Ming the Mechanic:
The Multiverse

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 The Multiverse2003-04-21 23:25
picture by Flemming Funch

Paul Hughes posts an article by Max Tegmark about several different possible models for the multiverse, involving various scenarios of parallel realities in one form or another. Fascinating reading.
"So should you believe in parallel universes? The principal arguments against them are that they are wasteful and that they are weird. The first argument is that multiverse theories are vulnerable to Occam's razor because they postulate the existence of other worlds that we can never observe. Why should nature be so wasteful and indulge in such opulence as an infinity of different worlds? Yet this argument can be turned around to argue for a multiverse. What precisely would nature be wasting? Certainly not space, mass or atoms--the uncontroversial Level I multiverse already contains an infinite amount of all three, so who cares if nature wastes some more? The real issue here is the apparent reduction in simplicity. A skeptic worries about all the information necessary to specify all those unseen worlds.

But an entire ensemble is often much simpler than one of its members. This principle can be stated more formally using the notion of algorithmic information content. The algorithmic information content in a number is, roughly speaking, the length of the shortest computer program that will produce that number as output. For example, consider the set of all integers. Which is simpler, the whole set or just one number? Naively, you might think that a single number is simpler, but the entire set can be generated by quite a trivial computer program, whereas a single number can be hugely long. Therefore, the whole set is actually simpler. [...]

A common feature of all four multiverse levels is that the simplest and arguably most elegant theory involves parallel universes by default. To deny the existence of those universes, one needs to complicate the theory by adding experimentally unsupported processes and ad hoc postulates: finite space, wave function collapse and ontological asymmetry. Our judgment therefore comes down to which we find more wasteful and inelegant: many worlds or many words. Perhaps we will gradually get used to the weird ways of our cosmos and find its strangeness to be part of its charm.
Heheh, that's the cool part. Somebody who proposes anything other than this wonderful infinite unified multiverse will have some serious explaining to do, as to why things would be only that one particular way, rather than ALL ways. I think I'm going to chuckle the rest of the day.

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22 Apr 2003 @ 02:54 by waalstraat : And...
“Questions Which Tend Not to Edification"

Accordingly, Malunkyaputta, bear always in mind what it is that I have not
explained, and what it is that I have explained. And what, Malunkyaputta, have I
not explained? I have not explained, Malunkyaputta, that the world is eternal; I
have not explained that the world is not eternal; I have not explained that the
world is finite; I have not explained that the world is infinite; I have not
explained that the soul and body are identical; I have not explained that the
soul is one thing and the body another; I have not explained that the saint
exists after death; I have not explained that the saint does not exist after
death; I have not explained that the saint both exists and does not exist after
death; I have not explained that the saint neither exists nor does not exist
after death. And why, Malunkyaputta, have I not explained this? Because,
Malunkyaputta, this profits not, nor has to do with the fundamentals of
religion, nor tends to aversion, absence of passion, cessation, quiescence, the
supernatural faculties, supreme wisdom, and Nirvana; therefore have I not
explained it?
And what, Malunkyaputta, have I explained? Misery, Malunkyaputta, have I
explained; the origin of misery have I explained; the cessation of misery have I
explained; and the path leading to the cessation of misery have I explained. And
why, Malunkyaputta, have I explained this? Because, Malunkyaputta, this does
profit, has to do with the fundamentals of religion, and tends to aversion,
absence of passion, cessation, quiescence, knowledge, supreme wisdom, and
Nirvana; therefore have I explained it. Accordingly, Malunkyaputta, bear always
in mind what it is that I have not explained, and what it is that I have
Majhima-Nikaya, in The Portable World Bible”  

22 Apr 2003 @ 19:21 by quidnovi : Hehehe...
...that chuckle of yours is contagious, Ming. Good one! The article by Max Tegmark is going in my journal---I am hard copying it. (Oh, why do I still bother hard-copying and keeping stuff in a paper journal in this day and age, do you ask? Don't ask. Old habits die hard, I guess :-)  

27 Apr 2004 @ 11:35 by cynic @ : permissible states in the multiverse
Can anybody sort me out on the issue of what states are mandatory, optional, or forbidden in Tegmark's infinite (or merely sufficiently large) level one multiverse?

In a sufficiently large universe, does any (to us) future state of Planet Earth also contemporaneously (pace Relativity) exist? Do any and all physically possible states exist, e.g. corresponding to fictional or (worse) not yet envisioned scenes? Somewhere, is Dorothea having dinner with Mr Casaubon? If not, why is Middlemarch not replicated, yet me sitting keying this is?

I can't refute that, yet as somebody said about Hume's empiricism, as in his denial being able to know whether the sun would rise tomorrow, it admits of no refutation yet carries not the slightest conviction.

Perhaps this is a case where our mathematical mode of reasoning, often so amazingly (in Barrow's term, unreasonably) effective in furthering our understanding of the world, leads us up the garden path.

Man said to the the Universe,
"Sir, I exist".
"However", replied the Universe
"the fact does not create in me any sense of obligation"

I can't get my brane (sic) round the level two multiverse until level one's sorted!  

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Other stories in
2009-11-01 16:35: Seven questions that keep physicists up at night
2008-10-14 20:33: Where are the podcars?
2008-07-05 00:08: Self-Organized Criticality
2008-05-16 13:34: The Universe as God
2008-01-11 19:00: Richard Dawkins comes to call
2007-12-02 21:10: An E8 theory of everything
2007-09-27 00:46: Parallel universes are a bit more real
2007-07-05 23:40: What happened before the big bang
2007-06-27 00:58: Naïve realism
2007-05-26 02:26: Mars cave

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