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  • richardmitnick 9:24 pm on January 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How could the Big Bang arise from nothing?", Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity proposes that a gravitational singularity may have existed., , , , , , In a gravitational singularity even the laws of quantum physics break down and the four fundamental forces (strong nuclear; weak nuclear; electromagnetic & gravity) could be unified as one!, Many-worlds quantum theory gives a new twist on conformal cyclic cosmology: Our Big Bang might be the rebirth of one single quantum multiverse containing infinitely different universes., Metaphysics, No matter how small the chance of something occurring if it has a non-zero chance then it occurs in some quantum parallel world., Other measurement results all play out in other universes in a multiverse effectively cut off from our own., , , Some people believe parallel universes may also be observable in cosmological data as imprints caused by another universe colliding with ours., The "Grand Unification Epoch", The "Plank Epoch", , , The measurement result we see is just one possibility-the one that plays out in our own universe., Three options to the deeper question of how the cycles began: no physical explanation at all; endlessly repeating cycles each a universe in its own right; one single cycle .   

    From The Conversation : “How could the Big Bang arise from nothing?” 

    From The Conversation

    January 3, 2022
    Alastair Wilson
    Professor of Philosophy, The University of Birmingham (UK)

    The evolution of the cosmos after the Big Bang. Into what is the universe expanding? Credit: Dana Berry/NASA Goddard.

    READER QUESTION: My understanding is that nothing comes from nothing. For something to exist, there must be material or a component available, and for them to be available, there must be something else available. Now my question: Where did the material come from that created the Big Bang, and what happened in the first instance to create that material? Peter, 80, Australia.

    “The last star will slowly cool and fade away. With its passing, the universe will become once more a void, without light or life or meaning.” So warned the physicist Brian Cox in the recent BBC series Universe. The fading of that last star will only be the beginning of an infinitely long, dark epoch. All matter will eventually be consumed by monstrous black holes, which in their turn will evaporate away into the dimmest glimmers of light. Space will expand ever outwards until even that dim light becomes too spread out to interact. Activity will cease.

    Or will it? Strangely enough, some cosmologists believe a previous, cold dark empty universe like the one which lies in our far future could have been the source of our very own Big Bang.

    The first matter

    But before we get to that, let’s take a look at how “material” – physical matter – first came about. If we are aiming to explain the origins of stable matter made of atoms or molecules, there was certainly none of that around at the Big Bang – nor for hundreds of thousands of years afterwards. We do in fact have a pretty detailed understanding of how the first atoms formed out of simpler particles once conditions cooled down enough for complex matter to be stable, and how these atoms were later fused into heavier elements inside stars. But that understanding doesn’t address the question of whether something came from nothing.

    So let’s think further back. The first long-lived matter particles of any kind were protons and neutrons, which together make up the atomic nucleus.

    The quark structure of the proton. 16 March 2006 Arpad Horvath.

    The quark structure of the neutron. 15 January 2018 Jacek Rybak.

    These came into existence around one ten-thousandth of a second after the Big Bang. Before that point, there was really no material in any familiar sense of the word. But physics lets us keep on tracing the timeline backwards – to physical processes which predate any stable matter.

    This takes us to the so-called “grand unified epoch”.

    The Beginning of the Modern Universe

    The “Grand Unification Epoch” took place from 10^-43 seconds to 10^-36 seconds after our universe was born. Quantum theory allows us to form a clearer picture of this Epoch compared to the mysterious The “Plank Epoch”.

    During the “Grand Unification Epoch”, the universe was still extremely hot and incomprehensibly small. However, it had cooled down enough to allow the force of gravity to separate from the other three fundamental forces. The unification of the strong nuclear, weak nuclear, and electromagnetic force that existed during this period of time is referred to as the electronuclear force. However, the splitting off of gravity from the electronuclear force wasn’t the only milestone of this epoch- this is also when the first elementary particles began to form.

    What Are Elementary Particles?
    Elementary Particles are particles which have no substructure- i.e. they are the simplest form of matter possible. Elementary particles are the building blocks of electrons, neutrons, protons and more! Currently, there are 17 elementary particles that have been confirmed- the unconfirmed “gravitron”is still in the theoretical category. There are 12 “matter” elementary particles and 5 “force carrier” particles.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics, Quantum Diaries.

    These are the matter elementary particles are what make up the physical part of subatomic particles and are referred to as fermions. The two categories of elementary fermions are quarks and leptons. Quarks combine to form particles known as Hadrons (more on that later), which make up the famous neutrons and protons; Leptons form electrons and other fundamental particles.

    The 5 force carrier particles mediate the interactions between the weak magnetic, strong magnetic, and electromagnetic forces. Bosons are the fundamental reason for the attractions/reactions we view as forces.

    The “Plank Epoch”
    The “Plank Epoch” encompasses the time period from 0 to 10^-43 seconds.
    This extremely small unit of time is aptly referred to as a “Plank Time”.
    Not much is truly known about this period of time, however some very interesting hypothesis have been made.

    Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity proposes that a gravitational singularity may have existed. In a gravitational singularity, even the laws of quantum physics break down and the four fundamental forces (strong nuclear, weak nuclear, electromagnetic, & gravity) could be unified as one! This is an extremely odd concept to consider. It also ties into the so-called “Theory of Everything” which states that at high enough energy levels, even gravity will combine back into one unified force with the other three.

    During the “Plank Epoch”, our universe was only 10^-35 meters wide (VERY small) and 10^32 degrees celsius (VERY hot)!

    During the The “Grand Unification Epoch”, the universe was still extremely hot and incomprehensibly small. However, it had cooled down enough to allow the force of gravity to separate from the other three fundamental forces. The unification of the strong nuclear, weak nuclear, and electromagnetic force that existed during this period of time is referred to as the electronuclear force. However, the splitting off of gravity from the electronuclear force wasn’t the only milestone of this epoch- this is also when the first elementary particles began to form.

    By now, we are well into the realm of speculative physics, as we can’t produce enough energy in our experiments to probe the sort of processes that were going on at the time. But a plausible hypothesis is that the physical world was made up of a soup of short-lived elementary particles – including quarks, the building blocks of protons and neutrons. There was both matter and “antimatter” in roughly equal quantities: each type of matter particle, such as the quark, has an antimatter “mirror image” companion, which is near identical to itself, differing only in one aspect. However, matter and antimatter annihilate in a flash of energy when they meet, meaning these particles were constantly created and destroyed.

    But how did these particles come to exist in the first place? Quantum field theory tells us that even a vacuum, supposedly corresponding to empty spacetime, is full of physical activity in the form of energy fluctuations. These fluctuations can give rise to particles popping out, only to be disappear shortly after. This may sound like a mathematical quirk rather than real physics, but such particles have been spotted in countless experiments.

    The spacetime vacuum state is seething with particles constantly being created and destroyed, apparently “out of nothing”. But perhaps all this really tells us is that the quantum vacuum is (despite its name) a something rather than a nothing. The philosopher David Albert has memorably criticized accounts of the Big Bang which promise to get something from nothing in this way.

    Simulation of quantum vacuum fluctuations in quantum chromodynamics. Credit: Ahmed Neutron/Wikimedia.

    Suppose we ask: where did spacetime itself arise from? Then we can go on turning the clock yet further back, into the truly ancient “Planck epoch” – a period so early in the universe’s history that our best theories of physics break down [above]. This era occurred only one ten-millionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. At this point, space and time themselves became subject to quantum fluctuations. Physicists ordinarily work separately with Quantum Mechanics, which rules the microworld of particles, and with general relativity, which applies on large, cosmic scales. But to truly understand the Planck epoch, we need a complete theory of quantum gravity, merging the two.

    We still don’t have a perfect theory of quantum gravity, but there are attempts – like string theory and loop quantum gravity. In these attempts, ordinary space and time are typically seen as emergent, like the waves on the surface of a deep ocean. What we experience as space and time are the product of quantum processes operating at a deeper, microscopic level – processes that don’t make much sense to us as creatures rooted in the macroscopic world.

    In the “Planck epoch”, our ordinary understanding of space and time breaks down, so we can’t any longer rely on our ordinary understanding of cause and effect either. Despite this, all candidate theories of quantum gravity describe something physical that was going on in the Planck epoch – some quantum precursor of ordinary space and time. But where did that come from?

    Even if causality no longer applies in any ordinary fashion, it might still be possible to explain one component of the “Planck epoch” universe in terms of another. Unfortunately, by now even our best physics fails completely to provide answers. Until we make further progress towards a “theory of everything”, we won’t be able to give any definitive answer. The most we can say with confidence at this stage is that physics has so far found no confirmed instances of something arising from nothing.

    Cycles from almost nothing

    To truly answer the question of how something could arise from nothing, we would need to explain the quantum state of the entire universe at the beginning of the Planck epoch. All attempts to do this remain highly speculative. Some of them appeal to supernatural forces like a “designer”. But other candidate explanations remain within the realm of physics – such as a multiverse, which contains an infinite number of parallel universes, or cyclical models of the universe, being born and reborn again.

    The 2020 Nobel Prize-winning physicist Roger Penrose has proposed one intriguing but controversial model for a cyclical universe dubbed “conformal cyclic cosmology”. Penrose was inspired by an interesting mathematical connection between a very hot, dense, small state of the universe – as it was at the Big Bang – and an extremely cold, empty, expanded state of the universe – as it will be in the far future. His radical theory to explain this correspondence is that those states become mathematically identical when taken to their limits. Paradoxical though it might seem, a total absence of matter might have managed to give rise to all the matter we see around us in our universe.

    Nobel Lecture: Roger Penrose, Nobel Prize in Physics 2020
    34 minutes

    In this view, the Big Bang arises from an almost nothing. That’s what’s left over when all the matter in a universe has been consumed into black holes, which have in turn boiled away into photons – lost in a void. The whole universe thus arises from something that – viewed from another physical perspective – is as close as one can get to nothing at all. But that nothing is still a kind of something. It is still a physical universe, however empty.

    How can the very same state be a cold, empty universe from one perspective and a hot dense universe from another? The answer lies in a complex mathematical procedure called “conformal rescaling”, a geometrical transformation which in effect alters the size of an object but leaves its shape unchanged.

    Penrose showed how the cold dense state and the hot dense state could be related by such rescaling so that they match with respect to the shapes of their spacetimes – although not to their sizes. It is, admittedly, difficult to grasp how two objects can be identical in this way when they have different sizes – but Penrose argues size as a concept ceases to make sense in such extreme physical environments.

    In conformal cyclic cosmology, the direction of explanation goes from old and cold to young and hot: the hot dense state exists because of the cold empty state. But this “because” is not the familiar one – of a cause followed in time by its effect. It is not only size that ceases to be relevant in these extreme states: time does too. The cold dense state and the hot dense state are in effect located on different timelines. The cold empty state would continue on forever from the perspective of an observer in its own temporal geometry, but the hot dense state it gives rise to effectively inhabits a new timeline all its own.

    It may help to understand the hot dense state as produced from the cold empty state in some non-causal way. Perhaps we should say that the hot dense state emerges from, or is grounded in, or realised by the cold, empty state. These are distinctively metaphysical ideas which have been explored by philosophers of science extensively, especially in the context of quantum gravity where ordinary cause and effect seem to break down. At the limits of our knowledge, physics and philosophy become hard to disentangle.

    Experimental evidence?

    Conformal cyclic cosmology offers some detailed, albeit speculative, answers to the question of where our Big Bang came from. But even if Penrose’s vision is vindicated by the future progress of cosmology, we might think that we still wouldn’t have answered a deeper philosophical question – a question about where physical reality itself came from. How did the whole system of cycles come about? Then we finally end up with the pure question of why there is something rather than nothing – one of the biggest questions of metaphysics.

    But our focus here is on explanations which remain within the realm of physics. There are three broad options to the deeper question of how the cycles began. It could have no physical explanation at all. Or there could be endlessly repeating cycles each a universe in its own right, with the initial quantum state of each universe explained by some feature of the universe before. Or there could be one single cycle and one single repeating universe, with the beginning of that cycle explained by some feature of its own end. The latter two approaches avoid the need for any uncaused events – and this gives them a distinctive appeal. Nothing would be left unexplained by physics.

    Ongoing cycles of distinct universes in conformal cyclic cosmology. Roger Penrose.

    Penrose envisages a sequence of endless new cycles for reasons partly linked to his own preferred interpretation of quantum theory. In quantum mechanics, a physical system exists in a superposition of many different states at the same time, and only “picks one” randomly, when we measure it. For Penrose, each cycle involves random quantum events turning out a different way – meaning each cycle will differ from those before and after it. This is actually good news for experimental physicists, because it might allow us to glimpse the old universe that gave rise to ours through faint traces, or anomalies, in the leftover radiation from the Big Bang seen by the Planck satellite.

    Penrose and his collaborators believe they may have spotted these traces already [MNRAS], attributing patterns in the Planck data [CMB] to radiation from supermassive black holes in the previous universe. However, their claimed observations have been challenged by other physicists [Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics] and the jury remains out.

    CMB per European Space Agency(EU) Planck.

    Endless new cycles are key to Penrose’s own vision. But there is a natural way to convert conformal cyclic cosmology from a multi-cycle to a one-cycle form. Then physical reality consists in a single cycling around through the Big Bang to a maximally empty state in the far future – and then around again to the very same Big Bang, giving rise to the very same universe all over again.

    This latter possibility is consistent with another interpretation of quantum mechanics, dubbed the many-worlds interpretation. The many-worlds interpretation tells us that each time we measure a system that is in superposition, this measurement doesn’t randomly select a state. Instead, the measurement result we see is just one possibility – the one that plays out in our own universe. The other measurement results all play out in other universes in a multiverse effectively cut off from our own. So no matter how small the chance of something occurring if it has a non-zero chance then it occurs in some quantum parallel world. There are people just like you out there in other worlds who have won the lottery, or have been swept up into the clouds by a freak typhoon, or have spontaneously ignited, or have done all three simultaneously.

    Some people believe such parallel universes may also be observable [MNRAS] in cosmological data as imprints caused by another universe colliding with ours.

    Many-worlds quantum theory gives a new twist on conformal cyclic cosmology, though not one that Penrose agrees with. Our Big Bang might be the rebirth of one single quantum multiverse containing infinitely many different universes all occurring together. Everything possible happens – then it happens again and again and again.

    An ancient myth

    For a philosopher of science, Penrose’s vision is fascinating. It opens up new possibilities for explaining the Big Bang, taking our explanations beyond ordinary cause and effect. It is therefore a great test case for exploring the different ways physics can explain our world. It deserves more attention from philosophers.

    For a lover of myth, Penrose’s vision is beautiful. In Penrose’s preferred multi-cycle form, it promises endless new worlds born from the ashes of their ancestors. In its one-cycle form, it is a striking modern re-invocation of the ancient idea of the ouroboros, or world-serpent. In Norse mythology, the serpent Jörmungandr is a child of Loki, a clever trickster, and the giant Angrboda. Jörmungandr consumes its own tail, and the circle created sustains the balance of the world. But the ouroboros myth has been documented all over the world – including as far back as ancient Egypt.

    Ouroboros on the tomb of Tutankhamun. Credit: Djehouty/Wikimedia.

    The ouroboros of the one cyclic universe is majestic indeed. It contains within its belly our own universe, as well as every one of the weird and wonderful alternative possible universes allowed by quantum physics – and at the point where its head meets its tail, it is completely empty yet also coursing with energy at temperatures of a hundred thousand million billion trillion degrees Celsius. Even Loki, the shapeshifter, would be impressed.

    See the full article here .


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    Our team of professional editors work with university and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public.
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  • richardmitnick 4:04 am on February 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Metaphysics,   

    From Science 2.0: “Tautological Description-Relativistic Metaphysics IS The Theory Of Everything” 

    Science 2.0 bloc

    February 18th 2015
    Sascha Vongehr

    Modern physics is not accidentally relativistic and quantum, or in other words, Einstein-relative as well as Everett-relative (Bell-violating Everett-relativity is the very core of quantum mechanics!). Modern physics becomes ever more relativistic still today, and description relativity has revolutionized fundamental physics (see string theory dualities, Maldacena conjecture, black hole complementarity/holography, and so on). Why? Because we must take the observer’s perspective, and this means the describer’s perspective, ever more into account. We ‘pull back’ onto the finished (experienced) observation that ultimately determines the outcome of any measurement, and therefore we eventually complete a full pull-back onto phenomenal, “subjective” experience.

    We also know that the theory of everything (ToE) cannot be falsifiable empirical science. Metaphysics has always been the driver of cutting edge physics. [Albert] Einstein would never have touched [Bernhard] Riemann’s mathematics without first having discovered his elevator thought experiment. Especially today, because quantum mechanics is firmly established, those who count metaphysics only toward philosophy simply do not understand physics! However, we need a new way of doing metaphysics in order to avoid the ontological dead end. Tautological description-relativistic metaphysics has now proven that it can do this and lead to exact science.

    There is nothing more obvious than the tautology of that “I experience, therefore I experience”. Grounded on this tautologically self-evident start, [René] Descartes’ “I think therefore I am” is unassailable! Once more: Descartes’ “I think therefore I am” is tautologically true as in “I experience therefore I experience” (E => E). The naïve scientistic objection on grounds of that the experiencer of the thoughts is not necessarily the brain that does the thinking is a straw-man argument which insists on a body-mind dualism that the historical Descartes may not even have agreed with. My existence (E), namely the existence of at least the experiencing of being bothered about these questions, is beyond doubt for anything that is bothered about these questions.

    The early [Ludwig] Wittgenstein held logic to be empty because nothing but tautologies such as “A = A”, “P => P”, or “P or not-P” can be ultimately proven to be true. However, a tautology like Descartes’ “I think therefore I am” has two ends. Although they are fundamentally the same (namely E), they point toward different associated aspects. This fills the tautology with content!

    That “the theory of everything (ToE) is the theory of everything” is such a tautological certainty. As we already saw in detail the last time, rather than being empty, it allows us to determine important aspects of the Theory of Everything, namely for example that the ToE cannot be falsifiable.

    By regarding “I think therefore I am” explicitly as a tautology, we understand that the two ends of the expression define each other, namely for example my being (“I am”) is thus defined to be concerned with the experience of my thinking (E) rather than, say, emphasizing the description of my body as it is hardly changed if in a coma.

    ‘Fundamentally desired defining’ is always an implicit, circular defining, a ‘bilateral cross-definition’ if you like, namely of at least two aspects at once, defining each other. The concept of ‘by fundamentally desired definition’, which was already introduced together with the “ToE = ToE” tautology, is therefore also based on tautological certainty.

    Take for one example TO, the totality of all possible experiences (or experienced perspectives, or observers O, therefore “TO”). It implicitly defines what “possibly existing” means. The so called Plenitude Principle (“all that is possible exists”) becomes the tautological certainty it always was to mature philosophers. This resolves the pseudo-problem that surprisingly many still today seem to be hung upon, namely satisfying both of these, seemingly mutually exclusive statements together:

    1) The difference between possible and necessary is that the possible does precisely not necessarily exist.

    2) Being fundamentally possible means to be in the totality of all possibilities, therefore, whatever is possible automatically necessarily exists in totality.

    For another example of implicit cross-definition, take “total totality” TA (see picture). It must be defined in such a way that no further beyond can be referred to, otherwise the question “Why is there anything rather than nothing?” (WITA-RTN) can still be asked as if there is an alternative, namely the “N” in WITA-RTN. The definition is thus not just a trivial definition of a set of all sets. Rather this definition of TA emerged out of an argument and implicitly defines also what “referring” for example can mean on that level. The argument resolves WITA-RTN partially, because WITA-RTN’s “N” is “inside totality” (TA). This avoids an infinite regress without N being inside the totality of everything possible (TO)! “Nothingness” is not an alternative possibility on the “multiverse” level, which is obvious here but still extremely confusing to many scientists and philosophers.


    a) Pointing to outside of the model-cat (the black cat model) may refer to a place near the modeled cat. The outside of the model-cat is not just a necessary part of the model but moreover can belong to the referring bits of the model. b) “Total totality” TA already includes all possible directions and realms beyond by fundamentally desired definition, so nothing is beyond TA. Outside of the model-totality TA is a place in the model, but it does not refer to anything that the model is supposed to refer to. In the model, “nothing” is outside of TA, because “nothing” does not refer to anything; it refers not to nothing, but rather “nothing” does here no longer “refer” in a modeling way at all (by the same definition), and it is now always just a part of the model. c) In the space of all O, nothing is outside of the totality TO of all O; this is tautologically true. However, the origin or grounds for TO, its “right reason” (RR) for “why is there anything rather than nothing” (WITA-RTN) is somehow “beyond” (not even in orthogonal dimensions). WITA-RTN’s “N” is “inside totality” (TA), but not inside the totality of everything possible (TO); “Nothingness” is not an alternative on the “multiverse” or many-world level!

    Where does this lead? Some regard progress on WITA-RTN as mere philosophy, but if you agree with the beginning of this article, you may expect that the widely desired ToE provides Einstein-Everett relativity without empirical input. Indeed, that is precisely what this way of doing metaphysics provides! Therefore, tautological description-relativistic metaphysics is (part of, the start of) the unique theory of everything!

    Allow me to finish with a footnote* telling in a few sentences the whole rest, because otherwise, just claiming to pull relativistic quantum theory out of Descartes’ hat cannot be taken seriously, but presenting it with the same tautological clarity will need many articles, some tedious ones.


    Warning, incomprehensible footnote: Apparent causal ‘flow of time’ is a priori in experienced perspectives. TO must have a description in terms of connected event structures that correlate futures causally with pasts. TO as such is “timeless” and therefore all such correlating connections are instantaneous synchronizations in that TA perspective. Therefore, fundamental time is metaphysically necessarily Einstein relativistic; it can only (and for several reasons) be self-consistent as an apparent light-cone structure. The apparent/emergent space is automatically in form of a relativistic space-time. It has been shown before (based on the same metaphysics) that Einstein-local space-time is auytomatically Everett-relativistic, meaning that it must be an event structure with multiple potential pasts; it is not a single-future-determined block-universe, but a structure of potential events. It was also already argued that an Einstein-local many-worldly structure is necessarily standard quantum, implying the quantitatively correct quantum correlation between the potential worlds of Alice and Bob in the EPR setup. In summary, exact science, i.e. the correct relativistic quantum theory, obtains from pure metaphysics.

    See the full article here.

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