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    • CommentAuthorenginerd
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2021
     
    Posted By: Andrew PalfreymanIt seems self-evident that spacetime is not fundamental; that it's an emergent property of a "deeper layer" which has something to do with entanglement. Our problem is that we are mesoscopic creatures with mesoscopic language and concepts, and our solution can only be via mathematics. Our everyday intuitions about "reality" utterly fail.


    My daughter the professor says that our intuition and language and way of thinking is wrong for quantum physic concepts because we have all spent all our time around very large, very slow, very cold stuff, relatively speaking.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2021
     
    Yes.
    • CommentAuthorloreman
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2021
     
    Everything vibrates and spins-we should recruit physicists from the dervishes.
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    Or dancing Wu Li Masters perhaps.

    Heisenberg and Schroedinger were well-versed in the Upanishads and, more famously, Oppenheimer in the Bhagavad Gita. Indeed, he learned Sanskrit in order to be able to read it in the original.
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeOct 9th 2021
     
    Posted By: loremanBut everything that goes into the “inventing” process operates according to principles which can be described mathematically-the chemical, electrical and magnetic phenomena that make up living and thinking-just everything-operates in accordance with a basic set of rules out of which the mathematics....develops?

    Mathematics describes things that don't exist as well as things that do. You can abstract anything to mathematical relationships. Thinking it has some kind of special property because it can describe the real world is like thinking language is cool for the same reason - because it has words for things.


    If we were all snuffed out tomorrow, and in 2 million years the cockroaches have developed complex intelligence, they’ll still be describing those same relationships, probably using base 6.

    I worry that "complex intelligence" must share properties we associate with us, the only beings we can speak of with "complex intelligence". Necessarily, we must share common views of the real world with other "complex intelligence" and have somewhat consistent experiences of it, or there wouldn't be a real world to speak of. Perhaps they would just bake the relations they are interested in, into their slide rules and 'think' no more of it.

    Are unicorns discovered or created? And does it affect the number that can balance on a pinhead?
    • CommentAuthorloreman
    • CommentTimeOct 9th 2021
     
    Posted By: pcstru
    Posted By: loremanBut everything that goes into the “inventing” process operates according to principles which can be described mathematically-the chemical, electrical and magnetic phenomena that make up living and thinking-just everything-operates in accordance with a basic set of rules out of which the mathematics....develops?

    Mathematics describes things that don't exist as well as things that do. You can abstract anything to mathematical relationships. Thinking it has some kind of special property because it can describe the real world is like thinking language is cool for the same reason - because it has words for things.


    If we were all snuffed out tomorrow, and in 2 million years the cockroaches have developed complex intelligence, they’ll still be describing those same relationships, probably using base 6.

    I worry that "complex intelligence" must share properties we associate with us, the only beings we can speak of with "complex intelligence". Necessarily, we must share common views of the real world with other "complex intelligence" and have somewhat consistent experiences of it, or there wouldn't be a real world to speak of. Perhaps they would just bake the relations they are interested in, into their slide rules and 'think' no more of it.

    Are unicorns discovered or created? And does it affect the number that can balance on a pinhead?


    But things exist because mathematics describes them. Maths is the symbology of relativity, the shorthand for the difference between the here and the there.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeOct 9th 2021 edited
     
    Posted By: pcstru

    Mathematics describes things that don't exist as well as things that do. You can abstract anything to mathematical relationships. Thinking it has some kind of special property because it can describe the real world is like thinking language is cool for the same reason - because it has words for things.


    The thing that amazes is that the real world CAN be described by mathematics. The fact that marhematics contains more than that is irrelevant. Those things are not descriptions; they are just other (pure) bits of mathematics. The real world is mathematical - you couldn't reverse that to say mathematics is wordly.

    The amazement occurs because mathematics does not require the real world. It is an abstract system whose only requirement is consistency with itself. Language does not have this feature. A language without reference to the real world would, quite literally, be meaningless.

    Mathematics (and music) are called "languages" only in a metaphorical sense.
  2.  
    "The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics". Wigner, I think.
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2021
     
    Posted By: Angus
    Posted By: pcstru

    Mathematics describes things that don't exist as well as things that do. You can abstract anything to mathematical relationships. Thinking it has some kind of special property because it can describe the real world is like thinking language is cool for the same reason - because it has words for things.


    The thing that amazes is that the real world CAN be described by mathematics.

    I'm not convinced. You can certainly quantify and enumerate the 'real world' properties with mathematics, but "describe" it? If I say I have 1 sheep, is that a mathematical description of sheep? How would I describe a sheep mathematically without using the word, "sheep"? If I encode pixels of a picture of a sheep, you need to know what a sheep is to interpret, even if you can put together the picture. The only thing Mathematics describes are mathematical properties or relationships, in the case of our sheep, the quantity, one.
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2021
     
    Posted By: loremanBut things exist because mathematics describes them.

    Err, perhaps I'm misunderstanding you but that reads to me as obviously wrong. Things exist without mathematics and there is no addition particle that we know of, so mathematics as such, does not exist as a real thing. It might represent what we measure/observe but it is not at a fundamental level what we are observing.


    Maths is the symbology of relativity, the shorthand for the difference between the here and the there.


    I'm afraid that's just word salad to me.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2021
     
    Posted By: pcstruHow would I describe a sheep mathematically without using the word, "sheep"?


    I think we are having a problem of scale, not to mention definition. The idea I am labouring under is that (we hope) the elements that make up whatever we choose to call a sheep can be described by mathematics. "Described" means that we can imagine predicting, at least statistically, how they will behave. We are fairly convinced that if we could determine the quantum states of all the particles that constitute something you call a sheep today, there is a pretty good chance that you would call it a sheep tomorrow. Samesame with the elementary particles that consitute you doing the calling.

    But this is just a tiny part of the mystery. As Wigner said, thanks AP, the strange thing is that mathematics should bear any relation at all to such a prediction.
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2021
     
    Posted By: AngusI think we are having a problem of scale, not to mention definition. The idea I am labouring under is that (we hope) the elements that make up whatever we choose to call a sheep can be described by mathematics.

    That seems a stretch when so far nothing is actually described by mathematics except mathematical ideas, everything else is just quantified and enumerated.


    "Described" means that we can imagine predicting, at least statistically, how they will behave.

    So you can describe mathematically behaviour - enumerate the properties of behaviour and quantify them.

    We are fairly convinced that if we could determine the quantum states of all the particles that constitute something

    I thought we were fairly well convinced that it would be impossible in principle to do such a thing?

    you call a sheep today, there is a pretty good chance that you would call it a sheep tomorrow. Samesame with the elementary particles that consitute you doing the calling.

    Maybe but you would still need to know it was a sheep to call it a sheep. If you had never seen a sheep before, you would not know it was a sheep, just that it was coherently the same thing it was yesterday or rather, the measurements are consistent with evidence of the 'same' thing.

    I guess if you believe what you say, then everything is created (and already baked in), unicorns and all. The universe is a giant record and we are all just needles in the groove, on play.


    But this is just a tiny part of the mystery. As Wigner said, thanks AP, the strange thing is that mathematics should bear any relation at all to such a prediction.

    I'm not sure why people find it strange. We invent/discover a way of looking at the world and we are surprised it bears some kind of relationship to the world we look at with it. Why is that strange rather than exactly what you would expect?
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2021
     
    Posted By: pcstruThat seems a stretch when so far nothing is actually described by mathematics except mathematical ideas, everything else is just quantified and enumerated.


    That's word salad. There is no physical distinction between quantified or enumerated and described, and they are both mathematical ideas just as much as logic is.

    I thought we were fairly well convinced that it would be impossible in principle to do such a thing?


    Well...we can write a wavefunction for very simple things and solve it, and we are getting better at complicating the things. We can imagine that a sheep has a wavefunction that could be solved if you knew enough. If there is a level of complication beyond which it becomes inherently mystical I don't know where that is.

    I guess if you believe what you say, then everything is created (and already baked in), unicorns and all. The universe is a giant record and we are all just needles in the groove, on play.


    No - given that we can only solve for likelihoods in most of these situations, the preordained universe vanished a long time ago.

    I'm not sure why people find it strange. We invent/discover a way of looking at the world and we are surprised it bears some kind of relationship to the world we look at with it. Why is that strange rather than exactly what you would expect?


    Some people don't find it strange, as you demonstrate. I do. What amazes me is that mathematics is discovered only from its self consistency and is not connected in any apparently necessary way to the material universe. Nevertheless it does describe it. That is why I am pushed to the idea that the Universe itself is larger than just material reality and contains mathematics as another entity which has an independent existence. That is why I think we are discovering it, not inventing it. It seems more satisfying that way.
    • CommentAuthorloreman
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2021
     
    Posted By: pcstru
    Posted By: loremanBut things exist because mathematics describes them.

    Err, perhaps I'm misunderstanding you but that reads to me as obviously wrong. Things exist without mathematics and there is no addition particle that we know of, so mathematics as such, does not exist as a real thing. It might represent what we measure/observe but it is not at a fundamental level what we are observing.


    Maths is the symbology of relativity, the shorthand for the difference between the here and the there.


    I'm afraid that's just word salad to me.


    Of course mathematics is real. People use it all the time. Pi is real, real numbers are real, surds are real, imaginary numbers are real. All of them are contained within the universe we are apparently in and are tools used to describe something within that universe, whether or not you can process it through your visual system or “touch” it.

    And as for sheep, what are they on a quantum level, except for a whole bunch of maths?
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2021
     
    Posted By: loremanimaginary numbers are real


    Ouch!
    • CommentAuthorloreman
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2021
     
    They exist-people talk about them in high school.
    • CommentAuthorBigOilRep
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2021
     
    Posted By: Angus
    Posted By: loremanimaginary numbers are real


    Ouch!

    Some self identify as real. We should respect that.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2021
     
    I'm cool with it as long as we clearly understand the difference between real and real.
    • CommentAuthorloreman
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2021
     
    If it’s got a Wikipedia entry it’s pretty real
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2021
     
    I'm joking with you. Imaginary numbers are not Real numbers, but they are very real in the sense of existing and fitting into mathematics. Geometric Algebra has an interesting insight into what imaginaries might be other than something times the square root of minus one.