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Paul M

Theory of Everything?

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I've not really been keeping up with physics for some time but the title of this video recommended for me by Youtube got my attention. A few ideas in this were completely new to me.

I thought it might be of interest:

 

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That was very enjoyable, despite a bit of product placement which the ending explains!

Like many of us I'm only an outside spectator on all of this but a number of points it made strike a chord with me and my own amateur musings on things.

- The tensed theory of time (a past, a moving present and a future) has so many counter-indications in modern physics that I cannot believe it's an adequate description of time. I naturally warm to the video's view on this.

- Given the way the observer proves to be the deciding factor in so many quantum level observations it is surely inevitable that consciousness must be factored into the equations for them to describe reality.

- The golden section really is nothing like 'lay lines' and other woo-woo and must, surely, contain clues as to how reality works. Exciting to see it emerging in new physics.

On the other hand I can do without theories regurgitating the notion that we live in a computer simulation. With a truly glorious irony it seems to me that this is as anthropomorphic as any hypothesis could possibly be! I think the natural direction of the thinking in the film is towards distinguishing between natural consciousness and the clonking of computers.

I'd like to hear what George Jones thinks of the presentation.

Olly

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I got through the first 15 mins but gave up when consciousness as a requirement came in. It is my understanding that consciousness has been excised from modern quantum theory. For me the moon is still there when no one is looking.

2 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

The tensed theory of time (a past, a moving present and a future) has so many counter-indications in modern physics that I cannot believe it's an adequate description of time.

I am not aware of any counter examples Olly can you give me some? In SR for example, again as I understand it, all observers agree on what is past and future light cones of an event even if the order of events can be different. The whole structure of Minkowsli space time is predicated on the fact that you can't do a co-ordinate transform that allows you to turn the future into the past and vice versa in the same way you could turn and face the other way in space.

2 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

I'd like to hear what George Jones thinks of the presentation.

As would I

Regards Andrew

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1 hour ago, andrew s said:

I got through the first 15 mins but gave up when consciousness as a requirement came in. It is my understanding that consciousness has been excised from modern quantum theory. For me the moon is still there when no one is looking.

I am not aware of any counter examples Olly can you give me some? In SR for example, again as I understand it, all observers agree on what is past and future light cones of an event even if the order of events can be different. The whole structure of Minkowsli space time is predicated on the fact that you can't do a co-ordinate transform that allows you to turn the future into the past and vice versa in the same way you could turn and face the other way in space.

As would I

Regards Andrew

I was thinking of the double slit, the entangled photons and the positron as time reversed electron (or vice versa) primarily.

I found this interesting: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-labyrinth-of-time-9780199217267?cc=fr&lang=en&

Carlo Rovelli also touches on time in this book: https://www.amazon.fr/Seven-Brief-Lessons-Physics-Rovelli/dp/0141981725

When you say, ' For me the moon is still there when no one is looking,' I can only agree, but I don't think that has to be the point. This is a very brief presentation but isn't the idea that there may be something we could call a collective consciousness? We like to think of ourselves as individuals, and we probably are, but we might also be part of a wider organism - or simply very similar and so collective only in that sense. So the moon is created by an interaction between an outside reality and ourselves and, thus created, doesn't disappear when one of us goes inside. Indeed it might not have to disappear if we all died because of the co-existence of past an future and a constant interaction between the two. I know this is very odd but, sticking with the idea for the fun of it, your problem with the moon is predicated on the tensed theory of time. You might say, 'After I'm dead the moon will still be there.' But, in the time theory implicit in the video, 'After I'm dead' is meaningless or, at least, highly incomplete.

At the back of my mind is the idea that our perception of time might very easily derive from something particular about our vantage point. Being suspicious of the observer's vantage point has been very productive in science so far.

Olly

 

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30 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

I was thinking of the double slit, the entangled photons 

I have never seen it presented as such in textbooks. In fact you can get an interference pattern when only one photon passes at a time where there is no possibility of entanglement.

34 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

the positron as time reversed electron (or vice versa)

This was an idea I think initially proposed by Feynman but it was not taken up in main stream physics. In the standard model of particle physics anti-particles are traveling on time-like worldlines just like normal particles.

38 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

This is a very brief presentation but isn't the idea that there may be something we could call a collective consciousness? We like to think of ourselves as individuals, and we probably are, but we might also be part of a wider organism - or simply very similar and so collective only in that sense. So the moon is created by an interaction between an outside reality and ourselves and, thus created, doesn't disappear when one of us goes inside.

The current thinking is that interaction/entanglement with the environment is what forces quantum systems into the classical states we see microscopically through a process call decoherence.  There are about a billion CBM photons per meter cubed and these alone can bring this about in very small fractions of a second (would need to look up the figure).

We don't need any consciousness to do it. If we did how did the universe manage before it was in a state where consciousness could evolve?

Regards Andrew

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1 hour ago, ollypenrice said:

At the back of my mind is the idea that our perception of time might very easily derive from something particular about our vantage point. Being suspicious of the observer's vantage point has been very productive in science so far.

I don't subscribe to the model of time in the video.  I think our idea of time stems from the observation that some things repeat themselves, night follows day, a pendulum swings to and fro. This together, with the arrow of time where we observe various events never spontaneously reversing seems convincing to me that the standard idea of time and the normal casual structure of space-time is good enough. 

Personally, I find requiring our consciousness to be here to make the world work far more disturbing than any vantage point we may have.

Regards Andrew

Edited by andrew s
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My take on subject of the video is that the Universe is its own reason. 

I have always been very uneasy about the very idea that we exist. I still remember wondering "why" as a boy. The ideas in the video did soothe my unease for some reason. We exist because in that Universe anything that can exist must exist at some point.

Ditto the idea that time is an illusion of our consciousness. Time in that context makes more sense to me.

I'm no scientist and have always disliked Quantum Mechanics (you should see what they charge to repair a photon...). The video changed my mind entirely. Suddenly, according to the theory given, QM explains everything quite beautifully.

And an added bonus in their scheme of things is that String Theory is consigned to the bin. When I look back it was String Theory that repulsed me so much, I gave up on modern cosmology and physics altogether. What I didn't see in the video was an explanation of dark energy and dark matter, or don't they exist in this particular model?

I can't remember who said it but someone did say a while ago that at some point soon our model of the Universe will prove to be incompetent as to require a complete rebuild.

Expect the unexpected!

Edited by Paul M
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Golden section .. yeah right: 0, 1, 1,  2,  3,  5 ,  8, 13.... (pretty boring)

start instead with 1 and 3: 1, 3, 4, 7, 11, 18, 29.....

Then, if your are bored, subtract 1 from each...

N= 0, 2, 3, 6, 10, 17, 28..... (lets call those N(x))... divide by N

OK, if N(x)/N is a whole number then N is prime (forget one)

That is spooky!

P

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andrew s,

 'If we did how did the universe manage before it was in a state where consciousness could evolve?'

Before? What does this mean if we reject the tensed theory of time? 

'Personally, I find requiring our consciousness to be here to make the world work far more disturbing than any vantage point we may have.'

Two responses:

1) I don't. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if what we see were affected by the means by which we see it. In this respect I do think the history of science might be against you.

2) Reality does not have to be constrained by what we find non-disturbing. Again, the history of science is gloriously spiced by the very disturbing.

'...the arrow of time where we observe various events never spontaneously reversing seems convincing to me that the standard idea of time and the normal casual structure of space-time is good enough.'

But this would be a perfect fit with a theory proposing that our perception of time were determined by our point of view. Indeed it is precisely the starting point for the whole business of questioning the tensed theory of time. We don't observe things spontaneously reversing because our point of view does not allow us to do so. And yes, the standard theory of time is good enough. But good enough for what? For describing the universe from our localized point of view. But not, perhaps, for describing the universe.

Your grasp of physics vastly exceeds my own. Of this there can be no doubt. All I can bring to the discussion is a mind observing the experts at a distance and taking a philosophical, historical and deeply interested over-view.

Paul M,

I feel much as you do. However, the question 'Why?' seems to me to embrace two entirely different kinds of question depending on context.

- The question, 'Why are we here?' (as it is usually intended) cannot be answered because it pre-supposes the kind of answer I would reject from the outset. It is a human question which would translate into something like, 'What is the purpose of our existence?' - heavily pre-loaded with the notion that such a purpose must exist. In my view such a purpose could only exist in the mind of someone who created us and I choose not to believe that such a someone exists. In this case my only answer to that version of the question 'Why?' would be, 'For no reason whatever.'

- When scientists ask the question 'Why?' they are looking for a causal step, not a metaphysical explanation. 'Why did it rain?' Because moisure vapour cooled as it rose, condensed into water droplets heavier than air, and fell to the ground.'

Olly

 

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I think we have to be extremely careful with what we take from the language used in the video and is this not a recurring issue with modern physics? What exactly is meant by "projecting a slice of the E8 crystal down to 3D".  A mathematical transformation, an operation which expresses the equation/data in another form conforming to a set of transformation rules we created - come on !   Not as sexy as a literal projection from a higher dimension which leads to the reality of our universe. :(  "Spin" of the electron is not the spin of the dancer, "colour" of the quark is not the colour of the dancer's shoes;  the maestros of quantum physics have lead us on this merry dance before. :)  I find so much of this video loaded with bear traps waiting to snarl me up. Does the universe need me to be here to imagine it, did it sit around for 14 billion years waiting for us to ponder it into existence ? I though Copernicus did away that line of enquiry.  Maybe it's me, most likely is, but I cant help but think somebody is trying too hard. 

I thought the speed of light was fixed by Maxwell and his expression of c from the constants of permittivity and permeability of free space.  Is the reference at the start of the video here just commenting on the numerical uncertainty in our expression of those constants together with the fine structure constant?   Again confused - wooo wooo :) 

Jim 

 

 

Edited by saac
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1 hour ago, ollypenrice said:

 

Paul M,

I feel much as you do. However, the question 'Why?' seems to me to embrace two entirely different kinds of question depending on context.

- The question, 'Why are we here?' (as it is usually intended) cannot be answered because it pre-supposes the kind of answer I would reject from the outset. It is a human question which would translate into something like, 'What is the purpose of our existence?' - heavily pre-loaded with the notion that such a purpose must exist. In my view such a purpose could only exist in the mind of someone who created us and I choose not to believe that such a someone exists. In this case my only answer to that version of the question 'Why?' would be, 'For no reason whatever.'

- When scientists ask the question 'Why?' they are looking for a causal step, not a metaphysical explanation. 'Why did it rain?' Because moisure vapour cooled as it rose, condensed into water droplets heavier than air, and fell to the ground.'

Olly

 

I agree Olly, I'm not concerned as to our purpose. I resigned to the belief that we have no purpose when I realised the depth of the question I was asking myself. 

Why am I able to ask the question? By what mechanism. Why does anything exist? Why a Universe, with or without me to contemplate it? 

Maybe the specifics in the video are wrong but I like the idea that the final Theory of Everything will be a beautifully simple geometry. Just a shame about those darned higher dimensions. Maybe they'll condense down as the models progress :) 

I don't know if anyone looked at the sister video to the one I posted. It had some repeated content but was still worth watching. There was also a short video with the makers answering some questions in a light hearted manner:

 

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16 hours ago, ollypenrice said:

- The question, 'Why are we here?' (as it is usually intended) cannot be answered because it pre-supposes the kind of answer I would reject from the outset. It is a human question which would translate into something like, 'What is the purpose of our existence?' - heavily pre-loaded with the notion that such a purpose must exist. In my view such a purpose could only exist in the mind of someone who created us and I choose not to believe that such a someone exists. In this case my only answer to that version of the question 'Why?' would be, 'For no reason whatever.

No offence but the fact that you would 'reject something from the outset' is nothing short of closed-minded fundamentalism. If we were 'created by someone' then that truth has to be accepted and choosing to believe otherwise is frankly irrelevant. And to say that the answer to why the universe exists is 'for no reason whatever' is so intellectually unsatisfactory that it makes me wonder why you have the slightest interest in astronomy, physics or anything else.

Again no offence.

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9 minutes ago, goodricke1 said:

No offence but the fact that you would 'reject something from the outset' is nothing short of closed-minded fundamentalism. If we were 'created by someone' then that truth has to be accepted and choosing to believe otherwise is frankly irrelevant. And to say that the answer to why the universe exists is 'for no reason whatever' is so intellectually unsatisfactory that it makes me wonder why you have the slightest interest in astronomy, physics or anything else.

Again no offence.

Wow, good job you started and finished that noting no offence intended :eek:

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Where's EMad when we need a philosopher :grin:

Dave

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32 minutes ago, RayD said:

 

 

Sorry wrong quote

Regards Andrew

Edited by andrew s
Error on my part

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Wrong quote changed.

Edited by RayD
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45 minutes ago, goodricke1 said:

And to say that the answer to why the universe exists is 'for no reason whatever' is so intellectually unsatisfactory that it makes me wonder why you have the slightest interest in astronomy, physics or anything else.

Well I find it perfectly intellectually satisfactory and find studying how the Universe works a totally wonderful pursuit without any other justification than the pleasure I get from it. 

Regards Andrew

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1 hour ago, goodricke1 said:

No offence but the fact that you would 'reject something from the outset' is nothing short of closed-minded fundamentalism. If we were 'created by someone' then that truth has to be accepted and choosing to believe otherwise is frankly irrelevant. And to say that the answer to why the universe exists is 'for no reason whatever' is so intellectually unsatisfactory that it makes me wonder why you have the slightest interest in astronomy, physics or anything else.

Again no offence.

No offence taken. My point is that the question 'Why are we here?' (as distinct from the cosmological question 'How are we here?') pre-supposes purpose and purposes are things which only sentient beings have. Natural forces do not have them. The Indian Plate and the Eurasian Plate did not collide in order to raise the Himalayas. The Himalayas rose as a consequence of the collision of the European and Eurasian plates. So I take the view that nature develops not through purposes but through consequences. This does not diminish the wonder of the Himalayas, or my appreciation of them, or my wonder at their beauty. But I do not believe they are there for a purpose. They may inspire in us all sorts of grand purposes, such as climbing them for no other reason than that they are there, but I don't believe they are there for a purpose. They are just there and I think that's wonderful. I'm mighty glad they are!

I don't need to dump an anthropomorphic concept onto nature in order to find it fascinating and wonderful.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
Typo
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11 hours ago, andrew s said:

I could not find much on this other than on their own site http://www.quantumgravityresearch.org/ so I asked on www.physicsforums.com and got this reply so far https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/quantum-gravity-research-group-any-standing-in-mainstream-physics.960703/ which you may find of interest.

Regards Andrew

Also here a Reddit thread about the group and its director of research (read comments at bottom):

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/Physics/comments/7kbmdg/whats_the_story_behind_quantum_gravity_research/

 

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Interesting thread.  I love existence, relationships, hobbies  (inc. astro of course) - the whole thing.  But I really don't need there to be a reason or a meaning for it all.  I can live happily with the possibility that it is all random/meaningless/without ultimate purpose.  ?

Doug.

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12 hours ago, George Jones said:

Also here a Reddit thread about the group and its director of research (read comments at bottom):

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/Physics/comments/7kbmdg/whats_the_story_behind_quantum_gravity_research/

 

Shame! Never mind, we can look elsewhere for interesting ideas.

Olly

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34 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

Shame! Never mind, we can look elsewhere for interesting ideas.

Olly

Main stream science is full of interesting ideas but unfortunately it is of necessity written in a language of mathematics and technical terms rather than slick videos. 

Even when the best professional scientists write popular books they tend to mislead with language and questionable simplification. 

Even at 67 I am giving myself the task of upping my maths skill with a course on differential geometry and the modern approach to tensor analysis to better grasp our understanding of the Universe.

It is funny how I find natural language, especially spelling, difficult but formal languages tractable.

Regards Andrew 

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2 hours ago, andrew s said:

Main stream science is full of interesting ideas but unfortunately it is of necessity written in a language of mathematics and technical terms rather than slick videos. 

Even when the best professional scientists write popular books they tend to mislead with language and questionable simplification. 

Even at 67 I am giving myself the task of upping my maths skill with a course on differential geometry and the modern approach to tensor analysis to better grasp our understanding of the Universe.

It is funny how I find natural language, especially spelling, difficult but formal languages tractable.

Regards Andrew 

Alas I'm stuck with a brain which works the other way round but I really should start studying some maths again.

Olly

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I think the Universe is there to tease use apart from that my brain cannot help with any theories.

 

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