Richard Gauthier has responded to my post titled “Universe is not a fluctuation”. Please find his comments below. This inspired me to recollect my thoughts on the emergence of the physical universe. This is a subject I have been avoiding. I expressed few opinions here and there scattered in various posts but I really feel uncomfortable discussing the beginning of the physical universe. Discussion of metaphysical theories prior to the Big Bang: no problem 🙂 Discussion of physics after the Big Bang: no problem. But, discussion of T=0 using the language of physics: big problem. I find the language of physics insufficient to discuss the beginning of the physical universe. Please see my comments on this below. This post concludes with Richard Gauthier’s follow-up comments.
“I think it is too early for cosmologists to rule out the idea that our universe was produced by some kind of quantum fluctuation. Clearly the fluctuation could not have been from the vacuum of space within our universe itself, since this space did not exist before the quantum fluctuation that possibly produced our universe with its contained space-time. The quantum fluctuation would have had to come from another kind of space—perhaps a conscious space that produces fine-tuned cosmic quantum fluctuations that all generate viable universes with stable galaxies, lives and developed minds. Also, with the apparently fine-tuned nature of the physical constants in our universe, as well as the very low entropy of our early universe, I think a fine-tuned very-low-entropy quantum fluctuation coming from a cosmic quantum field within a cosmic mind cannot be ruled out as a possible source of our universe, particularly since no one has any idea of what happened at exactly T= 0 of our universe. The multiverse hypothesis of around 10^500 possible universes needed to produce our apparently fine-tuned universe, according to a prediction of the string theory landscape, sounds even more far-fetched than the cosmic mind hypothesis for our universe’s origin.
I would be interested to hear your or any of your reader’s comments on my article about my univon model, at
Superluminal Primordial Information Quanta (Sprinqs) Created and Compose a Multiverse of Equally Fine-Tuned Universes Evolving Life and Highly-Developed Minds
also downloadable from my website richardgauthier.academia.edu/research “
contact info: richgauthier (at) gmail.com
There is no shortage of theories of the physical beginning. Sabine Hossenfelder’s article titled “How did the universe begin?” is a succinct survey of those type of theories. You can find more in my post titled “On the emergence of space and time”.
There are 3 kinds of laws in physics. First category is known as dynamical laws which use the “physical time” (call it T) as a parameter. At T=0 there is no “physical time” therefore we cannot extrapolate the dynamical laws to T=0. The second category is the conservation laws which do not depend on T. Physicists try to extrapolate the conservation laws to T=0 as well. This is also problematic in my opinion. The third kind includes the second law of thermodynamics which says that in an isolated system entropy increases with the passage of “physical time”. The second law of thermodynamics cannot be derived from the dynamical laws because dynamical laws are symmetric in “physical time”. The second law of thermodynamics, on the other hand, expresses the fundamental asymmetry of the “physical time”.
If physics starts after T=0 then it is legitimate to think that space-time-matter emerged from an abstract space. Even though Sabine Hossenfelder never mentions this possibility in her survey many influential physicists are thinking along these lines. The concept of “primordial entangled qubits” mentioned in my post titled “On the emergence of space and time” is a candidate for the abstract space. In the same post I mentioned Nima Arkani-Hamed’s intuition that space and time emerge from underlying principles which may be geometrical or combinatorial in character. Those “underlying principles” can be interpreted as the abstract space. Shahn Majid proposes another candidate for abstract space: “The search for a fundamental theory of physics is the search for self-dual structures in a representation-theoretic sense”. Stephen Wolfram talks about physical space, branchial space, rule space categories. We can identify more scientists who think along these lines. I think scientists are slowly realizing that there is an abstract space that precedes the physical space-time-matter.
The idea of “abstract space” has its origins in Plato as well as Indian philosophers. In the Indian cosmogonies the abstract space is known as Citta. Throughout history there were many discussions on abstract space. More recently mathematical Platonists like Roger Penrose and Max Tegmark added value to these discussions. In my writings I referred to the abstract space as primordial fabric. In his comments above Gauthier mentions “another kind of space” which I think is similar to abstract space.
The influential scientists mentioned above are essentially saying that we need to use the language of mathematics, information and computational science to understand the abstract space. I am saying that we need a richer language. That language will include the concepts of cognitive core, microvitum, and others such as “cosmic conscious quantum” suggested by Gauthier. There will be many more concepts in that language. I foresee that eventually the language of biology will be part of the physics conversation in the future. I am aware of H.H. Pattee’s work along these lines. I am sure there are others. What H.H. Pattee calls “memory structures” I call ‘cognitive cores’. I wrote few words on cognitive cores in a recent post.
I think of Big Bang (emanation of physical space-time-matter) as an instability expressing itself as a non-equilibrium process. Any theory of physical creation must have a built-in asymmetry in “physical time”. The (dynamical) laws of physics must reflect this fundamental asymmetry. Roger Penrose has raised this point in his book “The Road to Reality”.
The term “fluctuation” connotes with “randomness”. A random fluctuation in the abstract space does not seem plausible to me. We need a better term to replace “fluctuation”. Richard Gauthier suggests “a fine-tuned very-low-entropy quantum fluctuation coming from a cosmic quantum field within a cosmic mind”. He still uses the word “fluctuation” but qualifies it.
Since it is extremely difficult to find observational evidence for the physics of the early universe let alone the abstract space the only hope we have is that the theory of the abstract space will help us understand the physics in the current epoch as well. If the explanatory power of our theory of the abstract space is equally satisfactory in all epochs of the space-time-matter then we have reason to believe in the validity of that theory. In other words, the theory of the abstract space cannot be segregated into the pre-physical stage only. It has to have relevance in all stages of physical manifestation.
Belief systems color our scientific theories, of course. I expressed my opinion on the “String Theory landscape” approach which is clearly motivated by an atheist worldview in this post. Atheism is a belief system and it influences the formation of scientific theories. That’s fine!
If I come up with a fundamental theory it will be colored by my theist belief system which includes my belief in the cosmic progression
Absolute Being (Godhead, Nirguna Brahma) –> Cosmic Consciousness (Cosmic Soul, Parama Purusha) –> Cosmic Life (Saguna Brahma, Reality) –> Cosmic Mind (Cosmos) –> abstract space (primordial fabric) –> space-time-matter
and my belief in whole-connectedness of Reality as well as my belief that Cosmos evolves to maximize the expression of Cosmic Consciousness.
What if my belief system motivates my theory of the abstract space? Is this acceptable? Not so much in the current academic climate. If atheist scientists are respected for their scientific output, theist or deist scientists should be respected for their scientific output as well. That’s not the case in recent times. As we develop a new language of physics the sociology of physics will change. A meritocracy of theories will develop based on their explanatory power regardless of their motivations from belief systems.
Richard Gauthier’s “cosmic quantum field within a cosmic mind” concept is motivated by a belief system as well. This should not be an obstacle for the reception of his proposals in the physics community. As he says “…the string theory landscape, sounds even more far-fetched than the cosmic mind hypothesis for our universe’s origin”.
Obviously, his paper mentioned above is just a beginning. I hope he adds details in the coming months and years. He makes one bold prediction, however. He claims that each universe in the multiverse will have the same fundamental constants, and the same masses of its fundamental particles as in our own universe. Therefore, if there is life in this universe there will be life in other universes as well. Furthermore, Gauthier claims that his multiverse hypothesis can be falsified.
If there is no interaction among the universes of a Multiverse then there is no scope of determining the fundamental constants of a different universe. Since I am biased towards the existence of an abstract space, it is natural for me to think that all physical universes will emerge from the common basis of the abstract space. Therefore, they will have many common properties but I cannot think of an (abstract) principle that implies that the fundamental constants will be exactly the same in each universe.
Richard Gauthier’s follow-up comments
“Thank you very much, Suresh, for your detailed comments. Cosmologists’ theories of the beginning of the universe keep approaching closer and closer to the T=0 time but they never seem to reach it in terms of currently accepted physical theories. In my cosmic-quantum/univon fluctuation model for the beginning of our universe, T=0 represents the time of the decay of an earlier-produced fine-tuned cosmic quantum fluctuation or univon particle. This first decay process defined as being at T=0 (since the evolution of our universe starts at this time) leads to other quantum fields, energies and particles that develop into the big bang. In this view, T=0 measures the beginning of our universe, but not the beginning of time itself, since the univon particle must have existed for some period of time as an undecayed quantum fluctuation particle before it decayed at what we call T=0 for our universe. As for the question about how many univon particles all contain the exact same fundamental constants so that they can all lead to “successful” universes with stable galaxies, life and minds, it’s really not physically different than the case of the electron that is produced from an electron quantum field always having exactly the same electric charge and mass (and spin and perhaps other exact fundamental constants). If both the electron’s charge and the univon’s internal constants had been slightly different, stable universes leading to complex chemistry and biological life would not have formed nearly as often if at all.
The variety of unsupported theories on the relative importance of space and time in cosmology origins, and the possible hierarchies of spaces (and times?) in cosmological theories shows me that something very fundamental may be missing from these conceptualizations. This is one reason why I think it is important to introduce mind and consciousness into cosmological thinking. If the production and evolution of the universe exist within a cosmic mind, then all of these cosmological processes including the evolution of individual minds in the universe may in the future be describable in terms of a single mental-wave-theory mathematical approach. Plus, there may be a mind-based mathematical theory of ethics and justice, for example, such as a precisely mathematical law of karma, which makes no sense on a purely physical level in the absence of a mental field for pleasure and pain to occur and be measured, but which puts constraints on what physical and mental actions can take place while retaining cosmic justice in human lives.
A quantitative theory of natural laws describing the evolution and operation of the universe should really include natural laws of a multi-leveled (physical and mental) universe and not only the physical universe. A system of universal natural laws can be consistent with the universe being evolved from a supreme consciousness having infinite creative power, evolving a cosmic mind that produces within itself a universe or universes with galaxies stars, life, and individual minds which evolve back to cosmic mind and supreme consciousness, with individuals feeling at times a close and loving relationship and communication with the supreme love personified– the supreme Guru. This spiritual cosmological approach is called the cosmic cycle of creation in yoga philosophy. I’m trying to integrate this approach into my univon/cosmic-quantum hypothesis for the origin of the universe from cosmic mind.”