On Jul 2, 2013, at 5:25 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

On 7/2/2013 3:08 PM, Jason Resch wrote:



But what is the basis for the assumption that it's possible to derive a unique set of physical laws mathematics alone?

It's not an assumption, it's a working assumption by those who want to work on the problem instead of resting on the anthropic principle.

I'm not saying physicists should pack their bags and go home, only that they should remain open to the possibility that some things, such as a unique value for the fine structure constant, may not be explainable from within the theory itself.

So far they've been vindicated.


Physicists can dismiss the anthropic principle when they can show the values for the dimensionless constants can be derived by some more fundamental (non-anthropic) principle(s).

What if they show that intelligent life is possible over a factor of 10 range for the constant? How about a factor of 2? 1.1? 1.0001?

Sorry hit send button too early.

If we compare the percentage of possible programs that are supportive of conscious observers in relation to all programs of the same length, we can derive something like chaitin's constant.

The smaller that number is, the more surprised we ought to be that our universe lucked out if there is only one universe.

Given the apparant ease at which tinkering with various constants leads to catastrophy, we might conclude that the conditions that lead to spontaneous complexity growth are rare.



What if they show that all the dimensionless constants can be derived except for one. Will we then apply the anthropic principle to that one?

I don't see we shouldn't, but this reveals another issue: let's say 0 are explained. Then we must wonder why that one meta principle is fine tuned in the face of all mathematical possibility.



The anthropic principle starts to look like god-caulking - stuff to fill gaps.

The more we fill in the gaps of what the physical laws are, the more relevant Wheeler's question becomes: Why these laws and not others?

When we wonder about other possibilities we find no justification from physics itself why these laws. To answer that question requires a metaphysics. Something other physicists seem would prefer to be kept under the rug.

Jason



Brent

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