Vacuum

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by timojin, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    4,616
    I don't understand the relevance of Bohm to what I wrote. You (and maybe Bohm along with you) are just assuming that the same "abstract potentials" or "mathematical functions" (or "laws of nature") have always applied in the physical universe. You aren't alone, science typically assumes the same thing. My point was that it's a metaphysical assumption.

    That's just another assumption, not a justification for believing it. My point was both (1) that it is a metaphysical assumption, and (2) that it doesn't really address the something-from-nothing origin-of-reality question. That last is aimed more at Lawrence Krauss than at you or Tegmark. Krauss takes assumptions very similar to yours and Tegmark's and tries to use them to explain why there is something rather than nothing. (And fails badly in my opinion.)

    I suspect that this kind of thinking might be fairly common among theoretical physicists, whose mathematical apparatus is more real and immediate (it provides the concepts in which they normally think) than the physical reality that everything supposedly refers to. So the idea that the conceptual apparatus is what's fundamentally real and that physical reality is just an unnecessary add-on is probably to be expected.

    In your post #42 up above, the first two sentences read, "IMO Mathematical functions have always existed! Even before there was anything physical the mathematical function existed as an abstract potential". My point is merely that assuming that the laws of physics have always existed (something that none of us can really know) doesn't answer the question of why there are laws of physics in the first place.

    I don't think that your views are a whole lot more plausible than theirs. It's all just speculation, conjecture and myth-making both ways, it seems to me. Waving one's arms and announcing "Mathematics!!" is no more enlightening that waving one's arms and shouting "God!!". We still don't really know what mathematics is, how human beings know about it, what its relationship is to physical reality or why there is mathematics in the first place. The idea that it's always existed, needs no explanation and explains everything else is just an expression of faith as far as I'm concerned.

    BTW, Write4U: despite the fact that I'm disagreeing with you pretty vehemently, I'm enjoying this exchange and respect you for standing your ground and arguing your points. (I'm just unpersuaded at the moment.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I guess that I'm going to have to break down and grab a copy of Tegmark's book at the bookstore tomorrow. I'm getting interested enough in this that I want to know what he says and how he argues for it.
     
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Pesonally I believe there is a difference between metaphysical and supernatural. Metaphysics pertains to physical potentials (latent abilities). *E = Mc^2* is an equation of a potential inherent in physical matter or force. OTOH, to me the term "supernatural" by definition does not pertain to nature at all and is meaningless in terms of the physical world..
    If I may suggest a good overview by Tegmark, Livio, and other cosmologists/mathematicians, watch the clip "The Great Math Mystery"
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/great-math-mystery.html
    or
    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=the great math mystery nova&view=detail&mid=0E0EEAC01E4D59F518F00E0EEAC01E4D59F518F0&FORM=VIRE
    or
    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=the great math mystery nova&view=detail&mid=53F568889E18C61A123853F568889E18C61A1238&FORM=VIRE

    I gave three links to the same presentation, because not everyone can access PBS (NOVA), so if one does not work, try the next.

    As to Bohm, I really like these excerpts from a review by Will Keeping.
    and
    http://www.vision.net.au/~apaterson/science/david_bohm.htm[/quote]
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
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  7. Farsight Valued Senior Member

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    Have a flick through it, read a few pages. Then put it back on the shelf. Don't waste your money on popscience woo.
     
  8. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    4,580
    Is that how you study, flick trough, read a few pages? And then you feel qualified to dismiss the entire hypothesis, which is supported by several great scientists such as Mario Livio, (astro-physicist) and throw in an ad hominem no less. tsk, tsk.

    Perhaps you may want to flick through and read a few pages on Mario Livio. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Livio

    This is why I suggested to watch the NOVA presentation which explains (visually) the fundamental influence of the mathematical functions of the universe.

    p.s. the presentation also poses questions and seems to be a well balanced posit..
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  9. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    2,422
    The evidence says, "Yes."
     
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Corrected.

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  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Question: How could we describe something unless we have observed it as a consistent recurring pattern which is apparent in a natural universal function?
    I do agree that human maths are descriptive, but they are descriptive of an observed inherent universal property or function..
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Because a consistent, recurring pattern is a real thing, and a function is an abstract description of that real thing.
     
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    4,580
    I am not sure if I agree with that entirely.
    Example:
    https://www.britannica.com/science/wave-function

    But there are examples where we can observe this function in reality. Find a beach and watch the ocean waves form in a physical expression of the wave function.

    It seems to me that a consistent pattern of expression in reality must have an underlying mathematically causal function. I cannot imagine a process which would yield consistent recurring patterns by something other than a mathematical function.

    OTOH, looking at a parked car, we can imagine its function and purpose (transporting people and goods) in the abstract.

    So the question becomes if a function can exist both in the abstract as well as an observable natural phenomenon. My guess is that both are true.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    6,604
    That's because you are confusing the physical with the description of the physical. It is the physical process that is the causal action.

    If one atom is going to react according to gravity, and move a specific way, then a million other atoms will do the same thing (in the same circumstance), and similar things in similar circumstances. They will each react with no knowledge of anything except the strength and direction of gravity. All million them acting independently, in the influence of a million strengths and directions - that is how you get emergent, macro-scale patterns and periodic behaviors.
     
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    4,580
    I agree with all that, but how this physical process occurs IS a mathematical function in accordance with all pertinent forces involved.

    Seems we have another semantic problem. Let me try to clarify my interpretation of *function* by an example.
    H2O is a molecule that can function as a liquid or a solid or a gas, depending on temperature. The transformation from a liquid state to a gaseous state is how H2O molecules function when sufficient heat is applied. And of course the formal definition of *function*.
    and
    Powered by Oxford Dictionaries

    I see no particular esoteric meanings in those definitions.

    Note the underlined *permissible* in the definition of a mathematical function. IMO, that is a recognition of the mathematical aspects of the action. IOW any physical action or function is either mathematically permissible or restricted.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    4,580
    Any ideas yet of a natural action or state which does not involve a form of mathematical values or functional equations?

    I really tried, but cannot imagine such a thing. But then my knowledge of universal physics is limited at best.

    But as an ex-bass player (7 years on the road) as well as ex-accountant (12 years for a variety of businesses), I can really identify with Esmeralda Spalding, the bassist in the NOVA clip "The Great Math Mystery" (see post 63). Her musings feel just right to me also. And we are in the company of Pythagoras.

    Frankly, I cannot understand the objections to the concept of a universe which functions in accordance to some fundamental mathematical constants. IMO, it just seems very efficient to me, considering the inconceivable amount of numbers (values) interacting (being processed) at any given time at any given place, and the speed at which all this happens makes it imperative that the process is as simple and direct as possible. To my knowledge, only some form of mathematical function can create these consistent dynamical patterns, requiring the quantifying of values and either permit or restrict certain interactions, and must be an essential ability (potential) of a relatively orderly evolving universe. Instead of asking why, we could ask why not? We have tested and verifiable evidence!
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  17. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    2,422
    You keep saying this, over and over, but you have yet to offer serious evidence for this. That we describe physical things with mathematics is not enough to establish that the actual physical things are doing mathematics.

    There you go again, using "function" in two different ways. Until you stop confusing one word "function" from another word "function", you will not have a valid (or strong) argument.

    There is nothing esoteric, yet you continue to confuse the words.
     
  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Aside from the as-yet-unresolved premise that physics is functions, I have twice offered an answer to this.

    A third time:

    Qualia.
     
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    4,580
    I make a distinction between "doing" mathematics and *functioning" mathematically. A daisy always grows its petals by the Fibonacci Sequence. Does it *know* this? Of course not, evolution has selected this mathematical sequence as an efficient way to grow petals and this growth instruction is contained in the daisy's DNA.
    If I tune the engine of my car it performs (functions) more efficiently. Does the engine *know* this? Of course not, its a man made machine, which functions as the power source for the vehicle. When the mathematical timing is off, the engine functions less efficiently and we take the car to a mechanic who will adjust the mathematical function of the distributor..
    I don't know what you mean. Can you explain how I am mixing and confusing the definition of "function". I firmly believe that I have been consistent in separating naturally consistent orderly universal functions from human mathematics, which is a symbolic translation of observed naturally consistent orderly universal functions.
    Science has translated these naturally consistent orderly functions into symbolic representations of these functions and named it Mathematics.
    Therefore, we can say that the universe functions mathematically. And until God appears and tells me that He is doing all this work, I'll continue to believe that the universe itself functions all by itself by some methods which we have named *mathematical* and symbolized into a system which we call *Mathematics*
    I agree there is nothing esoteric about my use of the word function. IMO, the word *function*, in its most general interpretations, means *activity* or *purpose*.
    Function :

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    {Wiki)
    This process occurs as a natural property of the universe.
    :
    Activity : something that is done as work or for a particular purpose (Webster)
    This process occurs as a natural property of the universe

    Purpose : the reason why something is done or used : the aim or intention of something (Webster)
    This imperative occurs as a natural process of the universe, but not with intent or motivation..

    The problem seems to lie in the interpretations of the words "mathematical", which can be applied to a natural activity and *mathematics*, which is the human interpretation of observed specific actions and interactions of values.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Sorry Dave, Qualia pertains to Philosophy, not Physics. The universe does not function per Qualia.
    I really don't think the universe functions that way, it does not consciously experience anything.
     
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    4,580
    But that is not going deep enough.

    Ask what is the "Physical Process"? What does that term mean? IMO, fundamentally it is a causal interaction of specific values, which are mathematically permissible, from quantum foam to super-novae. IOW, the *physical process* is mathematical in *essence* . All physical processes (input-f-output) are the interactions of specific values involved. That is Physics. But Physics rests on our known (assigned) values and mathematical functions of the universe.

    I particularly liked the theoretical mathematician who claimed that she gets the feeling of "uncovering a new mathematical function", which of course, has always been part of the universal dynamics .
    I agree, of course all these atoms need to have the same values (mass) or the scenario changes.
    Each according to the natural quantification and expression of specific values and functions.

    I have tried, but I cannot get away from Tegmark's logic that we are dealing with a dynamic condition which is governed by a natural quantification of values, and permissible or restricted physical actions, some expressed in our reality.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    4,580
    Sorry for responding so late on this.
    All those examples are theoretically quantifiable. The weather and tectonic plate activities are theoretically quantifiable, but contain too many unknown variables to make accurate predictions.

    As to measuring irregular shapes, such as the coast of England or the shapes of mountains, we can do this quite simply with fractals.

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    A fractal landscape
    http://www.fractal.org/Bewustzijns-Besturings-Model/Fractals-Useful-Beauty.htm

    This process can be reversed to measure a host of irregular physical features at an extremely small scales.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal#Natural_phenomena_with_fractal_features
    Is it really? And here I thought I was trying to interpret Tegmark's hypothesis, which seems larger in scope and depth than particle physics.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I am part of the universe.
    I experience qualia.
    Qualia is an emergent property of my consciousness, which is an emergent property of biology, which is an emergent property of chemistry, which is an emergent property of physics, which is what drives the universe.
     

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