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Is Our Universe Too Perfect to be Random?


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Is Our Universe Too Perfect to be Random?

August 14, 2002 08:30 CDT

from cosmiverse

 

It's a question as big as the Cosmos itself: could the prevailing theoretical view of the universe be flawed? In order for the cosmos -- as we currently understand it -- to exist, it would have required outside help. In other words, it would have required a miracle to create our view of the universe, or outside intervention from "God".

 

If the universe is ever-more-rapidly expanding as we believe it to be, then it is destined to eventually repeat itself. According to a recent report in the journal Nature, that's the view of Leonard Susskind and his team from Stanford University, California.

 

What are the chances that such an event would produce worlds like ours? Extremely small, they say, somewhere between the proverbial "slim to none".

 

Therefore, one of two things must be true: either space is not accelerating for the reasons we believe it is, or some yet-undiscovered principle of physics is at work, say the researchers. This principle would have to be able to pick out those few initial states that lead to the creation of a Universe such as ours, and then guide cosmic evolution so that it doesn't happen that way.

 

Susskind's team, with all its collective scientific research and thinking skills, agrees that it almost seems as if something else is influencing what happened at the creation of our Universe. An "unknown agent", if you will, that intervened in the creation of our Universe for reasons yet unknown.

 

Before all you Creationists start jumping for joy, sit back down a minute. There's a flaw in your theory. The problem stems from the observation in 1998 that the Universe's expansion seems to be speeding up. The most popular explanation for that happening is that there's a cosmological constant-a repulsive force that opposes gravity.

 

If what we believe now holds true, other galaxies will eventually disappear as they zoom away from us faster than the speed of light. Once that happens, nothing that occurs in those parts of the galaxy can affect our world. The planets will become separate entities, each isolated behind a boundary called a de Sitter horizon.

 

That means that the Universe will fragment into a virtual foam of bubbles, each separated by a de Sitter horizon, in effect creating a de Sitter space. Each of the bubbles, isolated from the others, would eventually settle into what the researchers call "a bland, lifeless uniformity". Once that happens, our history effectively ends. We think.

 

Thermodynamics would argue otherwise, say Susskind and his colleagues. If you wait long enough, everything that can happen-will happen. With infinite patience, they say, a drop of ink dispersed into a glass of water will eventually gather its molecules back into a single drop. Okay, you'd have to wait an absurdly long time, but theoretically it could happen.

 

Left image: In 1995, the majestic spiral galaxy NGC 4414 was imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope as part of the HST Key Project on the Extragalactic Distance Scale. Based on their discovery and careful brightness measurements of variable stars in NGC 4414, astronomers were able to make an accurate determination of the distance to the galaxy, which is 19.1 megaparsecs or about 60 million light-years from Earth. Click image to enlarge.

 

It's equally possible that a Universe that is driven to become a de Sitter space by a cosmological constant will, after an absurdly long time, return to something resembling its original condition. At that point, a new cosmic history would be born and begin to unfold-including the appearance of life and everything we believe came after that. What are the chances that a cosmic recurrence such as the one we've described here will actually happen? They're beyond "extremely slim".

 

Cosmologists have a response to that. It's called the anthropic principle. That says that regardless of how unlikely the Universe seems, the very fact that we are here to wonder about its origins and ask such questions resolves the paradox. If things were otherwise, they argue, then life wouldn't exist and the questions could never be raised.

 

The research done by Susskind's team shows that the anthropic principle won't help here, because a vast number of Universes would allow life that might look very different from the one in which we now live. All of the habitable Universes would result from "miraculous statistical events.

 

Even if "something" did set the peculiar conditions of our universe, those conditions would only apply to that one occurrence. Future occurrences would produce a very different result. If that is true, then the only conclusion we could reach would be that we are in the first unfolding of this carefully crafted Universe. This seems too much like "special pleading", according to the researchers, who spoke with Nature.

 

So, in the end, is there no cosmological constant after all? Or could we be missing something fundamental?

 

Source: Nature; Stanford University; NASA

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Thanks Blike, I've read a bit about this myself in the Sept. Discover of the mechanics of the expansion. It does look like in 100 thousand years we might be alone except for Andromeda which is hurtling towards us.

I theorize that the "something more" in human beings, the consciousness, that is greater than the sum of the parts is only a little piece of something much greater that causes all this around us to happen.

As far as a perfect universe, I don't want to take all the credit but It's a good thing I'm around keeping it on it's toes:cool2: :cool2:

Just aman

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This shows a lot of promise in the destruction of Creationism, but honestly, it is only a theory. There is no proof that life does or does not exist outside of our galaxy. That "something" that set the peculiar conditions for our existance could not be repeated? Who's to say that "something" else could set similiar conditions in a different universe/galaxy, not replicating ours, but evolving very similiar?

 

If the theory proves true, and we are alone, we're pretty much screwed when the sun decides to go kabloomie....and Hollywood is out a couple billion dollars a year.

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I still stand by the anythropic principle. I see no reason why any universal laws should have to have been started off by someone... definitely not the timeless being we normally attribute to religion.

the only possible exception to this, is if that 'timeless' being actually came about from a universe that was perfectly explainable, right down to how it started.

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Given access to unlimited energy and understanding of C+ technology, the universe we experience could be potentially designed by even one of our feeble sentience's. I could do it with some cranking power to help.

We won't solve the intelligent design problem until we crack the C+ barrier and the microcosom barrier. I still vote for some sort of planned design and I only have subjective arguments to support my vote.

But I'm old and I'm wise.:cool2: :cool2: :cool2:

Just aman

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I've spent a lot of time thinking about how people say the universe is so perfect, it must have been created. Perhaps my response to this was stated in the article, and I misunderstood, but here we go...

 

The Big Bang Theory, which I believe is the main non-Creationist (and even some Creationists believe it) theory for how the universe began, states that the universe started as a singularity--for any of you who might not know, a singularity is a point where gravity and density are infinite, where the normal laws of physics don't apply. Now, if this was what happened, then when the expansion began, any set of physical laws could have been created, randomly picked and such. Following this logic, why do we assume that our universe is the only one in which life such as ours could exist?

 

There are constants within our universe which, if they were modified only a tiny bit, would prevent stars from forming, or life from forming, or whatever. That's what scientists say, but why must we assume that a completely different universe, with different laws of physics, would be affected so much by having those constants set at a different value? Perhaps there's a universe somewhere where scientists are saying that if the cosmological constants were set to the values they have in *our* universe, life couldn't exist, or stars couldn't form, etc.

 

We are bound to imagining things as they are inside our universe. We can't predict what other randomly created universes might be like, because they're completely outside anyone's experience, assuming that one is from our universe.

 

Another way to think of it is to imagine your life as a series of occurrences that might have been different. For my life, for example, I would never have been born if my dad hadn't made a phone call through the operator and met my mom (who was the operator). He wouldn't have been in America to make that call if he hadn't moved here from England, and he might not have moved here if his dad hadn't died in 1983 (or maybe it was 1982?). Now, could I validly sit here and say that if those events had been different, then my dad would definitely never have had another son? Of course not. Said son might have been completely different than me, but he'd still be there, and he might have even started thinking about what it would have been like if events had been different in Dad's life. This method isn't the best, since it doesn't rival the complexity of the universe, but it still serves to illustrate my point.

 

I just thought I'd throw that into the mix, whether I worded it well enough for it to make sense or not. Have fun responding.

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I think you have the right sort of idea there John... think of all the coincidences that occured just in order to bring you here, right from the first cellular lifeforms right the way through things hitting the planet and so on. Suddenly the huge numbers involved in getting the universe to look right don't seem so ominous. I still see no reason for any kind of planning, besides, if any of it is planned, then the planner must be planned too. and so must the planner of of the planner of the planned -> (extrapolate ad infinitum)

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  • 1 month later...

Looking at it as an electrical engineer I can take a box and give it an input and see on the other side the output and tell you what is at least inside the box. Maybe five components for example. I can also get the same output by filling the whole box with redundant and unnecessary circuits.

There should be many different ways to achieve the same result of life and maybe we are still in the box and not the ouput yet.

Some life may have skipped ahead by circumstances being favorable.

A universe with energy, water, and carbon is bound to form some sort of life over time.

Just aman

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  • 7 months later...
Originally posted by blike

It's equally possible that a Universe that is driven to become a de Sitter space by a cosmological constant will, after an absurdly long time, return to something resembling its original condition. At that point, a new cosmic history would be born and begin to unfold-including the appearance of life and everything we believe came after that. What are the chances that a cosmic recurrence such as the one we've described here will actually happen? They're beyond "extremely slim".

 

Cosmologists have a response to that. It's called the anthropic principle. That says that regardless of how unlikely the Universe seems, the very fact that we are here to wonder about its origins and ask such questions resolves the paradox. If things were otherwise, they argue, then life wouldn't exist and the questions could never be raised.

 

The research done by Susskind's team shows that the anthropic principle won't help here, because a vast number of Universes would allow life that might look very different from the one in which we now live. All of the habitable Universes would result from "miraculous statistical events.

 

Even if "something" did set the peculiar conditions of our universe, those conditions would only apply to that one occurrence. Future occurrences would produce a very different result. If that is true, then the only conclusion we could reach would be that we are in the first unfolding of this carefully crafted Universe. This seems too much like "special pleading", according to the researchers, who spoke with Nature.

 

When I first read the article, I thought "anthropic principal." Included with that notion is the idea that because time is created with the start of the big bang, there's no known universal timeline that states whether or not there have been 10,100, or 1000 universe before us. Matter cannot be created or destroyed ("Recycle: Save the universe!" I can imagine the bumper stickers right now:))

 

As for the miraculous statistical events, scientific american's most recent issue has a stunning article in it: The title of the magazine reads: "Infinite Earths in PARALLEL UNIVERSES Really Exist."

 

"Not only are parallel universes--a staple of science fiction--probably real, but they could exist in four different ways. Somewhere out there our universe has a twin."

 

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?colID=1&articleID=000F1EDD-B48A-1E90-8EA5809EC5880000

 

"One of the many implications of recent cosmological observations is that the concept of parallel universes is no mere metaphor. Space appears to be infinite in size. If so, then somewhere out there, everything that is possible becomes real, no matter how improbable it is. Beyond the range of our telescopes are other regions of space that are identical to ours. Those regions are a type of parallel universe. Scientists can even calculate how distant these universes are, on average. "

 

"And that is fairly solid physics. When cosmologists consider theories that are less well established, they conclude that other universes can have entirely different properties and laws of physics. The presence of those universes would explain various strange aspects of our own. It could even answer fundamental questions about the nature of time and the comprehensibility of the physical world. "

 

Not only does the article suggest that after eventual distances, there are EXACT copies of you, but in the universe, there exists EVERY possible combination for EVERYTHING. An entire universe devoted to your front yard having one less blade of grass...AMAZING!

 

~Wolf

 

It seems that the anthropic principle survives another beating :)

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  • 11 months later...
Guest noname

So what if what happened to the dinosaurs can be mathematically proven not to be a big bit of space debris? Could it have been because the earth was close to the sun and the earth just got too cold making the dinosaurs die out... and when the earth was coming back to its normal orbit, it started the ice age.

 

also

 

what if man in a googol years ahead (if we don't kill ourselves :D ) had actually found a reliable source for time travel. Would we actually be the creators? could man be god?... personally, i think we're being watched over by the future/parallel universe. FOR EXAMPLE! there was a man who almost could have stopped pearl harbor. He told the navy exactly how it would happen, but he was thrown in the looney bin. Maybe they sent a guy back to try and stop the attack from happening...they saw how it would play out and sent another guy to stop the "crazy man" (sorry for not remembering his name).

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Binary 1, 0 , on/off. Simple intelligence. Passing energy from one particle to another, on/off simple intelligence. Two particles get together, 1,0,1,0, on/off, on/off, then later you get a wave. I am trying to say that gradually, a simple on/off situation leads to a high degree of intelligence. What you are looking at now is the on/off switch evolved. If it looks perfect, it is because it has evolved from the tiniest probibilty into a huge billion billion billion (Ask Fafalone the number) probibility. God would have had to have gone through a similar path to this to evolve himself, therefore he is redundant from the argument. You cannot say that we require an evolved God to create an evolved universe. What you can say is that the universe was either created from it's own internal evolution, or from a being or many beings that evolved before us, but who had to evolve from on/off themselves.

 

Pincho.

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Remark after reading a few parts

Gravity isn't limited to the speed of light' date=' so other galaxies will always influence each other. soo no space bubbles[/quote']

 

The theory and evidence are that gravity is indeed limited to the speed of light. Read this

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  • 1 month later...
I think you have the right sort of idea there John... think of all the coincidences that occured just in order to bring you here, right from the first cellular lifeforms right the way through things hitting the planet and so on. Suddenly the huge numbers involved in getting the universe to look right don't seem so ominous. I still see no reason for any kind of planning, besides, if any of it is planned, then the planner must be planned too. and so must the planner of of the planner of the planned -> (extrapolate ad infinitum)

Right. SOMEBODY is going to win the lottery, no matter what the odds were.

 

Jerry Abbott

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How did these scientists say it was unlikely? The universe is so freakin big its inevitable. Eww, i feel like Agent Smith saying that, but i don't agree with most things that came out of his mouth. He was very stupid and limited in capacity to see beyond himself. Anyway, to me evolution and everything is really very miraculous and amazing. We'll never understand it all. We can never predict what the next inevitable thing will be because we know so little. Might be fun to guess though. . . . . . . . oh also about that dissipation thing, no one wants to believe that, so what kind of evidence is there that tells it will eventually rejoin? I wanna know, will it or wont it? Doesn't matter how long it takes, time is nothing when nobody is alive to experience it.-------- i think rejoining makes the most sense, that would mean it could implode then bang over and over though eternity, otherwise you have an illogical idea that it just began and ended and never really mattered.

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My personal view on the speed of gravity issue is that the speed of gravity is much greater than the speed of light. I believe that once a star ignites, its gravitational effect is felt immediately (unlike the 8 minutes for light to reach Earth) in the area under its influence and the field of effect is proportional to the size of the star that has ignited.

 

Alas the only way to truly measure this you would have to be close enough to a star's ignition to measure how long before its gravitational effects were felt on any planetary bodies near it.

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Maybe each universe is made of all the others.

 

We know that in space there's a continuous flux of zero energy in vacuum. It goes on everywhere and all the time. But suppose we're missing a connection, namely, that this flux of other universes is what our universe is composed of.

 

I think that Stephen Hawking's self-contained "the universe would just BE" idea might have an element of truth. However, instead of this singular universe just being, it's the whole system of tangent universes just being. In some other universe, ours appears as a transient vacuum fluctuation: it's there, somewhere and at some moment, but for all practical purposes beneath notice.

 

Jerry Abbott

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My personal view on the speed of gravity issue is that the speed of gravity is much greater than the speed of light. I believe that once a star ignites' date=' its gravitational effect is felt immediately (unlike the 8 minutes for light to reach Earth) in the area under its influence and the field of effect is proportional to the size of the star that has ignited.

 

Alas the only way to truly measure this you would have to be close enough to a star's ignition to measure how long before its gravitational effects were felt on any planetary bodies near it.[/quote']

A star's gravity does not involve the fusion reactions in the star's core. Whether it has ignited yet, or not, a star-sized mass will have all the gravity that it's supposed to have.

 

The gravity field is a relationship between mass and space, not a relationship between mass and mass. Space is the coupling between two masses, each of which acts on the shape of the space through which they both move.

 

Energy (including mass), momentum, angular momentum, space, and time are interrelated. A high density in one of those dimensions will be paid for by a reduction in one or more of the others. For example, a small separation from a large mass will make a clock run slow, in the estimate of an observer who is farther away. For example, a meterstick passing you lengthwise at very high speed (large kinetic energy) will appear reduced in length, relative to a stationary meterstick.

 

Jerry Abbott

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It seems to me that the kind of question posed by the title of this thread is fundamentally flawed, because to question whether our universe is "too perfect" we would have to be able to compare it with universes that are less perfect and more perfect than the one we inhabit.

 

From what you have written, the Susskind group's results indicate that the uniqueness of a given universe appears to be sensitive to initial conditions. This may not be so surprising being as recent results are now showing that the universe displays properties of dynamic nonlinear systems (eg, nonlinear expansion, the asymmetrical distribution of matter revealed by the COBE map). Sensitivity to initial conditions is one of the prime characteristics of dynamic nonlinear systems.

 

Also, according to string theory, there are at least 11 possible dimensions, and depending on which dimension set unfolds at the time of creation of the universe, each of them will have unique properties.

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I didn't read the thread too carefuly, but just my quick thoughts:

 

The very fact that we are here has much to do with the design of the universe. We have no way of knowing how many different universes were tried or how many currently exist. We do know that humans needed certain, very specific conditions to be where we are today. Anything different and we wouldn't be here. So the very fact we are here to contemplate the questions shows how the extreme improbability of our universe being created was overcome. If it weren't, we wouldn't be here to contemplate it. The odds don't matter because the odds of any universe being created is the same. It just so happens we give this one special meaning becuase we are here to wonder about it.

 

[Edit] On second thought, that made more sense in my head. Oh well.

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Our universe is perfected enough for us to exist in it and learn and grow and someday, as a whole or maybe individually be greater than it. For all the order and circumstance of the past to play out to todays existance seems a lot greater accomplishment than I can attribute to chance. Just my opinion though. Kinda feels like our existence was somehow parented if you compare it intuitively to other experiences.

Just aman

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:D:D:D

I'm sorry... I'm sorry...

It just amuses me everytime I read such things all

over again, no offense really. :)

 

Quote: "This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in—an interesting hole I find myself in—fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it’s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise."

Douglas Adams

 

Try it, it's superb :

http://www.biota.org/people/douglasadams/

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A star's gravity does not involve the fusion reactions in the star's core. Whether it has ignited yet, or not, a star-sized mass will have all the gravity that it's supposed to have.

 

By this do you mean that our star (all the gravity it's supposed to have) already has the same gravity as say a neutron star or a pulsar?

 

Or do you mean it has all the gravity its supposed to have like I have all the hair that I'm supposed to have? For no matter how much or how little hair I have, that is how much I am supposed to have.

 

If a star sized mass has all the gravity it's supposed to, what exactly is creating that gravity/energy?

What matter if any is being converted to energy in an unlit star-sized mass to create that gravity/energy?

What is the process of this conversion in an unlit star sized mass?

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