Search FQXi


If you are aware of an interesting new academic paper (that has been published in a peer-reviewed journal or has appeared on the arXiv), a conference talk (at an official professional scientific meeting), an external blog post (by a professional scientist) or a news item (in the mainstream news media), which you think might make an interesting topic for an FQXi blog post, then please contact us at forums@fqxi.org with a link to the original source and a sentence about why you think that the work is worthy of discussion. Please note that we receive many such suggestions and while we endeavour to respond to them, we may not be able to reply to all suggestions.

Please also note that we do not accept unsolicited posts and we cannot review, or open new threads for, unsolicited articles or papers. Requests to review or post such materials will not be answered. If you have your own novel physics theory or model, which you would like to post for further discussion among then FQXi community, then please add them directly to the "Alternative Models of Reality" thread, or to the "Alternative Models of Cosmology" thread. Thank you.

Contests Home


Previous Contests

What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation
read/discusswinners

Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.
read/discusswinners

Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American

read/discusswinners

How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams
read/discusswinners

The Nature of Time
August - December 2008
read/discusswinners

Forum Home
Introduction
Terms of Use

Order posts by:
 chronological order
 most recent first

Posts by the author are highlighted in orange; posts by FQXi Members are highlighted in blue.

By using the FQXi Forum, you acknowledge reading and agree to abide by the Terms of Use

 RSS feed | RSS help
RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Peter Jackson: on 3/2/18 at 10:47am UTC, wrote Kevin, Thanks for you reply (27th) & links, which I'll look up. I...

Kevin Knuth: on 2/27/18 at 4:35am UTC, wrote Dear Richard, Thank you for your kind comments! I really like Bell's...

Kevin Knuth: on 2/27/18 at 4:31am UTC, wrote Thank you, again, Peter, for your very kind words. I will have to take the...

richard nixey: on 2/26/18 at 21:03pm UTC, wrote Kevin, Nice essay, and definitely vote dogma! It seems the further...

Peter Jackson: on 2/26/18 at 13:29pm UTC, wrote Hmmm, it seemed to have been hit with 1's (as mine was) & dropped to 6.4!...

Peter Jackson: on 2/26/18 at 13:13pm UTC, wrote Kevin, Thanks, and for your positive comments on my essay. My response...

Kevin Knuth: on 2/26/18 at 2:37am UTC, wrote Dear Peter, Thank you for your kind comments. Your comments about dogma...

Kevin Knuth: on 2/26/18 at 2:24am UTC, wrote Dear David, Thank you for your comments. The 2/3 does not appear to be...


RECENT FORUM POSTS

Jason Wolfe: "Science is motivated to sever the connection with Deity. They use fluff,..." in Constructing a Theory of...

Robert McEachern: ""But what do scientists hope quantum computers will be good for,..." in What Will Quantum...

Zeeya Merali: "Over the past couple of months there’s been renewed interest, and quite..." in What Will Quantum...

Jason Wolfe: "If I could write an unconventional model of reality, it would come with a..." in Alternative Models of...

Steve Dufourny: "the fuzzy spheres are very relevant in fact ,they are non commutative, I..." in Alternative Models of...

Jason Wolfe: "You should consider that wave functions describe the possible position and..." in Schrödinger’s Zombie:...

Jason Wolfe: "I wonder why there is no interpretation of QM that says the wave function..." in Schrödinger’s Zombie:...

Jason Wolfe: "Joe Fisher, I'm not sure reality is sensible. But the NDE/ghost stuff is..." in First Things First: The...


RECENT ARTICLES
click titles to read articles

First Things First: The Physics of Causality
Why do we remember the past and not the future? Untangling the connections between cause and effect, choice, and entropy.

Can Time Be Saved From Physics?
Philosophers, physicists and neuroscientists discuss how our sense of time’s flow might arise through our interactions with external stimuli—despite suggestions from Einstein's relativity that our perception of the passage of time is an illusion.

Thermo-Demonics
A devilish new framework of thermodynamics that focuses on how we observe information could help illuminate our understanding of probability and rewrite quantum theory.

Gravity's Residue
An unusual approach to unifying the laws of physics could solve Hawking's black-hole information paradox—and its predicted gravitational "memory effect" could be picked up by LIGO.

Could Mind Forge the Universe?
Objective reality, and the laws of physics themselves, emerge from our observations, according to a new framework that turns what we think of as fundamental on its head.


FQXi FORUM
November 22, 2019

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: The Laws? of Physics by Kevin H Knuth [refresh]
Bookmark and Share
Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Author Kevin H Knuth wrote on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 20:32 GMT
Essay Abstract

Physics is traditionally conceived of as a set of laws that universally governs the behavior of physical systems. These laws, however they are decreed, are believed to govern the behavior of not only everything in the universe, but the form of the universe itself, that is, the very nature of space and time in which everything is conceived to be embedded. The laws of physics distinguish the probable from the improbable, and separate the possible from the impossible. But is this law-based description of the universe too anthropomorphic? Are we really to believe that when we release a rock from our hand that it is somehow compelled by this decree and thus obliged to fall to the ground? Or are there deeper reasons why the rock does what it does every time it is released? In this essay, I discuss the nature of physical laws, the subtleties that arise when attempting to distinguish between determined and derivable laws from accidental or contingent laws. Other perspectives, based on information processing, are briefly introduced.

Author Bio

Kevin Knuth is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at the University at Albany (SUNY). He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Entropy. He has 25 years of experience in applying Bayesian and maximum entropy methods to the design of machine learning algorithms for data analysis applied to the physical sciences. His current research interests include the foundations of physics, autonomous robotics, and the search for and characterization of extrasolar planets.

Download Essay PDF File

Bookmark and Share



Cristinel Stoica wrote on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 13:08 GMT
Dear Kevin,

It was a joy to read your essay. It goes through several different perspectives on the foundations, which you discuss with great insight. For example the possibility that laws may be tendencies or habits rather than normative. Maybe we can view as habits spontaneous symmetry breaking or increase of entropy. Could it be that all laws are like this? In this case, can we ever rule out the possibility of a a higher ordering and more permanent principle, governing the changes which led to such formation of habits? Of course, it is most plausible that the true laws are the unchanging ones, and even if the habit proposal may be true, it is so for less fundamental consequences of the eternal laws. But even if such laws-as-habits are the result of more fundamental ones, it is plausible that there is a way by which the universe adjusted its parameters that we thought to be constants and even some of the laws that we thought as universal, as you well described. But the part that made me most curious was the final, where you mention information-based perspective involving optimal processing as a source of the laws. I think this part worth being expanded much more, since it was very interesting and original. Once more, excellent essay! I wish you success with the contest!

Best wishes,

Cristi Stoica, Indra's net

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 12:46 GMT
Thank you so much for your kind words Cristi. In retrospect, it would have been good to expand the short section on the information-based perspective. This is my perspective, and I did not want to run the risk of it dominating the essay, which was much more of an exploration of ideas. I look forward to reading your essay, and I am delighted to see that it is rated quite well.

Bookmark and Share



Ines Samengo wrote on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 17:10 GMT
Dear Kevin,

I truly liked your essay (don't look for my mark, I'll rate all essays at the end, I just say this not to be confounded with some other voter).

In particular, I liked the distinction between contingent and determined laws, a matter to which I also dedicated quite some thought, only to arrive at the same impression as you: that the division between them is not truly sharp....

view entire post


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 12:49 GMT
Dear Inés,

Thank you for your kind words, and your interesting perspective on my essay. I am intrigued and am eager to read your essay. Thank you again!

Bookmark and Share



Branko L Zivlak wrote on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 23:00 GMT
Dear Kevin,

I carefully read your interesting essay. There is a typo in the table for Mercury.

With formulas such as Titus-Bode and Koide, there are 2 ways:

1. Reject

2. Improve

Both after a thorough analysis. Formula for Titus Bode low has several problems, and it does not even coincide because it does not work for Neptune and Pluto. Still rightly not yet completely rejected.

The Koide formula has only one problem. It contains three charged electrons and the proton that is also electrically charged, is not found in the formula. This has been corrected in my papers.

http://vixra.org/pdf/1509.0135v1.pdf

and

http://gsjourn
al.net/Science-Journals/Research%20Papers/View/5605

With the same approach, the meaning of some Planck units in my essay was obtained.

With best wishes,

Branko

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 12:54 GMT
Dear Branko,

Thank you for your comments.

"There is a typo in the table for Mercury."

Oh no! Apparently, adding 4 is still not one of my strengths!

Thank you for pointing me to your papers on the Koide formula. This is a topic of great interest for me, and my graduate student James Walsh and I have made some progress toward understanding this result using Influence Theory, although it is still premature to publish.

Thank you again!

Bookmark and Share



James N Rose wrote on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 04:15 GMT
I find it difficult to evaluate scientific logic arguments (propositions) when they are placed in context of depictions of qualities of a Creator or godhead, even if the assumption is made that such creative deity is the highest exemplar of Supreme Rational Logician and brings into existence nothing but .. logical perfect relations and entities.

Metaphysics considerations can only imagine propositions and then ask questions. It cannot generate objective results and absolute answers.

Even if cross compared with mathematical or geometric framings ... there is no way to realistically educe comments to the current question, when done in light of personal unverifiable qualities a writer would have of their own image of an ultimate "creator".

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 13:01 GMT
Thank you for your comments.

The creator was invoked for three reasons. First, because the idea of a creator has been forefront in our early attempts to understand the universe. And the idea has not quite gone away, where even in the scientific community we find it transformed into the concept of universe as "computer simulation".

Second, since antiquity, many thinkers who have granted a creator with ultimate power have maintained that a creator must be consistent. This insistence on consistency is critical, and its importance even to those who insist on a creator must be emphasized. Third, the laws of physics appear to be fine-tuned to life. This is not problematic if there is a multiverse and we just happen to live in one of the nice universes. BUT if the laws of physics are derivable from consistency requirements, which may very well be the case, then there is no reason for this universe to be life-friendly. This is a problem.

Thank you for your comments.

Bookmark and Share


Narendra Nath replied on Feb. 9, 2018 @ 06:59 GMT
Author Kevin response to James Rose objections on the use of the word' God the Creator'.He still did not use the word but only as godhead! May i say that Nature is supreme and it has logic in its cosmic thinking of creating this beautiful Universe and then chosing Man to appear billion of years after the creation. There too is a logic behind the creation of the Earth around the star , our Sun.We have done nothing as human beings to even add an iaota to this logical creation. To add to Rose objections, may i add the ancient ancestors of ours in the Indian continent like Bhaskar who gave the correct value for the speed of light by just meditating and looking inwards hard and full of sacrifice and conscientious labour. Similar is the recognition to such anonymous wise men we have had who could visualise the force concept of gravity long before it was so recorded by modern science, as developed only during past atmost 1000 years. I too am an experimental Physicist and we know the history how philosophy gave rise to Physics and other sciences, as we branched of Physics from philosophy. Man is a thinker and thoughts have their own neurons working behind in the brain. Man has understood the understanding of such marvels of Nature gradually and i feel we have a lot of work ahead left in differnt branches of science.Best thinking bu us too takes place between gaps in the train of thoughts when cosmos is free to interact with us more effectively. Einstein alimony in support of this argument!

In our age group, we consider Biology to depend on Physics as primary to the tools used to understand basically what happens in living systems , relative to what goes on natural processes we observe through using Physics. One day, it may become possible for a Physicist to learn from a Biologist as to how things need to be understood!

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 04:52 GMT
Dear Narendra,

Thank you for your comments.

Bookmark and Share



Francesco D'Isa wrote on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 09:30 GMT
Dear Kevin,

thank you for sharing your essay, which I found very interesting and pleasurable to read.

You write that

> Some laws leave us with the impression that the situation could have been otherwise, whereas there are other laws for which it is more or less inconceivable that they could have been different (Hogan, 2000). For example, one might be able to imagine that the gravitational force could be weaker or stronger (with Newton’s gravitational constant having a different value), or that the speed of light could be much slower, but it is far more difficult to imagine that two times two could be something other than four, or that an object could have a left side without there being a right side.

I enjoyed that you state that it's "more difficult to imagine" and not impossible that even mathematics could be different. In my text about absolute relativism and Nagarjuna I approach similar questions, but from a philosophical point of view.

All the best, I wish you luck with your paper.

Francesco D'Isa

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 13:03 GMT
Thank you Francesco, for your comments.

I agree. The word impossible is a very hard constraint. I don't feel I understand things well enough to make such strong statements.

I look forward to reading your work.

Thank you again!

Bookmark and Share


Francesco D'Isa replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 19:10 GMT
Thanks to you!

bests,

Francesco

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Conrad Dale Johnson wrote on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 17:49 GMT
Dear Kevin,

Thanks for a very interesting meditation on the nature of fundamental laws and where they come from. You make an excellent point, that it can be hard even to distinguish between what’s determined by some underlying logic and what’s just accidental.

I see that the main theme of your work gets mentioned only briefly – i.e. that much of the mathematical structure of physics is derivable from consistency requirements inherent in the nature of quantitative information. The question you raise here at the end is whether this kind of approach can possibly explain the “fine-tuning” of many different physical parameters needed to support a habitable universe.

My current essay deals with many of the same questions, and also focuses on fine-tuning, though not in relation to the existence of life. I try to show that the contingent aspects of physics – those not derivable from consistency – can in principle be explained by another basic requirement relating to information, its contextuality. I argue that no kind of information can be measured, or even meaningfully defined, apart from a context of other related kinds of information. Since this contextual information must also be empirically determinable, in other contexts, this sets very strong constraints on the structure of any universe that can define and measure any type of information.

I hope you’ll take a look and let me know if the argument makes sense to you. Among other things, it offers an interesting perspective on your opening question – how and why do things “obey” the laws of physics?

Thanks again for your thoughtful and entertaining contribution.

Conrad

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 06:24 GMT
Dear Conrad,

Thank you for your comments.

I intended in my essay to focus on aspects of the nature of physical law that I had not previously given a great deal of thought. I have found that this essay contest provides a great opportunity to think about things, and in ways, that I would not normally have the time and opportunity for. For this reason, my professional perspectives on physical law took somewhat of a backseat to these thoughts. However, at the end when discussing the fine tuning of the physical constants for life made me consider my information-based perspective. I do not really see how such a perspective could resolve this issue, and that continues to be interesting to me.

Thank you for your comments about your perspectives. I look forward to reading your essay.

Thank you again!

Bookmark and Share



Narendra Nath wrote on Feb. 9, 2018 @ 07:06 GMT
Hope author and other commentators react to my posting here and i do not mind even a strong rebuttal and criticism of views experessed by me!

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Luca Valeri wrote on Feb. 9, 2018 @ 13:41 GMT
Dear Kevin,

I liked your essay very much. Wheeler said that the greatest advance in science by Newton was, that he was able to separate the contingent properties from the lawful properties.

The connections of the physical constants is very interesting. And in the current paradigm they cannot be questioned, since they are part of the god given laws. What is your personal view? What mechanism could fix these constants to the values they have?

In my essay essay, I adopt some sort of conventionalism like Poincaré: Newton’s first law is conventional and enables us to define the fundamental properties of the system: mass and momentum. Only then the second law becomes an empirical law. In my essay I assume that in order to make the first law possible, the universe/environment of a system must be approximately infinite and homogenous or almost empty. By changing universal conditions or near a black whole, the fundamental concepts would change and hence our laws would change. In that sense the laws themselves are contingent depending on the state of the universe.

I hope you find time to read and comment on my essay.

Luca

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 06:31 GMT
Dear Luca,

Thank you for your comments.

My current thinking is that much of physical law is derivable in the sense that it represents constraint equations that enforce consistent quantification of physical phenomena. I believe that constants, such as the fine structure constant, are forced by symmetries as well and are derivable. The problem then is that I see no way to explain how these laws are tuned to life. This is something that will require more thought once we better understand the nature of such laws.

I look forward to reading your essay.

Sincerely,

Kevin Knuth

Bookmark and Share



Member Ken Wharton wrote on Feb. 9, 2018 @ 16:18 GMT
Hi Kevin,

Very cool essay -- quite interesting examples!

I will say you piqued my interest when you started off talking about our laws as 'anthropomorphic', and wished you had gotten back to that issue a bit more. Varying constants is interesting, but doesn't really seem to fall in the 'anthropomorphic' category as I see it. What else did you have in mind when you used that term?

Also, I suspect you're not merely interested in the values of the constants, but rather other aspects of fundamental physics. I wonder whether you think even the form of our dynamical equations might be too anthropomorphic...?

Finally, you seem to be considering the possibility that these constants are changing with *time*. Does that mean you see time itself as being more fundamental than the laws we see obeyed at any one moment in our universe? What about space? (Constants could vary over space as well, presumably...)

Cheers! -Ken

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 18:06 GMT
Dear Ken!

Thank you for your kind comments!

I did actually mean 'anthropmorphic' (man-shaped) when was initially talking about the physical laws. The fact that we call them 'Laws' or 'Laws of Nature'. We think of these as rules that things must obey. 'Obeying rules' is a very human-centric perspective. I did not really come back to it because I used it as a means to discuss the idea that even a Creator would be able to create in an unconstrained manner. My mere mentioning of a Creator seems to have ruffled some feathers, but the point was that there are constraints that cannot be broken. 2 + 3 is not ever going to be 10. Everything would break. And that is meaningful.

I myself don't believe that the constants change. Pi doesn't. What really is important is that we really do not understand why some constants have the values they do. Until we understand that, we cannot know that the values cannot change, and we cannot know whether other universes might have constants with other values. That was really what I was going for.

But the fact that this universe is nicely tuned for life, the anthropic principle (of or relating to humans), is interesting. This is especially true if there are reasons why the constants have the values they do. Then, it seems that things will be difficult to reconcile.

Thank you again!

Kevin

Bookmark and Share



Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 02:46 GMT
Nice thinking about gravity Dr Kevin H Knuth

You are asking Very important questions...."The laws of physics distinguish the probable from the improbable, and separate the possible from the impossible. But is this law-based description of the universe too anthropomorphic? Are we really to believe that when we release a rock from our hand that it is somehow compelled by this decree and thus...

view entire post


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 18:07 GMT
Dear Satyavarapu,

Thank you for your kind words and for pointing me to your essay. I do hope to find the time to read it.

Sincerely,

Kevin Knuth

Bookmark and Share



Anonymous wrote on Feb. 14, 2018 @ 12:32 GMT
Dear Prof. Knuth,

very interesting essay, congratulation! I feel that what you say is a good attitute towards a relaxation of classical determinism, still maintained by a major part of the physicalist program.

Concerning this, I think you might appreciate my essay (https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3017)

Good job, high rating.

Best wishes,

Flavio

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 18:08 GMT
Dear Flavio,

Thank you for your kind comments. I do hope to find the time to read your essay!

Sincerely,

Kevin Knuth

Bookmark and Share



Don Limuti wrote on Feb. 14, 2018 @ 23:42 GMT
Hi Kevin,

One section of your essay caught my attention:

"Kepler was inspired by a comment attributed to Socrates in Plato's Politeia VII where he notes that musical harmony is the sister science to astronomy (vander Schoot, 2001), Kepler worked to relate each of the spheres to a musical harmony."

Not quite realizing I was relating cosmology to music, I created the graviton as the cosmological equivalent to a guitar string. It surprised me how far I was able to take this.

Check out my essay "The Thing That is Space-Time" perhaps it should have been titled "The Music of the Ether". I think you will find it interesting and fits with your "Laws?".

Appreciate it if you can take the time to let me know what you think.

Thanks for your thought provoking essay on what is fundamental.

Don Limuti

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 18:10 GMT
Dear Don,

Thank you for your kind words.

I am glad that they struck a chord with you!

Thank you for pointing me to your essay. I do hope to find the time to read it!

Sincerely,

Kevin Knuth

Bookmark and Share



adel sadeq wrote on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 15:57 GMT
Hi Kevin,

Your essay this time is fine, but going over what you wrote before and all the references made me believe that you have similar idea/conclusion to mine, although mine looks very strange and different. Particularly I think you are basing your system on "causal sets", so I think the relations between events(probabilities build up in my system) is the key to the structure. I appreciate if you take look at my essay. Thanks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causal_sets

An earlier FQXI contest essay by you which I really like

https://fqxi.org/data/essay-contest-files/Knuth_fqxi13kn
uthessayfinal.pdf

another paper that resembles our systems

https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1411/1411.2072.pdf


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 02:15 GMT
Dear Adel,

Thank you for your comments, and kind words regarding my earlier essays.

You have certainly captured my attention by referring to my work and Dr. Kastner's work. I do hope to find the time to read your essay.

Thank you again,

Kevin Knuth

Bookmark and Share



Anonymous wrote on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 07:46 GMT
Nice essay Kevin.

It's good to see someone else writing on the observer aspects of laws. You might look to some of later Eddington (as I'm sure you have before) on how your consistency conditions for the laws come from aspects of measurement - not sure this would resolve the biophilic aspect, but might be relevant.

I think Ken above spotted a terminological issue relating to "anthropomorphic". I assume you mean just "anthropic" in cases such as varying constants?

Best,

Dean

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Member Dean Rickles wrote on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 00:19 GMT
Nice essay Kevin.

It's good to see someone else writing on the observer aspects of laws. You might look to some of later Eddington (as I'm sure you have before) on how your consistency conditions for the laws come from aspects of measurement - not sure this would resolve the biophilic aspect, but might be relevant.

I think Ken above spotted a terminological issue relating to "anthropomorphic". I assume you mean just "anthropic" in cases such as varying constants?

Best,

Dean

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 02:20 GMT
Dear Dean,

Thank you for your comments.

Most of my work is indeed focused on how consistency conditions arise from symmetries related to measurement, or more precisely, quantification. It does not appear to resolve the biophilic aspect, which has me in a bit of a quandary.

Regarding the terminological issue. I had correctly used anthropomorphic to refer to the concept of laws. I did not extend that description to the latter part of the essay where I was discussing the anthropic biophilic aspect of the laws of physics. So I hope that this clears up that confusion.

Thank you again!

Kevin

Bookmark and Share



David Brown wrote on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 09:45 GMT
" ... the Koide formula remains a curiosity, much like the Titius-Bode Law." Is the Koide formula somehow related to the fact that some quarks have charge 2/3 ? Is there a Koide-variant-formula with 1/3 instead of 2/3 that is somehow related to the fact that some quarks have charge 1/3 ?

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 02:24 GMT
Dear David,

Thank you for your comments.

The 2/3 does not appear to be related to the charge of quarks, and there does not appear to be a 1/3 variant. Instead, the relation appears to be some sort of (geometrical?) relationship among masses across generations.

It is not well-understood, nor is it known if it is an accidental relationship, which is why it remains only a curiosity.

Thank you again,

Kevin

Bookmark and Share



Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 07:02 GMT
Dear Kevin

If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the final days of the contest, will you consider mine please? I read all essays from those who comment on my page, and if I cant rate an essay highly, then I don’t rate them at all. Infact I haven’t issued a rating lower that ten. So you have nothing to lose by having me read your essay, and everything to...

view entire post


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 18:52 GMT
Dear Steven,

Thank you for your comments and for pointing me to your essay. It sounds very interesting and I hope to find the time to read it.

Sincerely,

Kevin Knuth

Bookmark and Share



Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 15:38 GMT
Kevin,

Your abstract comments about laws; 'these concepts are part of the dogma of science as a belief system' and that 'In this sense reductionism, as an act of seeking simple underlying explanations, is ultimately critical to our understanding'. Seemed to give way to a mostly historical resume and analysis of origin. Interesting, fundamental and nicely written indeed but was I wrong to feel a little disappointed not to find ways to escape dogma? Or do you accept we're doomed to live with it?

I also argue and exemplify a specific reductionist approach and though you only touched in it's value was more sated by your examples, a worthwhile reminder for those caught up in the more fashionable emergence.

I know you've considered QM but avoid it here. Maybe wisely, but is it not the prime case of illogical laws? I ask as I've tested parameters for 3yrs and seem to have broken through to a classical mechanism by changing a hidden assumption; using the Poincare sphere (4 vectors inc. orthogonal 'curl') instead of singlet states, and all as Bell predicted.

Very few so far have read carefully enough to follow the complex ontological mechanistic 'measurement' sequence (part due to embedded dogma!) but I hope you can. Declan Trails short code & plot confirms the CHSH>2 Cos^2 derivation. (also Gordon Watson's partial algorithm heads the right way). A few redefinitions emerge and non-locality disappears.

I hope you can help.

Well done for yours. Very Best of luck in the judging.

Peter

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 02:37 GMT
Dear Peter,

Thank you for your kind comments.

Your comments about dogma are interesting and relevant. I mainly wanted to point out that this is dogma, and that science, in this respect, is a belief system. It's not usually how we think about science and perhaps by highlighting that it might help us to view science through different eyes. I cannot say that you were wrong to not find ways to escape this dogma. Is the dogma wrong? I do not know. Reductionism is clearly been fruitful. Yet emergence happens for a reason, so it may be possible to understand those reasons using simple explanations as well... reductionism again.

My previous essays have discussed aspects of my work, which involve specific reductionist approaches. I have tried to avoid that in this essay sticking to ideas that are not necessarily related to my research. I wanted to keep things fresh and to revisit the big picture.

I did avoid QM here mostly because my perspectives on QM are heavily biased by my research involving QM. Was I wrong to not share these perspectives? Or was it better to spare the reader from an essay littered with a summary of my research, and to give myself to step back and think beyond my research area? Either way, this essay is the direction that I went.

I do hope that I get the opportunity to read your essay.

I wish you the best of luck as well!

Sincerely,

Kevin Knuth

Bookmark and Share


Peter Jackson replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 13:13 GMT
Kevin,

Thanks, and for your positive comments on my essay. My response there is here; (I haven't yet seen you 'bias' with QM except around it's edges. Do send a link).

Kevin,

I greatly value your unencumbered (with beliefs) thoughts. To recognise we're all 'heavily biased' goes far to overcome the cognitive dissonance plaguing advancement. Is dogma wrong? Yes! Is doctrine? most likely! All building needs foundations but the moment we forget they're provisional we're in a fatal rut.

So to the model; 3yrs since showing Dr B's Red/Green Sock Trick 'Classic QM' works! It's overly compressed in this 100 second video but at least it's some pictures to help frame a new mental model. You should also go through the 8 point quick mechanism checklist a dozen posts up {on mine}(though missing detail like elliptical polarity at the Pm channels etc).

Did you see Declan Traill's supporting code & plot yet? You also need to refresh on the discrete field dynamics you've liked previously for which classic QM was just a falsification exercise. (It has vague links with your own 'causal sets' approach).

But it needs all the help it can get to penetrate the dogma/doctrine! We have some, and once you've worked it through and overcome the trauma I hope you may collaborate. Are you familiar with Froher by the way? Gordon Watson is also on the right lines and includes a link.

My respect for you was high has just increased, as has my score of your essay I dare say. Is that right? Well just a bit!

Very best. Look forward to your questions and chatting more.

Peter

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Peter Jackson replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 13:29 GMT
Hmmm, it seemed to have been hit with 1's (as mine was) & dropped to 6.4! now 6.6 after my 10. I'll put in a good word with Traill & Watson who don't seem to have visited yet.

Hope you get in the finals, and best of luck with the judges. As an academic at least you'd be in the frame! (lol)

Peter

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Juan Ramón González Álvarez wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 05:55 GMT
The assumption that laws of nature are permanent isn't a dogma. It has been confirmed by any experiment made. Obviously laws could be changing so slow that cannot be measured, but then the claim they are really changing is a metaphysical claim and we will continue assuming that they don't change.

There is no logical reason to invoke a Creator, even less when the Universe is defined as an...

view entire post


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 17:54 GMT
Dear Juan,

Thank you for commenting.

It is clear that we are going to disagree about many things.

Let me address the one point that I am most familiar with:

> Knuth' work is another rehash of older and debunked ideas introduced in the early times of quantum theory about "observers playing a central role" in Nature, and taken to its extreme by Wheeler's nonsensical "it from bit".

I am Knuth. So it is strange to hear you mention me in the third person in a comment addressed to me. It is true that work was partly inspired by Feynman and Wheeler's absorber theory, which was an attempt at doing away with the electric field. But it is not a rehashing. Fenyman and Wheeler assumed the physics of spacetime and electromagnetism. What I have done, with Newshaw Bahreyni, was to show that the mathematics of relativsitic spacetime is the only possible way of describing a set of causally-related events. We are working to derive (some of) the laws of physics from basic symmetries in the model, which is an entirely different enterprise. We are not naive enough to believe that this could yield anything like a final fundamental theory. The work is aimed to seriously explore what is possible.

I, of course, strongly disagree with your assessment of Jaynes.

and will refocus on your statement:

> There is no central role of information in physics

Wow!!! Really???

Sincerely,

Kevin Knuth

Bookmark and Share



Terry Bollinger wrote on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 03:49 GMT
Professor Knuth,

Thank you for an excellent overview of the curious role that patterns of numbers have played in the history of mathematics and science, with an emphasis on questioning the depth to which these patterns are fixed within what we observe.

I will readily confess to being both a bit of a tolerant pragmatist regarding most such patterns. I am both a pragmatist in the...

view entire post


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 02:10 GMT
Dear Terry,

Thank you for your kind words and comments.

I didn't intend that the focus of the essay be on patterns per se. I was more interested in pointing out that it is not easy to distinguish or identify a law of physics in the first place, much less deciding on what is fundamental.

The fine-tuning is indeed interesting.

> almost as low as the odds of our President saying just the right words in a multicultural sensitivity training session.

or as low as him attending any sensitivity training in the first place!

This is perhaps evidence that the universe could be even more fine-tuned!

Thank you again!

Kevin Knuth

Bookmark and Share



richard kingsley nixey wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 21:03 GMT
Kevin,

Nice essay, and definitely vote dogma! It seems the further Academics get their feet under the table and carpet slippers on the more they're happy with the dogma. I've just seen the quote from John Bell posted somewhere; "Professional physicists really ought to be able to do better." Darn right.

I think you do. Keep it up. It seems to be a sign of an eminent physicist not to be complacent!

Top marks.

Richard

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author Kevin H Knuth replied on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 04:35 GMT
Dear Richard,

Thank you for your kind comments!

I really like Bell's quote:

"Professional physicists really ought to be able to do better."

I agree 100%!

Thank you again!

Kevin Knuth

Bookmark and Share


Peter Jackson replied on Mar. 2, 2018 @ 10:47 GMT
Kevin,

Thanks for you reply (27th) & links, which I'll look up. I discussed 'Beables' with Ian Durham. He seemed locked into his own ideas but I've given it a last shot - see post below. Actually I really hope YOU may be able to help!?

P

.....

Ian,

My Feb 24 post outlines the classical mechanism in the essay.

I'm saying that if we start with the Maxwell/(Poincare Sphere) 4 momenta state for electrons and the pairs (rather than 'no' assumption or superposed 'singlet' states) then with a simple momentum transfer ('measurement') mechanism, the entire tranche of QM predictions and findings can be reproduced with classical mechanics & modern photonics.

As a good scientist I'm sure you won't let shock or cognitive dissonance make you dismiss the concept or run and hide. The computer plot confirms the result, so the question is, as an expert, can you identify where the mechanism may be 'wrong' or what it 'misses'?

The key to EPR resolution is that A,B polariser field directions are reversible, and the 'measurement' on interaction is either 'SAME' or 'OPPOSITE' vector (then an amplitude pair subject to y,z axis ellipticity on orthogonal axes).

So if we have A,B +,-, either can reverse setting angle to get A,B +,+ or -,-. Cos distributions are implicit in the Poincare sphere (as I show), applied a 2nd time at the photomultiplier. In between +1,-1 are then Bayesian distributions, so 'undecidable' at 90o.

So beyond a local interference range NO 'action at a distance' is required to explain the outcomes!!

This is such a leap of understanding it needs an acknowledged expert to either falsify or confirm it. Not that difficult a task!

Very best

Peter

PS. Do contact me direct, on; pj.ukc.edu@physics.org

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Please enter your e-mail address:
Note: Joining the FQXi mailing list does not give you a login account or constitute membership in the organization.