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Thread: Could a universe be indescribable and unpredictable with logic without being random noise?

  1. #1 Could a universe be indescribable and unpredictable with logic without being random noise? 
    New Member Silhalnor's Avatar
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    I've been wondering lately about alternate ways that our universe conceivably could have been. Why does the universe exist with the laws of physics and initial conditions that we have discovered? Why not another set of laws and conditions that would still have allowed for our existence? Going down this line of thought I wondered if a universe in which math and logic does not work (or rather, cannot be used to explain or predict much of the world) could be conceived.


    To that end, can you conceive of any system (like weather or chemistry or Conway's game of life) that cannot be predicted with math or any other form of logic? Perhaps a system that can be thought of as illogical but not random. Personally I'm not sure what to make of the idea and at a glance I would guess that it's impossible since even a world in which things are only likely to happen but have no certainty can be modeled with probabilities like we do with quantum physics.


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    KJW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silhalnor View Post
    I've been wondering lately about alternate ways that our universe conceivably could have been. Why does the universe exist with the laws of physics and initial conditions that we have discovered? Why not another set of laws and conditions that would still have allowed for our existence? Going down this line of thought I wondered if a universe in which math and logic does not work (or rather, cannot be used to explain or predict much of the world) could be conceived.


    To that end, can you conceive of any system (like weather or chemistry or Conway's game of life) that cannot be predicted with math or any other form of logic? Perhaps a system that can be thought of as illogical but not random. Personally I'm not sure what to make of the idea and at a glance I would guess that it's impossible since even a world in which things are only likely to happen but have no certainty can be modeled with probabilities like we do with quantum physics.
    A mathematical principle that does logically provide laws of physics is that of symmetry. For example, the conservation of energy arises because the laws of physics are the same at all times. But with symmetry comes the notion of symmetry breaking. This arises mathematically because the solutions of an equation need not possess the symmetries of the equation itself. If an equation has a unique solution, then this solution must possess all the symmetries of the equation itself. But if an equation has multiple solutions, then a symmetry transformation of one solution may lead to another solution rather than the same solution (the individual solution is not symmetric but the set of all solutions is symmetric). Because all the different solutions of an equation are solutions of the equation, the equation itself cannot determine a unique solution. In other words, the laws of physics, which possess a high level of symmetry, have many solutions, which need not themselves be symmetric, but the laws of physics cannot determine which solution is the actual solution that describes our universe. Because the laws of physics cannot determine which solution is the actual solution, the actual solution must be determined randomly because there is no other way to determine the actual solution. The notion of initial conditions doesn't change this because the initial conditions themselves cannot be mathematically determined and therefore determined randomly.


    There are no paradoxes in relativity, just people's misunderstandings of it.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Note that something can be unpredictable without being random or indescribable. There are chaotic systems that are completely deterministic and yet impossible to predict for more than a short time: weather, quincunx (what a great word), etc.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    New Member Silhalnor's Avatar
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    KJW, I don't believe I've ever heard of that before. Unfortunately I don't believe I fully understood it either.... Quantum physics interests me but I'm certainly not far into it.

    Strange, the only reason we can't predict the weather and other deterministic chaotic systems is because we lack perfect knowledge of them and their structure. (And presumably the ability to run amazingly detailed models of those systems faster than the systems themselves.) I'm not asking for something that humans can't predict but for something that cannot be predicted with math or logic under any theoretical conditions.
    If my location ever changes, notify me immediately. Something could be up. Someone may have kidnapped me and taken me out of my mind.

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    As to KJW's on "symmetry" I agree it's having been a factor but for me, the initial system of universe-organizing forces needed two essentials: uniformity and elementality. "Symmetry" or "asymmetry" are non-specific descriptive terms of conditions (of Space presumably).
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    My last Post wasn't worded clearly. A better phraseology would be: Universe-initiating organizing forces would have to be uniform and elemental.
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