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GoatLord

Is the universe mathematical?

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As humans, we have limited sensory inputs. This becomes painfully obvious when exploring the quantum scale, which we have utterly no context for. Despite the fact that quantum mechanics is the most successful scientific theory of all time, we use very primitive and downright absurd descriptions for the behavior of subatomic particles. We say that subatomic particles at a distance can be entangled with one another, allowing them to exchange properties faster than light; that they can be still and moving at the same time (superposition); that they can disappear and reappear like magic; and that they can even tunnel through walls every now and then (quantum tunneling). The math is all there, but the explanations sound childish. The math itself is merely an approximation of observations which we do not fully understand. That means the subatomic particles are only accessible to us via the abstraction of alphanumerical language. The literal essence of the particle remains inaccessible.

However, the success of quantum mechanics--and to a good extent, Newtonian physics and Einstenian relativity--has indicated to some that the universe must be intrinsically mathematical. I am leaning toward this being partially true, because the inability of our greatest scientific minds to explain the nature of consciousness, the thing which we are most familiar, almost suggests that mathematics as we know it is ultimately limiting. Perhaps there is a form of language which better describes the universe, which makes mathematics look primitive in comparison. Even so, one wonders whether that would be the objective description of the universe, as if God (whatever that means, if it's even real) could look it over and say, "Oh yeah, this is totally accurate. The math you guys were using before was only a crude estimation."

It seems to me that the objective description may not be available to anyone, even God, who may actually wield so little power that it does not know the extent of its influence. In either case, I think our mathematics have done an excellent job, but there must be something far beyond it that can help us understand the rest of the mysteries of existence. But what? And can everything really be reduced to equations?

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GoatLord said:

Perhaps there is a form of language which better describes the universe, which makes mathematics look primitive in comparison.

Does "physics" count?

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Friends of mine have asked this question in the past, and I still don't really "get" the question at it's core - Mathematics in itself is an abstract concept. A limited species created a limited language to represent things, and that's all math really is in this context - A language we have that can be used to represent or explain stuff.

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Doomkid said:

Friends of mine have asked this question in the past, and I still don't really "get" the question at it's core - Mathematics in itself is an abstract concept. A limited species created a limited language to represent things, and that's all math really is in this context - A language we have that can be used to represent or explain stuff.


Well, I'm asking whether or not it's possible to get the "official" blueprints of the universe.

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BaronOfStuff said:

Okay, what have you been smoking this time?


I was completely sober when I made this post. If I were a philosopher or a physicist, you would be less likely to ask that question. But because I'm just some dumbass 30-year-old sitting behind a keyboard, I must obviously be on something, right? I can't just run a thought experiment in my head and share it with others without there being some naive druggy punchline attached to it?

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Doomkid said:

Friends of mine have asked this question in the past, and I still don't really "get" the question at it's core - Mathematics in itself is an abstract concept. A limited species created a limited language to represent things, and that's all math really is in this context - A language we have that can be used to represent or explain stuff.


Thats the same way i feel about math.

i would like to think the following ;
Unless there is some kind of "god" figure, everything just happened and created interactions without a plan or purpose. Humans are now trying to figure out what those interactions are and why they are there, or when they where.

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I have a feeling that as we penetrate the quanta ever further, we'll start answering some of these mysteries.

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The known universe can theoretically be the output of a self-modifying universal computer. The Game of Life, a 2-dimensional cellular automation with two rules has been proven to be a universal computer. One-dimensional cellular automations have been proven universal as well.

The self-modifying program needed to generate the universe would likely be very small - maybe just a few bytes in total. All you would need is an infinite amount of time and storage space to run such a ridiculously stupid and inefficient program. That might sound unrealistic, but remember, time and space are only finite constraints in the artificial universe that we observe: There's no reason to believe that they're finite in the reality in which a universal computer runs.

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BaronOfStuff said:

Okay, what have you been smoking this time?

You behavior, at this point, is oddly predictable. You don't want people to think of you as simple-minded, do you? Or, Ohohoho...! Heavens, to come off as having a compulsion to be the local internet coolguy.

...

I remember a quote that goes something along the lines of that people are the universe trying to understand itself. I guess that's like people opening up cadavers to figure out how the body functions. The only problem is, it's kind of hard to study a system from within, unable to view it from a neutral, outside perspective. Good luck stepping outside the universe, man. So you gotta guess as to what the big picture is when you're a stuck as a fleck of paint on a gigantic canvas that's mostly covered in invisible ink.

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Yeah, that's a major fucking problem. Humans are trying to understand a system without being able to step outside the system. It would be like being underwater and trying to understand what the ocean is when, if you could just step out to the surface, you'd see there's way more to the picture. But since humans are made of the same stuff as the universe, and discussions like this suggest that clumps of the universe are trying see the big picture, then wouldn't we naturally steer towards the right answer? I mean, if we're pieces of the universe, then whatever we find out about the universe--in a sense an extension of ourselves--must contain slivers of truth. That just makes sense to me (although I usually raise a mental red flag when I feel sure of something). The problem is that all this distortion we encounter, thanks to our stupid sensory inputs, gives us nothing but static, which we then have to slowly decode.

I'm of the opinion that if clumps of the universe make claims about concepts like the afterlife, God, hierarchical intelligence, souls, etc., then there must be some truth to them. I 100% doubt that any religious book's literal description of this kind of stuff is objectively true, but it must surely point to the fact that people in the fat past have had strange experiences, probably resulting from starvation, dehydration, restlessness, extreme physical pain, emotional stress, poison, dreams, meditation, moldy substances containing psychoactive substances, prayer, etc. There's a weird side to reality that religious mythos subtly hints at. Simultaneously, the cold, mechanical nature of the scientific method points to some very hard truths about reality (albeit approximated truths) that in some ways are as limiting as the fantastical nature of mythology.

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GoatLord said:

moldy substances containing psychoactive substances

There we go.

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dew said:

There we go.


It's a common fact. There are ancient images of mushrooms in Biblical paintings. There are many things which can cause hallucination. Back then, thousands of years ago, imagine how frequently people's food must have had toxic stuff growing on it. Imagine how often people were starving or restless. You can bet all that stress created visions. More than likely the Bible's non "patriarchal dominance hell trip" aspects came from people stressed the fuck out or praying real fucking hard and having weird visions. But why would the universe evolve into something that can cause...itself?...to have visions?

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GoatLord said:

if clumps of the universe make claims about concepts like the afterlife, God, hierarchical intelligence, souls, etc., then there must be some truth to them. [...] There's a weird side to reality that religious mythos subtly hints at.

I think the only "weird side to reality" is the fact that we don't experience it fully and don't comprehend it fully, but only to an extent that our senses and minds allow us to experience and comprehend. We kinda have to "reverse-engineer" the rest of reality in our minds, but there is no guarantee that we ever do it right. Any such attempt to comprehend "greater reality" usually tries to have at least some truth to it, but again, there is no guarantee. Therefore, I don't think that any concept essentially must have some truth to it as you said. The existence of a concept only means that there was once a person (or people) who invented the concept, but their mind process could have always been partly or completely flawed or based on false propositions.

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Well, at least rectal computers weren't involved this time, and nobody mentioned them. Oh, wait...


...well, in an alternate reality, we might just all be that. Who knows? Our perspective is limited.

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GoatLord said:

But why would the universe evolve into something that can cause...itself?...to have visions?

Probably accidentally. As much accidentally as the fact that any single thing in today's universe evolved to its exact today's form at all.

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j4rio said:

source?


Source for what, exactly? This a thought experiment. This isn't a discussion of a peer-reviewed paper.

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scifista42 said:

I think the only "weird side to reality" is the fact that we don't experience it fully and don't comprehend it fully, but only to an extent that our senses and minds allow us to experience and comprehend. We kinda have to "reverse-engineer" the rest of reality in our minds, but there is no guarantee that we ever do it right. Any such attempt to comprehend "greater reality" usually tries to have at least some truth to it, but again, there is no guarantee. Therefore, I don't think that any concept essentially must have some truth to it as you said. The existence of a concept only means that there was once a person (or people) who invented the concept, but their mind process could have always been partly or completely flawed or based on false propositions.


Ah, but this gets into what truth is. I believe experience is truth, and that our interpretation of experience is distorted truth. So what I was getting at was that the insane, fantastical descriptions of events that we find in theological literature must have been derived from people's experiences. Those experiences were likely in the mind, since there's no rational reason to believe in epic, physics-defying events that sound like crazy hallucinations. But even if they were in the mind, the events themselves still transpired, since any event occurring within the mind is a real experienced event, no matter how impossible it is to show to anyone.

So that brings us to the question of, "Why would the universe produce hallucinations, and why would these hallucinations tell people there's an afterlife, a god, etc.?" There must surely be a context, because there would be no evolutionary advantage to dreams unless it had a beneficial purpose. This makes it seem likely that we are in the very, very, very early stages of getting an idea of what's going on, but we've abstracted it to such absurd lengths that we don't even feel comfortable with our own bullshit, which is why ideas such as the afterlife are repugnant to some.

If technology should allow for ever deeper penetration of the quanta, then we may, in many, many eons from now, finally see what this weird thing was that has had us all mystified for so long. It won't be the Christian God, obviously, or any other God, and in fact I'm sure God is totally inadequate word for whatever this fuzzy thing is.

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A thought experiment? Is that how you call ramming together random "facts" until they make some weird kind of sense to you and only you?

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GoatLord said:

Source for what, exactly? This a thought experiment.

This guy beat you to it and did a better job.

Math is the language we use to reverse-engineer the universe. That doesn't really say much about nature of the 'blueprints', and I especially think it's a huge stretch to infer anything spiritual from these brainfarts about the nature of reality.

"Why would the universe make people hallucinate and believe in an afterlife" is such a hyperanthropic question that it probably doesn't have an answer.

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j4rio said:

A thought experiment? Is that how you call ramming together random "facts" until they make some weird kind of sense to you and only you?


I never said these were facts. Nowhere in my thought experiments do I ever imply, "This is objective reality." I think about ideas, I throw them around. They are not concrete and they are not what I believe concretely. In fact, I have no concrete beliefs concerning this sort of subject matter. So I speculate, then hear what others have to say. You are silly if you believe that I believe I understand how the universe works. I think you need to get a better grip on what thought experiments are.

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I love the political correctness era: toilet cleaners are sanitation consultants, paperboys are media distribution officers and getting stoned and talking crap is now classified as a thought experiment. What a world.

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It's fun to think upside down

I'm so horrible on the inside of my head

I don't even need drugs to think like this

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But what if the universe is a mathematically defined simulation running on a rectal computer, "installed" into some superior being's rectum?

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