This paper argues for the following disjunction: either we do not live in a world with a branching temporal structure, or backwards time travel is nomologically impossible, given the initial state of the universe, or backwards time travel to our space-time location is impossible given large-scale facts about space and time. A fortiori, if backwards time travel to our location is possible, we do not live in a branching universe.
The evolution of life on Earth has produced an organism that is beginning to model and understand its own evolution and the possible future evolution of life in the universe. These models and associated evidence show that evolution on Earth has a trajectory. The scale over which living processes are organized cooperatively has increased progressively, as has its evolvability. Recent theoretical advances raise the possibility that this trajectory is itself part of a wider developmental process. According to these theories, (...) the developmental process has been shaped by a yet larger evolutionary dynamic that involves the reproduction of universes. This evolutionary dynamic has tuned the key parameters of the universe to increase the likelihood that life will emerge and produce outcomes that are successful in the larger process (e.g. a key outcome may be to produce life and intelligence that intentionally reproduces the universe and tunes the parameters of ‘offspring’ universes). Theory suggests that when life emerges on a planet, it moves along this trajectory of its own accord. However, at a particular point evolution will continue to advance only if organisms emerge that decide to advance the developmental process intentionally. The organisms must be prepared to make this commitment even though the ultimate nature and destination of the process is uncertain, and may forever remain unknown. Organisms that complete this transition to intentional evolution will drive the further development of life and intelligence in the universe. Humanity’s increasing understanding of the evolution of life in the universe is rapidly bringing it to the threshold of this major evolutionary transition. (shrink)
We present two results which shed some more light on the deep connection between ZFA and the standard ZF set theory: First of all we refine a result of Forti and Honsell in order to prove that the universe of ZFA can also be obtained as the least fixed point of a continuous operator and not only as the greatest fixed point of the powerset operator. Next we show that it is possible to define a new absolute Gödel operation (...) in addition to the standard ones in order to obtain the “constructible” model of ZFA as the least fixed point of the continuous operator of Gödel closure with respect to the standard and the new Gödel operations. (shrink)
Many scientists, if pushed, may be inclined to hazard the guess that the universe is comprehensible, even physically comprehensible. Almost all, however, would vehemently deny that science has already established that the universe is comprehensible. It is, nevertheless, just this that I claim to be the case. Once one gets the nature of science properly into perspective, it becomes clear that the comprehensibility of the universe is as secure an item of current scientific knowledge as anything theoretical (...) in science can be, more secure, indeed, than the most firmly established fundamental theories of physics, such as quantum theory or Einstein's general theory of relativity. (shrink)
In this paper I sketch a liberal studies course designed to explore our fundamental problem of thought and life: How can our human world exist and best flourish embedded as it is in the physical universe? The fundamental character of this problem provides one with the opportunity to explore a wide range of issues. What does physics tell us about the universe and ourselves? How do we account for everything physics leaves out? How can living brains be conscious? (...) If everything occurs in accordance with physical law, what becomes of free will? How does Darwin's theory of evolution contribute to the solution to the fundamental problem? What is the history of thought about this problem? What is of most value associated with human life? What kind of civilized world should we seek to help create? Why is the fundamental problem not a part of standard education in schools and universities? What are the most serious global problems confronting humanity? Can humanity learn to make progress towards as good a world as possible? These are some of the questions that can be tackled as an integral part of exploring the fundamental problem. But the course does not merely wander at random from one issue to another. Taking the fundamental problem as central provides the course with a coherent structure. The course would be conducted as a seminar, and it would respond to queries and suggestions from students. (shrink)
In his latest book,Roger Penrose deals with three foundational problems of current physics fromhis particularly fresh perspective.He criticizes mainstream string the- ories, standard interpretations of quantum mechanics, and pre-Big Bang cosmolo- gies inasmuch as they aim to solve profound questions while glossing over equally deep issues in our understanding of nature. In this review, I analyze Penrose’s main arguments, emphasizing his presentation of the Second Law conundrum as “the most profound mystery of cosmology”, and discuss his own proposals to overcome (...) the impasse. I especially focus on the capabilities of conformal cyclic cosmology to illuminate the enigma of the extraordinarily low entropy at the Big Bang and review its capacity of success in stipulating a reset for the entropy of the universe. Even though one need not follow Penrose’s tentative answers, which are not immune to serious critiques, much of his view can be shared as a sound starting point in search of “the new physics of the universe.”. (shrink)
It is pointed out that the different concepts of the Universe serve as an ultimate basis determining the frames of consciousness. A unified concept of the Universe is explored which includes consciousness and matter as well to the universe of existents. Some consequences of the unified concept of the Universe are derived and shown to be able to solve the paradox of the self-founding notion of the Universe. The self-contained Universe is indicated to possess (...) a logical nature. It is shown that a passage exists between consciousness and the material world and its nature is exemplified. Moreover, arguments are presented showing the simultaneous emotional nature of the Universe. A solution to the paradox of semi-finite spacetime existents, possessing finite and infinite substances simultaneously, namely eternal existents like moral values and logical validity, is obtained. (shrink)
We discuss a new theory of the universe in which the vacuum energy is of classical origin and dominates the energy content of the universe. As usual, the Einstein equations determine the metric of the universe. However, the scale factor is controlled by total energy conservation in contrast to the practice in the Robertson–Walker formulation. This theory naturally leads to an explanation for the Big Bang and is not plagued by the horizon and cosmological constant problem. It (...) naturally accommodates the notion of dark energy and proposes a possible explanation for dark matter. It leads to a dual description of the universe, which is reminiscent of the dual theory proposed by Milne in 1937. On the one hand one can describe the universe in terms of the original Einstein coordinates in which the universe is expanding, on the other hand one can describe it in terms of co-moving coordinates which feature in measurements. In the latter representation the universe looks stationary and the age of the universe appears constant. The paper describes the evolution of this universe. It starts out in a classical state with perfect symmetry and zero entropy. Due to the vacuum metric the effective energy density is infinite at the beginning, but diminishes rapidly. Once it reaches the Planck energy density of elementary particles, the formation of particles can commence. Because of the quantum nature of creation and annihilation processes spatial and temporal inhomogeneities appear in the matter distributions, resulting in residual proton (neutron) and electron densities. Hence, quantum uncertainty plays an essential role in the creation of a diversified complex universe with increasing entropy. It thus seems that quantum fluctuations play a role in cosmology similar to that of random mutations in biology. Other analogies to biological principles, such as recapitulation, are also discussed. (shrink)
. In what follows, I review the modern theory of the origin of the universe as astronomers and physicists are coming to understand it during the last decades of the twentieth century. An unexpected discovery of this study is that the story of “cosmogenesis” cannot be completely told unless we understand the fundamental nature of matter, space, and time. In the context of modern cosmology space has become not only the bedrock of our physical existence, it may yield a (...) fuller understanding of the universe itself. (shrink)
Among the most exciting experiences in our lives are the ones that arouse a magical rapture within us. This may happen when we become engrossed in a musical piece, when dancing becomes ecstatic, when we are passionately in love (or making love) or when we experience an intuitive perception or an altered state of consciousness, get caught by the spell of the infinity of the Universe or the splendor of nature; it can also happen during telepathic contact or in (...) lucid dreams. What I shall try to outline here is a systematic world-view that gives a basis for the interpretation of the special character of those magical actions. A model for the structure of the Universe is shown in which different levels of existence are sequentially telescoped into each other. This model suggests that the different levels of the material and the inner worlds can be in direct connection, thus offering us a new perspective for participating in the process of Creation. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne, in his The Existence of God (2004), presents a cosmological argument in defence of theism (Swinburne 1991: 119, 135). God, Swinburne argues, is more likely to bring about an ordered universe than other states (ibid.: 144, 299). To defend this view, Swinburne presents the following arguments: (1) That this ordered universe is a priori improbable (2004: 49, 150, 1991: 304 et seq.), given the stringent requirements for life (cf. also Leslie 2000: 12), and the Second Law (...) of Thermodynamics (Giancoli 1990: 396); (2) That it seems as if this ordered universe can be explained by theism; (3) A theistic explanation for the universe is more probable because it is a simple explanation. To this end, Swinburne makes use of Bayes’ Theorem. Symbolically, this claim can be represented as (e) for the evidence of the existence of a complex universe, and (h) for a hypothesis. Swinburne’s argument is that theism has a higher prior probability, P(htheism) > P(hmaterialism), since theism is simpler than materialism. He concludes that P(e|htheism) > P(e|hmaterialism). In this paper I will address only this argument (3) above, and defend the view that it is false: theism is not simpler than materialism, nor it is more probably true. I conclude that theism is less probable than materialism, expressed by P(htheism) < P(hmaterialism) : 2/N(2n+1) < 1/n, where N is the number of possible universes and n the number of entities in existence. (shrink)
I explore how the notion of divine creation could be made understandable in a worldview dominated by empirical science. The crucial question concerns the empirical basis of belief in creation. Astronomical observations have changed our worldview in an exemplary manner. I show by an example from imaginative literature that human beings can perceive stars by means other than astronomical observation. This alternative mode may be described as “participatory perception,” in which a human experiences the world not by objectifying separation as (...) in science, but by personal involvement. I relate such perceptions to “embodied cognitive science,” a topical interdisciplinary field of research in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. Embodied cognitions initiate processes that can convey personal experiences of the stars. Such cognitions may involve religious apprehensions and give rise to sophisticated values. It is argued that the knowledge available through astrophysics and interpretation of the universe as divine creation represent two different ways of perceiving the same reality and should thus be seen as mutually complementary. (shrink)
One of the few authors to have explicitly connected the physical issue of the expansion of the universe with the philosophical topic of the metaphysical status of space is Gerald James Whitrow. This paper examines his view and tries to highlight its strong and weak points, thereby clarifying its obscure aspects. In general, this really interesting philosophical approach to one of the most important phenomena concerning our universe, and therefore modern cosmology, has been very rarely tackled. This unicity (...) increases the value, from a physical, philosophical and historical point of view, of Whitrow’s attempt and calls for new research. (shrink)
The maturation of the physical image has made apparent the limits of our scientific understanding of fundamental reality. These limitations serve as motivation for a new form of metaphysical inquiry that restricts itself to broadly scientific methods. Contributing towards this goal we combine the mathematical universe hypothesis as developed by Max Tegmark with the axioms of Stewart Shapiro’s structure theory. The result is a theory we call the Theory of the Structural Multiverse (TSM). The focus is on informal theory (...) development and constraint satisfaction. Some empirical consequences of the theory are worked out, in particular the feasibility of a predictive observer selection effect. The explanatory, unifying, and generative powers of the theory are found to substantially support the theory. The TSM is demonstrated to be an empirically significant scientific theory that is foundational to and continuous with the rest of the scientific image. (shrink)
The \\)-Robertson–Walker spacetime is under investigation. With the derived Hamilton operator, we are solving the Wheeler–De Witt Equation and its Schrödinger-like extension, for physically important forms of the effective potential. The closed form solutions, expressed in terms of Heun’s functions, allow us to comment on the occurrence of Universe from highly probable quantum states.
According to the iterative conception of sets, standardly formalized by ZFC, there is no set of all sets. But why is there no set of all sets? A simple-minded, though unpopular, “minimal” explanation for why there is no set of all sets is that the supposition that there is contradicts some axioms of ZFC. In this paper, I first explain the core complaint against the minimal explanation, and then argue against the two main alternative answers to the guiding question. I (...) conclude the paper by outlining a close alternative to the minimal explanation, the conception-based explanation, that avoids the core complaint against the minimal explanation. (shrink)
Carl Hoefer has argued that determinism in block universes does not privilege any particular time slice as the fundamental determiner of other time slices. He concludes from this that our actions are free, insofar as they are pieces of time slices we may legitimately regard as fundamental determiners. However, I argue that Hoefer does not adequately deal with certain remaining problems. For one, there remain pervasive asymmetries in causation and the macroscopic efficacy of our actions. I suggest that what Hoefer (...) may have shown us is that causation, not determinism, was the threat to free will all along. Additionally, Hoefer might avoid the problem of the asymmetry of macroscopic efficacy by noting we have a very small region of space-time completely determined by our choices. However, this move implies our freedom to act is freedom to do very little, given that the region is trivial. I suggest that Hoefer should instead claim that we do have pervasive macroscopic efficacy toward the past, though I am unsure of how well this thesis works. Regardless, there remains a problem that the inside-out perspective requires us to see our choices as brute facts or random occurrences. Attempts to resolve this problem seem to require either a theory of agent causation or a traditional compatibilist argument, making Hoefer’s thesis extraneous, unless he can show us that these require the inside-out perspective. However, Hoefer has not yet shown us this, so there is work to be done. (shrink)
In this early paper I set out an argument in favor of the standard semantics of first-order logic, to the effect that (Vx)(Ey)x=y. Though my arguments from the paper have since been revised in details, The conclusion of the paper seems still viable and acceptable.
According to ‘regularity theories’ of causation, the obtaining of causal relations depends on no more than the obtaining of certain kinds of regularity. Regularity theorists are thus anti-realists about necessary connections in nature. Regularity theories of one form or another have constituted the dominant view in analytic Philosophy for a long time, but have recently come in for some robust criticism, notably from Galen Strawson. Strawson’s criticisms are natural criticisms to make, but have not so far provoked much response from (...) regularity theorists. The paper considers and rebuts Strawson’s objections. For example, Strawson claims that if there were no necessary connections in nature, we ought continually to find the regularity of the Universe surprising. I argue that the fact that the Universe is regular is something we take ourselves (fallibly) to know, and hence, in the light of this knowledge, its continued orderliness is not at all surprising. -/- . (shrink)
I explore physics implications of the External Reality Hypothesis (ERH) that there exists an external physical reality completely independent of us humans. I argue that with a sufficiently broad definition of mathematics, it implies the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH) that our physical world is an abstract mathematical structure. I discuss various implications of the ERH and MUH, ranging from standard physics topics like symmetries, irreducible representations, units, free parameters, randomness and initial conditions to broader issues like consciousness, parallel universes (...) and Gödel incompleteness. I hypothesize that only computable and decidable (in Gödel’s sense) structures exist, which alleviates the cosmological measure problem and may help explain why our physical laws appear so simple. I also comment on the intimate relation between mathematical structures, computations, simulations and physical systems. (shrink)
This article defends the principle of sufficient reason (PSR) from a simple and direct valid argument according to which PSR implies that there is a truth that explains every truth, namely an omni-explainer. Many proponents of PSR may be willing to bite the bullet and maintain that, if PSR is true, then there is an omni-explainer. I object to this strategy by defending the principle that explanation is irreflexive. Then I argue that proponents of PSR can resist the conclusion that (...) there is an omni-explainer by denying that explanation distributes over conjunction. In the final section, I consider a plausible revision of this assumption. I argue there that, given the revised assumption, PSR seems to yield a striking picture of the explanatory structure of the universe. I explain why the resulting model does not appear utterly implausible to me. (shrink)
Storrs McCall presents an original philosophical theory of the nature of the universe based on a striking new model of its space-time structure. He shows that this theory can illuminate a wide variety of hitherto unresolved philosophical problems. These include: the direction and flow of time; the nature of scientific laws; the interpretation of quantum mechanics; the definition of probability; counterfactual semantics; and the notions of identity, essential properties, deliberation, decision, and free will. A particular instance of the explanatory (...) powers of the proposed space-time model is its account of quantum non-locality in the EPR and GHZ experiments. -/- Professor McCall argues that the fact that the model explains and throws light on such a broad range of problems constitutes strong evidence that the universe is as the model portrays it. (shrink)
This book puts forth a radically new conception of science. Maxwell argues that the prevailing view of the relation between scientific theory and evidence is untenable; he calls for a new orthodoxy that sees science as making a hierarchy of assumptions about the comprehensibility of the universe. This new conception has significant implications for both philosophy and science, promises to heal the rift between the two, and will be essential reading for people working in both fields.
We are probably alone in the universe—a conclusion based on observations of over 4,000 exoplanets and fundamental physical constraints. This article updates earlier arguments with the latest astrophysical results. Since the discovery of exoplanets, theologians have asked with renewed urgency what the presence of extraterrestrial intelligence says about salvation and human purpose, but this is the wrong question. The more urgent question is what their absence says. The “Misanthropic Principle” is the observation that, in a universe fine-tuned for (...) life, the circumstances necessary for intelligence are rare. Rabbis for 2,000 years discussed the existence of ETI using scriptural passages. We examine the traditional Jewish approaches to ETI, including insights on how ETI affects our perception of God, self, free-will, and responsibility. We explore the implications of our probable solitude, and offer a Jewish response to the ethical lessons to be drawn from the absence of ETI. (shrink)
It is plausible that the universe exists: a thing such that absolutely everything is a part of it. It is also plausible that singular, structured propositions exist: propositions that literally have individuals as parts. Furthermore, it is plausible that for each thing, there is a singular, structured proposition that has it as a part. Finally, it is plausible that parthood is a partial ordering: reflexive, transitive, and anti-symmetric. These plausible claims cannot all be correct. We canvass some costs of (...) denying each claim and conclude that parthood is not a partial ordering. Provided that the relevant entities exist, parthood is not anti-symmetric and proper parthood is neither asymmetric nor transitive. (shrink)
Storrs McCall presents an original philosophical theory of the nature of the universe based on a striking new model of its space-time structure. He shows how his model illuminates a broad range of subjects, including causation, probability, quantum mechanics, identity, and free will, and argues that the fact that the model throws light on such a large number of problems constitutes strong evidence that the universe is as the model portrays it.
In this paper I argue for a priori conjectural scientific knowledge about the world. Physics persistently only accepts unified theories, even though endlessly many empirically more successful disunified rivals are always available. This persistent preference for unified theories, against empirical considerations, means that physics makes a substantial, persistent metaphysical assumption, to the effect that the universe has a (more or less) unified dynamic structure. In order to clarify what this assumption amounts to, I solve the problem of what it (...) means to say of a theory that it is unified. There are, I argue, eight different kinds of unity important in theoretical physics, all varieties of one basic idea. This provides us with a precise way of partially ordering physical theories with respect to their degree of unity. It also leads to a hierarchical view of physics, according to which physics makes a number of increasingly insubstantial metaphysical assumptions concerning the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe. Two of these are identified as constituting a priori conjectures. I conclude by arguing that the view developed in the paper resolves the traditional clash between empiricism and rationalism in the philosophy of science, and has important implications for science, and for academic inquiry more generally. (shrink)
A Computable Universe is a collection of papers discussing computation in nature and the nature of computation, a compilation of the views of the pioneers in the contemporary area of intellectual inquiry focused on computational and informational theories of the world. This volume is the definitive source of informational/computational views of the world, and of cutting-edge models of the universe, both digital and quantum, discussed from a philosophical perspective as well as in the greatest technical detail. The book (...) discusses the foundations of computation in relation to nature. It focuses on two main questions: What is computation? How does nature compute? The contributors are world-renowned experts who have helped shape a cutting-edge computational understanding of the universe. They discuss computation in the world from a variety of perspectives, ranging from foundational concepts to pragmatic models to ontological conceptions and their philosophical implications. The volume provides a state-of-the-art collection of technical papers and non-technical essays representing a field that takes information and computation to be key to understanding and explaining the basic structure underpinning physical reality. It also includes a new edition of Konrad Zuse's "Calculating Space", and a panel discussion transcription on the topic, featuring worldwide experts (including a Nobel prize) in quantum mechanics, physics, cognition, computation and algorithmic complexity.A Computable Universe is a collection of papers discussing computation in nature and the nature of computation, a compilation of the views of the pioneers in the contemporary area of intellectual inquiry focused on computational and informational theories of the world. This volume is the definitive source of informational/computational views of the world, and of cutting-edge models of the universe, both digital and quantum, discussed from a philosophical perspective as well as in the greatest technical detail. The book discusses the foundations of computation in relation to nature. It focuses on two main questions: What is computation? How does nature compute? The contributors are world-renowned experts who have helped shape a cutting-edge computational understanding of the universe. They discuss computation in the world from a variety of perspectives, ranging from foundational concepts to pragmatic models to ontological conceptions and their philosophical implications. The volume provides a state-of-the-art collection of technical papers and non-technical essays representing a field that takes information and computation to be key to understanding and explaining the basic structure underpinning physical reality. It also includes a new edition of Konrad Zuse's "Calculating Space", and a panel discussion transcription on the topic, featuring worldwide experts (including a Nobel prize) in quantum mechanics, physics, cognition, computation and algorithmic complexity. (shrink)
May the same graph admit two different chromatic numbers in two different universes? How about infinitely many different values? and can this be achieved without changing the cardinals structure? In this paper, it is proved that in Gödel’s constructible universe, for every uncountable cardinal \ below the first fixed-point of the \-function, there exists a graph \ satisfying the following:\ has size and chromatic number \;for every infinite cardinal \, there exists a cofinality-preserving \-preserving forcing extension in which \=\kappa (...) \). (shrink)
By forcing over a model of with a class-sized partial order preserving this theory we produce a model in which there is a locally defined well-order of the universe; that is, one whose restriction to all levels H is a well-order of H definable over the structure H, by a parameter-free formula. Further, this forcing construction preserves all supercompact cardinals as well as all instances of regular local supercompactness. It is also possible to define variants of this construction which, (...) in addition to forcing a locally defined well-order of the universe, preserve many of the n-huge cardinals from the ground model. (shrink)
The most striking observable feature of our indeterministic quantum universe is the wide range of time, place, and scale on which the deterministic laws of classical physics hold to an excellent approximation. This essay describes how this domain of classical predictability of every day experience emerges from a quantum theory of the universe’s state and dynamics.
Classical physics states that physical reality is local--a point in space cannot influence another point beyond a relatively short distance. However, In 1997, experiments were conducted in which light particles originated under certain conditions and traveled in opposite directions to detectors located about seven miles apart. The amazing results indicated that the photons "interacted" or "communicated" with one another instantly or "in no time." Since a distance of seven miles is quite vast in quantum physics, this led physicists to an (...) extraordinary conclusion--even if experiments could somehow be conducted in which the distance between the detectors was half-way across the known universe, the results would indicate that interaction or communication between the photons would be instantaneous. What was revealed in these little-known experiments in 1997 is that physical reality is non-local--a discovery that Robert Nadeau and Menas Kafatos view as "the most momentous in the history of science." In The Non-Local Universe, Nadeau and Kafatos offer a revolutionary look at the breathtaking implications of non-locality. They argue that since every particle in the universe has been "entangled" with other particles like the two photons in the 1997 experiments, physical reality on the most basic level is an undivided wholeness. In addition to demonstrating that physical processes are vastly interdependent and interactive, they also show that more complex systems in both physics and biology display emergent properties and/or behaviors that cannot be explained in the terms of the sum of parts. One of the most startling implications of non-locality in human terms, claim the authors, is that there is no longer any basis for believing in the stark division between mind and world that has preoccupied much of western thought since the seventeenth century. And they also make a convincing case that human consciousness can now be viewed as emergent from and seamlessly connected with the entire cosmos. In pursuing this groundbreaking argument, the authors not only provide a fascinating history of developments that led to the discovery of non-locality and the sometimes heated debate between the great scientists responsible for these discoveries. They also argue that advances in scientific knowledge have further eroded the boundaries between physics and biology, and that recent studies on the evolution of the human brain suggest that the logical foundations of mathematics and ordinary language are much more similar than we previously imagined. What this new knowledge reveals, the authors conclude, is that the connection between mind and nature is far more intimate than we previously dared to imagine. What they offer is a revolutionary look at the implications of non-locality, implications that reach deep into that most intimate aspect of humanity--consciousness. (shrink)
I propose, in the context of Everett interpretations of quantum mechanics, a way of understanding how there can be genuine uncertainty about the future notwithstanding that the universe is governed by known, deterministic dynamical laws, and notwithstanding that there is no ignorance about initial conditions, nor anything in the universe whose evolution is not itself governed by the known dynamical laws. The proposal allows us to draw some lessons about the relationship between chance and determinism, and to dispel (...) one source of the tendency among Everettians to introduce consciousness as a primitive element into physical description. (shrink)
I distinguish Nature from the World. I also distinguish development from evolution. Development is progressive change and can be modeled as part of Nature, using a specification hierarchy. I have proposed a ‘canonical developmental trajectory’ of dissipative structures with the stages defined thermodynamically and informationally. I consider some thermodynamic aspects of the Big Bang, leading to a proposal for reviving final cause. This model imposes a ‘hylozooic’ kind of interpretation upon Nature, as all emergent features at higher levels would have (...) been vaguely and episodically present primitively in the lower integrative levels, and were stabilized materially with the developmental emergence of new levels. The specification hierarchy’s form is that of a tree, with its trunk in its lowest level, and so this hierarchy is appropriate for modeling an expanding system like the Universe. It is consistent with this model of differentiation during Big Bang development to view emerging branch tips as having been entrained by multiple finalities because of the top-down integration of the various levels of organization by the higher levels. (shrink)
In most cases, we think that what settles what act it is right to perform is sensitive to what we take the facts about the world to be. But those facts include many controversial metaphysical claims about the world. I argue that depending on what metaphysical model we take to be correct, we will have very different views about what the right actions are. In particular, I argue that if a particular metaphysical model — the branching universe model — (...) is correct, then many of our ethical intuitions are false. We need to think carefully about the relation between ethical and metaphysical intuitions, and ethical and metaphysical theories. (shrink)
Some Radical New Ideas About Consciousness Consciousness and the Cosmos: A New Copernican Revolution Consciousness is our new frontier in modern science. Most scientists believe that it can be accomodated, explained, by existing scientific principles. I say that it cannot. That it calls all existing scientific principles into question. That consciousness is to modern science just exactly what light was to classical physics: All of our fundamental assumptions about the nature of Reality have to change. And I go on, in (...) this work,to spell out a whole new view of Reality, and of the Universe. And so, we'll have some fun! Modern science is already in deep trouble... Lorna Green. (shrink)
Could God have created a better universe? Well, the fundamental scientific laws and parameters of the universe have to be within a certain miniscule range, for a life-sustaining universe to develop: the universe must be ‘Fine Tuned’. Therefore the ‘embryonic universe’ that came into existence with the ‘big bang’ had to be either exactly as it was or within a certain tiny range, for there to develop a life-sustaining universe. If it is better that (...) there exist a life-sustaining universe than not, then it was better that the embryonic universe was one of this small set of very similar embryonic universes than that it was not. Furthermore, there are no firm grounds for claiming that of this small set of very similar embryonic universes, there is one which would have developed into a universe better than ours. Therefore there are no firm grounds for claiming that God could have created a better universe than ours. (shrink)
Traditional discussions about the arrow of time in general involve the concept of entropy. In the cosmological context, the direction past-to-future is usually related to the direction of the gradient of the entropy function of the universe. But the definition of the entropy of the universe is a very controversial matter. Moreover, thermodynamics is a phenomenological theory. Geometrical properties of space-time provide a more fundamental and less controversial way of defining an arrow of time for the universe (...) as a whole. We will call the arrow defined only on the basis of the geometrical properties of space-time, independently of any entropic considerations, “the global arrow of time.” In this paper we will argue that: (i) if certain conditions are satisfied, it is possible to define a global arrow of time for the universe as a whole, and (ii) the standard models of contemporary cosmology satisfy these conditions. (shrink)
We are living at the dawn of the first truly scientific picture of the universe-as-a-whole, yet people are still dragging along prescientific ideas about God that cannot be true and are even meaningless in the universe we now know we live in. This makes it impossible to have a coherent big picture of the modern world that includes God. But we don't have to accept an impossible God or else no God. We can have a real God if (...) we redefine God in light of knowledge no one ever had before. The key question is, “Could anything actually exist in the scientific universe that is worthy of the name, God?” My answer is yes: God is an “emergent phenomenon,” as real as the global economy or the government or the worldwide web, which are all emergent phenomena. But God arose from something deeper: the complex interactions of all humanity's aspirations. An emerging God has enormous implications. (shrink)
It is commonplace in discussions of modern cosmology to assert that the early universe began in a special state. Conventionally, cosmologists characterize this fine-tuning in terms of the horizon and flatness problems. I argue that the fine-tuning is real, but these problems aren't the best way to think about it: causal disconnection of separated regions isn't the real problem, and flatness isn't a problem at all. Fine-tuning is better understood in terms of a measure on the space of trajectories: (...) given reasonable conditions in the late universe, the fraction of cosmological histories that were smooth at early times is incredibly tiny. This discussion helps clarify what is required by a complete theory of cosmological initial conditions. (shrink)