susskind and the cosmological constant

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pagan
 
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2009 11:46 am
in this interview susskind does a brief overlay of the theme of the goals of science and the anthropomorthic principle (and intelligent design)....

FORA.tv - The Cosmic Landscape

what is interesting is that he raises the question as to how to distinguish the new physics from metaphysics when it comes to primary explanations for the universe. Not surprisingly as a man of insatiable curiousity he refuses to accept the anthropomorphic principle, (that the universe at the fundamental physics level has design that is intrinsically connected to life existing in the universe) for the age old principle if not guiding light, that life is just coincidental (though probable) on the largest scales of scientific vision of what is. ie it is coincidental if a particular universe is created from the multiverses that holds life, but probable that universes in the general mix will hold life. Thus we are in a universe that is extremely special and unlikely in the one off roll of the dice....... but it is not a one off role. There are billions upon billions of other rolls in the multiverse dice and for most of them life does not exist.

In other words the physics string theory multiverse is a kind of genetic code for universes, and those with life, with the right combination of code will come forth. This is similar to the theory of evolution with regard to the developement of the eye, as randomness in conjunction with biological survival is what actually creates the eye, not intelligent design. There is similarly no need for a creator for susskind, and the fact that the cosmological constant is non zero only at the 120th place is just our good fortune.

This kind of randomness argument against intelligent design is somewhat different to evolutionary biology. Firstly biology includes the force of survival as intrinsic to the 'design' process. Secondly the progression of that force, the size of the dice and how often they are rolled are all measurable. Multiverse theory is not measurable with todays technology and concievably never in the lifetime of humanity. Nevertheless susskind says 'never give up trying' and until then do not believe in the anthropomorphic principle if it stops you trying.

Is this good advice? Is there a point when as humans it makes metaphysical sense to stop trying to find the bigger picture whereby humanity can be seen as coincidence? Is such a desire to always find humanity as coincidence.......... a metaphysical position in itself?
 
cws910
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 12:19 pm
@pagan,
I personally think that he is a little ignorant. If you imagine all the ways the universe could've gone, with the possibilities of the universe developing very cold or very hot, and the proof that it shouldnt have developed at all, the proof for somthing greater (not necessarily god, but maybe just a underlaying or inert tendency or force) is there, and is undenyable.
 
pagan
 
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 12:54 pm
@cws910,
hi cws910

well it does seem an odd position to take in the sense that the multiverse bubbling soup will probably never be measurable. But then again it retains the philosophical position that drives many scientists and the like, that there is no need for a metaphysical position other than unstoppable curiousity with regard to physicality.

Many people say that if there is scientific evidence that a creator or some supernatural process is found, that they would alter their philosophical position. But when susskind is honest enough to say that it is basically almighty strange that the cosmological constant is non zero at the 120th decimal place, and that this was predicted by another scientist on the basis of life existing. Yet when he retains the essentially materialist position by adopting the use of probability theory on a truly cosmic (and probably unmeasurable) scale ..... then does it not show that such a philosphical (spiritual) position is in fact inviolable?

ie by always being able to use probability theory played out on unknowable dimensions ...... we could never reach a position whereby science can refute the metaphysical perspective of materialism. Thus the claim that such a materialist position is refutable in the face of contrary scientific evidence is in fact dubious, since certain types of astoundingly improbable measurements of the universe are actually not good enough to assail such a philosophical position.

Thus is it not the case that the position of susskind is intrinsically connected to his insatiable desire to keep going, and nothing more?
 
cws910
 
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 01:27 pm
@pagan,
This is true, and while I am a believer in alternate dimensions, I agree with hawking that, if the universe follows laws, those laws didn't just come into being. I can't explain why these things are, and while I don't label it "god," I do maintain that these unexplained forces are beyond physicality, and hence divine.
 
 

 
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