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Old 11-01-2012, 09:37 PM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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The Higgs, Boltzmann Brains, and Monkeys Typing Hamlet | The Crux | Discover Magazine

Copying my comment to the author here, in case it gets moderated out on the discover site.

Fred Hoyle posited the idea of intelligence within interstellar gas clouds in his story “The Black Cloud” a number of years ago. He also considered the universe to be steady state instead of expanding, but was a great scientist and astronomer none the less.

The concept you were expanding upon is the idea of small infinities vs. large infinities, which is a theoretical math axiom. It is interesting, but has little to do with proving or disproving determinism, which is the ultimate conundrum of people stuck within the confines of a purely Euclidean and Newtonian universe, and the real backbone of the article.

A few years back, philosophers “proved” that there was no free will, based on the concept of every action having an equal and opposite reaction as well as other conservation of energy concepts, since they could not see structures in the brain that were small enough to engage any quantum change (microtubules were ruled out for some reason I have forgotten . If they are correct, I was destined to make this response, had no free will in doing so, and am REALLY good at deceiving myself and others. You are equally good at this, and Calvinism was as good a scientific theory of existence as any.

While we are at it, remember that it was also “proven” that man could not fly.

Boltzmann brain type speculations answer lots of questions better than some of the traditional theories and I feel that any rush to judgment is premature. Without such speculations, we are right back at determinism, in which case we can just relax and have a drink until our time comes.

Briefly contemplate the navel of the universe as we know it. At some point, the three commonly described length, width, and breadth began and expanded along with a fourth axis of time. Multiverse ruminations can be simply ascribed to a fifth axis – probability. A (large) infinite number of universes are not required, only enough to cover deviations from an ideal probability. Chances of us living in the most probable universe are… probable (although I have no idea how reality shows and a giant mouse taking over Star Wars can ever be “probable”).

Also keep in mind that string or M theory seems to work best with a NUMBER of dimensions, many of which are supposedly recursive and of little import. Perhaps… just perhaps…, some of those dimensions might be a little more important than suspected, but in ways our math hasn’t yet grasped. Stranger things have happened.

Further… explain away (with a straight face) the Casimer effect WITHOUT an underlying substrate of an alternate dimension from which particles mysteriously appear momentarily, only to disappear. Perhaps not all dimensions began at the big bang, but that Hoyle was partially correct, that the big bang created dimensions WITHIN a static universe of alternative dimensions. If so, contemplating the navel of the universe might not be as important as exploring the attributes of the turtle it rode in on. :-)
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