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Thread: Why do we live in a regular world? (technical question)

  1. #21
    Moderator Thoth's Avatar
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    My romantic brain would like to embrace the infinite universe theory, but my pragmatic brain says no.

    All observable evidence tends toward the average means bell curve that ACow mentions, which is to say, in my opinion, time is a tectonic structure of nature that requires significantly more force to alter than whether you chose to turn right or left at 2:31 Tuesday afternoon. It is not a malleable concept of self paradox, both linear and diffuse in "dimension." Most decisions, occurrences and happenings are just dust and wind. We are just dust and wind.

    To put it another way, we generally consider Black Holes to be the space-time omega forces of the universe, shaping and reshaping what we grasp as everything "real", but what surrounds them? Everything else, space, time, etc, a structure that probably has an end, but one we'll never see, much less grasp.

    To go beyond this is either the stuff of existential theory or Lovecraftian fantasy.

  2. #22
    Even if it doesn't exist we could certainly create such a thing in software given sufficient resources and an adequate level of technological complexity.

    And practice is just the first step before the real thing...

    Considering the size of the universe, the fact that we exist (1 in 400 trillion odds) and the amount of time that has elapsed since the big bang a pretty darn good infinite universe sim could already be out there but we would never, ever find it.

    And if it could be out there, who's to say we aren't in the control multiverse sim with all the cheat codes turned off.
    Last edited by flurps; 01-23-2019 at 07:12 PM.

  3. #23
    Amen P-O's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zago View Post
    If it just represents the probability associated with outcomes of a measurement, what does it even explain? What reality do these measurements even describe? That's the problem. It still has you believing in the bones without the dinosaurs. Dots in the sky instead of stars. Etc. Observation without theory. What Deutsch calls "bad explanations". The weirdness we observe in quantum experiments isn't just a probabilistic construct with no reality behind it--that's what is magical nonsense. Interference of different "worlds" is an actual explanation that comes from the observations and theory.
    The point of the Copenhagen interpretation is that quantum mechanics does not speculate about what deeper reality the measurements describe. It's just not a question that is answered by QM. Quantum mechanics answers the question of how different measurements relate to each other. QM tells you the probability of getting measurement B, given measurement A. That's all. It's purely a theory that predicts measurements. It's not magical, it's just agnostic.

    edit:
    I agree with you that a full theory involving particles or physical objects would be superior to QM, but many worlds doesn't even really address that issue. Even if you accept many worlds, it still doesn't explain why we get the specific probabilities on measurements that we get.
    Violence is never the right answer, unless used against heathens and monsters.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    Someone wins that big lottery every week or two, but it's almost certainly never going to be you or me.

  5. #25
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zago View Post
    I have to think so. But I'd really like it not to be. I despise the idea that everything that could be happening is happening.
    I'll have to refer you back to @Ptah's argument. Why do you have to think that time and space are infinite? And why do you have to believe in the MW theory? Especially given that you don't see what you think the theory predicts? To me it looks like you're making your own molehill to turn into a mountain.
    People think they understand their own mortality, even when that understanding has just changed.

    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

  6. #26
    Utisz's Avatar
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    What ACow said, plus a couple of things ...


    Yeah, maybe teapots can transform into rabbits, and maybe they do, but if the probabilites are tiny, then the probabilities of you seeing that are tiny, infinity be damned: because you/we can only observe a finite number of events in a finite (single) number of worlds.

    Maybe an easier analogy is the Library of Babel, which imagines that you have every possible sequence of characters from a finite alphabet printed as a 400 page book (in the case of the Library of Babel, the number of books is massive, but finite, but no matter); we can even assume a random uniform distribution, like there's one book for every character sequence. Now sure, Shakespeare's Hamlet is in there, as are a shitload of versions with a single character typo, or two character typos, etc., etc., but the probability of picking up a particular book that reads like Hamlet is vanishingly small; unless you check a vast number of books, you're not even gonna find a book that start with even the first act (even though there's also books that will tell you where to find the Hamlet-like books, and books that will tell you where to find the books that tell you where to find the Hamlet-like books, and books ...).

    So one thing is the vanishingly small probability of teapots transforming into rabbits; another is the relatively tiny series of events you can observe.

    Quote Originally Posted by zago View Post
    If that's so, I suppose it answers my question. I know there are different levels of infinity. Is that sort of what you are referring to? If not, I guess I'm still a bit hung up on one basic (edit: I think I mean countable, as opposed to uncountable) infinity being different from another basic infinity. There isn't more of one than there is of the other. They're both infinity. I'm looking forward to seeing what Deutsch says about this. There's a whole chapter on infinity.
    I don't really think the type of infinity factors in here.

    Countably infinite just means you can count the set with natural (whole) numbers, like you can count the odd numbers for example, or the primes, enumerating them/writing down each one all the way to infinity. Formally, we can define a countably infinite set as one for which we can define a one-to-one mapping to the natural numbers, so for odd numbers 1↣1, 3↣2, 5↣3, 7↣4, ... you can continue to infinity without hitting the same counting number twice. Likewise we could do the same for all strings (words) of arbitrary length taken from a finite alphabet, say of 26 lower-case letters (all that matters is that the alphabet is finite): a↣1, b↣2, c↣3, d↣4, ..., aa↣27, ab↣28, ... The trick here is that we can take any element of the countably infinite set, and though it might take some time, we could in theory write it down in finite time and space. Put another way, in the Library of Babel analogy, the books would be countably infinite if they contained a finite alphabet and were of finite length, meaning each one could, in theory, be printed (albeit potentially infeasibly massive).

    Uncountably infinite means you cannot count the set with natural (whole numbers), or formally you cannot define a one-to-one mapping to the natural numbers. To count the reals greater than or equal to 1 and less than or equal 2, for example, you can start with 1↔1, now what do you map 2 to? Maybe we map 2↔2 and forget about 1.0000000...1 for now, but it can be proven that in the end, there's too many reals to be mapped to natural numbers. The diagonalisation proof by Cantor is super elegant:



    He assumes that he can enumerate a set S of all binary numbers of infinite length, as per s1, s2, ..., above, and then defines the bottom number s as follows: the first digit of the bottom number is the complement (swapping 0 and 1) of the first digit of s1, the second digit is the complement of the second digit of s2, and the nth digit is the the complement of the nth digit of s3. This bottom number is a binary number of infinite length, but it must differ to all other numbers enumerated in S (at least in the nth digit for sn), so it's not in the set of binary numbers of infinite length, even though it's a binary number of infinite length: a contradiction! So the premise that you can write down/enumerate/count all binary numbers of infinite length like we tried to do with s1, s2, ... is horseshit, so the set of all binary numbers of infinite length is uncountably infinite. In the Library of Babel analogy, it being uncountably infinite would mean that there must be books we could never print even in theory (a necessary condition: the sufficient part is that there are infinite books we could never print).


    And if we assume the many world thing, whether there are finite, countably infinite, or uncountably infinite "worlds" is just a question of resolution in terms of probabilities and time (like does the splitting happen in a "discrete" way, or is it more fuzzy). My understanding is that the many worlds thing is too hand-wavy to give an answer to that. But no matter ... take your vanishingly finite self walking around in either the finite (but massive), countably infinite, or uncountably infinite Library of Babel with books of random, uniform distribution. You still ain't gonna be reading Hamlet.

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