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The Laws Of Physics, Where Did They Come From?


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#1 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 496

Posted 07 September 2012 - 09:32 AM

I'm not a religious person, if anything I'm pro science. I think religion is an abomination of the human race. But, there is one scientific question that I cannot find an absolute answer to. The whereabouts of the laws of physics.
I believe the big bang is the event where every single bit of matter we see today came from. What I don't believe it is is that it is the absolute beginning of the universe as we know it. The reason I don't believe that it is the absolute beginning is because for the singularity to explode ,or even for the elements inside the singularity to collide with each, other there must laws dictating how the particles interact with each other and other things such as gravity and pressure. To say the laws are a consequence of the big bang is illogical. So they must have came before the big bang? Most people would say that they are universal constants and have always been but in the multiverse theory there are universes (infinite) that have different laws of physics. They are also very fine tuned (especially the mathematical constants). I'm not saying anything about intelligent design as that would be very unscientific. I also think that it would be impossible (today) to answer the laws of physics question because science observes and uses the laws of physics to answer questions.

The reason for pondering this is because I write lots of simulation programs. These programs are pretty much artificial universes in which laws are put in place. Although, that would point to some kind intelligent design (not a god or anything like that) if you are not willing to think outside of the box and outside of the current laws of physics. If I were to think outside of the box I would say that outside of our laws of physics anything and everything can happen. AKA things can come about from nothing, which again sounds impossible but that is because you can't make something from nothing within our laws of physics. But, to say that this is the answer to the problem would be unscientific due to there being not a single shred of evidence of anything like this happening.

Just to clarify, I'm not religious in anyway and am very open minded to ideas; Although, I will probably criticize the ideas but that is what science is all about Posted Image
Also, I'm not a physicist so if I got anything wrong please tell me.

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#2 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 07 September 2012 - 11:35 AM

I think religion is an abomination of the human race.

Nothing positive can come from this discussion.

#3 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7393

Posted 07 September 2012 - 11:36 AM

They didn't "come from" anywhere as such; the need to find a 'start' is a typically human notion.

The notion that they are 'tuned' is only true in the sense that the current set are optimal for our version of reality to exist; we don't know how many other 'big bang' events with different physical laws which failed might have occured before this version which has our 'ideal' setup nor do we know how many might come after it and what it might look like.

It all comes down to probability; roll a dice enough and you'll get a double 6...

#4 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 30874

Posted 07 September 2012 - 11:44 AM

String theory allows for many different laws of physics -- this is one reason why people criticise it as being useless science, because it can't be used to explain why certain physical constants are the way they are. Instead, the work the other way around -- you can choose any values for those constants and plug them in to get a specific set of laws of physics. I personally take this as a hint that we're not always asking the right questions or searching on the right path for answers. Maybe all the possible sets of 'laws of physics' that are describable by string theory exist, and not just our one. Just as can use the anthropic principle to answer why the earth is a certain distance from the sun (because we wouldn't be here to ask the question if it wasn't - we only exist in places where we can exist), we can likewise treat the laws of physics in the same way. In order for us to ask the question, we need to be in a "place" (set of laws) where it's possible for us to exist in order to ask it. Maybe every possible set of laws exists outside of our reach in the great infinity?

It all comes down to probability; roll a dice enough and you'll get a double 6...

And roll a typewriter and you'll get the works of Shakespeare. You can show mathematically that if "existence" (universe, multiverse, great foam of pasta, whatever you want to call it) is infinite, then anything that's possible is almost certain (probability approaching 1.0) to exist somewhere in that space.
Physics is derived from quantum geometry, it's a shape. Many other shapes are possible.

Edited by Hodgman, 07 September 2012 - 11:48 AM.


#5 Ameise   Members   -  Reputation: 750

Posted 07 September 2012 - 11:45 AM

Big Bang theory does not attempt to state that the "beginning of all things" was the expansion of the singularity, only that that is as far back as we can trace; what, if anything, existed beforehand is irrelevant as it cannot be determined by any means other than pure theory - there is no evidence of that period nor is there any information. t = 0 means "the beginning of the universe as we can observe".

Past that, there were no "particles in the singularity"; that would defy the definition of a singularity. A singularity is a point in space (an actual point, not a location. It has no width, no height, no length. It is a point) that has attributes (such as mass or spin). The "Big Bang" was simply the expansion of space from that point. The laws are not a consequence of the Big Bang; forces are. The forces are products of the laws of physics, which "just are"; the thing is that these forces didn't have any distinct meaning at low values of t since the the sheer heat and energy of the relatively constrained universe at the time precluded such... it's not when the forces were created, but when they manifested. There is absolutely no way to determine if there is an "origin" to these laws, and I'm not sure the question even makes sense. The values are not fine-tuned. We, humans, define them from our observations of them. c is c. Humans have merely defined it as 299,792,458 m/s (or 670,616,629 mph). Again, it's meaningless to try to describe or explain the "origin" of such things, as there is no way to verify such things.

No one discusses intelligent design seriously because it doesn't rectify any known problems of science; it only creates new ones (like, who created the creator?)... past that, it is also scientifically unverifiable and therefore meaningless to discuss or hypothesize about. ID is also intellectually dishonest in that it was created to answer the apparent needed question of "what was the origin of this", but in itself creates/describes an entity which apparently defies "origin".

String theory allows for many different laws of physics --

String theory is hardly proven nor even widely accepted.

Edited by Ameise, 07 September 2012 - 11:46 AM.


#6 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 496

Posted 07 September 2012 - 11:45 AM


I think religion is an abomination of the human race.

Nothing positive can come from this discussion.

I think it's an abomination because it's practically blind faith. It's dangerous and teaches closed mindedness.
People can believe what they want but that is my personal opinion.

#7 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 496

Posted 07 September 2012 - 11:51 AM

They didn't "come from" anywhere as such; the need to find a 'start' is a typically human notion.

The notion that they are 'tuned' is only true in the sense that the current set are optimal for our version of reality to exist; we don't know how many other 'big bang' events with different physical laws which failed might have occured before this version which has our 'ideal' setup nor do we know how many might come after it and what it might look like.

It all comes down to probability; roll a dice enough and you'll get a double 6...

I understand what you are saying. I know it's pretty much human instinct for things to have a start but it's just one of those questions that I'm curious about.
Although, you can't be sure there wasn't a start to the laws of physics. There is a possibility (if rather small) that they came about somehow. Again, I'm not talking superstition or anything of the sort. I just think that to say that the big bang has and was always the start full stop is a lot like the god argument.
I'm sure Galileo or Copernicus would've probably thought about this question if they were here today.

#8 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 496

Posted 07 September 2012 - 11:54 AM

String theory allows for many different laws of physics -- this is one reason why people criticise it as being useless science, because it can't be used to explain why certain physical constants are the way they are. Instead, the work the other way around -- you can choose any values for those constants and plug them in to get a specific set of laws of physics. I personally take this as a hint that we're not always asking the right questions or searching on the right path for answers. Maybe all the possible sets of 'laws of physics' that are describable by string theory exist, and not just our one. Just as can use the anthropic principle to answer why the earth is a certain distance from the sun (because we wouldn't be here to ask the question if it wasn't - we only exist in places where we can exist), we can likewise treat the laws of physics in the same way. In order for us to ask the question, we need to be in a "place" (set of laws) where it's possible for us to exist in order to ask it. Maybe every possible set of laws exists outside of our reach in the great infinity?


I still haven't bothered to look up on string theory ;D
I'll have to take a look sometime.

#9 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 30874

Posted 07 September 2012 - 11:54 AM


String theory allows for many different laws of physics --

String theory is hardly proven nor even widely accepted.

M-theory is a popular candidate for one day producing a grand unified theory... You can't 'prove' theories, you can only show that they're a consistent model for describing some idealised situation, and you can falsify them.
But, Ok - Physics allows for many different laws of physics.
e.g. People reformulate Einstein's equations all the time. We know that general relativity is wrong, but it's the best we've got so far. Any of the other descriptions of the universe that are valid, self-consistent theories can be used to make predictions about the universe. Until those predictions are shown to be false, they're science. Even after falsifying Einstein's equations, they're still science within the conditions where they haven't yet been falsified. They're just restricted to a smaller domain of validity, just like Newtons laws of motion have been.
Even general relativity allowed for 3 different types of underlying geometry (positive, negative and flat curvature) until very recently when it was proved that our universe was flat. The other 2 types are still valid theories for describing other kinds of universes - we just now know that they're not valid for describing our universe.
Other theories have our entire universe existing as a brane in a sea of universes, e.g. other objects in the sea could be universes with negative curvatures, and if this is possible, we can calculate what would happen when our flat universe collided with that negative-curved universe. We may never get to falsify those claims in the lifespan of humanity, but unless someone finds a flaw in the math, it's still possible.
Which brings me back to the point, if we hypothetically assume that the multiverse is infinite, then everything conceivable almost certainly exists in it. Under this hypothesis, there is a place where I am high-fiving raptorjesus. Science.

The values are not fine-tuned. We, humans, define them from our observations of them. c is c. Humans have merely defined it as 299,792,458 m/s (or 670,616,629 mph).

If the underlying laws were different though, we might measure that c is only 200M m/s, and we can calculate what would happen in a universe with these laws. It turns out the tweaking most of the constants ever so slightly results in a universe where either stars as we know them wouldn't have formed, or stars wouldn't have produced the elements necessary to form planets and life as we know it. That's what's meant by the laws being fine-tuned, just as the distance from the earth to the sun is fine-tuned, or that the sub-spectrum of EMR that we call "visible light" corresponds with the peak of Sol, etc... The conditions of our own existence are very specific.

I still haven't bothered to look up on string theory ;D
I'll have to take a look sometime.

Just read Stephen Hawking's books, A breif history of time and The grand design, first. They're short and easy to digest. He will motivate you.

Edited by Hodgman, 07 September 2012 - 12:31 PM.


#10 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 496

Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:14 PM

Big Bang theory does not attempt to state that the "beginning of all things" was the expansion of the singularity, only that that is as far back as we can trace; what, if anything, existed beforehand is irrelevant as it cannot be determined by any means other than pure theory - there is no evidence of that period nor is there any information. t = 0 means "the beginning of the universe as we can observe".
Past that, there were no "particles in the singularity"; that would defy the definition of a singularity. A singularity is a point in space (an actual point, not a location. It has no width, no height, no length. It is a point) that has attributes (such as mass or spin). The "Big Bang" was simply the expansion of space from that point. The laws are not a consequence of the Big Bang; forces are. The forces are products of the laws of physics, which "just are"; the thing is that these forces didn't have any distinct meaning at low values of t since the the sheer heat and energy of the relatively constrained universe at the time precluded such... it's not when the forces were created, but when they manifested. There is absolutely no way to determine if there is an "origin" to these laws, and I'm not sure the question even makes sense. The values are not fine-tuned. We, humans, define them from our observations of them. c is c. Humans have merely defined it as 299,792,458 m/s (or 670,616,629 mph). Again, it's meaningless to try to describe or explain the "origin" of such things, as there is no way to verify such things.
No one discusses intelligent design seriously because it doesn't rectify any known problems of science; it only creates new ones (like, who created the creator?)... past that, it is also scientifically unverifiable and therefore meaningless to discuss or hypothesize about. ID is also intellectually dishonest in that it was created to answer the apparent needed question of "what was the origin of this", but in itself creates/describes an entity which apparently defies "origin".


Thanks for correcting me. Again, I'm no physicist.
The reason I thought the big bang was the beginning of all things is just because that's basically what people have said to me.
I know it would be useless to discuss the origin of laws but I still can't get over my head what dictates such things.
Why does matter even collide at all?

I used to think that the universe was made up of incredibly simple systems which overall made the illusion of great complexity (a lot like cellular automata). Which I guess on a biological level is pretty much the truth but then you have laws of physics like nothing can go faster than the speed of light (which is an extremely precise number) due to relativity (I think).

This is actually one of the many reasons I reject the intelligent design idea because the universe (if it were a simulation) would have really messy programming ;D

But even so, completely ruling out the idea that the laws of physics have and always have been (and blaming it on the human mind that there must have been a beginning) would be a bit of a cop out (in my opinion). Because, at the end of the day, we don't know for sure.
I can't wait until science can answer questions like this.

#11 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2153

Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:15 PM

(I probably sound so naive and clueless when I say stuff like this but what the hell...)

This question is the sort of question that's the reason I believe that concepts or ideas are the "start" or the fundamental basis of existence. Prerequisites such as order, external influence, design, or time aren't needed. What you see in our universe is just one of a very few set of rules that would likely work to create anything close to what you see as well as a very small subset of all possibilities.

I think religion is an abomination of the human race.

Gotta wonder what our laws would be like if all the various religions of the world never came to be. Perhaps something based on competition and natural selection instead of altruism.

#12 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 496

Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:17 PM

I still haven't bothered to look up on string theory ;D
I'll have to take a look sometime.

Just read Stephen Hawking's books, A breif history of time and The grand design, first. They're short and easy to digest. He will motivate you.


Thanks, I'll be sure to look that up!

#13 GeneralQuery   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1263

Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:20 PM

Gotta wonder what our laws would be like if all the various religions of the world never came to be. Perhaps something based on competition and natural selection instead of altruism.

Why on earth would you think that, and how is your speculation of such a world without religion any different from society today?

#14 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 496

Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:21 PM

(I probably sound so naive and clueless when I say stuff like this but what the hell...)

This question is the sort of question that's the reason I believe that concepts or ideas are the "start" or the fundamental basis of existence. Prerequisites such as order, external influence, design, or time aren't needed. What you see in our universe is just one of a very few set of rules that would likely work to create anything close to what you see as well as a very small subset of all possibilities.


I think religion is an abomination of the human race.

Gotta wonder what our laws would be like if all the various religions of the world never came to be. Perhaps something based on competition and natural selection instead of altruism.


I guess I could change that to:
I think religion, even though it was useful in the past, is now not needed in modern society and if used wrongly (AKA Literally) it is an abomination.

I think that something can come from nothing. I believe that our known universe can come from nothing. But, it's just the laws of physics and how it is practically dictated that I feel there is something missing there. I'm sure someone will figure it out in the future.

Edited by CryoGenesis, 07 September 2012 - 12:26 PM.


#15 Nypyren   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4488

Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:27 PM

Gotta wonder what our laws would be like if all the various religions of the world never came to be. Perhaps something based on competition and natural selection instead of altruism.


You mean capitalism?

#16 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 496

Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:31 PM


Gotta wonder what our laws would be like if all the various religions of the world never came to be. Perhaps something based on competition and natural selection instead of altruism.


You mean capitalism?

Haha, love this ;D

Probably would also include Utilitarianism

#17 Net Gnome   Members   -  Reputation: 773

Posted 07 September 2012 - 01:03 PM

The best theory for the Big Bang is contained within M-Theory, a consolidation of the various forms of String Theory. In M-Theory the universe (as we understand it) "began" when two Branes (11-dimensional constructs is the best way i know to describe them, they themselves may not have 11-dimensions of definition, but exist in a 11-dimensional existence... or thats how i understand it) collided. The result of that collision, intersection, meeting, whatever you want to call it, was the formation of this universe. I say "this" universe, because Branes may collide many times and "produce" multiple universes, each taking form based on the characteristics of that collision (i.e., the set of laws/variables that govern our universe). Where the hell the Branes came from... I have no idea. I suspect reality is tricky that way ;)

Edited by Net Gnome, 07 September 2012 - 01:07 PM.


#18 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2153

Posted 07 September 2012 - 01:18 PM

(sorry for going further off topic)


Gotta wonder what our laws would be like if all the various religions of the world never came to be. Perhaps something based on competition and natural selection instead of altruism.

Why on earth would you think that, and how is your speculation of such a world without religion any different from society today?

It's just a guess, really. I suppose ultimately leaders might come to recognize sources of disorder within their societies and create measures to limit such disorder. But given that religions play such a large part on our foundations of right and wrong it seems to me that if they never developed what we view as right and wrong could potentially be quite different.

I guess I could change that to:
I think religion, even though it was useful in the past, is now not needed in modern society and if used wrongly (AKA Literally) it is an abomination.

What would "used wrongly" mean if your sense of right and wrong wasn't influenced by existing religions?

As for modern society, new systems of right and wrong continue to emerge, their longevity to be tested by time. For example, "thou shalt not post discussions of religion or take discussions off topic" are treasured values around here that... crap, I better stop now Posted Image

Edited by kseh, 07 September 2012 - 01:19 PM.


#19 GeneralQuery   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1263

Posted 07 September 2012 - 01:21 PM

It's just a guess, really. I suppose ultimately leaders might come to recognize sources of disorder within their societies and create measures to limit such disorder. But given that religions play such a large part on our foundations of right and wrong it seems to me that if they never developed what we view as right and wrong could potentially be quite different.

The problem with this is the assumption that morals and altruism are religiously-derived. They are clearly not, rather religious texts echo timeless basic moral principles that are pretty much innate and pre-date religion by a long shot.

Edited by GeneralQuery, 07 September 2012 - 01:22 PM.


#20 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2170

Posted 07 September 2012 - 03:40 PM

My triangle analogy comes to mind again. That triangles are trivial things, yet many wonderful, non-trivial correlations, lines, circles etc come from those three random points in space. Just like it's designed or "fine tuned" to be like that. I think no.one thinks that there is anything designed in 3 points.

So maybe this whole complexity and "fine tunedness" of the world is just our illusion.

Plus most self balancing and self controlling systems imply some clever mind behind those systems, although most of them are just a primitive feedback systems, or as simple in principle as a mass-spring system.

And why fine tuned? Maybe if the constants were different, some other dynamic equilibrium would have evolved and we would "live" in a totally different universe.


Please tell me if this triangle analogy or my whole triangle "argument" sucks.

Edited by szecs, 07 September 2012 - 03:41 PM.





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