Monday, October 23, 2006

String Theorists on the Anthropic Principle

String theorist:
The weak anthropic principle is a selection effect.

Me:
No, that's not necessarily true. For example; The weak anthropic principle as defined by Tipler and Barrow describes the general form of the special case if there is only one possible configuration that the universe can take.

String theorist:
One possible universe?!?!... What ever gave you that crazy idea?

Me:
The least action principle.

String theorist:
phhhht... we gave up on that years ago, the multiverse is the only way, you can even ask Richard Dawkins and Lenny Susskind!

Me:
Oh, sorry, I forgot that you guys gave up doing real physics, for religion.

String theorist:
Look, you're a crackpot, because you don't believe in unproven assumptions.

Me:
Indeed, you mean, because I trust what the physics indicates, that carbon based life is weaved into the path of least action in a relevant way.

String theorist:
You're a crackpot because you think that carbon based life might be weaved into the path of least action in some relevant way, and I can deny without justification all evidence that you provide to support it.

Me:
Indeed.

String theorist:
Selection effects Selection effects Selection effects!!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Richard Dawkins and the Anthropic Principle, again...

"Natural selection is an anti-chance process, which gradually builds up complexity, step by tiny step. The end product of this ratcheting process is an eye, or a heart, or a brain - a device whose improbable complexity is utterly baffling until you spot the gentle ramp that leads up to it."


Asymmetric transitions
Illustrated

This is also what happens when we make real, massive particles from vacuum energy, and they even make the connection to vacuum energy as it relates to spontaneous symmetry breaking from zero-point energy at the bottom of the first linked page. It also defines the mechanism for the anthropic principle... as roughly defined, here:

http://www.lns.cornell.edu/spr/2006-02/msg0073320.html

This fixes the flaw in particle theory, and the gravitational flaw in Dirac's Large Numbers Hypothesis, not to mention what it does to inflationary theory and string theory as well as loopy theories and the standard model at the higgs scale... where they're predictably finding nothing.

I told Lee Smolin and a bunch of other theorists about this, and the closest thing that I got back to a reply was from Lawrence Krauss, who "sees no purpose in nature".

Course, he's also the same guy that said this, so I have to wonder what it takes:

"But when you look at CMB map, you also see that the structure that is observed, is in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the earth around the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? That's crazy. We're looking out at the whole universe. There's no way there should be a correlation of structure with our motion of the earth around the sun — the plane of the earth around the sun — the ecliptic. That would say we are truly the center of the universe."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Richard Dawkins and the Anthropic Principle

WHOO HOO!... have I got a live one on here...

Take a look at the rationale that this clown is using to avoid my points.

Pathetic, but perhaps I let him have it for it with a little too much enthusiasm... ;)

I can't resist bringing this quote in here though, because Dawkins and Lenny are both looking more like IDists every day... haha!

Richard Dawkins said:
On an even larger scale, it’s frequently stated that we’re somehow in a privileged universe with properties “just right” for life. Thus, by the same reasoning, and the anthropic principle, it’s reasonable to invoke the possibility of multiple universes to account for that apparent improbability.

So if the multiverse and the "landscape" fails, then Richard Dawkins is an IDist by rights, because he's too lame to realize that there is a perfectly natural explanation for this that doesn't require his leap of faith to unobserved "what-if's".



UPDATE
Okay, I'm half tempted to give my "opponent" more credit than I originally did, because he now seems resigned to my point, but silence rather than an honest open admission typically means that they don't buy it, but they simply don't have a better argument, so their method is to sit in silent denial in lieu of a better argument coming their way. Granted, I did not at first address every point, but all along, Jon ignored the fact that my last point, (the one that he finally "acknowledged"), was also in my first post.

What I cannot fathom is how anyone reading the exchange could possibly see me as losing this argument, but the most unexpected people will sometimes come along and say something really dumb that translates to something like... You lose because you show disrespect for dishonesty in science... and/or you have a history of showing disrespect toward rabid fanatics. AND... What papers have you written?... because I can't seem to judge the validity of very simple physics or the proper avenue of scientific pursuit for myself.

And THAT is what they base their freaking opinion on...

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Anthropic Principle is NOT a tautology

The fact that conditions be conducive and that we exist must necessarily be true does not make for a cosmological principle.

The fact that the actual observed structure of the universe occurs in dramatic contrast to the modeled expectation... where *many* fixed balance points are commonly or "coincidentally" pointing directly toward carbon-based life, *does* indicate that there is some good physical reason for this otherwise completely unexpected structuring, that is somehow "specially" related to the existence of carbon-based life.

The Anthropic Principle is a cosmological principle, so you most certainly *can* falsify it if you can show that the *surprising* configuration that we ended up with isn't contingent on the existence of carbon-based life, as is indicated by the physics that drove physicists to formalize the observtion as an "ecological correction" to the cosmological principle, which erroneously extends mediocrity where it does not apply.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Absolute Symmetry

It should be self-evident that the observed near-perfectly balanced structuring of our universe is indicitive that the big bang was an effort that was *aimed* toward absolute symmetry as the nearly missed goal of the effort.

The fact that the near-miss was extremely closer to absolute than not, is a dead give-away that this was a very nearly-missed attempt at perfection.

The time asymmetry is most apparently indicitive of an inherent imbalance, which will necessarily move to be satisfied, but the near-perfectly balanced configuration indicates that this effort produces the most energy-efficient structuring for economically achieving this "goal".

It should be equally obvious that it is inherent asymmetry which prevents this apparent "goal" from ever being attained, but the energy-maximizing configuration indicates that energy is universally conserved by the similarly balanced anthropic anomalies.

Makes you wonder where scientists gets their crazy ideas otherwise... ;)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Answering Paul Davies Plea for Sanity

“I wanted to get away from the feeling in so many scientific quarters that life and human beings are a completely irrelevant embellishment, a side issue of no significance. I don’t think we’re the centre of the universe or the pinnacle of creation, but the fact that human beings have the ability to understand how the world is put together is something that cries out for explanation.”

I copied the following few paragraphs from various parts of this book reivew of The Goldilocks Enigma in order to point out the problems and the solution that Davies rightfully says is necessary:

Why is the cosmos ideally set up to support life? Physicist Paul Davies tells Stuart Wavell about the point where science meets religion.
Goldilocks and the riddle of the perfect universe

Anyone expecting Davies to recant his non-religious views and join the intelligent design lobby will be disappointed. “We can’t dump all this in the lap of an arbitrary god and say we can’t inquire any further,” he says. “The universe looks ingenious, it looks like a fix, and words like meaning and purpose come to mind. But it doesn’t mean that we’re going to have a miracle-working cosmic magician meddling with events.”

Then there’s the viewpoint of Richard Dawkins, the ardent Darwinist and recent author of The God Delusion, who holds that life is essentially pointless and came about by chance before natural selection took over. Close compares Dawkins to religious fundamentalists, “who know they are right in their position, just as Richard knows he is right in his position”.

Davies wants to rise above such bickering. “I want to get away from this notion that something has to be accepted on faith,” he says. “That just becomes a sterile argument. These people can argue all night, but you’re never going to prove or disprove the other person’s position.”

The only way to satisfy Davies plea is to explain how the Anthropic constraint on the forces unifies them into a theory of everything:

In quantum field theory, a postiron has the same gravitational properties as an electron because the negative energy states are really the postivite energy states of antiparticles. That means that matter generation from this energy makes no difference to the gravity of the universe, and even general relativity supports this conclusion if the universe is infinite, since gravity is essentially curvature that caused by the energy that's contained in a region of space. In this situation, pair production changes this energy from photons to the mass of other particle pairs, but the energy curvature and gravitation of the universe remain the same.

But that's not what happens if the universe is finite.

You can't condense huge volumes of rarefied mass-energy from a finite closed vacuum and then contain the matter energy-density to a finite region of space without increasing negative pressure, because the gravitational acceleraton is zero when the density of the vacuum is -0.5*rho(matter).

This drastically changes the effect when... rho+3P/c^2=0 in a finite universe, because you have no choice but to condense this energy in order to attain the matter density when the negative energy states have negative pressure, because... P=-u=-rho*c^2

So there is no net change on the gravity of the universe, because the effect is two-fold... an increasing antigravitational *effect* is offset by increase in positive gravitational curvature.

But that means that tension between the vacuum must increase as particle pair creation drives vacuum expansion if the universe is finite, and the offset increase in both, negative pressure, and positive gavitational curvature necessarily holds the vaccum flat and stable as it expands, so it cannot run-away! Increasing tension between the vacuum and ordinary matter leads to a prediction that the integrity of the forces that bind this finite structure will surely eventually be compromised by this process and we will have another big bang.

So the second law of thermodynamics is never violated when the entropy of the universe always increases via the described perpetually inherent thermodynamic structuring, which enables the universe to continuously "evolve".

1) A literal anthropic constraint on the forces.
2) The basic tennents of evolutionary theory are correct.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Burton Richter - Physics Today

The anthropic principle is an observation, not an explanation. To believe otherwise is to believe that our emergence at a late date in the universe is what forced the constants to be set as they are at the beginning. If you believe that, you are a creationist.

As with many experimentalists, this Nobel Laureate deserves a lot of respect for his knowledge of both experiment and theory, so I need to walk on egg-shells, but his statement above is wrong, as are most of the rest of the statements that he makes about the anthropic principle, and it is for the same reason that I commonly run into, which is this:

Scientists don't seriously believe that any form of real anthropic preference is even possible, so they simply don't bother to learn enough about it to think about it in that context. For this reason they apparently don't understand that statements that ignore any part of the following are not going to be anywhere near accurate:

The observed structure of the universe occurs in dramatic contrast to the modeled expectation... so many fixed balance points that are commonly or "coincidentally" pointing directly toward carbon-based life indicate that there is some good physical reason for it that is somehow "specially" related to the existence of carbon-based life.


If you bear in mind all of the relevant information of the above statement, then it becomes very obvious what assertions like the following neglect to consider:

The cosmological anthropic principle says that since we exist, the universe must have evolved in a way that allows us to exist.

It is true, for example, that the fine structure constant α has to be close to 1/137 for carbon atoms to exist, and carbon atoms are required for us to be here writing about cosmology. However, these arguments have nothing to do with explaining what physical laws led to this particular value of α. An interesting relevant recent paper by Roni Harnik, Graham Kribs, and Gilad Perez demonstrates a universe with our values of the electromagnetic and strong coupling constants, but with a zero weak coupling constant. Their alternative universe has Big-Bang nucleosynthesis, carbon chemistry, stars that shine for billions of years, and the potential for sentient observers that ours has. Our universe is not the only one that can support life, and some constants are not anthropically essential.

We talk about the Big Bang, string theory, the number of dimensions of spacetime, dark energy, and more. All the anthropic principle says about those ideas is that as you make your theories you had better make sure that α can come out to be 1/137; that constraint has to be obeyed to allow theory to agree with experiment. I have a very hard time accepting the fact that some of our distinguished theorists do not understand the difference between observation and explanation, but it seems to be so.


Richter then referenced this paper to support his statements:

A Universe Without Weak Interactions
http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0604027

With full benefit of the doubt in place, I can only conclude that Burton Richter doesn't know how important it is to refrain from dissecting the complete statement:


Problems in a weakless universe
http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0609050
The fact that life has evolved in our universe constrains the laws of physics. The anthropic principle proposes that these constraints are sometimes very tight and can be used to explain in a sense the corresponding laws. Recently a "disproof" of the anthropic principle has been proposed in the form of a universe without weak interactions, but with other parameters suitably tuned to nevertheless allow life to develop. If a universe with such different physics from ours can generate life, the anthropic principle is undermined. We point out, however, that on closer examination the proposed "weakless" universe strongly inhibits the development of life in several different ways. One of the most critical barriers is that a weakless universe is unlikely to produce enough oxygen to support life. Since oxygen is an essential element in both water, the universal solvent needed for life, and in each of the four bases forming the DNA code for known living beings, we strongly question the hypothesis that a universe without weak interactions could generate life.


I honestly don't want to be too hard on Burton Richter, but this problem is too common among scientists who sorely misrepresent the relevant physics simply because they have dismissed the possibility for any real anthropic preference out of hand, without any real consideration for possibilites. All the imagination in the world for any other possibility, but a complete lack thereof when it comes to this.

How can you possibly expect to ever explain what physical laws led to this particular value of α... if you're not willing to recognize that ALL of the anthropic coincidences point commonly or "coincidentally" toward carbon-based life, all the way down to the local ecobalance that enables our existence, so there is a clear indication that there is some good physical reason for it that is somehow "specially" related to the existence of carbon-based life?


The anthropic principle is an observation, not an explanation. To believe otherwise is to believe that our emergence at a late date in the universe is what forced the constants to be set as they are at the beginning. If you believe that, you are a creationist.


No, I'm sorry, that's false, and your non-scientific "belief" will necessarily obscure your view of reality, so it's pretty much guaranteed that you will never find the answer that you seek as long as you are unwilling to entertain the implication for true anthropic preference.


It's a number provided to us by nature... and a physicist believes that a theory will someday provide a reason for it...
-Paul Dirac