Here’s a really neat overview of mathematics. Enjoy.
From the data I’ve seen and been able to verify, it does seem that humanity’s greatest challenge is Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW – Humanly caused Global Warming). The data supporting AGW is overwhelming. Still there are those who choose to deny it or remain sceptical.
I can understand and appreciate the sceptics – as long as they make an effort to inform themselves – by being open to the underlying data and science and dig down into the underlying physics and statistics.
But when I encounter deniers, uniformily they come across as very certain that either 1) there is no Global Warming, or 2) the Global Warming is not caused by humans. They also tend to believe that there is some sort of conspiracy to forward the idea of AGW to funnel money into research and green energy. I have yet to meet a denier that has been to areas affected by Global Warming or who has any scientific knowledge to understand the physics or statistics involved.
It seems the belief in conspiracy theories is the driving force for the majority of deniers. They loudly proclaim that one should “follow the money trail”, because money is the driving force of conspiracies. It baffles me how they do not heed their own advice. The amount of money to be gained by oil companies in denying AGW totally dwarves the money gathered into scientific research and Green Energy – by a factor of at least ten. Much, much more is gained by “The Establishment” in lobbying against AGW than for it.
For some deniers, it seems safest to kill AGW at its roots by denying there is any rise in temperatures at all – citing local “cold spots” as evidence, or simply just invent data or opinions to counter facts. This type of deniers are marginalized and may soon find themselves as scarce as the Flat Earthers.
The majority of deniers would admit there is warming going on but deny there is any human connection. Again, the data and science is mounting against this position. The problem is that they almost never try to actually defend their position with any facts. They use opinions, hand waving or Internet memes trying to “discredit” science.
The deniers I’ve met are usually right-wing extremists. Denying AGW seems to be a political position and has very little to do with facts. It is the old conflict between propaganda and science.
It’s strange how people still would defend the fossil energy industry when there are more jobs to be made in the green industry. And wouldn’t the deniers also want cleaner air and water at least? And wouldn’t you rather err with science than take a position that could potentially be catastrophic for mankind?
I have been to the arctic and seen the effects of AGW with my own eyes. I understand the statistics and physics involved. The deniers I’ve met rely on second hand information and none have been able to show any signs of understanding the underlying science. If anything would motivate me to man the barricades, this issue would be it.
Recap what Occam’s Razor is by reading my previous blog post on this principle.
The principle has habitually failed to live up to it’s promise as a guide for choosing the right scientific path. Here’s why.
“A Viking looks up at the sky. The dark gray clouds, the thunder and lightning is a sure sign of heavy rain coming. It is also the sure sign of Thor’s anger. We have angered the God of the skies. Or, it is the sure sign of complex physical processes represented with unfathomably complex weather mathematics at play.”
“The universe was created by an all-powerful being that decided to experience. Or, it was created by an incredible fine-tuning of six numbers for what what we have no explanation, allowing for life to evolve in a near impossible improbability with physical processes so complex we cannot see any end to it’s complexity.”
Occam’s Razor tells us to choose the simplest explanation with the fewest assumptions. And before you think that Thor is an improbable assumption, then realize he would be but one assumption as compared to a huge amount of assumptions at play in our current physical models of the weather and the universe at large.
Applying the “scientific” principle of Occam’s Razor, we should perhaps have stayed with the Gods.
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I have been returning to this question lately – and I see three possible answers:
- The universe is finite
- The universe is infinite
- The universe is “infinitely finite”
Option 1 introduces an “edge problem” where the particles at the end of the universe will have interacting forces on only one side. If this option is true, the universe started out as point-like Big Bang, satisfying the requirements for a Black Hole.
If Option 2 is true, the universe has always been infinite since nothing can go from finite to infinite (or vice versa). It started out as infinitely large and very dense at the Big Bang, satisfying the requirements for a Black Hole at all areas of space.
Option 3 would be similar to moving on Earth’s surface – if you move straight in one direction, you eventually circle the Earth and end up where you started. The universe could be a 3 dimensional space residing in a higher dimensional space – if you travel in one direction, you would never reach an edge. Instead you can end up back where you started (given that the higher dimensional space is a uniform “sphere”). The universe could have started out as a small 4D+ space.
I can’t for the moment see other options. Please pitch in with your own views.
One question that often pop up with an infinite universe is this: “If the universe is infinite, would everything that can happen be bound to happen – and an infinitely amount of times?”. The usual answer when you Google this is “Yes.” The answer is the same for “If you throw a dice an infinite number of times, must you eventually roll a six? Must you in fact roll an infinite number of sixes?”
While it may be intuitively correct to answer “yes” to these questions, the answer is in fact wrong. Here’s why:
Consider the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, …
There are infinitely many of them … so 2 must show up more than once, right? Manifestly wrong.
But say we are talking about states of matter in a finite region. This would be modeled by using finitely many numbers, 1, 2, 3, say, and making an infinite list.
1, 2, 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, …
You say 2 must appear again … but it doesn’t. If you have finitely many states and infinitely many trials, all you can say for sure is that at least one state must reappear infinitely many times. But any particular state, such as the state that defines “you” or a pink elephant or a galaxy; might appear zero, one, 47, or infinitely many times.
It’s amazing how many otherwise smart people are fooled into thinking that “in an infinite universe, everything must happen.” This is manifestly false.
So even in an infinite universe, a chance of something specific happening is undecided. This is related to the equation
which is mathematically undecided.
The question of whether the universe is finite, infinite or something else poses some interesting questions. And perhaps some interesting answers may arise.
In my quest to figure out existence, I felt it liberating to sum up my conclusions and hunches this far in the most concise form possible. Although none of my conclusions are permanent, they serve as stepping stones for further research. My hunches are mere pointers to research directions.
|Is space and time discrete?||Yes – and this is supported by what I consider to be the most promising cosmological theory to date, “Loop Quantum Gravity”.|
|What is gravity?||It is the force mediated by the spin 2 boson “Graviton”. Einstein’s “space curvature” is in reality gravitons acting on matter and time.|
|What is dark matter?||Gravitons have tiny mass and may even be self-interacting. This cater for the lacking gravitation pull needed to explain why galaxies can rotate faster than the visible matter would allow for.|
|What is dark energy?||Dark energy is a name to describe why the universe seems to accelerate over time. This may be explained by the combination of vacuum energy with a graviton of non-zero mass.|
|Do black holes really exist?||Perhaps, but without any singularity. Quantum laws such as the Pauli Exclusion Principle stops gravity from collapsing fermions into a singularity. An event horizon may still exist, though.|
|Will we ever devise a Theory of Everything?||No. A ToE is described as “a hypothetical single, all-encompassing, coherent theoretical framework of physics that fully explains and links together all physical aspects of the universe”… which was proven impossible by Kurt Gödel and his Incompleteness Theorems.|
|Is the universe infinite?||No. But there is no end to it – as long as consciousness creates more, there is more universe to be observed.|
|Is the universe real?||No, it is created every discrete moment by consciousness. We see what we see because we create it. The universe is the sum of a massive co-creation of all consciousnesses involved.|
|Is there free will?||Yes. Potential free will, when exercised is consciousness which in turn observe its own creations. Existence is not pre-determined or deterministic.|
|What happens when I die?||I get a reboot – out of and into the game of life. I arrive back at a higher understanding and get to participate in the game of life with a different identity in a different body. Much like ending a computer game only to start another.|
|Higher level of understanding? Are there many such “levels”?||It’s not “levels” per se, but rather many plateaus or layers like an onion. The movie “Matrix” is an excellent metaphor for my fractal view of existence.|
|Which world view is ultimately the correct one?||All of them|
… To be revised and revised and re…
What if Christianity was right? What if Islam holds the truth? And Buddhism? And Hinduism and the Native Americans and the Inca and Scientology and atheism? What if Science also got it right? All at the same time.
Perhaps all viewpoints are correct. Perhaps they represent their own unique view of truth.
Of course it would be hard to fully reconcile two diametrical different viewpoints of “God exists” and “God does not exist”. Or perhaps not.
While each ideology or world view tend to hold their own as the Only Truth, it would be interesting to see if a more universal view could be uncovered by treating each view as looking at truth from but one angle.
Back in 1991 I was interviewed by a student of the Theological Faculty of the University of Oslo. He was doing his master thesis on “Reincarnation in Christianity”. While he didn’t believe in reincarnation himself, he was fascinated with the 19 references left in the Bible after diligent purges were conducted early on in the book’s history. He knew I believed in reincarnation and wanted my views and my past life stories. This example goes to show that seemingly opposing views could be reconciled.
A crude attempt at unification of world views could go like this: The universe is created. Continually. There are causes and there are effects. A higher cause may be called God. Different versions of this cause can go by different names. There are lesser causes and some animate bodies and bring them to life. In doing so, the causes form identities. These identities die when the body dies and what you consider you is no longer. But keeping with the conservation of information (related to “unitarity” in quantum mechanics), the information you carry is never lost. The core of you, the cause, the soul, passes on “to the other side” or a “higher understanding” where this cause can decide to once again forge an identity and participate in experience. There may be several or even infinite levels of such “higher understandings” forming a fractal universe. The movie trilogy, “Matrix” may serve as an artist’s representation of this. Identities from higher causes may be seen as Gods, angels or the like. But none are omnipotent, only potentially so – as taking on an identity exchanges potential for actuality and experience. In keeping with Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, the physical universe is not complete – it is not all there is. There is always more truth to be uncovered, more realms to understand. The journey never ends and the journey is the destination.
This crude example would make the core of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, all ancient mythologies, new age, angels, spirits and the physical sciences into aspects of truth. Their sum could be even closer to truth. A more complete truth may evolve as more aspects of world views are unified.
Instead of starting with “that viewpoint must be wrong”, perhaps truth is better uncovered by “how can that viewpoint be right”?