Kent Forbes, Does the Simulation Hypothesis Defeat Materialism |323|

The fact that the Higgs was seen by two separate independent detectors and at 5 sigma each confirms it. This guy's clearly a @#@##@@ and the book isn't worth the paper it's written on. For decades particles with short lifetimes have been observed accurately (e.g. the W and Z 30 years ago), it's standard now, and this fellow isn't informed on experimental work then or now and taking into account the evolution of such work.
One of the issues discussed in the book, is the supposed independence of the two detector groups. I would suggest reading the book first.

His book raises a lot of issues, and if you look up reaction to his book, there is some serious physics discussion. He is let down by his style of writing, but it is obvious if you read the whole book that he knows a lot about HEP, and he raises some important points. In fact his final chapter lists the questions that he thinks should be answered by the HEP community.

Keith, do you know if the figure of 1 event in 10^12 is in the right ballpark? That is a frighteningly low signal to noise ratio, particularly as the raw data is too voluminous to store for further analysis.

David
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

I think that there is event at the level of energy Higgs predicted and this confirmed by the data. What that data mean is surely not nailed down. That it is a particle whose materiality coveys amazing properties is doubtful for me. What is a formal definition of a particle anyway? Is it more than a class of of math abstractions in modern physics? Where is the cut-off between particles that are virtual and those that exist as a transition state of affairs - for so short a measure of time?

What is real about these particles except that they may be actual in their contribution to the realm of actual information. If these thing wink in-and-out of existence and make no change to reality - are they material?
Good points. Zeh has a paper arguing against the existence of particles and quantum jumps.

Actually Brian Whitworth, who shows up in the video, also notes the issue regarding what is actually there versus what is observed in an experiment:

"We take our world to be an objective reality, but is it? The assumption that the physical world exists in and of itself has struggled to assimilate the findings of modern physics for some time now. An objective space and time should just "be", but space contracts and time dilates in our world. Objective things should just inherently exist, but electrons are probability of existence smears that spread, tunnel, superpose and entangle in physically impossible ways. Cosmology now says that the entire physical universe just popped up, out of nothing about fourteen billion years ago. This is not how an objective reality should behave!"

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"In modern physics strange theories are routine, e.g. in many-worlds theory each quantum event divides all reality, so everything that can happen does happen, in an inconceivable multiverse of parallel worlds (Everett, 1957). In the inflationary model, the physical universe is just one of many bubble universes (Guth, 1998) and string theory has six extra dimensions curled up and hidden from view. In M-theory, the universe floats on a fifth dimension “brane” we can’t see (Gribbin, 2000) p177-180 and others suggest we are one of two universes that collide and retreat in an eternal cycle (J. Khoury, 2001). The days when physics just described the physical world we see are long gone.

Yet the findings of physics are equally strange: the sun bends light by curving the space around it; the earth’s gravity slows down time; and atomic clocks tick faster on tall buildings than they do on the ground. Movement also slows down time, so an atomic clock on an aircraft ticks slower than a synchronized one on the ground (Hafele & Keating, 1972), and moving objects become heavier with speed as well. In our world, space, time and mass vary but the speed of light is strangely constant.

If relativity is strange then quantum theory is even stranger: in Young's experiment one electron goes through two slits at once to interfere with itself; entangled photons ignore speed of light limits; the vacuum of space exerts pressure; and gamma radiation is entirely random, i.e. physically uncaused. Einstein, who was as open to new ideas as anyone, thought quantum theory made no sense, and it doesn’t"

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"...There are equations, proofs and applications, but the models that work make no physical sense, e.g. in Feynman's sum over histories an electron travels all possible paths between two points at once, but how can one electron do that? Theory should increase understanding, but in physics it seems totake it away. In wave-particle duality particles morph into waves, denying the very sense of what waves and particles are. Given a choice between meaning and mathematics, physics chose the latter and it shows. Quantum theory still isn’t taught in high schools because who can teach what makes no sense? Modern physics is a mathematical feast that at its core is entirely empty of meaning. It is a hollow science, built on impressive equations about quantum states that everyone agrees don’t exist! And physics has chosen this way of no meaning as a deliberate strategy..."


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"It is not generally realized that the new structures of quantum theory and relativity are built on the old foundation of physical realism. If the physical worldis real, trying to smash matter into its basic bits in particle accelerators makes sense. Yet the idea of a continuous universe made up of elementary point particles makes no more sense than a complete universe that always was. An object with an inherent mass needs a substance that extends in space. So it has left and right parts that by the same logic have still finer parts, and so on ad infinitum. The current response is that the universe consists of point particles with no extent, but how can something with no extent have mass? And since a billion points of no extent take up no more space than one, howthen do extended objects form? It was then necessary to invent invisible fields continuous in space to keep these “points of no extent” apart by force. Finally, as every force needs a particle cause, the fields had to act by creating virtual particle agents, e.g. virtual photons. This masterpiece of circularity is immune to science, as a virtual photon is just a physical photon that can never be observed, as it is created and destroyed in the effect instant. Only physicists can see them, in equations and Feynman diagrams, which is good enough.

All was well, until new effects like neutron decay implied new forces and new invisible fields whose virtual particles had mass. The solution, in what was by now a well-oiled machine, was that another field created the virtual particles of the first field, and so the Higgs search began. The Higgs boson is thevirtual particle created by an invisible field to explain another virtual particle created by another invisible field to explain an actual effect (neutron decay).Given dark energy and dark matter, it explains at best 4% of the mass of the universe, but the standard model needs it, so when after fifty years CERNfound a million, million, million, millionth of a second signal in the possible range, physics was relieved. There is no evidence this “particle” has any effecton mass at all, but the standard model survives."
 
Simulation, Consciousness, Existence.
A simulated world hosting a simulated person can be a closed self-contained entity...The simulation's internal relationships would be the same if the program were running correctly on any of an endless variety of possible computers, slowly, quickly, intermittently, or even backwards and forwards in time, with the data stored as charges on chips, marks on a tape, or pulses in a delay line, with the simulation's numbers represented in binary, decimal, or Roman numerals, compactly or spread widely across the machine. There is no limit, in principle, on how indirect the relationship between simulation and simulated can be.
...there is no obvious cutoff point. A translation that is impractical today may be possible tomorrow given more powerful computers, some yet undiscovered mathematical approach, or perhaps an alien translator. Like people who dismiss speech and signs in unfamiliar foreign languages as meaningless gibberish, we are likely to be rudely surprised if we dismiss possible interpretations simply because we can't achieve them at the moment. Why not accept all mathematically possible decodings, regardless of present or future practicality? This seems a safe, open-minded approach, but it leads into strange territory.
This line of thought, growing out of the premises and techniques of physical science, has the unexpected consequence of demoting physical existence to a derivative role. A possible world is as real, and only as real, as conscious observers, especially inside the world, think it is!
The Platonic position on simulation puts a handle on the vexingly intangible. It holds that every interpretation of a process is a reality in its own right. Without it an interpretation is meaningful only in context of another interpretation defining a containing world, and so on, in an infinite regress. The Platonic position defuses various worries about intelligent machinery. Some critics argue that a machine cannot contain a mind since a machine's function is entirely an outside interpretation, unlike human minds, which supply their own sense of meaning. The Platonic position on simulation answers that the abstract relationships that constitute the mind, including its own self-interpretation, exist independently, and a robot, a simulator, or a book describing the action, no less than a biological brain, is just a way of peeking at them.
Perhaps the most unsettling implication of this train of thought is that anything can be interpreted as possessing any abstract property, including consciousness and intelligence. Given the right playbook, the thermal jostling of the atoms in a rock can be seen as the operation of a complex, self-aware mind. How strange. Common sense screams that people have minds and rocks don't. But interpretations are often ambiguous. One day's unintelligible sounds and squiggles may become another day's meaningful thoughts if one masters a foreign language in the interim. Is the Mount Rushmore monument a rock formation or four presidents' faces?
We can't yet leave the physical world in chosen directions, but we are scheduled to leave it soon enough in an uncontrolled way when we die. But why do we seem so firmly locked to the simple physical laws of the material world before death? This is a most fundamental question if one accepts that all possible worlds are equally real.... The universe's great size and age, its physical laws, and our own long evolution may be just the working of the simplest possible rules that produce our minds.
When we die, the rules surely change. As our brains and bodies cease to function in the normal way, it takes greater and greater contrivances and coincidences to explain continuing consciousness by their operation. We lose our ties to physical reality, but, in the space of all possible worlds, that cannot be the end. Our consciousness continues to exist in some of those, and we will always find ourselves in worlds where we exist and never in ones where we don't. The nature of the next simplest world that can host us, after we abandon physical law, I cannot guess. Does physical reality simply loosen just enough to allow our consciousness to continue? Do we find ourselves in a new body, or no body? It probably depends more on the details of our own consciousness than did the original physical life.
I linked this essay on Bernardo Kastrup's forum. My interpretation is that mathematical realism is the end-stage of reductionism, which can act as a stepping-stone to a future metaphysics based on idealism or neutral monism. Personally, I take the essay's ideas to be more of a reductio ad absurdum than anything. But I admire the poetry of how an outgrowth of modern reductionism could lead to such an anti-materialist viewpoint as described therein.

Edit: I'm also a bit amused by the implications of mathematical realism for the Fermi Paradox. Maybe we can't see any alien civilisations because they've departed for other mathematical realms of existence, through what would look like a series of bizarre ritual suicides to an outside observer.
 
I think that there is event at the level of energy Higgs predicted and this confirmed by the data. What that data mean is surely not nailed down. That it is a particle whose materiality coveys amazing properties is doubtful for me. What is a formal definition of a particle anyway? Is it more than a class of of math abstractions in modern physics? Where is the cut-off between particles that are virtual and those that exist as a transition state of affairs - for so short a measure of time?

What is real about these particles except that they may be actual in their contribution to the realm of actual information. If these thing wink in-and-out of existence and make no change to reality - are they material?
Well, all particles have lifetimes so it's a matter of degree not principle. The Higgs boson is an excitation of the Higgs field (pervading all space) and has mass so it's material. I wouldn't say it's a virtual particle.
 
Well, all particles have lifetimes so it's a matter of degree not principle. The Higgs boson is an excitation of the Higgs field (pervading all space) and has mass so it's material. I wouldn't say it's a virtual particle.
The Higgs is not a virtual "particle" as would be a virtual photon, in my very limited understanding. The time existence of particles and especially photons is something to consider. If photons don't decay - they don't have a lifetime. At least according to the standard model - a photon hangs-on forever.
If the photon has mass and is decaying into lighter particles, then the number density of photons in the CMB should decrease as the photons travel. But this in turn would mean that the CMB spectrum would no longer fit the near-perfect thermal curve that is observed. Heeck reasons that as the CMB is an almost a perfect black body, very few photons, if any, will have decayed during the 13.8-billion-year existence of the universe and so the CMB measurements can constrain the photon's lifetime.

Using a combination of the mass and CMB constraints, Heeck calculates the photon's lifetime within its own rest frame to be three years. But as these photons with tiny mass travel at nearly the speed of light, time dilatation must be accounted for to obtain their lifetime in our frame of reference, for visible light – and this was calculated to be 1018 or a billion billion years. Improving this limit might be difficult until new studies can probe the early universe further.
http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2013/jul/24/what-is-the-lifetime-of-a-photon

The existence and decay of particles is a confusing subject.

My opinion, which is open to correction, -- is that having mass is fundamental in reality and that material is just an abstract term . Matter is more a reference to atomic/molecular organization. Materials Science (or Condensed Matter Physics) teach about crystal structure, polymers, electronic related properties and nano-scale structures. The focus in material sciences is the basis of much of modern technology.

Matter, on the other hand, has become a term with a tacit meaning that physical substance has magic properties that uniquely exude from it. Matter is not a SI measurable property.
Thus, matter does not have a universal definition, nor is it a fundamental concept in physics today. Matter is also used loosely as a general term for the substance that makes up all observable physical objects.[1][2] - Wiki
Over the years the dirt has eroded from beneath the feet of the philosophy called Materialism
 
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A new scientist article popped up on my feed last night about information being physical? Couldn't read the full article I had to pay, what a damn shame
you might like the classic paper: http://cqi.inf.usi.ch/qic/64_Landauer_The_physical_nature_of_information.pdf
Information is inevitably tied to a physical representation and therefore to restrictions and possibilities related to the laws of physics and the parts available in the universe. Quantum mechanical superpositions of information bearing states can be used, and the real utility of that needs to be understood. Quantum parallelism in computation is one possibility and will be assessed pessimistically. The energy dissipation requirements of computation, of measurement and of the communications link are discussed. The insights gained from the analysis of computation has caused a reappraisal of the perceived wisdom in the other two fields. A concluding section speculates about the nature of the laws of physics, which are algorithms for the handling of information, and must be executable in our real physical universe.
 
The Higgs is not a virtual "particle" as would be a virtual photon, in my very limited understanding. The time existence of particles and especially photons is something to consider. If photons don't decay - they don't have a lifetime. At least according to the standard model - a photon hangs-on forever.
You can get a virtual photon in particle collisions, e.g. electron electron scattering where the photon carries the force. And it doesn't decay during the exchange anyway. Otherwise, a huge lower limit on it's lifetime in free space, that was a really interesting article you referenced. Maybe mass and energy are convenient labels we attach to something not really understood? And interchangeable as Einstein showed.
I remember something about cosmic rays that astronauts can see the flashes as they hit the retina. Direct energy/mass detection!
 
Who or "what" is running the program and why? Is there a purpose? Is it random? Is there a set "goal" in mind?
This actually makes me think of the many experiences of both DMT users and NDErs of being in a place where they see beings working on some kind of computer.

Natalie Sudman in her book "Application of Impossible Things" actually goes into pretty good detail about 'programming' her reality (for her return), including "what if" senarios like taking away an arm or a leg and "laughing hysterically" while watching her 'avatar' as it were struggle to do basic tasks missing these limbs. Something she acknowledges is cruel here, but hilarious there because these things are seen as the illusions they are "there".

With the DMT experiences as described in Dr. Rick Strassman's book "DMT, The Spirit Molecule", several participants in the study reported finding themselves in a place where either they saw entities working at computer like devices or found themselves on some kind of examining table or bed and were being assessed using some kind of computer, and were often either told "you're not supposed to be here yet" or asked "how did you get here".

Natalie's book answers the who, what and why. The question is, do you believe her?

AFAIK, Dr. Strassman makes no attempt at answering any of those questions. In his book, he confesses to being blown away by what the participants experienced and how unexpected much of it was.
 
With the DMT experiences as described in Dr. Rick Strassman's book "DMT, The Spirit Molecule", several participants in the study reported finding themselves in a place where either they saw entities working at computer like devices or found themselves on some kind of examining table or bed and were being assessed using some kind of computer, and were often either told "you're not supposed to be here yet" or asked "how did you get here".
Except for the "How did you get here part", that's not too far off from the abduction experience!
 
Something I read recently regarding negative near-death experiences. Some people do report going to a dark or terrifying place during an NDE, however a thought or a plea to a God (or their own concept of such) can bring immediate assistance and move the person into a place of light and love.

It occurs to me that this experience living on Earth can be much the same at times, where we can be trapped in a dark place but the same route out is available - if it is requested. The first step is to ask. There is the added dimension of material inertia here, it can take time for things to shift.

The concept of free will is key in this, the choices are ours to make.
Maybe so, but it's not uncommon for people with severe depression or other such problems to not only not ask for help, but refuse help that's offered to them even if they didn't ask. This could be because they've lost all hope that they can be helped at all, they've developed such self-hatred that they feel like they deserve to suffer, or they're just so blinded by whatever pain they're in that they're practically psychotic and just lashing out at everyone who gets close.
 
Maybe so, but it's not uncommon for people with severe depression or other such problems to not only not ask for help, but refuse help that's offered to them even if they didn't ask. This could be because they've lost all hope that they can be helped at all, they've developed such self-hatred that they feel like they deserve to suffer, or they're just so blinded by whatever pain they're in that they're practically psychotic and just lashing out at everyone who gets close.
No disagreement there. Being blinded to the possibilities is one of the obstacles we can all face at times, exploring the darker side may be something which is in some way necessary, in order to eventually decide on a change of direction. (I speak from experience, though that of other people may differ).
 
This actually makes me think of the many experiences of both DMT users and NDErs of being in a place where they see beings working on some kind of computer.

Natalie Sudman in her book "Application of Impossible Things" actually goes into pretty good detail about 'programming' her reality (for her return), including "what if" senarios like taking away an arm or a leg and "laughing hysterically" while watching her 'avatar' as it were struggle to do basic tasks missing these limbs. Something she acknowledges is cruel here, but hilarious there because these things are seen as the illusions they are "there".

With the DMT experiences as described in Dr. Rick Strassman's book "DMT, The Spirit Molecule", several participants in the study reported finding themselves in a place where either they saw entities working at computer like devices or found themselves on some kind of examining table or bed and were being assessed using some kind of computer, and were often either told "you're not supposed to be here yet" or asked "how did you get here".

Natalie's book answers the who, what and why. The question is, do you believe her?

AFAIK, Dr. Strassman makes no attempt at answering any of those questions. In his book, he confesses to being blown away by what the participants experienced and how unexpected much of it was.
Interesting makes me wonder if we are artificial beings. Makes me think there might be no after life we are just "machines"
 
Interesting makes me wonder if we are artificial beings. Makes me think there might be no after life we are just "machines"
I think the problem here is the word "after".

A lot of models of reality are built with this, here, now as the foundation, and everything else fans out from it. But what if we drop the word "after" from the phrase "after life"? We are left with simply the word "life". Forget before, forget after, maybe there is only the eternal "now".

As for the idea of 'we are just "machines"', maybe we inhabit structures which lend themselves to machine-like descriptions. But perhaps we inhabit something like a diving suit, a cumbersome clothing which allows us to function in a place which is not our natural habitat.

I don't say these things as an actual representation of reality, more as an allegory, a way of considering or contemplating things.
 
Except for the "How did you get here part", that's not too far off from the abduction experience!
Right, (again, if I remember correctly, it's been a while since I read the book) that was one of the reasons he was taken aback, because many did resemble abduction stories. It's a good read (both of them actually) if you haven't already.
 
For me it's as if something is in there with us but has to be hidden mostly to give us freedom. So God hides but can be contacted. And to be strictly a simulation seems the wrong way of looking at it in the whole.
Something I read recently regarding negative near-death experiences. Some people do report going to a dark or terrifying place during an NDE, however a thought or a plea to a God (or their own concept of such) can bring immediate assistance and move the person into a place of light and love.

It occurs to me that this experience living on Earth can be much the same at times, where we can be trapped in a dark place but the same route out is available - if it is requested. The first step is to ask. There is the added dimension of material inertia here, it can take time for things to shift.

The concept of free will is key in this, the choices are ours to make.
I agree. There is much gnashing of teeth at how slippery the "paranormal" can be and the difficulty of obtaining hard, material evidence. Almost like its....designed that way. Enough to let us know it's there, not so much we forget why we are here. The only thing that can truly convince one of the existence of "something more" is direct experience. Which to me is an indication that this reality is far more about perception than it is solid physical matter. Ancient texts, and even more modern spiritual guides have been telling us this all along. "Ask and it is given", "seek, and you shall find". Even "life is what you make it".

I have even myself on occasion had the notion that we are far more powerful than we think we are. That the possibilities are literally infinite, and it's the prisons we lock our minds into that (wrongly) tell us otherwise. So I wouldn't say it's a "simulation" per se. More like, we are immersed in a field of infinite possibility with consciousness as the substrate which brings forth whatever reality we imagine. To contact "God" one only need to seek within himself with an open heart. As trite as that may sound, I confess that I myself have experienced just that. And if it was "all in my head", then its one hell of a trip! And if I felt only a small fraction of what it truly means to be "one with God" or mind at large or whatever you want to call it, then it would seem absolutely necessary for some kind of deliberate "cutting off". Would we really want to stay here, if we knew, or remembered, what awaits us on the other side?
 
Actually, in thinking about this some more; life as a "simulation" is absurdly circular in its logic when viewed from a purely materialistic viewpoint. In likening it to a big computer or computer program, we are using the very definition or concept of "computer" or "computer program" given by the computer itself. We could never really know or understand the what this "massive computer" is, since the concept of computer would come from what we understand as "computer" as given by the computer itself. And if this is a simulation, then our computers are a simulation. So our understanding of the "massive computer" creating reality is no more than the simulation of us understanding a simulation of computer.
 
Actually, in thinking about this some more; life as a "simulation" is absurdly circular in its logic when viewed from a purely materialistic viewpoint. In likening it to a big computer or computer program, we are using the very definition or concept of "computer" or "computer program" given by the computer itself. We could never really know or understand the what this "massive computer" is, since the concept of computer would come from what we understand as "computer" as given by the computer itself. And if this is a simulation, then our computers are a simulation. So our understanding of the "massive computer" creating reality is no more than the simulation of us understanding a simulation of computer.
Thanks. This expresses something I thought too, but you put it more clearly than I would have.

A related thought is that computers are just our latest fashion, in the past we had the 'giant watchmaker' meme. I think we should always be suspicious of ideas built around our current lifestyles - of which watches and computers are but examples. The true picture, no matter what it is, is sure to be more timeless than the comings and goings of our fashions and fads in technology.
 
Actually, in thinking about this some more; life as a "simulation" is absurdly circular in its logic when viewed from a purely materialistic viewpoint. In likening it to a big computer or computer program, we are using the very definition or concept of "computer" or "computer program" given by the computer itself. We could never really know or understand the what this "massive computer" is, since the concept of computer would come from what we understand as "computer" as given by the computer itself. And if this is a simulation, then our computers are a simulation. So our understanding of the "massive computer" creating reality is no more than the simulation of us understanding a simulation of computer.
Thinking from an informational process point of view - is deadly to materialism.

Living things integrate their local information with the signals coming in from the environment. Their target output of this process is the seeking of meaningful opportunities. This integrated information detected by the senses takes another step when it is integrated with a living thing's sense of future states. This process of understanding signals from the senses results in information objects (thoughts, desires, instincts) that can induce behavior. This inner environment (mind) is - in all ways - a sim. Each living thing is copying information from its surroundings and projecting an integrated outcome.

The planet earth is a ecosystem of sims localized in each living thing. The mental life of all living things is a many-eyed reflection and projection of the physical environment. It's not if we live in one externally programmed sim, like scifi is depicting. We live in a sea of sims, each self-generated.
 
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