Saturday, December 22, 2007
What truly is Einstein’s Moon?
As you recall in my last post I was speaking as to why Albert Einstein served as my inspiration in coming to realize that science should not be content to restrict itself to only answer “how” the world works but also to imagine “what” it is and “why”. In doing so I attempted to demonstrate Einstein’s thoughts on what science should explore and serve to be. I offered you the insight that Einstein’s strength in his pursuit of understanding and discovery rested on the fact that he were not just simply intelligent: but, that also he was a man of conviction as to what should be considered to represent truth in our world. More specifically I said I would attempt to explain what significance this blog’s question “What is Einstein’s Moon” is in reference to.
To begin, despite all the success and favor Einstein attained in life; he, until the end of his days found himself to be an outsider in the then forefront of scientific discovery. That forefront of course was with the dawn of quantum theory, which attempts to explain our world at the very small (non perceived) scale. Today some believe that this was due to Einstein not understanding the subject or perhaps even compounded by advancing age. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact he was one that laid the foundations for its beginnings. For instance it is widely assumed that Einstein was awarded the Noble prize for his work on special and general relativity. This is not so. What he was given the Nobel Prize for was in showing that if light was considered as a particle it could explain why only light above a certain frequency (energy density) could free electrons from specific materials. We exploit this today in many applications, most notably the solar cell. This along with Max Planck’s ideas marked the birth of what is considered modern atomic physics. In continuance with this, he inspired, communicated and consulted with all those who became known as the founders of quantum theory. So then, how did Einstein find himself outside the consensus formed about the nature of the quanta that emerged and for the most part is still accepted in the main today?
How Einstein came to find himself in this position was two fold, in that quantum theory implied two things about nature with which he had trouble with. First, the theory proposed things about the world that appeared inconsistent with his own theories, specifically special relativity. Second, the theory dismissed the objective nature of the world. That is it suggested that the world of which we are aware is somehow connected with ones perception of it and in some respect is not real in the normal sense of meaning until it is so perceived. This if taken to the extreme could suggest that every individual (not just person but rather organism) has its own private reality. As time progressed Einstein was to focus his attention primarily on this second feature as to be its central flaw. He can be seen in the act of expressing this doubt about what the new theory implies and what the responsibilities of scientists are when he writes a paper entitled “Physics and Reality” for the journal of the Franklin Institute [Volume.221, No. 3, March 3, 1936], he states in the opening paragraph the following:
“It has been often said, and certainly not without justification, that the man of science is a poor philosopher. Why, then, should it not be the right thing for the physicist to let the philosopher to the philosophizing? Such might indeed be the right thing at a time when the physicist believes he has at his disposal a rigid system of fundamental concepts and fundamental laws which are also well established that waves of doubt cannot reach them; but, it cannot be right at a time when the very foundations of physics itself become problematic as they are now. At a time like the present, when experience forces us to seek a newer and more solid foundation, the physicist cannot simply surrender to the philosopher the critical contemplation of the theoretical foundations; for, he himself knows best, and feels more surely where the shoe pinches. In looking for a new foundation he must make clear in his own mind just how far such concepts which he uses are justified, and are necessities.”
Now to indicate that the physicists truly thought as Einstein perceived I offer here a quote of Aage Petersen paraphrasing Niels Bohr (a founding father of quantum theory):
“There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.”
So as can be seen not only can we assume that Bohr dismisses the “what” and “why” of the world, which in some ways we have come to expect of science; he, says we can no longer be permitted to ask “how” and should be content with what we can say about nature, which serves to answer essentially nothing at all. Einstein was thus considered unreasonable in not accepting this.
As part of this distaste for not looking for a objective description of the world Einstein was not content with the fact that nature’s actions were not just merely perceived to be so complex that they could only be predicted within a statistical framework, but, rather that there was no framework at all and that the statistics where due to the fact that nature at the base level acts randomly. This is even furthered in quantum mechanics to suggest that cause is not related to effect. That is to say that nature has no reason at all. Einstein can be seen here complaining about this in a letter he wrote to a friend and fellow physicist, Max Born, on September 7, 1944[Born-Einstein Letters], when he says to Born:
“We have become Antipodean in our scientific expectations. You believe in the God that plays dice, and I in complete law and order in a world which objectively exists, and which I, in a wildly speculative way, am trying to capture. I firmly believe, but I hope that someone will discover, a more realistic way, or rather a more tangible basis than it has been my lot to find. Even the great initial success of quantum theory does not make me believe in the fundamental dice-game, although I am well aware that our younger colleagues interpret this as a consequence of senility. No doubt the day will come when we will see whose instinctive attitude was the correct one.”
As indicated above then Einstein’s main objection to quantum mechanics, as it was accepted, was that it lent no reasonable explanation of the world and in some sense denied what many would perceive as what it means to truly exist. As a further testament to this once while walking with physicist and his biographer, Abraham Pais, Pais reports in frustration Einstein asked “whether I really believed that the moon exists only when I look at it."
To conclude, I hope that you more clearly understand why I chose Einstein to represent both the inspiration and purpose of this blog. That is, with him, I am convinced that mankind should have hope that we will not only continue to explore and discover “how” and “what the world truly is, yet further to be confident that we will ultimately come to realize “why”.
As a postscript to this I'd like to leave you with what Einstein said in relation to all this in the conclusion of a paper he called “The Fundamentals of Theoretical Physics” in the journal [Science- May 24, 1940]
“Some physicists, among them myself, cannot believe that we must abandon, actually and forever, the idea of direct representation of physical reality in time and space; or that we must accept the view that events in nature are analogous to a game of chance. It is open to every man to choose the direction of his striving: and also every man may draw from Lessing’s fine saying, that the search for truth is more precious than its possession. “
I'm not sure what, how or why you got cutoff. One thing I can assure you it was not of my doing. I do however believe, that by the structure of your post in regards to Einstein, that although it suggests a question it is more likely to be a prelude to you gracing me with your opinion. So what then is your opinion? I do hope that it is not related to the one you expounded on the other blog, for truly I am presently firmly convinced that the topic is rarely sincere in terms of its motivation. I can appreciate that you feel directly the opposite. If however you are looking for a convert, you would be better off seeking a prospect that has not as earnestly and open mindedly considered the options for as long as I have. That may sound in contradiction as being inflexible, yet truly, it is not.
P.S. I maintain the view that those who hold strong opinions should be proud in having ones self identified with them. This is not a rule, only one criteria on which I consider the strength of ones convictions.
No, you didn't have anything to do with the problem that I had, but I did manage to get it to work all over my second post. You can click on anything that I wrote in that post and see for yourself why I say that Einstein was right, or you're welcome to take the stated challenge and correct me in that post, so that I can be free of this curse. To date, no physicist has even tried, because they recognize the physics from its application to modern inflationary theory, so they already know that it has merrit.
But no, it's not directly related to anything that we talked about, and no, I'm not proud for what I've learned. If fact, I hate what it's done to me, but science doesn't care what I want, because there is no "opinion" to it.
I'm simply self-honest enough to live with that truth, which I can't say for many.
FYI: blogger.com has a problem that causes links to go haywire sometimes.
Thanks, I have marked the Web page and promise to give it consideration. I must also admit to still being confused for what I thought you were expounding all along was "Intelligent Design" rather then a quantum gravity hypothesis. Also this Island as opposed to Rick business leaves me still to wonder. That is unless we are take it to mean that you are a Island within a sea of ignorance or some such thing. Well I guess some are attracted to the melodramatic:-)
Let's put it this way. You should be able to deduce from the article that I referred that the model defines an "evolutionary universe" that periodically "leaps" to higher orders of entropic efficiency in order that causality, the arrow of time, and the second law of thermodynamics may be preserved... indefinitely... ... ...
That "evolutionary mechanism" is the reciprocal connection to the anthropic principle that must exist if it is a true cosmological principle. What you confuse is the anthropic principle for intelligent design.
Intelligent design proponents, and their equal but anti-fanatical counterpart are strictly politically motivated, and they are both instrumental in the dogmatic manner that the anthropic physics is abused.
This is killing science, and I have very little respect for either side of the "debate".
But I have the greatest respect for the AP as a true cosmological principle, because this necessarily defines a ToE.
It is a fact that this fact is willfully ignored by science to its detriment for the reasons that I've already given.
Just a personal note, but I didn't ask for any of this, I accidentally fell onto two separate but related discoveries independently of each other, which is more than impossible, it's absurd.
As for my name:
How about; we're all just "islands" in the stream?... ;) I grew up in S. Florida, and spent a lot of time there, so my heart is with Hemmingway, is all.
After your explanation of as to your stance in terms of modern science, you will be probably disappointed to learn that you won’t get much of a squabble from me. If you have read any of my blog(s), I to insist that science does not only go deep enough, that is in terms of what it is seeking to explain, yet also at times appears hypocritical as to how they determine what they do. Now I don’t claim as you, that I have actually proved something that would serve as a counterexample in this regard. What I stick to is what I consider more the obvious reasons that this should be questioned. Also, I contend that it was not always this way and that we went adrift as a consequence of historical events compounded by motivations. Anyway, as promised I will look over what you have to say. Don’t however expect any instant response for unlike the pros I do this as a hobby and must be productive via more mundane means.
I'm convinced that uncertainty is the original culprit, but any theory that rationalizes its way around causality and first principles is suspect, if you ask me. Since when did science become a matter of "opinion"?... and that makes me sick.
I typically only introduce my own theory into a conversation as a last resort, or if I think that I am speaking to someone that will get it. But I don't need it to make my points, because people conveniently don't know the relevance of known facts, so that's all that I need to produce to win any arguments about the anthropic principle, regardless of how people like to pretend otherwise.
I'm not disappointed by anything that you've said, nor do I have any expectations from you. I'm just here to talk about it for however long you'd like... or not.
I must admit that much of what you’ve said initially seems to coincide with my own thoughts. Now as I’ve also stated it will take me some time to examine what you propose by way of a Theory. I have to tell you I am both very thorough and careful when it comes to such things. That is I don’t subscribe to the theory of the month club in this regard. Also, as many know and which is painfully obvious that there is no single theory or interpretation of one that accounts for it all.
Now there are two theories that between them are quite successful within their intended limited range and scope as you of course well know. The one being General Relativity which on the large scale does very well and quantum mechanics from strictly the limited perspective of prediction has had good initial success when we are dealing with the other side of the resolution scale which is the very small yet at the same time supplies not realistic mechanism. In regards to the latter for quite some time I have adopted Bohmian Mechanics as it has a more rationally approach and does away with a need to simply believe in a universe ruled by chance compounded by uncertainty that concludes that our world is somehow simply a personal illusion.
On the other side I almost completely take GR at face value and suspect that there is no such thing as a quantize space/time and that the holistic aspects observed and proven by the of experiments proposed by J.S. Bell in some respect point to this. This of course is at the same time consistent with Bohmian ideas that insist on an ontology that is dual in nature. So there you have my current position in a nutshell. None of this of course definitively shows how all this fits together, yet I am fairly confident that they do. Only time will tell. I'll bet that’s more then you for an opening bargained for. In the end however I find it more gratifying in being a seeker rather then a discoverer. I realized long ago such a thing is quite rare and requires people who are both unique and fortunate. This you could prove to be, yet I will temper my assessment in the spirit of one of the two main principles of science and that being doubt. With the other being reason this I can only hope I have enough.
Take your time and judge for yourself. Be sure to look at the stuff that I link to in that article, as well.
When I say that Einstein was right, I mean that he was right all the way back to the strictly deterministic model of 1917.
Add the Anthropic physics to a finite deterministic universe, and it is just a fact that you have a very strong statement.
And, uh... that means that Einstein was right about that to.
Nobody on the "cutting-edge" is that desparate... YET... but see what the article says about the Higgs, and things start to look up... ;)
First I must say as it is commonly understood I find almost any version of the anthropic principle totally unsatisfactory. If your contention involves things being the way they are is since otherwise we wouldn’t be here to observe it I consider the lamest explanation of them all. Even as a child when I asked why I had to do that or why this is like that and was offered the answer “because” I instinctively knew it explained nothing. Now to add in that our reality is simply one of infinite co-existent realities or realities of infinite different times this I will say equates exactly with what the child was offered. The only reasonable interpretation of an anthropic viewpoint is that no reality could exist at all unless it was so constructed. This however is not a true explanation for it simply qualifies “what “reality needs to be. Not “how” it is and certainly not “why” it is. I’m afraid what comprises a satisfactory explanation must go well beyond what I consider (and people in the distant past), the obvious. It must have as a minimum a true how, a true what and a true why. Another way I could express it is that chance has no meaning as there is only one roll that can be made and result achieved. This is what I understand Einstein meant when he insisted that god does not play dice. I will of course look at what you propose, yet if this serves as the lynch pin in your theory it may still explain more yet doesn't serve to meet my personal expectations. For I am looking to what Einstein was when he said:
“I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.”
Really?... did any of the "versions" include what Brandon Carter actually said?, which was that scientists are ideologically predispositioned to consciously deny anthropic relevance to the point of absurdity?... no?... and do you know why that *conveniently* is the case???
Hang-on... I'll be right back...
The physics for the anthropic principle concerns the unexpected carbon-life orientation of certain structure defining features of our universe that do not concur with the cosmological projections of modern physics.
The pointed nature of the physics indicates the direction that one might look in for the as yet undefined dynamical structure mechanism that is normally expected to explain why the universe is configured the way that it is, rather than some other way. Brandon Carter called this "a line of reasoning that requires further development". But the Anthropic Principle was originally formalized by Carter as a statement against the dogmatic non-scientific prejudices that scientists generally harbor and that cause them to consciously deny anthropic relevance in the physics, so they instead tend to be willfully ignorant of just enough pertinate facts to maintain an irrational cosmological bias that leads to absurd, "copernican-like" projections of mediocrity that contradict what is actually observed.
Carter was talking about an equally extreme form of counter-reactionism to old historical beliefs about geocentrism that cause scientists to automatically dismiss evidence for anthropic "privilege" right out of the realm of the observed reality. I intend to put very heavy emphasis on this point, because people go to unbelievable lengths to distort what Carter said on that fateful day in Poland, in order to willfully ignore this point as it applies to modern physics speculations and variant interpretations, which are neither, proven, nor difinitively justified, theoretically.
Why do none of the popular definitions of the anthropic principle include what Carter actually said?
This is the real problem for science.
Carter's example was as follows:
Unfortunately, there has been a strong and not always subconscious tendency to extend this to a most questionable dogma to the effect that our situation cannot be privileged in any sense. This dogma (which in its most extreme form led to the "perfect cosmological principle" on which the steady state theory was based) is clearly untenable, as was pointed out by Dicke (Nature 192, 440, 1961).
Carter expounded on the anthropic coincidence that Robert Dicke had deduced from Dirac's Large Numbers Hypothesis. Dicke had noted that "the forces are not random, but are constrained by biological factors" that cause the universe to evolve contrarily to the standard cosmological prediction in a unique manner that favors carbon life. It is important to note that this evolving physics includes all carbon-based-life, and this also limits life to a very narrow range of time in the history of the universe. But this feature also dictates that the same combination of "homeostatic" environmental balances that define the Goldilocks Enigma will occur on similarly developed planets in similarly developed galaxies that exists along the same fine "layer" or time/location "plane" that our galaxy evolved on, so there is absolutely no reason to assume that the physics applies exclusively to only one planet, or to a single form of carbon-based life.
How Carter's anti-political statement applies, including its strength, depends on the cosmological model that physics is being applied to, so Brandon Carter's own multiverse interpretation differs from what is actually observed. Carter's point was that unscientific ideological bias should be honestly weighed into consideration whenever a scientist is faced with anomalous features of the universe that are also relevant to our place in it, in order to serve as a counterbalancing constraint on his preconceived prejudices against evidence for "preference" or "specialness". Unfortunately for science, this is rarely the case, as these words will fly right past the theoretical confidence of the "cutting-edge".
Add to that the creation/evolution "debate" and you have all the makings for a very bad situation for science, where zealots will either, embrace what physicists commonly call the "appearance of design", as being just that, or, on the other side of the fanatical coin, anti-zealots will all together deny that there is any such implication for "specialness" in the physics whatsoever, while appealing to multiverses and quantum uncertainty, in lieu of causality and first principles. This is done in order to "explain-away" the evidence, rather than to honestly recognize and give credible time to the most readily apparent implication for a biocentric cosmological principle that is indicated by the "appearance of design". The anticentrist's tendency to deny the significance of the observation is an over-reaction to pressure from religious extremists and from ill-considered assumptions about human arrogance. Unfortunately for science, it is also a perfectly true example of Carter's point, as "anti-zealots" typically and wrongly believe that such an admission constitutes evidence in favor of the religious fanatic's argument, so willful ignorance takes the place of science when the argument is a culture war between zealots and their antifanatical counterparts.
Paul Davies is one of a very few who even recognize that there is a valid scientific middle-ground, but Davies is openly accused of creationism by his peers, and even "some biologists" for his ties to the Templeton Foundation, even though he has consistently stated that he supports John Wheeler's observer-dependent quantum mechanical mechanism, which has nothing to do with religion or god, but everything to do with the kind of determinism and certainty that nobody wants to believe, so Carter's principle is again in effect.
Where exactly does this idea for "specialness" come from? What exactly is this physics that people are always on about?
Without altering the intended context of their statements, what is it that makes Leonard Susskind say; "The appearance of design is undeniable.", and; "...we will be hardpressed to answer the IDists if the landscape, (which is Lenny's theoretical multiverse) fails"... ? Why does Paul Davies say that the universe "looks like a fix"...? What decieving twist of "chance" would make a hard-line atheist like Richard Dawkins admit that the forces give the "contrary appearance" of a watchmaker' because they are "deployed in a very special way"...?
Simply put, the forces of nature that define the universe's structure are also quite apparently carbon-life oriented, which is not by any means the same as saying that the whole universe is life-friendly, contrary to the ill considered rationale that leads to this common urban myth. This is also the reason why the evidence necessarily includes an implication for a biocentrically oriented cosmological principle.
Simple as one plus one:
Biocentrically oriented physics... that also makes up the structure defining dynamics of the universe...
... is evidence in favor of a biocentric cosmological principle.
There is no speculation, and there is no weaker interpretation indicated without making a dogmatic assumption that willfully denies the obvious, because the possibiltiy that this is only a random chance occurrence is not what is most apparently indicated by the highly pointed nature of the physics. This is what is most-readily indicated by the physics, so one would expect that this possibility would be getting at least as much investingative time as "other" less-obvious plausibilities. And yet it does not, as Carter's ideological observation holds true once again. The fact that physicists don't even recognize that this is the case only proves that they are ideologically predispositioned to willfully ignore the most apparent solution to the problem, so they can't get there from here...
More technically, the fundamental forces of nature are configured in a manner that produces a carbon-life oriented Goldilocks Enigma of precariously "ecobalanced" habitable zones that appear over an anisotropically defined region of the observed universe that includes many other similarly evolved structures. But these balance points didn't appear all at once, as it took the better part of 14 billion years for them all to evolve before working together simultaneously to produce the delicate environmental balances that are practically-necessary for carbon based life to arise, and for natural selection to successfully take-off on vast numbers of planets that exist along this intergalactic "plane" or "axis of opportunity", not just Earth. These life-oriented coincidences are also co-incidental to each other, in other words, so life will only evolve on planets, in solar systems, in galaxies, where all of the life-enabling environmental balances are simultaneously in effect.
This most strongly indicated cosmological principle is also the most widely ignored possibility of all. In fact, the most obvious plausibility isn't even recognized as a viable avenue of scientific pursuit, unless maybe your name is Paul Davies, who appears to the rest to have sold his soul to the Templeton Foundation, even though nobody else is going to fund this research. Why that is so, I must also sadly defer to Brandon Carter, because the interest of science has nothing to do with the willful denial of evidenced possibilites.
The number of known anthropic coincidences has grown substantially since Dicke made his observation, which should be a clue to scientists. I said, "*should* be a clue to scientists", and the connection between the anthropic physics and the structure mechanism should become increasingly apparent to scientists with these added bits of information, as well. Again, that's, "should". Once you have this precedence for a biocentric cosmological principle, then you should not be surprised if you find out about other supporting information that should be taken into account in-total, but it is extremely common to find that "anticentrists and skeptics", (which includes most scientists), will only know enough about a few given anthropic features to support their rationale for using anthropic selection and a multiverse, or so that they can be conveniently ignorant of any obvious anthropic significance. Like Carter said, willful ignorance is bliss among most when it comes to this subject. To some degree this is understandable, but it is inexcusable when it causes us to sacrifice the integrity of science.
This is not to say that other possible explanations should not be investigated, but it does mean that the most obvious explanation is being willfully ignored by all but a few, and for for a host of purely unscientific reasons.
On one hand, we have many string theorists that support the multiverse theory who are willing to make any extreme anthropic connection that is necessary, to the point of absurdity, including calculations about the implications for fundamental physics on the heights of giraffes and the sizes of brontosaurus brains, but that's only if whatever implication for structure defining relevance can be lost in their unobservable multiverse. Take away the multiverse and you lose all mention of physics that actually applies more to the observed universe, until or unless somebody actually validates this speculation with a complete theory. Loop quantum gravity theorists and particle physicists only consider the anthropic principle to be "the fine tuning problem", where anthropic relevance is something that they see as needing to be "explained-away" by some anthropically disassociated cosmological principle, rather than the cosmologically-linked solution to the problem that is most apparently indicated by the "appearance of design".
Even David Gross, (a prominent and outspoken string theorist, who commonly complains that the biggest failure of physics in the last 20 years is its inability to produce a "dynamical principle that would make the landscape [including anthropic selection] go away"), cannot seem to add one plus one, because he also automatically assumes that this physics will necessarily disassociate anthropic relevance from the dynamical principle that *most apparently* should be expected to be a part of the carbon-life oriented anomaly. They wonder why scientists have failed for so long, and why their theories don't work, but they should be thanking their lucky stars that the most obvious possibility isn't a poisonous snake, or they might very well be in serious need of antivenon.
Observation Verses Theory
The results from WMAP appear to run counter to the "standard" cosmological expectations. For example, the motion of the solar system and the orientation of the plane of the ecliptic are aligned with features of the microwave sky which our "conventional" theories tell us is supposed to be caused by structure at the edge of the observable universe
Lawrence Krauss is quoted as follows in the referenced Edge.org article:
"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."
"That's crazy"... says Krauss, but isn't it most apparently, direct observational evidence for an anthropic connection to the structure of the universe?... which we already have precedence for, so it certainly shouldn't be totally surprising, much less, "crazy" to think that there might be something to it. This should be considered to be compounding evidence for something that we already know about, not something to willfully deny.... alas, where are the ideologically honest scientists?
I had a quick scan of what you sent and I’m still not sure which anthropic perspective is taken here. So before we continue, could you in the interest of clarity state in one or no more then a few concise sentences what this perspective is.