Mentioned to Island in the comment thread about the Multiverse below, the problem that otherwise credible stories in physics are accompanied by mathematical theory near incomprehensible to laymen such as myself. I had this feeling previously when trying to understand the “Dirac Nilpotent Rewrite” behind the Rowlands and Diaz work in quantum information theory.
Reminded of this, I took a look at the latest BCS Cybernetics Group page and followed the link to Peter Rowlands 2007 book “From Zero to Infinty” and browsed the index, preface and first chapter on “Zero”. I think two facts did strike me in the maths.
Firstly, the “zero sum game” effect of creating something from nothing, where that something is plus & minus, real & anti stuff in physics … those mysterious perturbations in the vacuum. The potency of zero. Of course potency doesn’t explain how, just the possibility, so that’s a different story.
Secondly, “re-write as algorithm” and the emergence of patterns within patterns not present in the original algorithm, simply by repeated application of the algorithm, to the zero in this case. Not just something from nothing, but something complex and interesting from nothing. Hofstadter (patterns within patterns) and Dennett (evolution as algorithm) and of course Wolfram (ANKOS) jumped out at me as I read pages 12 to 16 of Chapter 1.
Plenty of promise in the preface too …
Obviously, no one expects to succeed instantly with a theory that will simply explain everything. What we would hope to do is to find a process, a systematic way of proceeding with strong indications that we were on the right track. This is what is being aimed at in this book. Positions that are rejected from the outset in the search include model-dependent theories of any kind; the aim of the work is resolutely abstract.
Again, we must reject the idea that a single cosmic creation event has structured the laws of physics in a particular way, and that they could have been different in different circumstances. The idea could, in principle, be true, but then we would have no abstract subject of physics, no generality, no absolute mathematics, and no meaningful concept of conservation, the process which makes physics universal. The very idea that we could discover a unified theory of physics is impossible in such a context. Physics is fractured in the very act of creation. In addition, such explanations have the habit of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies. We simply refer difficulties to special conditions that occurred in the ‘early universe’, and deprive ourselves of understanding fundamental physical phenomena which ought to be valid at all places in all epochs.
Am I seeing a pattern ?
I intuitively like this sticking to the fundamental nature of physics, rather than allowing variations in different postulated universes, … as if. Didn’t I also recall something in both Chalmers and Deutsch (quite separate work in separate fields) about nothing being possible in a “virtual” world that wasn’t also possible (ie didn’t violate fundamental physics / metaphysics) in the real world ? As if impossible and inconceivable were really the same thing. Am I digressing ?