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FQXi BLOGS
October 17, 2019

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Bonus Koan: A Lake of Many Reflections [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre wrote on Aug. 12, 2019 @ 18:55 GMT
In the editing process of Cosmological Koans, a number of Koans — even pretty much complete ones — ended up on the cutting-room floor. This is one, which addressed/describes the "Cosmological Interpretation" of quantum mechanics, that I thought was worth sharing. Apologies for this being a PDF — it would have just been too much annoying work to convert into a nice direct blog-post form. Enjoy!

attachments: A_Lake_of_Many_Reflections.pdf

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 12, 2019 @ 23:13 GMT
There’s nothing at all “radical” about the ever more weirdly contorted theories that physics comes up with.

Physics is so incredibly naïve and blind to the fact that it needs (something like) algorithmic controls on the universe-system to implement things like “splits and splits and splits”: equations and numbers can’t do it.

It would be genuinely “radical” if physics noticed that you need, not only equations and numbers, but algorithms to represent the nature of the world.

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Roger Granet wrote on Aug. 13, 2019 @ 03:27 GMT
...Imagine that the Djinn, right now, creates a duplicate of you 50 light-years away. You may not care. But suppose in doing so he destroys the original? That’s what we might call teleportation...It follows, then, that any sensible stringing-together of a succession of states could be “You” as long as these states look like they represent the physical evolution of a human like you, but...

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Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 13, 2019 @ 04:11 GMT
Roger, re.C : Something can surely exist in external reality without defining knowledge of it. There is existence in external reality of something, a beable, and existence in someone's mind of something known that is considered, a thought, maybe a visualization .

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Roger Granet replied on Aug. 13, 2019 @ 05:04 GMT
Georgina: Hi. Let's say there's a car that exists in England at time 1. That car is a grouping, or existent entity, that is in England at time 1. A different existent entity, the visual image in an English person's mind of that car, also can exist. But, a person in America who hasn't seen or heard of the car doesn't have a visual image of the car in her mind. So, until the American person sees the car, that visual image, or existent entity in her mind doesn't yet exist even though the other two entities (the actual car and the image in the English person's mind) do exist. The car, the visual mental image of the car in person A's mind and the visual mental image in person B's mind are three different existent entities.

When talking about existent entities, it's very important to define exactly what entity we're talking about. That is, is it a grouping and exactly where and when is that grouping.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 13, 2019 @ 05:52 GMT
Roger, thanks nicely explained.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Aug. 13, 2019 @ 03:58 GMT
Hi Anthony, thanks for sharing. I did enjoy it. I think tying 'Many worlds' to an infinite universe is more satisfying as an explanation than an alternative world popping into existence as an observation or measurement is made. No need to explain how the extra matter comes into being. Though I don't think a 'Many worlds' explanation is necessary for quantum physics. Your paper has got me thinking about what it means to be an individual object. I'm thinking the existence needs to be continually localized, I.e. it can't be also at separated spatial locations or be substituted by a copy at a separated location. That would be others or another, not the same individual -even if identical. The localized continuity of existence is tied to the identity as a singular individual. Not being able to tell therm apart does not make them the same one.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 13, 2019 @ 05:55 GMT
Anthony ,why did you decide to cut this one?

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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre replied on Aug. 13, 2019 @ 14:35 GMT
Georgina,

Certainly we're used to thinking about objects — even if they seem similar or perhaps even identical — as different if they are in different place, i.e. different environments. This Koan is probing two things I'd say.

First, the rather provocative question of whether "personal identity" can continue between absolutely identical, but spatially separated systems. Almost everyone reacts to this question with an instinctive "no" but almost nobody supplies a reason why not that isn't pretty circular (I include myself in both parts here!)

Second, whether the actually-existing ensemble of identical systems can be used as, well, an ensemble of identical systems to ground quantum probabilities. This seems much less crazy, though admittedly when you ask about the experience of any "particular" system it looks as if it is bahving somewhat "nonlocally" in the mode of the first question above.

In term of why this didn't make it into the book, the book was just too long and I had to cut some material so I focused on material that — even if I liked it — was not totally integral to intellectual storyline of the book, i.e. wasn't strictly needed for understanding later parts. That was the case for this one, which was a bit of a side tangent idea-wise, even though I like it.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 14, 2019 @ 04:45 GMT
Anthony, you have written "...But an infinite universe has always seems quite plausible, and eternal inflation has made it more so." I think you are talking about expansion of the visible universe; hypothesized because of observed red shift of very ancient 'starlight'. We don't live in the universe produced by processing of EM radiation. That is a space-time product because it takes different lengths of time for the signals to arrive together, depending on distance from observer. Instead of existing in space-time it can be hypothesized that we exist, together with all existing things in one changing uni-temporal configuration. This hypothesis prevents all of the temporal paradoxes. We can not assume that the material universe that is existing behaves in the way the very ancient starlight is though to be behaving. As the material bodies are not ancient starlight.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Aug. 18, 2019 @ 00:21 GMT
I don't like the eternal inflation idea. Working instead from the idea that only existing things exist. An image generated from processing EMr signals emitted from one surface aspect of an ancient star or galaxy or other light source is not a real existing object 'out there'. There is no space or space-time between the non existent and the existing; the Image reality of the star or galaxy or other source and the Object/material reality of the observatory as the signal is received. Ancient galaxies and other ancient objects are not speeding away from the Earth, as the Earth is an existing material body but what is generated from received starlight is only a semblance of the body it seems to be. Quantum physics experiments are happening in the existing material universe, not in space-time, which is related to the products of signal transmissions and receipts.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 18, 2019 @ 00:47 GMT
Space-time, as the space of the observation product requires no 'light' medium, as the medium provides no direct evidence of itself, so that it can be seen. Effects of it on light behaviour explained away as effects of curvature of space. If instead of that Image reality we consider existing material reality/ Object reality; Premise : there are no empty of existence voids within existence. Even when empty of matter there is base existence (like base of a soup.) The nature of that base permits and limits the speed of light transmission.Tired light theories have been discredited, such as by scattering of the light, leading to blurred images. However when 'light'is transmitted over extreme distances perhaps the nature of light' and medium are such that energy is lost (in proportion to distance). Giving red shifted observation product when the 'light' signal is processed.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 18, 2019 @ 01:11 GMT
The proposed model is compatible with the recently discovered extremely red shifted large galaxies close to the supposed beginning of the universe. Which should not be there if the Big bang and Inflation models are correct. Astronomers Uncover 39 Ancient Galaxies — Moving So Fast That Even Hubble Can't See Them

It does not explain the discovery of speeding up of supposed expansion. It may be due to change in speed of the Earth (or near Earth) observer while moving with and within the Milky way. The final frequency pattern observed will depend on how the EMr was distributed as it is emitted, effects during transmission and the relation between the incoming EMr and observer during receipt.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Aug. 18, 2019 @ 01:20 GMT
The link is to www.livescience.com/ancient-invisible-galaxies-found-submill
imeter.html "Astronomers Uncover 39 Ancient Galaxies — Moving So Fast That Even Hubble Can't See Them", by Rafi Letzter, 14th Aug 2019

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Aug. 30, 2019 @ 03:26 GMT
Hi Anthony, I don't like the supposition of infinity as like God, magic and miracles anything and everything is possible and that's beginning and end of the possible argument. Re. your "... whether "personal identity" can continue between absolutely identical, but spatially separated systems." Anthony aguirre. What is needed to be identical: Must have same nature (genetics) and nurture...

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Robert H McEachern wrote on Aug. 30, 2019 @ 10:56 GMT
"we conclude than in such an infinite universe you are just one of infinitely many instantiations of exactly the same physical configuration"

That conclusion is false. There are an uncountable infinity of numbers on a line. But none of them are exactly the same. Infinity "works" in both directions: letting the difference between copies become infinitely small, cancels out letting the number of instantiations become infinitely large. There may be a lot of very similar numbers on a line, but they are never exactly the same.

"if only we had a theory that would describe an ensemble of physical systems to which we can attribute a single state... But we have such a theory – it’s called quantum mechanics!"

The problem is, the "single state", meaning "exactly the same", is a false assumption. It has been demonstrated, that if you make the particles all "statistically the same", but not "exactly the same", you can reproduce the seemingly weird results from quantum experiments, like Bell tests, but with none of the absurdities associated with assuming "exactly the same".

Rob McEachern

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FQXi Administrator Anthony Aguirre replied on Sep. 3, 2019 @ 23:10 GMT
Robert:

You're quite right that if there are an infinity of possible states of a (say) finite sized system with finite energy, then it would not necessarily follow that with infinitely many of them produced we would get repeats. However, quantum theory strongly indicates that the number of ways a finite-energy finite-size system can be is finite (though very extremely large). While this (known as the "Beckenstein bound") is not proven it enjoys a lot of theoretical support.

Even if this were *not* true in physics, though, I think there is a good case that there are a finite set of possible experiences that a person can have. If you discretize things even much more finely than a person can possibly distinguish, that would be true.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Sep. 4, 2019 @ 08:12 GMT
Hi,

All this is very interesting,how must we consider the infinities,the finite series and the real infinity above our understanding.Probably that many series converge ,that said it becomes very complex. We must be Simply prudent about our extrapolations and mathematical Tools,we have Indeed many unknowns,these Black Holes,this Dark Energy,this dark matter,this quantum gravitation,all these unknowns are a new step for our physics and maths.What are their pure laws,axioms? we Don't know,we just are at the begining of their secrets.How we interpret the finite series,energies,the infinities and this infinity,all is there with concrete rankings in fact.Don't forget too that all is unique and that implies a logic for these rankings correlated with properties,comportments,...Regards

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Sep. 4, 2019 @ 09:55 GMT
Anthony: David Bekenstein (not Beckenstein) introduced a radius that corresponds to Leibniz' relative infinity, cf. my essay concerning Cusanus.

Incidentally, when Georgina wrote Plank instead of Planck, I as a layman was somewhat worried too.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Sep. 4, 2019 @ 08:27 GMT
Anthony Aguirre,

Your philosophical general idea is interesting about statistics,infinity and distributions. It's complex to encircle the distinct things from others. Can we affirm these states? I Don't know,we are so far of our planck scale and main codes,we know just some steps before and we Don't know the main codes giving our reality.An important point is to make a difference about the origin of things.Have we a main 1D field like in the strings from this infinity giving the matters or have we coded particles implying these waves,it's an important difference about main cause,and we can converge for the rankings of finite series,energies,these infinities and this infinity.All seems a question of how we ineterpret too all this philosophically speaking.Regards

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