both awareness and the universe feed on each
other and affect each other.  With your idea it sounds
like you think awareness drives everything.  How do you
explain the physical laws (the fact that there are laws at
all) if sense and awareness are all that are required?

```
```        [SPK]
You might not have noticed that Craig's thesis is
symmetric with respect to "sense" and "thing". He calls
them the Omni and the Acme, if I recall correctly.

Sounds like the pre-established harmony of Leibniz.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-established_harmony
Which explains very little, besides "Well that's how God
decided it should be"

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```    [SPK]
/smile. I recall pointing that out to Craig in a phone chat
I had some time ago, but you are completely missing Craig's thesis.
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Perhaps it would help me and others on this list to understand it
if you provided us with your understanding of his thesis.
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```    [SPK]
It is not muy job to explain Craig's thesis to you. That is
his job. I got claims of my own to defend and correct if mistaken.

```
Okay. I only brought it up because you pointed out I was completely missing Craig's thesis. I thought you might have some insight as to how or why that you could share.
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[SPK]
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Sure, let us consider this similarity to Leibniz' "per-established harmony" idea. Could you sketch your thoughts on the similarity that you see? I have my own thoughts about pre-established harmony, but I see, in Craig's ideas, other concepts similar to those of Leibniz that do relate to a notion of "harmony" and other somewhat unrelated concepts but not necessarily include the "pre-established" aspect. I haev an argument against the concept of "pre-established" as Leibniz uses it.
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snip

Onward!

Stephen

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