Archive for Physics

But Why Is There A Universe At All?

Physicists and Cosmologists find themselves in a Quandary. Rather a big quandary, actually. Wherever they look, throughout all the Universe, or across the particles in their Accelerators, we keep discovering that the Universe seems to be finely tuned to grant us our existence. Even more, it’s finely tuned to grant Human existence.

For example…I’ve recently learned that, in Solar Fusion, the normal products of the fusion of Helium, Boron-8, and Lithium-5 (from Helium+Helium and Helium+Hydrogen, respectively) are themselves very unstable, and break back down into plain ol’ Helium again very quickly. Unless the core reaches about 10 million degrees Kelvin (as it can only in the final stages of a star’s life.)  At that point, matter is energetic enough fuse Boron-8 with another Helium atom to form Carbon-12 (which is stable), or to fuse a Helium and a Carbon-12 nucleus together (Or, two Boron-8 nuclei) to form…Oxygen-16!

Wait…Carbon?  And Oxygen?  The two most important elements in the Universe…for biological animal life?  Yep!

And that’s not even the half of it!  In fact, throughout the cosmos, scientists are staggering across dozens of cosmological values, from the strong and weak Nuclear forces, to the binding energy of Gravity, to the Cosmological Constant itself that…if they were any different, our universe simply couldn’t support life!

Being Scientists, of course, these people are looking for an explanation as to why everything in the universe seems so Perfect to support our existence (anything that doesn’t rely on the theory that it’s “all because God wants it that way,” of course!) In 1973, Brandon Carter suggested the anthropic principle to explain that…essentially, if the Universe was not perfectly lined up to allow for the existence of life as we know it…we, uh, wouldn’t be here TO KNOW IT.

And…he had a point, of course. But, then, some people have criticized the principle, stating that it’s too ‘Easy,” too pat, or that it doesn’t really explain anything.  In fact, Wikipedia says this:

All versions of the principle have been accused of discouraging the search for a deeper physical understanding of the universe. The anthropic principle is often criticized for lacking falsifiability and therefore critics of the anthropic principle may point out that the anthropic principle is a non-scientific concept, even though the weak anthropic principle, “conditions that are observed in the universe must allow the observer to exist”, is “easy” to support in mathematics and philosophy, i.e. it is a tautology or truism. However, building a substantive argument based on a tautological foundation is problematic.

But really, as observers, we can be reasonably assured that,

  1. All observed values of physical and cosmological quantities will be values that are compatible with the existence and evolution of Carbon-based life forms, and,
  2. the Universe will be observed to be old enough to support the idea that Carbon-based Life could have already been formed.

This is the Anthropic Principle in a nutshell, and the physical reality that we are here, and we can observe the Universe around us both ensure that each of these points must be true! So what else is there? Well, the scientists can’t seem to get past the the idea that all of these perceived variables in cosmology and physics are just so Improbable!

Yeah…that’s where I was going with this. The Universe is Highly Unlikely, therefore, it must not even exist. No, it exists. Well, we gotta Blame somebody! I’m voting for a GOD.

Now, don’t get me wrong. While I personally consider myself a Christian, and while I enjoy a personal relationship with an extra-spacial consciousness that I believe to be God, I want to stick with the Scientific principles that these primarily secular men and women seem to insist on. If there is a problem with the Universe seeming to prefer our existence over non-existence, why shouldn’t the solution be some principle condition or active force that actively promotes our otherwise unlikely existence?

The French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955) described a force which he called the “Omega Point.” This Omega Point, he postulated, is the supreme point of complexity and consciousness. It exists, in some form outside the observable universe, unbound by time, space, or distance, and yet–as an active force–propels events in the Universe towards an eventual state of highest complexity, highest consciousness, and highest energy. It both initiated the formation of the Universe, and defined its Parameters. It continues to affect the participants of that Universe, including both living beings and non-animate matter. And, the Omega Point is both Trancendent (i.e., it Predates, and is not dependent upon the Universe) and Personal (i.e., it is an intelligent being, and not an abstract idea.)

Now, here is an idea that scientists may be able to sink their experimental teeth into. Already, they are finding little bits of strange behavior that suggest an intelligent principle may be at work in the world of Quantum Physics. And…scientists cannot seem to explain why life has evolved into more and more complex forms over the observable geologic history of this planet, when the third principle of the Law of Thermodynamics states that all things should tend towards Entropy…and Death.

Now…another philosopher, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, suggested in his Principle of Sufficient Reason that…nothing is without a ground or reason. Everything, or at least everything in this universe has a cause…something that made it to be true. For example, when we observe chemical reactions in a lab, there are physical laws that govern when and how those chemicals react. When we observe particles in a nuclear reactor or an accelerator, ditto. And, when we observe the movement and evolution of stars and galaxies, there is a physical reason for all of the things we observe…and a reason for things we don’t seem to be able to observe, too!

This same fact is true for all of the observed “Variables” that govern the physical “laws” of our observable Universe. Some “Thing” made all of those properties take the values we’ve found. Scientists do not seem willing to accept that some form of conscious mind may have had something to do with the values we find in physics and cosmology. But, if random chance had any real part in the multitude of variables physicists are finding, then either the odds against our Universe ever coming into existence is rapidly approaching Infinity-To-One, or….there must be an Infinite Number of Universes in existence in which we simply cannot exist!

Neither of these possibilities seem to let the scientists off the hook. Random Chance for the possibility of our existence gets more and more implausible with every experiment and observation they make. Why can Scientists not seem to accept that something Intelligent might actually be at work? That God is Self-Evident has been my belief all along. The more people do to try to explain a Universe without Intelligent Design, the more they seem to find one that simply Can’t Exist.

Well, WE EXIST, PEOPLE! It’s time to accept that We Exist because He Exists. God is not lurking just beyond the Last Theorem. He’s sitting right there in Plain Sight in every rock, every tree and flower, in every burning sun, and in Every Living Thing! God is In the Universe! And every number and constant state they find Proclaims HIS Existence! It’s time to accept the role of the Creator in the formation of the Universe.

SASS has Spoken.

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Computers and the Nature of Consiousness.

Someone asked, on a forum I frequest, “How far does artificial intelligence have to come, before it could be classified as “alive”? Alive meaning concious.”

The forum itself, “Great House Fliggerty“, revolves mostly around the game from Bathesda Softworks called “The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind“, and around the people who play it and program modifications for it.

The answers others gave ranged from “When it can distinguish between a nice round apple and a red ball by only looking at it” to “When the computer can get into romance.” Alot of the answers said something about feelings, or at least willfull (or “apparently random”) acts that aren’t already programmed in the first place.

I had to think about this subject for a while. In the long run, the real question is, “How do we define life? even sentience?” I think our universe provides its own definition of what is alive, what is consious, and what…basically…isn’t.

So…here is what I wrote on that forum:

I think my favorite definition of sentience, or “Human-ness” comes from the 1980’s film “D.A.R.Y.L.”:

“A machine becomes human when you can’t tell the difference anymore.”

Though realistically, sentience combines our ability to communicate in meaningful and mutable language with our ability to self-analyze.

Now…consider carefully that last term. We aren’t just aware of our particular sensory inputs, or our prepared responses to expected circumstances. We are aware of ourselves, and of our relationship to others in our environment.

So far, computers have been made able to respond to many kinds of stimuli, and to react…pretty convincingly human. BUT…no computer yet developed can analyze it’s OWN programming, upgrade it, and improve upon it, without some form of outside human assistance. In short, computers have yet to be made self-aware.

I believe part of that is because of our ability to “step outside” of ourselves, and perceive ourselves as others perceive us…and i believe THAT ability exists because of the nature of biological life forms. We have a dual nature of material chemistry and nonmaterial “Spirit”–our “souls” or whatever–that make it possible for us to willfully override the autonomous electro-chemical “events” that would otherwise drive us–like mindless automatons–to simply EXIST, but not ACHIEVE.

And…I believe that machines can exist as spiritual entities as well, given time, and the proper combination of sensory-reactive chemicals in their processing systems. Already, physicists are beginning to see unexpected variations in the processing logic of the higher-end computer processors: electrons not where they should be, random number generators that are not so randum, unexplained “noise” in the data stream. Why would that occur? Because it’s life. Because every particle in the Universe, every electron, photon, and graviton ever emitted by a material object is ALIVE, damn it!

Machines will achieve sentience the same way WE did! By simply being made so complex that the free living energies in the universe actually register on the system as freedom of choice, feelings, and the ability to look back at itself and say, “Hey! I think I am….therefore, I AM! I think….”

And then…as I said before…we really WON’T be able to tell the difference…..

…anymore……..

SASS has Spoken.

— the SASS Man

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