Island Guest

An October 2007  post here from “Island” (Rick Ryals) guesting on “A Quantum Diaries Survivor” (That’s a serious physics blog … so not for the faint-hearted.)

Just collecting the link because, I don’t know why, but I need to understand what Island is on about, even if he’s wrong ;-).

 I hit the link on a search cross-hit, but Island also included it in his last thread of comments. See various comment threads involving “Island” (very hard to pin down in a search, thanks to that name) as well as his own site and blog already linked in the side-bar as “Science in Crisis”.

13 thoughts on “Island Guest”

  1. In the anthropic principle thread, Ian said:
    We’ve been here before …
    Why “anthropic” ?
    Why “Einstein was right” ?

    Not exactly anthropic, because the goldilocks enigma applies to every similarly developedd spiral galaxy in the intergalactic habitable zone of the observed universe, but if you look in the referenced article:

    …further inspection indicates that growing tension
    between the vacuum and ordinary matter will eventually and
    inevitably compromise the forces, so we will at some point
    have *another* big bang.

    And we little humans make these particles that drastically effect the symmetry and structure of the universe in Einstein’s cosmological model, Ian, but we’re not alone in this *cumulative* effect, per the first point that I made, above.

    Now think about this *fact*:

    Assuming that the basic tennents of evolutionary theory are correct, then any true anthropic cosmological principle will *necessarily* include a prediction that there is a mechanism that enables the universe to “leap” to higher orders of the same basic configuration, in order to preserve causality, the arrow of time, and the second law of thermodynamics… *indefinitely*… … …

    And just what the hell do you mean by… “even if he’s wrong”… ?;-).

    I’ll just say this… if I was wrong, then some theorist somewhere should be able to prove it by shooting down my physics… but they cant!

  2. Hi Island, I understand the principle that you are right until shown wrong in the standard scientific-method / open-society model … my point is that nothwithstanding either possibility, it would be useful to understand your point.

    Since you didn’t disagree with any of my two comments, and simply picked up on my final (recurring) questions, then I guess I have understood you so far.

    So the “Quantum Diaries” article … a tougher read …. but I’m on the case.

    The Goldilocks Enigma is hardly an “enigma”. We have just agreed that in the right kind of universe with the right physics and constants, intelligent life is to be expected. So clearly it is unsurprising to find ourselves in that kind of “just right” universe. So nothing anthropic so far … just natural, evolutionary physics.

    The bit you seemed to have thrown in is that we are only in that kind of “just right” universe because our presence “makes the particles” that create that just-closed, just-right reality (Huh ?)… As if in our absence the universe would have been exactly (G=0) neutral … per Einstein.

    Now you got me. If that’s your point, I don’t yet understand it. Scary idea though … that the aboriginal universe is G=0, and our presence has closed it, so for that reason it will collapse towards another big crunch / bang ? That’s probably not your point though ?

    Reading on …

  3. The Goldilocks Enigma is hardly an “enigma”. We have just agreed that in the right kind of universe with the right physics and constants, intelligent life is to be expected. So clearly it is unsurprising to find ourselves in that kind of “just right” universe. So nothing anthropic so far … just natural, evolutionary physics.

    No, the feature is extremely pointed toward carbon based life over a very specific and predictive region of the observed universe:

    http://evolutionarydesign.blogspot.com/2007/02/goldilocks-enigma-again.html

    It could be that this is just a coincidence, but that isn’t what is *most apparently* indicated by highly pointed and unique physics, so you have to be able to produce a cosmological structure principle that proves that this is not the case in order to supercede what otherwise appears to be a biocentrically oriented stucture/cosmological princple.

    The bit you seemed to have thrown in is that we are only in that kind of “just right” universe because our presence “makes the particles” that create that just-closed, just-right reality (Huh ?)… As if in our absence the universe would have been exactly (G=0) neutral … per Einstein.

    Black holes, Supernovae, and “us”, are the only three known or expected sources for the creation of matter/antimatter pairs from vacuum energy, but pound for pound, we are magnitudes more energy-efficient at it than either of our competitors. The anthropic principle is a universal energy conservation law.

    Now you got me. If that’s your point, I don’t yet understand it. Scary idea though … that the aboriginal universe is G=0, and our presence has closed it, so for that reason it will collapse towards another big crunch / bang ? That’s probably not your point though ?

    Almost, but the increase in tension between the vacuum and ordinary matter that occurs with particle driven expansion is more like a balloon that is getting stretched thin by the effect, so that any little simulation of the big bang might/will eventually act as the “needle” and… boom. There is no recollapse involved. We are that mechanism.

  4. Hi Rick,

    On the Goldilocks Enigma, I’m not disputing the fact of the “surprising” degree of tuning of the cosmos to intelligent life, and the preferential postion of carbon-based biology in that. I’m just baulking at the word “enigma”, given that we are embarked on the question and possible answers. We can move on I think.

    I have now picked-up on the intelligent life as “efficient” creators of matter (and gravity ?) angle … I get the principle now, of humans as dissipative systems … if not the maths or physics detail.

    The dots I haven’t joined-up yet. Are many …
    The “original” value of G ?
    Is there an “origin” in fact ?
    The indefinite life of the universe (in the absence of intelligent life) The neutral inflation position.
    Exactly how these will relate to the matter creation above. Why the matter-pair-creation driven expansion must necessarily overcome the gravity and lead to a bang, given the particle mass gravity and the anti-particles involved.
    The scary bit 😉

    Actually I’m in the middle of a pretty long essay trying to relate what I’ve learned to my wider agenda … I should have a draft out within the day.

    Many thanks for your conversation.

  5. OK I Read your Goldilocks Again blog post AND the Italian article you link to. Both very good, intelligible, credible.

    I can see two clear issues, but not the dots joining them up yet.

    The first is the fact of our existence in the observable universe, and the statistical likelihood of that … given the number of sites and the amount of time. I can see that both of these are related to the finiteness (and uniqeness) of our universe – or otherwise – in time (how long) and space (how many locations).

    On the other hand, I see how, or at least buy the idea that, intellgent life is itself a source of matter in the universe – dissipating energy to entropy, whilst creating local entropy minima AND creating new matter in the process.

    I can’t see the dots joing this matter creation idea with the anthropic statistics – although I can see that somewhere the mass / gravity story bears on the universe size / life story ?

  6. The “original” value of G ?
    G is always equal to zero in this model, since gravity is always counterbalanced by negative pressure, per Dr. Einstein’s equation:

    g=(4pi/3)G(rho(matter)-2rho(vacuum))R=0

    Is there an “origin” in fact ?

    No, apparently not. Think of an inherntly imbalanced “ball” that’s rolling perpetually down-hill in a futile effort to make itself perfectly round. It gets closer and closer, everytime that we have a BB, but absolute symmetry cannot be attained due to the fact that the imbalance is *inherent*.

    The indefinite life of the universe (in the absence of intelligent life) The neutral inflation position.

    I don’t think that the universe works that way. Intelligent life is probably just the most practical mechanism for the job in this universe, but it’s likely that a more crude “tool” would work in past universes, where the big bang of whatever previous universe did not produce as symmetrical of a structure as ours did. It’s progressive, in other words, so maybe the effect of black hole pair production, alone, was efficient enough to produce our universe, but we were required in this one, in order to stretch out the process long enuogh for the next one to be a little more “flat” than ours is.

    Exactly how these will relate to the matter creation above. Why the matter-pair-creation driven expansion must necessarily overcome the gravity and lead to a bang, given the particle mass gravity and the anti-particles involved.
    The scary bit

    Well, they’re currently working to fire-up the Large Hadron Collider within the next couple of years… so we might just find out soon enough… 😉 But it isn’t so much that expansion “overcomes” gravity, as it is that the counterbalanced increase of both gravity and “antigravity”/negative-pressure will eventually compromise the integrity of the forces that bind the universe, so that it “rethermalizes”.

    I can’t see the dots joing this matter creation idea with the anthropic statistics – although I can see that somewhere the mass / gravity story bears on the universe size / life story ?

    Right, you can get a feel for the biocentric link if you look at this page that was linked on the goldilocks page and see how the physics easily and intuitively resolves the listed “anthropic” problems:

    http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~imamura/209/mar31/anthropic.html

    Then there is the fact that the mechanism is predicted to exist by any true biocentric cosmological principle that includes evolutionary theory, as well as the fact that there is supporting empirical evidence for a reciprocal connection to the mechanism, since we too evolved to a more efficient means for increasing entropy when we “lept” from apes to harness fire, and beyond…

    A more efficient configuration of the same basic structure.

    It’s all about the journey, “alfie”… not actually arriving.

  7. Oh, and I’ve been meaning to mention that I’ve been to that Cherokee indian cave in North Carolina where you took pictures. I can’t remember if it was Mount Laconte or not, but I spent a couple of weeks at the lodge there too.

  8. Hi Island, I put the essay on hold … wider issue than this physics story … whilst you are sorting out points for me. Thanks …

    OK G=0, got it.
    The rolling imbalance, punctuated by big-bangs …. You believe this is all explicable with the one “universe” … there are no crunches or popping into alternative universes in this story. Right ? Clearly each big bang does a fair bit of “damage and destruction” somwhere in the corner of the universe in which it occurs, but the rest of the universe stretches out beyond it, waiting for the wave(s) of radiation to pass through.

    Best tool for the job ? As you’d expect, this is too “teleological” for me. For me you are describing how a most efficient mechanism exists, and hence why it arises. Pretty normal evolutionary theory will do ? But you are explaining the tuning too ?

    Then you said … the counterbalanced increase of both gravity and “antigravity”/negative-pressure will eventually compromise the integrity of the forces that bind the universe, so that it “rethermalizes”.

    OK that’s where I’m going to have to read around the subject further.

  9. OK G=0, got it.

    Okay, but you let go of your point too easily… 😉 You were talking about an idealized state where there is no matter and no pressure, negative or positive. This doesn’t reflect the reality, but it does make for an excellent means for explaining how particle creation from vacuum energy causes the vacuum to expand; Take the classical rubber sheet analogy for space-time that has zero matter density. Now, stick a fork in the middle of the rubber sheet and spin it in a circle around the fork until you have attained the matter density over a finite region of space around the fork. So now you have a real, massive, particle that produces pressure and gravity, but what happend to the rubber sheet?… It pulls back, right, and it pulls back harder still as *negative pressure* increases if you continue, right? Now get into a sealed container and remove all the pressure before you start making particles from what’s “not” left in it, and see what happens to the vacuum… 😉

    The rolling imbalance, punctuated by big-bangs …. You believe this is all explicable with the one “universe” … there are no crunches or popping into alternative universes in this story. Right ?

    Right.

    Clearly each big bang does a fair bit of “damage and destruction” somwhere in the corner of the universe in which it occurs, but the rest of the universe stretches out beyond it, waiting for the wave(s) of radiation to pass through.

    I’m not sure what you mean hear as I am pretty sure that time restarts and the process starts over, except that the process will be more efficient if this universe managed to disseminated its energy more uniformly than the last one did, due to the higher ordering that results from having a big bang in universe that is more symmetrical than the previous one was.

    Best tool for the job ? As you’d expect, this is too “teleological” for me. For me you are describing how a most efficient mechanism exists, and hence why it arises. Pretty normal evolutionary theory will do ? But you are explaining the tuning too ?

    I’ve forgotten how you define “teleological” but Einsten’s model is strictly deterministic and LaPaces Demon is valid, so I’m sorry if reality is a problem for your worldview… 😉

    Then you said … the counterbalanced increase of both gravity and “antigravity”/negative-pressure will eventually compromise the integrity of the forces that bind the universe, so that it “rethermalizes”.

    OK that’s where I’m going to have to read around the subject further.

    That’s what is alleged to happen at the end of “inflation”, but it has all the characteristics of a universe that had a big bang with certain pre-existing volume, so you tell me, doesn’t that make more sense than some band-aid to big bang theory known as “extraordinarily rapid inflation” to make up the missing time… ?

  10. Hi Island,

    Not so much letting go of any point, I’m not actually arguing with you (yet), just trying to see if I’m restating what I hear you say … still clarifying 😉

    Clearly I don’t really understand the proceses by which matter actually forms from the “vacuum”, but any analogy will do for now. What you’re saying is that the actual value of G (like the original tension in the sheet ?) is not important to the predicted processes ?

    Your next point corrects my wrong impression. You’re saying that although the bang may occur at any point where the pressure balance gives way .. it is total, involving the whole universe ? I’m left with where does “it” go (the whole universe), and where does “time” restart ? (I was OK with inflations / deflations and Omega points as fresh starts of time … but I’ve lost that analogy here) The restarted universe is another universe, but we only need to have one at a “time” ? I’m at a loss as to how the history of the previous universe affects the next one, if there is not some remnant background universe that stores something ?

    OR, is the new big bang in the old universe, the new universe, that just “pushes” the previous universe out of its way … explains why it is affected by the physics and the numbers in the previous universe.

    “Deterministic” ? Hmm no. I’d see chaotic effects anyway – so only deterministic at some probablistic level, not in detail. And once consciousness and intelligence arrive, I’d have to allow for the effects of free-will.

    We’re drifting away from my point of interest now. I would not expect to understand a full history of possible universes in a few e-mails 😉 (I’d expect to have to take a pragmatic “holiday” and suspend scepticism to any story, even a hard to believe / understand one.)

    The point that intrigued me was that if your argument held up, we could do without the Einstein fiddle-factor, and an original reason for Dirac’s interpretations of Schroedinger cease to be relevant … because my real interest was in various Dirac re-writes that seem to identify Qubits as the most fundamental quanta – the significant differences in the “vacuum” that become events and particles …

    The anthropic angle is a second issue as far as I am concerned, but clearly theyare linked in your rationale.

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