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    The Physics Of Resurrection
    By Tommaso Dorigo | March 5th 2013 06:25 AM | 45 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Tommaso

    I am an experimental particle physicist working with the CMS experiment at CERN. In my spare time I play chess, abuse the piano, and aim my dobson...

    View Tommaso's Profile
    Understanding and explaining how the Universe works has always been a ultimate goal for mankind. It is impossible to live our conscious existence without asking ourselves whether there is a meaning, a design, or if our existence is just the result of chance; and to avoid asking ourselves what happens after we die, if we will live again, and similar questions. Accepting our mortality is really hard without embracing a potential explanation, a hope, or some kind of faith.

    Throughout recorded history, we attacked this crucial problem in three different ways: constructing religions, embarking in philosophical thought, and embracing the scientific method. If we leave religion and philosophy aside and only deal with scientific reasoning, we see two complementary attempts carried forth: the study of the cosmos, the "outside", and the study of the infinitely small, the "inside". It gives me a warm feeling to see how these two approaches have been found to be quite tightly intertwined as we progressed our understanding of fundamental science: we are on the right track, apparently.

    But we are still quite far from our goal. While at some level we seem to understand how the universe works and how it has come together, we still struggle with some critical details: why is there more matter than antimatter ?, where is dark matter ? why is the universe accelerating its expansion ?, and so on.

    Note that those above are hard but well-formulated questions: they focus on specific observed properties of our Universe. In contrast, we can only speculate wildly on the theme of what ignited the explosion, which leads us to ask ourselves what existed before the big bang: it is doubtful that this question has a meaning at all if we remain within the boundaries of what we call Science.

    By addressing the question of what existed before the big bang we risk abandoning physics and entering one of the other two fields. But we can try and avert the risk by anchoring ourselves to basic principles of physics which we believe to be universal. Among them I think one can pick a very fundamental law:  Whatever is not forbidden is compulsory !

    The above is called the Totalitarian Law, and was first suggested by a novelist, T.H.White (in "The Once and Future King", Ace, 1996, p. 121), and then married and sponsored by Murray Gell-Mann, one of the fathers of the quark model. Although the law has been used in the context of quantum processes, it appears a very reasonable concept to elect as a basic principle.

    Now, we have in front of us blatant evidence that the big bang, the event which gave rise to our Universe, is physically possible. It happened, 13.5 billion years ago, and it produced everything we observe around us, including ourselves. The evidence for the big bang is today so strong that it can be taken as a fact and a solid basis to construct hypotheses. So why should not we trust that, being a possible physical process, the big bang is repeatable ?

    In my opinion, the justification of the hypothesis that the big bang is a unrepeatable process is tough. We do not need to know what mechanism ignited our Universe, but it seems to me that Ockham's razor forces us to prefer the simpler hypothesis that there is nothing "magical" at work, nothing that made the big bang a unique event which cannot occur again. Sure, a God could choose to create the Universe and then choose not to repeat His act; but in the absence of a God, whatever caused our Universe to come into existence should be there to do it again.

    If the big bang is a repeatable process, it will repeat itself: not being impossible, it must happen again. Note that here I am ignoring the fact that time might be something quite different from what we perceive it to be: something with a beginning and an end just like spatial dimensions. One can argue that even if we associate the notion of time to the existence of our Universe, this still does not prevent us to imagining that the whole thing is repeatable.  

    So if we consider the big bang as a normal physical process, we are bound to accept the possibility that it will repeat itself an infinite number of times ! Not just two or three: an infinite number of times. And infinity is a very, very large number !

    Of course, one should also allow for the possibility that an infinity of universes exists in parallel, occupying disjoint regions of spacetime. There is no appreciable difference in the conclusion: in both cases we are brought to consider the idea of an infinite collection.

    What would it mean to accept the idea of an infinity of universes ? First of all we might imagine an eternal repetition of exactly the same universe, with the same value of physical constants and initial conditions, but such a determininstic outcome would be quite surprising in my opinion. The alternative is more plausible and maybe even more intriguing: we may consider that physical constants and initial conditions might be different every time.

    Incidentally, here we are getting close to some of the ideas of string theory: string theory is an attempt at conceiving both particles and forces as different excitations of some basic entities called strings, the true elementary constituents of everything. Besides being already mindboggling from the outset, given that it "works" only if we assume that space-time has not four but a larger number of dimensions (e.g. 11 in M-theory), string theory wants us to accept as a working hypothesis to comprehend the universe around us a very upsetting fact: that our universe is just one in ten to the five hundredth (a HUGE number!) possible universes, which may arise due to as many different vacuum states of the theory. These different vacua correspond to different values for the physical constants on which the phenomenology of particles and forces is based, and therefore quite different universes.

    Note that as an experimental physicist I do not consider string theory very attractive from the point of view of a candidate theory of everything, because it negates our chances to verify its predictions: the "landscape" of possible realizations of these string vacua makes it impossible to falsify string theory as a scientific theory. As speculative material, however, it may fit in the picture of an infinity of universes, each one different from all others not just in the initial conditions but also in the actual physical laws it obeys.

    A totally different idea is also connected to what we are discussing: the "many-worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics by Hugh Everett. This is an attempt to make sense of the wave-function of quantum systems by hypothesizing that any possible realization of it is real: a infinite number of parallel universes exists, and quantum decoherence allows us to experience only one of them.

    Anyway, let's leave these fancy theoretical ideas aside and consider what we have come to hypothesize: the infinity of the number of universes that exist or that will come to existence guarantees that another universe completely undistinguishable from ours will arise at some point. Wait - not just at some point: it will arise an infinite number of times !

    Suddenly we come to terms with what this implies for each of us. In such a picture we are born, acquire self-awareness, live, and die. As we die we cease to exist, but if we are materialistic enough to accept that what our self-awareness is is the collection and interrelation of our neural circuits, synapses, activation potentials, and that these are bound to some day come again to existence in the very same form, we may think of this as a resurrection. And an instantaneous one for our conscience -however unaware it will be of its past instantiations: the unimaginable amount of time it has passed since the same biological configuration came to existence is immaterial from the personal point of view of an individual. We die, and we are reborn; no matter how much time that "and" corresponds to.

    The above is as close as I personally can get to constructing a belief which in some way allows me to accept the idea of my mortality. It requires one to make several assumptions, but I believe it does not blatantly violate any physical law.

    If we take this stand we are not as lucky as the lucky few that get their resurrected in a perfect computer emulation just before the big crunch in Frank Tipler's "The Physics of Immortality": they do live forever in a sort of heaven, while we still "grunt and sweat under a weary life" (you win a sucked mint if you recognize this quote); and we are bound to do so an infinite number of times!

    On a second thought, I fail to cheer too much at this picture. Sure, if we are bound to live again we will one day meet again people we have lost, etcetera, etcetera. However, I am disturbed by one thing. We must conceive the coming to existence of any -really any- different possibilities, in addition to those exactly equal to those we are living now. Just as in the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, all possible realizations of physical reality must come to existence, if we have to accept the totalitarian principle. This is quite upsetting if you think about it seriously!

    Comments

    My gut says the cardinality of possible configurations exceeds the cardinality of the repetitions so that the same universe never repeats.

    E.g. if, for simplicity, the universe went { big bang, big crunch, big bang, big crunch,... } then the number of universes would be countably infinite. Whereas the choice of physical constants, plus the potential initial configurations of "matter" in the big bang, plus the random choices of "wave function collapse" could end up being uncountably infinite. So in that reality, there would be more possible universes than could be realised.

    Yes, there are "if"s and "but"s and "maybe"s; but I don't think you can take certain refuge in infinity. Sorry.

    vongehr
    "This is quite upsetting if you think about it seriously!"
    Getting older, you finally think more seriously about stuff like terrible states.  Good!  Now you need only read my articles and perhaps you start thinking less naive-scientistic about these issues - there are too many misconceptions here to even start listing them (especially the infinity stuff is kind of sad if from somebody like you who is supposed to know about statistics, say the importance of having well defined statistical ensembles). ;-)
    Thor Russell
    Yes I was a bit surprised to read this, after seeming to dismiss multiple universes and such as pseudo-science.
    One thing that does confuse me is how the different physical constants, multiverses and Ockham's razor are supposed to combine. I mean if you have one model universe where constants a,b,c are related by a neat formula, and another where they are free to be different then wouldn't there be many more possible universes where the three are not tied together? However this would be considered inelegant etc by theorists. We would correspondingly be more likely to inhabit a universe as "messy" as possible where constants etc were only related where they absolutely had to be for some deep reason.


    Perhaps related  to this timeless wisdom, without the causality however.

    “There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. 
    There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”


    Are we living in the most bizarre, complicated and inexplicable of all possible Universes?
    Thor Russell
    MikeCrow
    One of my arguments about how "unique the parameters of our Universe are", and how therefore it had to be "made", is we don't know how many attempted Universes there are, there could be an infinite number of them, but only ones with the right combination of parameters would have life, only those would be able to wonder about how unique the parameters of their Universe are.
    Never is a long time.
    Thor Russell
    Yes, "there could be an infinite number of them". I don't really see how it could be any other way, if you allow more than one, what possibly could keep the number of "attempted" universes finite? Some other universe/God thingy to only allow a set number? That sounds like nonsense.

    Thor Russell
    Gerhard Adam
    The whole discussion becomes meaningless when we consider an infinite number of universes, because then we could have an infinite number that "don't work" and an infinite number in which life occurs, and an infinite number of where life never occurs.  What's the point?

    I agree that this is a necessary condition, I'm simply saying that there is nothing useful that can be said about actualized worlds, since in infinity everything will occur, including an infinite number of duplicate worlds. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    Thor Russell
    It sure it hard to make sense of it, not sure that our maths or brains are up to the task yet.
    Thor Russell
    What's so difficult to think about? There are an infinite number of numbers but only one pi.
    Gerhard Adam
    There's actually no point in expending the energy to figure it out.  In an infinite number of worlds, then there's already a "me" that has it figured out and is explaining to you why you were wrong :)
    Mundus vult decipi
    Quentin Rowe
    Very insightful, Gerhard.
    However, you are all wrong, but I won't explain why...  ;-\
    Zinserling
    If we are made from "starstuff", it's not likely we'd ever closely resemble our past self after resurrection. Even stars cannot hope for such a rebirth.
    Since we don't get up as zombies we can assume that, if any, the consciousness (or essence if you wish) separates from the body after death - possibly only after complete decay?

    The chance then of having a complete "memory" of our previous selves is remote since our "memories" will likely be scattered and resurrected in small fractions in many many new persons.

    This may not be such a bad thing though :)

     



    Gerhard Adam
    ...the consciousness (or essence if you wish) separates from the body after death - possibly only after complete decay?
    Are we resurrecting vitalism?  Not to pick on this particular post, but why is it that when human death is involved, everyone gets all misty-eyed and presumes that all manner of mystical nonsense is suddenly valid for consideration?
    The chance then of having a complete "memory" of our previous selves is remote ...
    No, it's zero.  Again, this is simply an invocation of the mind/body duality issue.

    [Apologies to Francois, since this isn't specifically targeted to him, but rather to the more general attitude that is often expressed by this].
    Mundus vult decipi

    Level one discussion
    The chance then of having a complete "memory" of our previous selves is remote ...
    No, it's zero. Again, this is simply an invocation of the mind/body duality issue.
    Level two answer

    Not really. Tommaso and you appear to have different ideas as to what comprises "you".  In particular Tommaso seems to think that if another universe has an entity very similar to you bearing memories that are indistinguishable from yours, and it takes over where you leave off (through death, for example) then in effect it IS you.  You, on the other hand seem to think that because it is really memories belonging to a different person in a different universe then it is not you, just a similar being somewhere else.
     
    Level three answer
     
    Depending on which model gives rise to these "many universes", they may very well be totally separated. Thus there is no conceivable way anybody or anything in any universe could ever look and see whether a particular collection of experiences actually comes from the same universe or not.  Not even if they can be ordered into a consistent story.  The question is therefore unanswerable and, as good old Witty would say, "so we had better shut up about it, okay?" 

    Level four answer


     



     
     
    Gerhard Adam
     In particular Tommaso seems to think that if another universe has an entity very similar to you bearing memories that are indistinguishable from yours, and it takes over where you leave off (through death, for example) then in effect it IS you.
    That doesn't really make much sense, because your phrase "takes over" implies some sort of passage of control, as if the original wasn't doing anything until I died and "took over".  Yet, the question becomes even more complex when we consider why should "I" be so special?  What about my dog?  What about my gut bacteria?  Are we really prepared to say that everything is the same?

    We already recognize that things aren't the same, by the paradox of my dying while my "twin" hasn't. 

    However, it's much simpler than that.  If the point is simply that there are at least two worlds in which I and a twin share exactly the same memories, etc. then they either exist as two separate entities or they exist as one [merely being represented in two worlds]. 

    The latter would require that we have multiple simultaneous existences which are indistinguishable to us.  Yet, if that were true, it would be the same as not having any, so that doesn't help.  In other words, such an existence can't "become" me, it either is or it isn't.  If it already is then I don't see how it changes anything for the current "me".  It would simply represent normal life with all the probabilities for various outcomes as we would normally expect.

    In the former case, we already stipulated that they are parallel worlds, in which case they are each unique and cannot be "each other".  Any resemblance regardless of how precise would still merely be coincidence.
    Mundus vult decipi
    your phrase "takes over" implies some sort of passage of control
    No, it means takes over "being you". 
    as if the original wasn't doing anything until I died
    One possibility is that the two of you are sufficiently similar to have identical experiences up until a certain point when your universes diverge. Play the idea however you like, nit-picking about how to make a particular scenario work is not a valid argument against the principle.
    by the paradox of my dying while my "twin" hasn't
    You mean the transporter? No, in that case there are definitely two people. Any third party can see you both. Hardly surprising, then, the one destined to be eliminated will object. The fact that the one destined to survive can recall the original you's memories and thinks he actually is you does not alter the fact that the real you dies. No paradox, just a very silly way of getting from A to B with zero probability of arriving safely.
    they either exist as two separate entities or they exist as one
    "They" is plural, "one " is singular. I have no idea what "they exist as one" could possibly mean. Once you have assumed that the appropriate pronoun is "they" then you cannot chop logic with the number. But why should you use the plural pronoun for entitities in separate universes? This is the very point of the argument. You imagine yourself to be standing outside of this array of universes, like God, seeing someone and their dopplegangers in different universes. If that were a true paradigm then you would be right, they are different entities. Game over. 

    But your paradigm is impossible for two reasons. Firstly, you are seeing the self as an entity with a continuity of existence. Clearly we perceive ourselves as such and if this perception is true then again, then my continuity of existence here is separate from those of a doppelganger. However the continuous "me" is a construct: we actually have patchy conscious experience and simply fill in the gaps. This is especially obvious when we sleep. According to my own experience of self-hood, I am the same individual that fell asleed last night. But the fact is, there were gaps - even if you regard dreaming as continuous with waking conciousness, there are still gaps in the sequence and gaps in the records. So there is no "this me" and "the other me" snaking their way through time in different universes; each "me" is a  local construct.
     
    The other reason is that in physics a very similar thing occurs. Somewhat loosely speaking, everything that can happen does happen until an observation is made. Thus reality is not something "out there" but a series of observations, meaning a series of states. No quibbles about what comprises an observation, please! Here we are here about the continuity of a person's existence so at the very least we have a series of personal-observation-states. There is no unique set of universes "out there", just a set of histories: ABCDEF; GHIJKL; MNOPQR etc. However there are also histories like ABCPQR. Since the P in MNOPQR is, by definition, indistinguishable from the P in ABCPQR, it follows that P cannot possible know whether it was preceded by MNO or ABC. P may decide that MNO is more likely just as you woke up today in the sun and decided that you are probably the same person as fell asleep under your white hat earlier. However there is no proof.

    Or rather, no proof, no evidence and, ultimately, no meaning to the question.
    we already stipulated that they are parallel worlds, in which case they are each unique
    Of course, in some theories they can be. But in physics, parallel worlds or universes are a God's-eye description, they are not observable. This is not a practical thing, it's absolute: specific states relative to observer A do not even exist relative to observer B.  However, observation of the individual worlds is not possible - a world is actualized relative to an observer. It's not a philosophical point either. Tommaso is talking physics, not philosophy. Individual parallel worlds are not observable but their collective existence does make itself felt - in particular, of course, quantum worlds interfere and muck up classical probabilities. 

    So there can be no outside observer to observe us all. Not even God - well not according to the physics as we understand it. Since observation of specific states in other worlds is meaningless - like an unfinished sentence - it becomes meaningless to ask whether you and your dopplegangers *are* the same person. 

    You cannot use the classical objective paradigm when dealing with physics which is outside of the "one reality for all, out there" assumption of 19th century science. But it's wrong to adopt the semi-classical "parallel universe" picture for the same reason. When dealing with a model where the physics defines the ontology you *must* use the paradigm of the model. Why else talk about parallel universes on a science site unless they are features of the physics? Anything else is sci-fi prattle. 
     
     
    Gerhard Adam
    But that's the point, isn't it.

    If there is no way we can account for such an existence independent of our own experience, then it doesn't matter.  We will always be in a state that is consistent with our own memories and sense of our historical self.  We will never find ourselves in a state of where we are surprised at what we are experiencing regardless of how many parallel worlds you wish to postulate.
    ... it becomes meaningless to ask whether you and your dopplegangers *are* the same person.
    If it is meaningless to ask, then why ask it?  Why argue that there even is a doppleganger?  Why use terminology of another "you"?  If these are all meaningless concepts, then so is suggesting that they have any meaning within any context that would make someone be "me".

    After all, isn't that the point of discussing resurrection?  Why would you claim that isn't philosophical?  It is meaningless as a physics concept in terms of our own mental states, since we are incapable of detecting any such condition, or of observing it.
    Mundus vult decipi
     Why use terminology of another "you"?
    How else would you refer to identical versions of yourself in parallel universes?
    Why argue that there even is a doppleganger?
    Umm, let me think. Ooh, I know! Because that is the supposition that the article makes and it is not an arbitrary sci-fi supposition but one based firmly on fundamental physics.   
    If it is meaningless to ask, then why ask it? 
    Only by asking do we find that the question is meaningless.  That way we learn and grow.
     

    Gerhard Adam
    ...it is not an arbitrary sci-fi supposition but one based firmly on fundamental physics.  
    Actually it is.  To entertain the notion of dopplegangers and multiple "personal" existences with questions about specific individual states, is not based on any physics.  Physics may argue about the arrangement/interaction of particles and energy, and even supposing multiple dimensions and the existence of as many worlds as necessary to explain quantum probabilities.

    However, as soon as you introduce the concept of "self", you are talking about perception and without the benefit of an observer or the ability to detect such an existence, you have left the arena of physics.  Basically physics has no more to say about it, than it has anything to say about my current existence.  So, until the concept of "self" can actually be reduced to physics, there's simply nothing there except sci-fi.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Zinserling
    Isn't the science of physics itself still fundamentally a philosophy? Every theory had to start out with someone challenging the status quo, or asking the question "What if . . .?"
     So, until the concept of "self" can actually be reduced to physics
    How will this happen if the questions may not be asked? (The "self" is not my field btw, but all should be allowed to say their say, and ask their questions)

    How will any questioning, philosophy or research proceed if it's not allowed because it may clash with what someone else wishes to see and hear?

    No-one's saying "Don't discuss it". If we chase an idea into a corner and find that the question is meaningless, then "Don't ask!" is simply good advice. Those who are asking should take the trouble to understand why the question is meaningless, not cry "Foul!" and demand further research :)

     until the concept of "self" can actually be reduced to physics, there's simply nothing there except sci-fi.
    How can you see the essential basis for my argument and yet go so wrong when applying it?

    Yes, of course "self" carries overtones which cannot be reduced to physics. However the way to deal with that problem is to assume that where there is a brain there is a self. So when Tommaso asserts that his doppelganger *is* himself and you assert that it is not, it is sufficient to discuss brains, not selves.  Applying this to parallel universes in which your broken brain is resurrected, Tomasso's argument could be re-stated that a resurrected brain is the same brain. Yours would be that a brain in a parallel universe is a different brain. Mine is that the distinction is meaningless so neither of you is right; you're not even wrong.  :) 
     
    To entertain the notion of dopplegangers and multiple "personal" existences with questions about specific individual states, is not based on any physics.
    Quantum mechanics leads to such superpositions. Superposition is not an interpretation, it is the mathematical name for the collection of different eigenstates which add up to a wavefunction. Each eigenstate is relative to a particular eigenvalue, i.e. a particular observed result. Thus a summation of observation-relative states is inescapable. It is not necessary to define what comprises "self", it is obvious that if the observation is made by a human being - and some observations must be - then different observation-relative states result in different observer-states. Thus what starts as a human being in a presumed single state with a single set of experiences becomes multiple versions with different experiences. If you can imagine a single "self" with very different memories of past observations, then good luck to you. I cannot. Once Schrodinger's alpha decay has split the experiment with the cat, observation of the split cat in turn splits the scientist and his friends and, very quickly, the whole universe. Different worlds with people who think differently - that's different selves in my book.
     
    That stray electron which crashed into the ground at your home when you were a kid created multiple copies of you who, by the familiar bufferfly effect will have diverged. Some will doss around blogging on science sites in their big white hats :) others will suffer crippling diseases, others will be famous physicists, others will be dead. Can you really say that physics does not deal with multiple universes? Admittedly Sascha has tried for a long while to wean us of calling them "universes", but Tommaso has not yet learned the jargon :) so we must go with the flow. Meanwhile, multiple selves is absolutely inherent in quantum mechanics - additional ad-hoc hypotheses are needed to get rid of unwanted "branches": the notorious "collapse of the wavefunction "is one such, requiring both a new physical effect that has never been observed and a new physical principle of fundamental randomness that does not make much sense. Of course, some of us prefer even that to the plethora of worlds. But Tommaso is not insisting on a particular ontology, he is merely taking the grand view where the inherent "many worlds" of QM can be taken at face value without imposing hypothetical "effects" onto established physics in order to suppress it.
     
    I do not propose to deal with other models that lead to multiple realities. But if QM leads to them, then your assertion that  
     To entertain the notion of dopplegangers and multiple "personal" existences with questions about specific individual states, is not based on any physics.
    is utterly incorrect. I am a little out of touch but I think even I would have heard if the very foundation of modern physics had been overthrown recently. The media made enough fuss when CERN found possible FTL neutrinos meaning that a common (mis)interpretaion of relativity would need a small modification. "Einstein was wrong!" they trumpeted.  I'm *sure* they'd have said "The quantum is not so wierd after all" complete with the inevitable picture of two cats.

    Wouldn't they?




    Gerhard Adam
    My point in this is that "we" are the cat.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Oh, really? I thought you were saying something quite different :)
     
    Quentin Rowe
    Level four answer
    Derik, I once replied to Sacha just this, without the heading, regarding Mr W -  I thought it quite 'Witty', Sasha deleted my blank comment. I can't believe he missed that one...!  ;-)

    I will allow that a bot did it for him. Maybe Hank could clarify that?


    Sascha has phases when he deletes everything in sight. I think it's a sort of catharsis for his "chainsaw terrible state" fantasy. One gets used to it :)
    Hank
    The TH White book was in 1958, though your reprinting may have been 1996. It just reads a little confusing because you say Murray adapted it, though that was in the '60s. 

    Good piece!
    dorigo
    Hi Hank,
    thanks - yes, well spotted. I will modify it when I get a better internet connection
    (not at office now).

    Cheers,
    T.
    ""grunt and sweat under a weary life"

    Every weekend I go out and ride my bicycle for 5 or 6 hours. I grunt and sweat and get weary and it's great fun! So I guess that your quote comes from a book by Dante Alighieri called, "How to ride a bicycle". Alternatively, it could be from a book by Boccaccio called, "How to have sex".

    dorigo
    Hi,

    it is a quote of Hamlet's famous monologue, "to be or not to be".

    Cheers,
    T.
    You start with an assumption... and lump another assumption on top of it, wash rinse repeat, wash rinse repeat, and start going ad infinitum. This is very poor way to distinguish yourself from philosophy and religion since in essence, it is the same damn thing when taken to a limit. When you do this with computer models, the output always diverges from what reality actually does quite quickly, check out any hurricane prediction path, or weather forecast..you see this divergence quite clearly. Models are approximations, not actual representations of reality, the further they go the more inaccurate they become. Science works best when you stick to what you can truly measure, and stay away from what you can't measure, like mathematical abstractions that have no physical limits, constraints, or actual measurable extension. If you want to wax metaphysical about the big bang theory, please realize you have nothing to work with except an assumption based on a guess about what actually happend over thirteen plus billion years ago, which we really don't know very much about, Hubble or no. You speak about the theory as FACT, which you then can accessorize to another assumption which you treat as fact as well, and go off into your endless mandelbrot multiverse fantasy to give you the illusion of continuity... why did you pick science alone as your tool to measure if this is what you want to pursue? You are claiming to be walking away from philosophy and religion, while wanting to bring the meaning that comes from them to the impartial universe of science. I think you are conflicted and not truly sure of what you want or believe. Until you resolve that, you can't possibly figure out what you can actually have and understand. Religion and Philosophy are all about how we as people deal with being people, not inanimate starstuff, who live and die for various reasons leading to what gives them meaning. Science will offer no counsel here for you, as it is indifferent to your life, your concerns, and existence in so much as the dust you are made of is merely the excrement of dead stars which themselves were never anything more than pointless balls of nuclear plasma swirling around before they faded. I think it very strange that in the pursuit of your science to tell you how things are put together, you seem to have lost track of the context that gives it any value. As a good show I used to watch once said to the question "Why do we die?" the answer was, "because it's what gives life any meaning, it makes life finite and therefore precious." Endless days are not days anymore, to have a day, it ends and there is night, so another day can happen. An endless life is not life anymore, it's own neverending existence continues in the place of any need of seeking wives, husbands, children, family, community, love, or meaning, like infinity... it would do nothing but just keep going devoid of purpose, Until a reason more powerful than continuing came along for it to stop for. This is what meaning is. When you are willing to stop and spend some of your precious finite time on something other than just your own existence.

    dorigo
    To everybody:

    thanks for the interest in my piece above. I accept all criticism - it is pseudo-science, it is inaccurate, unrealistic, it glosses over many details such as self-conscience etcetera. I just wanted to dump here some free thoughts. I think one cannot really resolve the issue one way or the other (such as ruling out the possibilities I described), and besides this idea of eternal comeback can be indeed likened to philosophical thinking or even to a sort of personal religion, so rational thinking has to stop somewhere anyway.

    Sorry, I am not always as rational as a atheist die-hard HEP experimentalist is supposed to be ! Yet to the existence of a God, a Heaven, etcetera I much prefer the idea of a infinite repetition of livable universes where someday or somewhere else we live again. Wishful thinking, of course, but a conforting thought for those moments of our life when we need them, available to those who can't accept pre-digested formats for afterlife.

    Cheers,
    T.
    Actually, to be serious for once, it *is* possible to criticise this eternal return business from a scientific point of view: if you believe in the second law of thermodynamics, the total entropy of the universe has to increase from cycle to cycle, and so we should have reached universal equilibrium long ago. Since that is not the case, the eternal return must be wrong.

    You can get out of this by claiming that whatever it was that set the initial conditions of our universe to have such incredibly low entropy might act again at the beginning of each cycle. But you can only say that if you understand the origin of that low entropy. Do you?

    See http://vixra.org/abs/1208.0059
    Reconciliation between science and religion
    Immortality only version

    See Blanqui,"L'éternité par les astres"!

    Quentin Rowe
    Of course, one should also allow for the possibility that an infinity of universes exists in parallel, occupying disjoint regions of spacetime. There is no appreciable difference in the conclusion: in both cases we are brought to consider the idea of an infinite collection.
    Welcome to the other side of the road, Tommaso! That wasn't so hard was it? I particularly enjoy your 'free wheeling' for a change. The above comment (my emphasis) in particular covers well the crux of this matter, but you make many more good points. Sasha's comment merely reflects that you are a little late to the party!

    You use a language of separation still, by splitting immediately philosophy&religion, when it is easier to take the whole, defined, by definition, as the whole, the whole, and nothing but the whole, as covered well in Sashas articles calling for a clear definitions regarding totality, theories of everything, all that is, etc. This approach alleviates the confusion that often arises when the compulsaryness of that not forbidden has to faced.
     ...the infinity of the number of universes that exist or that will come to existence guarantees that another universe completely undistinguishable from ours will arise at some point. Wait - not just at some point: it will arise an infinite number of times !
    Yes, but let me raise a point I've raised here before, but is poorly understood. Forget about identical universes - these are one universe, not multiple copies of the same universe. There is no place for sameness, only difference. Relativity stems from this. (Speculation: Maybe this strips the number of space-time (volumetric) universes down to 10^500?) This 'sameness' issue becomes important to understand your comment:
    Suddenly we come to terms with what this implies for each of us. In such a picture we are born, acquire self-awareness, live, and die. As we die we cease to exist, but if we are materialistic enough to accept that what our self-awareness is is the collection and interrelation of our neural circuits, synapses, activation potentials, and that these are bound to some day come again to existence in the very same form, we may think of this as a resurrection. And an instantaneous one for our conscience -however unaware it will be of its past instantiations: the unimaginable amount of time it has passed since the same biological configuration came to existence is immaterial from the personal point of view of an individual. We die, and we are reborn; no matter how much time that "and" corresponds to.
    Yes, you are close to an understanding here, but to use your own language, if you take it to it's deeper, 'compulsary' conclusion, every single moment of your life is a 'resurrection'. You don't have to leave materialism behind - this is included in any physical universe. If the resurrected 'you' is physically the same, then it IS you, by definition. You would also, by definition, have no reference as to wether this you was in a distant galaxy, or in a distant past or future. Why? -because you define yourself not to know this. Then you can also ask, what about every single event in my life? There is a copy of you for every event 'somewhere' in the multiverse 'soup'. It's crazy for some to require that some wisp of yourself travels to these far distant space-time coordinates. You are already there!

    My personal take is that the whole superposition of possible events that make up our multiverse have no particular preference for order of appearance or place (ie, nature prefers infinite degrees of freedom)  - it is consciousness that imposes order from the infinite 'alphabet souposition' for the sake of creating an identifying structure.

    My comments are obviously loose and speculative. Study more of Sacha's articles if you want well defined ideas grounded closer to physical experiments.
    dorigo
    Study more of Sasha's articles ? You must be his alter-ego.
    No, I am not going to delve into this matter. I posted the above article to stimulate a discussion, and to report some free thoughts on the matter. The truth is that I can speculate, but I don't like too much to do it. I remain an experimental physicist, and everything that cannot be probed by experiment is not worth much of my interest...

    Cheers,
    T.
    Quentin Rowe
    No worries, Tommaso... you have given a few of us a nice surprise!
    A word of warning however - as you make your way back to the otherside, just watch out for large buses from parallel universes... ;-)
    Thor Russell
    I can see that you have been thinking about this quite a bit. Sascha's alter ego however - not sure I would wish that on you!
    Thor Russell
    Quentin Rowe
    Hi Thor,
    Well thinking I have been - many may have guessed by now that it's my favourite subject. As for being articulate, now that's another matter. It takes some quiet mental space to produce a good reply, let alone article. My current lifestyle leaves little room for that. Add to that, I'm in the hustle&bustle of Xinxiang, Henan, China right now, so mental/physical space is at a premium. I'm heading back soon, so I hope there's still some summer left for me in ChCh.
    As for Sasha's alter ego, it'd take a brave writer to speak for Sasha - I'd get sliced to pieces for that crime... ;-)

    As for Sasha's alter ego, it'd take a brave writer to speak for Sasha - I'd get sliced to pieces for that crime... ;-)
    Been there, done that... got the blood stain :)

    We know what the universe is, it's accepting it that's the problem. The universe is ours, it belongs to us. we are the ones that created it! "I" am my own creator, I created the impossible, because it was the only possible and I never want to do it again! Even though, I already know I will have to do it all over again!

    Michael Martinez
    "...but in the absence of a God, whatever caused our Universe to come into existence should be there to do it again."
    Unless it was self-consuming.
    Gerhard Adam
    Well, technically nothing can be "self-consuming", since neither energy or matter can be created or destroyed.  So, it may well transform into something else, but then we'd have to have a better idea of what "it" is.
    Mundus vult decipi
    blue-green

    Tommaso wants to know more than the value of a measurement, he hopes to understand what compels a lowly electron to have its exact and universal mass, spin and charge. The middle item, spin ½ is derivable. Surely the rest can also be derived.

    The mass and charge values have proven to be very hard nuts to crack. Will they be derived from necessity and symmetry by Tommaso's generation or the next? What have the previous five generations overlooked?

    Contrary to what Tommaso states at the end of his little speech, quantum physics does not state that “all possible realizations of physical reality must come to existence.” It merely says that all possible quantum AMPLITUDEs have to be weighed in a calculation. Let's get that part right and there will be less baloney on the table.

    Who can derive even one of the few postulates of quantum physics?