Sunday 29 June 2008

Core Theory Part Two- How It Works

For those who bravely made their way through the first part of this, we are on easier territory here.

What I aim to do in this post is look at some of the implications of what we KNOW of reality, and look at some of the unspoken implications of this.

A German biologist named Ernst Haeckel once said 'Politics is merely applied biology'.
Sadly, we know where that ended up.

But of course, the basic point is true. No theory of history or politics can ACTUALLY be true, if it doesn't fit scientific knowledge and theory. Any theory of politics or history that DOESN'T place against the backdrop of evolutionary theory and natural history, is doomed to fail.

And likewise, no theory of the origin of life can be considered viable, if it doesn't accord with the deeper laws of physics, including quantum mechanics.

And what therefore, I'm aiming at, is a concrete theory to explain WHY everything is the way it is, without resort to a supernatural or paranormal, whilst at the same attempting to root laws of human society within that theory.

I think the best place to start, is by understanding HOW change happens, on a basic level.

And the best place to start, is with the simplest particle there is. The photon.
The photon is simple, because it does the simplest of things. It travels, in a wave, in a straight line. It has no mass- though what mass means, is significant, as we shall see.
The photon, alone amongst particles, has no anti-particle.
Or put simply, nothing it does, has an opposite.

In other words, the photon is the simplest thing there is. A quanta, the behaviour of which needs no further explanation. All other particles, are far more of a mystery.

The photon covers 186,000 miles in a second.

Now, here we come to the underlying point about reality. In fact, it was the great conceptual debate of all time. Is matter- and therefore everything- continuous, or discrete?
In other words, can you keep going on smaller and smaller in terms of dividing things, or is everything composed of finite units?

And of course, the answer is, finite units.
The sub-atomic particle represents a unit of spacetime.

Imagine spacetime as an eleven dimensional chessboard. There are spaces occupied by particles, and spaces not occupied by particles. No space can hold than one particle at one time. And no particle can exist crossing over into more than one space.

So when the photon travels its 186,000 miles, it actually moves frame by frame about a decillion times. A decillion is a number with 31 noughts.
This time unit, is called a planck tick. There are about a decillion in a second.

In other words, every planck tick, the universe moves every photon to an adjacent space.
But in fact, it's not just the photons. It moves EVERY sub-atomic particle to another space. And the ways it does this, aren't always nice and simple, like the photon.

In fact, what we know of the universe, suggests that in many cases, the movement of particles SEEMS to be done by chance, in ways that go against what we would expect.

But first, what ARE these other particles- a postulated five hundred varieties.

Let me first state, that lots of these are hypothetical, and some probably unnecessary. The graviton is a case in point. Completely not needed, if we accept Einstein's theory of gravity- it exists to satisfy some of the problems of reconciling that theory, with quantum theory. A major selling point to me of string theory, is it eliminates the need for gravitons. Gluons as well, are another one I suspect are a mathematical fiction, needed only because we have not YET reached M theory.

We divide these particles into two types- massed and unmassed. What's the difference? Massed ones are massless, and all move. Massed ones have mass, and sit still.

Or do they? I don't think they do. I think it's do with wave function. It is possible, by combining Einstein's equation with Planck's photon energy equation, to prove that the wave function of a quark (the most important massed particle) is massively higher, than that of any photon. The same goes for all massed particles.

In other words, the particle zoo, may be no zoo. There may in fact, be only two things distinguishing particles. Wave function, and dimensions travelled in. The photon is simply the basic particle behaving in the simplest way. The other particles we See, just MOVE in different ways.

We view is that Einsteins's theory of gravity explains the massed particle. It's high wave function, prevents its travel. It's movement warps space, much as the sun warps space, forcing the earth to move in an ellipse around it. The quark warps space, so that it has no alternative other than to simply rotate on it's own axis. It's basically a tiny black hole. It can't of course attract like a black hole, because there is no matter smaller than it. What it can do, is mutually attract other quarks.

Quite why the limit here is three, I don't know, but depending on which of the six types of quark blend together in bunches of three, we get protons and neutrons. Electrons of course, are like quarks, fundamental particles.

The most important point about quantum theory, is the notorious quantum strangeness. Electrons orbit the atomic nucleus. But not the way planets orbits stars. They hop. Each planck tick the electron randomly moves to another point on its orbit. No predicting where.
Is it random?

Quantum reality is full of this- shadow particles, the alternative random movements of a particle that MIGHT have happened.

Because what's actually happened in every second that happens, is that every sub atomic particle in the universe has moved a decillion times.

Think what that means.
It means that not only is -as we- know- most of the spaces in the universe empty- most movement, when slowed down to planck tick level, isn't what we think.

I'm not typing at light speed, for example. So what that actually means, is that if you slowed the movement of my finger frame by frame, watching it in terms of planck time- most of time, it isn't moving. In a minority of those planck ticks- a tiny minority- the movement of sub atomic particles leads to a tiny movement of my finger.

Now here is where I depart from SOME quantum theorists. Because I actually do think, along with Einstein, that God doesn't play dice.
I actually think everything is implicit from the begining. The shape and structure of spactime is ironcast.

Some quantum theorists believe that each time the universe makes its random choices, ALL possibilties in some sense happen. That all those universes where the electrons jumped to other places instead, are equally real- just that this is the one that WE experience.
There's a problem with that.

It ultimately means that the DURATION of the universe is variable. Because it suggests a variability in the routes taken to heat death.
In fact, it even PREDICTS that the impossible universe- the everlasting universe, the universe of perpetual motion, exists.

That cannot be so.

So- conclusion- we experience the only universe that ACTUALLY happens- the one that will exist for the SHORTEST possible time frame.

That's what the laws of thermodynamics ACTUALLY are. The universe choosing it's route, a decillion times a second.
A decillion choices a second.

Conscious? Yes.
But how can you conceive of that level of consciousness? The moving of a quantity of particles that we can't even imagine, a decillion times a second.

So of course it can plan ahead. And now, after thirteen billion years, it has learned. Just as we did. This is what I think, we have lost. the mind of god isn't a human mind. it evolved, as our did. But computers only work, because they follow the same laws of PHYSICS our brains do. And we have only evolved consciousness, because it is POSSIBLE.
If we're conscious, the universe must be. And our short journeys towards conceptual understanding, are a shadow of the journey the universe has had.

So the universe is both random and deterministic at the same time.
The old theological mystery of how pre-destination reconciles with free will, remains the root question of time and space.

Because yes, we have total free will in ALL our choices. WE choose. But the universe chose that we would choose that. We don't experience the universe where we chose differently, because the universe doesn't choose that route.

Seeing the universe in this way, actually does solve a lot of our conceptual problems. But I think it also allows much of the so-called 'paranormal' to make sense.

Things such as synchronicity, sixth sense, even telepathy and telekinesis, they may or may not exist. But in the universe as just described, they fit into the possible framework.
Synchronicity, for example is a direct result of the fact that at times, it suits the universe to make the choices that lie way off the bell curve.

Telepathy and telekinesis, are both things that I can see as things that COUlD quite realistically evolve, the physical basis on which they would work already exists- otherwise mobile phones wouldn't work. I hesitate to state these things are things we are in the process of evolving, and nothing we know of evolutionary biology suggests it is impossible.

It's going somewhere. It never stands still.
Evolution is not just a law of biology, it extends both ways- it is a law of the universe, it is a law of history.

We live in Darwin's universe.

Darwin's universe is dependant on the improbable. The improbable, the seemingly impossible even, happen. What are the chances that enough monkeys should manage to cross an admittedly narrower Atlantic Ocean in the Oligocene Period to found the entire population of New World primates? Unlikely, but it happened.

So our sense that there is a destiny to things correct? I think so. I think much of what we feel in or bones, we do so because the electro-magnetic impulses of the universe tell us when we are going with the grain rather than against it.

How does this help us interpret own lives? Well put simply, everything DOES happen for a reason. You may not, if you knew the reasons, like the reasons, you might feel you have been cheated, because the universe used you as a mere tool, but essentially that's all any of us are.

It may be that the things you think were the great achievements of your life aren't. You may reach sixty and look back at a successful career, a happy marriage, bringing up two children successfully. But these might just pan out to be background noise.

Your great achievement might have been that at seventeen year of age you paid a girl in a newsagents a compliment. You weren't to know it, but she'd discovered she was pregnant by her boyfriend, who had done a runner. Your compliment stops her taking her life that night. She has the child, gives it up for adoption, goes to University, becomes a research chemist, and discovers the cure to AIDS.

The universe does not waste time. Everything that happened to me, everything that happened to you, it all happened with SOME objective in mind. Of the people who read this blog, some will read this post, some won't. Some will get this far, some won't. Some will read it, who've never read this blog before. For some, nothing will come of it. For some, the reason the universe decided they should read it might be totally unconnected- maybe just so they could see a blog on my blogroll that interested them, and there they'd find a post that affected their life. Or maybe the ultimate reasons are more obscure still. Maybe it's what you'll do NEXT that matters.

You might be sitting here reading this squeezing the hand of a loved one. Right now, you hope it will never end. But the universe didn't bring you together to find eachother. It brought you together to find the people you'd ONLY have found, if you found eachother first. The universe tells you both it's the real thing now, because it suits the universe for you to think that. It'll tell you when it really IS the real thing.
Or maybe it hasn't got that planned for you. Maybe when she runs off with the man the universe planned for her, the pain you feel will drive you onwards to achieve things ONLY that pain could make you achieve.

How far does our free will affect things? Perhaps there IS margin for error. Maybe there are a certain number of routes that can lead to the same ultimate ends. But I think the universe won't allow the general framework to be upset too much. Rather than there being an infinite number of possible universes, I suspect the one we inhabit has limited variability, and when we fight against the universe, the universe puts us back in place.
It's us who make life so hard for ourselves.

Every life DOES have a purpose, every life DOES count.
I think we spend much of our lives figuring out WHY we're here.

But trust me, when you feel in your heart of hearts that something's happening that's MEANT to happen, or that something you're doing, you're MEANT to be doing, you know.

Because the universe wants you to know.


Anonymous said...

And this gets you where and benefits whom?
Not being nasty, just curious (+:

Anonymous said...

(1) Consider this: your chances of winning a lottery or sweepstakes are really so small as to be a virtual impossibility. It's that way for everyone who plays. Yet, there is usually one winner out of, say, a billion plays.

In other words, given enough chances, the extradinary will or can happen. One need not ascribe an intelligent plan behind it.

By the same token, there are billions and billions of planets (as Carl Sagan liked to say). So the improbable, yea, the virtually impossible, will happen every now and then.

Those who argue intelligent design really kinda gloss over this reality, dismissing, or not comprehending, the vastness of the cosmos.

(2) That being, I never consider what people call "paranormal" as paranormal. It's not off the normal curve, but rather at the far extreme. But for the curve to be normal, it has to have its extremes.

(3) I happen to be a grandstudent (i.e., a student of a student of) N.R. Hanson, a noted theoretical physicist at Indiana University. His observations about phenomenology apply to some of what you're saying here. Science isn't an objective measure or inquiry, for it is often simply an extension of our own perception, a way of seeing the cosmos. Not necessarily is it an authority on all things, only that which it can quantify and repeat. Thus, when more is learned about human interactions, I'm afraid science will have to catch up to that knowledge, as opposed to the knowledge conforming to a scientific paradigm.

Anonymous said...

Crushed. At the risk of sounding too smart for my own good, or getting out of my depth...

You touched on quantum mechanics and I just bet you have heard of Schrödinger's Moggy.

Now we know that superposition really does take place on a subatomic level because effects that confirm it have been observed.

One problem with the 'classic' interpretation is the collapse of the wave function that says if the cat is purring happily (Who am I kidding? Locked in a box no way would a cat be happy), or cold and stiff.

You sidestep the 'problem' with multiple-worlds, or universes, it explains the subjective observation of wave function collapse with what is officially called 'quantum decoherence'.

The Many-worlds idea fixes all the so-called paradoxes of quantum theory by allowing every possible outcome of every event, to define and exist, in its own history, or Universe.

One 'world' becomes two, like a bacteria multiplying. In one 'world' the cat lives happily ever after. In another it gives it's nine furry little lives in the name of science and is buried with appropriate honours...

Soo... maybe you are describing your subjective interpretation of one particular path a 'drunkards walk' (in the mathematical sense) through all those possibilities to date.

Maybe it is all much bigger,and much stranger than you think...

Anonymous said...

"Every life DOES have a purpose, every life DOES count.
I think we spend much of our lives figuring out WHY we're here."

This i totally agree. Some people are meant to achieve imortality by leaving a feasible footprint, a legacy, while the real every day heroes spend their life in silence.

But still, it would be kinda sad if everything was predetermined. There is a thrill of not knowing what tomorrow will bring, about creating your own destiny.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Crushed, am lost with all this.

Anonymous said...

Beast- Interesting point. Two levels to that question, I suppose.

On a personal level, I spend a fair bit of time thinking about this sort of stuff, because I enjoy conceptualisition, period. It's what I like to do in my spare moments- and I spend a fair bit of time discussing it with mates. Not just about this, but about most of the topics I write about; they're all interconnected. It's kind of what drives me, the perpetual need to find better and more accurate ways of explaining everything.

On a wider level, understanding things like this, has major implications for mankind. True, I might be talking out my arse in MY interpretation, but interpreting these things correctly will always have implications, in terms of what is technologically possible, or how we set about these things. Not only that, but in terms of being able to better plan for the human condition.

X-dell- Ah, this is where I say that we hit the A/theism problem.

I don't suggest intelligence the way you or I would describe it. But then again of course, I do.

What I suggest is that the universe at the big bang WASN'T what we would describe as intelligent. But it is now.
It is intelligent in the sense we are. It has evolved to follow the most efficient paths- and following those pahs means evoloving towards greater complexity- ultimately, intelligence.

But that doesn't mean it's PERSONAL. Only we are personal, because we are organic. The universe is the ruthless intelligence of the perfect calculating machine.

2 and 3 I can't disagree with.

Moggs- Yes, I like that particular paradox.

Thing is, multiple universes imply mutliple possible durations.

Let me throw Boltzmann's law at you.

If you open a bottle of perfume, you can't reverse the action. Why? Because now the bottle is opened, the possible number of molecular movements that involve the molecules NOT all staying in the bottle, far outnumber the one possiblity that they all stay put.

But if there are infinite universes, that universe exists- the one where the scent stays put.

The perpetual motion universe.

I can't buy that.

Crashie- Or the thrill of knowing what your destiny is to be? ;)

Nunyaa- Well, just take it as meaning; Everything happens for a reason :)

Anonymous said...

“Let me throw Boltzmann's law at you.”

Getting deep here. Are you just talking dirty and hoping to baffle me?

OK, simply put is that all about the total energy radiated over the surface area of a black body (energy flux density) being directly proportional to the fourth power of it’s temperature? I guess you are applying that to the entire cosmos maybe? .. and cosmic expansion/heat death?

”If you open a bottle of perfume, you can't reverse the action. Why? Because now the bottle is opened, the possible number of molecular movements that involve the molecules NOT all staying in the bottle, far outnumber the one possibility that they all stay put.”

Generally that is true, but it is not impossible, just very, very, unlikely. Like, say, the probability of not buying at least one pair of nice shoes in any given 6 month period ;-)

You find it difficult to conceive of such things because they are contrary to your everyday experience, but they are not actually physically impossible, just practically speaking, so unlikely, as to be close to impossible.

Anonymous said...

This is still a bit too maths/physics for me...