Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Hawking and God

There has been a lot of discussion about Hawking's new book The Grand Design. Lubos applaudes Hawking for believing in M-theory but not so much for deducing the non-existence of God from this belief.

Not Even Wrong in turn strongly criticizes Hawking for his belief on M-theory. I cannot but agree with his criticism. The fact is that M-theory has gained no experimental support hitherto and the standard media hype nowadays is that after these forty years superstring theory has finally been able to make a prediction. M-theory of course contains many mathematical ingredients of the next theory but involves spontaneous compactification as ad hoc element responsible for the landscape problem. The need for spontaneous compactification is in turn due to the wrong identification of fundamental objects as strings. The dead end is admitted also by many of its main proponents.The quirk of psychology of vanity is that in many brilliant minds the catastrophic weakness of M-theory of not being able to predict has gradually transformed to its greatest virtue. Sad that Hawking wants to advocate this kind of give-up-the-attempts-to-predict-anything philosophy after the absolutely fantastic successes of theoretical physics during the last century.

In viXra the comment of cosmologist Lawrence Krauss about Hawking's book related to the notion of energy in General Relativity is discussed but Hawking's basic claim is not discussed. I glue below the main part of my comment in this blog relating to the notion of God against which Hawking is fighting against.

Before doing it I have however a request to make. "Do not classify me!". Neither as an atheist nor as a proponent of some religion. With all respect to the proponents of these views, I regard these views as inconsistent with what we already known from fundamental physics and its deepest problems. Indeed, my own view point has developed from an atttempt to resolve one of the most pressing questions of recent day quantum theory: what state function means physically and for world view and how it should be described mathematically.

From what I have understood from a discussion in Lubos Motl's blog I understand that Hawking's view about God is badly in need of updating. It is essentially the God allowed by classical deterministic physics. God dictated the initial conditions of Big Bang and lost interest on the Universe after that. This because Godly intervention would break the laws of classical physics. In quantum measurement theory we encounter the same problem: quantum measurement apparently breaks the determinism of Schroedinger equation. Now we cannot however claim that state function collapse or something equivalent with it does not occur. The irrational manner to get rid of the problem is to say that there is no objective reality at all.

In TGD inspired theory of consciousness can be seen as a generalization of quantum measurement theory in order to overcome this difficulty. It leads to a quantal view about divine as ability to recreate the whole 4-D Universe (or more precisely, their quantum superposition) again and again. This allows to understand biological evolution as something genuine and generalize the concept of evolution. Zero energy ontology means that physical states correspond to pairs of positive and negative energy states so that symmetries and conservation laws do not restrict the free will of quantum jump. Every physical state is in principle reachable from a given physical state by quantum jumps. Free will is completely consistent with the determinism of the laws of classical physics since the free will of quantum jump is outside the space-time and Hilbert space: entire time evolution of Schroedinger equation is replaced with a new one. Consistency with physics does not anymore exclude divine.

Accepting this view means also a new view about relationship between experienced time and geometric time. They are not one and same thing as should be clear already from the fact that subjective time is irreversible and geometric time reversible. Their identification can however make sense approximately and locally applying to one particular system from which the contents of consciousness of one particular conscious entity is about. Everywhere in 8-D Universe there are space-time sheets about which a contents of sensory consciousness of a particular conscious entity comes from.

In this framework there is no sense in asserting that consciousness is a kind of 3-D time=constant slice moving towards geometric future. The time slice idea is also in conflict with General Coordinate Invariance since a special time coordinate would be relevant for consciousness. And our conscious experience is not about time=constant snapshot. We have memories- even sensory ones- and the experiments of Libet demonstrated that our volitional act induces neural activity in the geometric past. The contents of our conscious experience is about 4-D space-time region, and the challenge is to understand why our sensory experience is localized to about .1 second wide interval of geometric time in the usual wake up state of consciousness.

For these reasons I do not find the classical physics view about God selecting initial conditions very interesting. Hawking should find himself more demanding challenges than killing for all practical purposes already dead God of classical mechanics;-)!


Ulla said...

God defences himself in Times: His existence has to be taken on trust. But the essence of God’s argument is that his existence has always been about faith. Professor Hawking’s announcement of God’s non-existence has “forced Me to come out into the open to show that I really do exist,” God writes. “The problem with this is that My followers no longer require faith.

Said by

How big is God? Some say not bigger than the Milky way. Bigger is the Cosmos.
Why cannot God be taken as a metaphore? Ancient people understood a lot but they had not our science and our language, so they simply used other pictures to describe reality. God is such a picture.

L. Edgar Otto said...

This is a clear and most excellent post and viewpoint. Thank you.

Of course for me the evidence is all around us as if the air we breathe and do not notice. All in a way is a miracle compared with nothingness. The string theories and topology as well as our notions of energy for me is the same description of at least our local reality.


Matti Pitkänen said...

The existence of divine, the essence of which is free will manifesting itself as non-determinism, need not remain a matter of faith. The belief about complete decoupling of physical and spiritual was unavoidable only in the classical world.

This belief has managed to survive only because philosophy has been forbidden in physics for so long and still is. I learn again and again that people are not able to become conscious about these simple facts that I am writing just now. The only explanation I find for this is that they are so strongly conditioned to materialistic thinking.

Chalmers is a good example about the strength of this conditioning. He wrote a long book about hard problem and demonstrated that dualism leads to materialism. He mentioned quantum theory only in appendix! He must have thought that quantum means only small corrections to classical formulas in atomic length scales. He was a professional philosopher and made this kind of mistake! How difficult it is for a physicist to think clearly about these matters.

If we want a world view without internal contradictions with what we know about physics, we must admit that nondeterminism is a fact and that a theory which does not allow it is wrong. If we try construct a theory free of ontological contradictions, very few ontological options remain. Divine becomes a necessity.

Ulla said...

I hear a song, a beautiful song, in the air, coming to me, singing in me ...

Descartes was wrong. He only did the necessary solution he had to do, because the church had monopoly on the soul. Has the situation changed today? Can soul - matter be scientific? Body, mind and soul? How do they relate?

Philosophy is taken away from school, it is taken from university. Money isn't enough. It is a difficult thing to learn, but it helps finding new paths. And new thinking is always difficult. But philosophy is very much needed today.

Once I tried to read Chalmers, but it only made me confuse, so I had to stop. It was full of desinformation. Philosophy doesn't have to be right. It is only about thinking.

Biology is full of wrong solutions too, take only the implications of the wrong nerve-pulse. In fact 'God' is pulsating in the pulse. You just have to still the noise around you to hear his voice :) It is about synchrony and coherence.

I guess it is hard to admit much is upside down in biology. As in physics. Psychology is a farse. etc.

I have tried to write down my personal picture
I have an idea how it can be done, but I need to read more physics...
I would want to discuss this later, if you can bring yourself to do it. Still fighting?

Ulla said...

I forgot
'God' has also gone through an evolution, and he will continue to change. If you read different sources you get different picture, that's why I asked 'how big is God?'. 'God' is no firm constant, because he is a metaphore for the quantum world. This metaphore needs an immidiate evaluation. Science has gone too much in front of religion today. But Church doesn't realize this.

Anonymous said...

God is love.

This is not a theory or belief but confidence based on life experience. What my heart wishes and needs, I receive. The only art is to learn to wish skillfully. And what I like especially are nice surprices... :)

Love is infinite, we receive individually as much as we can and are able to open up. There is no end to learning all aspects of love. There are no obstacles to learning and experiencing love expect fear.

Ulla said...

You can pray to God and he will hear you, as instance.

Anonymous said...

I haven't done much praying, not since I was a child and prayed from God that there would be some cinnamon in the house to spice my porridge and there wasn't and I got very disappointed in God and praying. :)

This summer I said a few prayers as I attended a religious seremony where we prayed with spirits of tobacco and peyote and those spirits took our prayers to the Great Spirit. All in all, very profound experience.

Long before that, I've experienced that friends' wishes that they reveal to me get fullfilled - if they are not against natural balance and respect the freedom of choise. This could easily lead me to a pee-headed egotrip, but I figure it's not about me but the listener, the 'attention' or what ever is also listening to the inner dialogue inside this mind - and feeling the heart chackra.

Have you noticed that when people refer to themselves, they don't point their finger at their head, but their heart? :)

This said, I don't get the sense that science explains me and/or god (I am 'holographic' god!). Not even Matti's theory. Maybe it just creates, without explaining... ;)

Ulla said...

I avoid religious ceremonies :)

"Have you noticed that when people refer to themselves, they don't point their finger at their head, but their heart?" - Do you know why? It is because the heart electromagnetic field (EMG) is the largest one in the body (scientific) :) Another way to say the same thing is to say the heart chakra is dominating. The circular energy turns back to the heart from the head, = you must think with your heart :) In fact, use your whole body to think with. Or, thinking is too important to leave to the brain alone :)

I would rather talk of a mirror image of God, also holographic of course.

Science has difficulties to talk of holographic Gods, also Mattis theory. It is just a good trial.

Matti Pitkänen said...

I avoid systematically the talk about God to avoid associations to organized spirituality which brings in power and suppression. Free will is for me the essence of divine, something for which it is not possible to give a formula and -of course- productize it(;-). I believe that the science of quantum era will be able say a lot about the general aspects of consciousness.

I had for 25 years ago or so two great experiences and in the second one I experienced what might be called heart consciousness. A very strange state in which I precognized many of the mathematical ideas about which I was to become "brain-conscious" much later.

I also experienced very concretely a kind of re-birth in the sense that all the bitter things in my past were cleaned out and bad deeds forgiven. Maybe heart-consciousness dominates when one is still in womb and maybe it gives an overall view about your future life. Maybe I experienced direct sensory memories about the period when I was still in womb.

I read yesterday the poems of finnish poet Arto Melleri-not here anymore. He said something very much like this in some of his poems but I could not find it now.

Ulla said...

"A very strange state in which I precognized many of the mathematical ideas about which I was to become "brain-conscious" much later."

Your heart is a very strange one, indeed. Maths!!!

A very strange state? It was forgiveness, Matti. Time for rebirth II?

In womb we have very few perceptions (decoherent measurements), so we are in a quantum state of universality (coherence)? Heart is coherence, as you also has said, negentropy.

I think I have used my 5 comments now :(

Ulla said...

I like poems, could you find it?

Once I had a dream that my heart was as wide as the sky above :) I was like Nut.

Hearts can also feel like stones. But math? Maybe you can expand it by aid of your math and forgive me?

It was important for me that you would understand.

Ulla said...

Take a quantization :)

or something even bigger...
fly up in the sky :)

I think I must do it, the book never leave me in peace. I feel I am more prepared for it now.

I have reached my clarification. Things are what they are. We all needs hope, even if it is burning us. Zoombies ?

I have wondered, why are you not deleting these, although I have asked you to? You are very hard at me.

Ulla said...

Tonight I saw two eagles up in the sky. They were screaming and playing joyously. Their heads were white; it was old eagles. But they were still happy and strong:)

I have never seen anything like this before.

Ulla said...

The particle physicist inhabits a theist world, or a hill slope of constant slope but he is surrounded by a fog or mist. He climbs up a few metres or descends the same distance and notes that for the experiments he does, the results do not change and describes the the energy conservation laws in new terms such as gauge theory and renormalisation of energies. The cosmologist is found at the base of the hill or at the very top with a clear view in all directions, which appears flat to the horizon. They both have difficulty communicating what they see and don't meet up very often. What they do agree on is that there are about six pebbles (atoms equivalent as Alice mentions or proton equivalents) per cubic metre and not per cubic centimetre as mentioned.

The particle physicists are very worried at the moment , caught between the hill slope and a pebble(s) which is a lot smaller than they could have ever imagined, their new estimate of the vacuum energy is ca. 10-11 to -13Joule per cubic metre, much closer to the cosmological prediction for an atheist world that eventually peters out.

Graham D.