S

But they are not taken on faith. There is evidence to support the concept that physical laws are constant. As evidence appears that they are not, scientists will look in that direction.

~~ Paul

~~ Paul

S

~~ Paul

Moving conversation from Resources Thread, This takes you the beginning of the conversation.

The question is what sustains the regularities from which the concept of "laws" was extrapolated.

The question is what sustains the regularities from which the concept of "laws" was extrapolated.

Our Paul A. may not have read Paul Davies comments on this subject. I think that quantum uncertainty is an established fact.

As to the ontological cause of the constants of science - my humble version of information realism jumps up to answer the question. Constants are a reflection of activity from the structured information that is the fabric of manifesting events. ( see Bob Doyle's website for his take on structured information.)

If you think about it, everything you know is pure abstract information. Everything you *are* is an *information structure*, a combination of matter and energy that embodies, communicates, and most important, *processes* your information. Everything that you value contains information.

And while the atoms, molecules, and cells of your body are important, many only last a few minutes and most are completely replaced in just a few years. But your*immaterial* information, from your original DNA to your latest experiences, will be with you for your lifetime.

You are a creator of new information, part of the cosmic creation process. Your free will depends on your unique ability to create freely generated thoughts, multiple ideas in your mind as alternative possibilities for your willed decisions and responsible actions. - B. Doyle

And while the atoms, molecules, and cells of your body are important, many only last a few minutes and most are completely replaced in just a few years. But your

You are a creator of new information, part of the cosmic creation process. Your free will depends on your unique ability to create freely generated thoughts, multiple ideas in your mind as alternative possibilities for your willed decisions and responsible actions. - B. Doyle

I think that the laws are constant only in a macro sense. Like the the concepts of quantum foam, sting theory and empirical observation it seems obvious that everything is waving, jiggling, fluctuating and vibrating. There is always a target value with margin on either side.

Our Paul A. may not have read Paul Davies comments on this subject. I think that quantum uncertainty is an established fact.

~~ Paul

Does a change in the constants of nature constitute a change in "laws"? Or, are we talking about something more drastic, like a change in the equations themselves?

There has been some observations, which I guess constitute some level of evidence, that the constants of nature change, like the fine structure constant. But, the laws are tied to symmetries in nature. For example, the laws of Special Relativity are a ramification of a symmetry in nature under Lorentz Transformations, often described from another angle as the invariance of the interval. Noether's theorem ties each conservation "law" to a symmetry. Symmetry in time implies conservation of energy; symmetry in space implies conservation of momentum; etc.

**So, I guess a deeper question would be can the symmetries we see in nature change with time?**

To tie this back, I guess I should add that's where the regularities come from. As an example, in the same way you see regularities in an n-sided polygon because of symmetries, so we see regularities (or laws) in nature, due to symmetries. At least I think that better represents the modern view of things

There has been some observations, which I guess constitute some level of evidence, that the constants of nature change, like the fine structure constant. But, the laws are tied to symmetries in nature. For example, the laws of Special Relativity are a ramification of a symmetry in nature under Lorentz Transformations, often described from another angle as the invariance of the interval. Noether's theorem ties each conservation "law" to a symmetry. Symmetry in time implies conservation of energy; symmetry in space implies conservation of momentum; etc.

To tie this back, I guess I should add that's where the regularities come from. As an example, in the same way you see regularities in an n-sided polygon because of symmetries, so we see regularities (or laws) in nature, due to symmetries. At least I think that better represents the modern view of things

Last edited:

Actually, there is an interesting example of all this which is related to Special Relativity. There's a chance I could be talking partially out of my own ass here, but I think it's pretty close to how things are viewed. Anyhow, remember a ways back there was a finding that went viral about the speed of light not being constant? I forget the details now, but it had everybody up in arms that it would be the downfall of Special Relativity.

But, I don't think it really would have been (as most physicists were saying at the time), but it shows the subtleties involved. In Special Relativity, you have the all-important metric at the heart of the theory:

d_tau^2 = -c^2*dt^2 + dx^2

This equation outlines the geometric structure of space-time as it measures distances in space-time, in a similar fashion to how Pythagorean Theorem measures distances in Euclidean Space (ds^2 = dx^2 + dy^2). What's special about c, is not any role as a Universal "speed limit", but that it actually helps define this unified geometric structure of space-time and converts between time and space in such a way as to keep the interval (distances in space-time) invariant. Again, this is the same thing as distances staying invariant under a Euclidean Space, or regular space, as we normally think about it

But, if the*magnitude* of the speed of light, or c, changes, the *form* of the Lorentz Transformation equations do *not* necessarily have to change. The underlying symmetry which preserves the invariance of the interval under Lorentz Transformations, and the *form* of all the equations would stay the same. The form of the equation above for the metric stays the same. But, it seems to me **something** about the geometric structure of space-time would change as the speed of light changes. If the speed of light in the equation above changed slowly over time, the geometric structure of space-time would slowly change with time. Indeed, I think equivalent experiments done at different times might give different answers, since the measured space-time distance between events would change. Perhaps, it would be somewhat analogous to an n-sided polygon slowly growing/shrinking, the symmetries wouldn't change in that under certain rotations (of 2*pi/n) the appearance of the n-sided polygon would still not change at any given instant of time, but length magnitudes are indeed changing over time. Then again, if you're stuck on the side of the polygon (or in space-time), perhaps from your vantage point nothing does change, as you (and your experimental apparatus) would be changing along with the environment!?!?

I may have to bring this up on Physics Forums, just to see what those guys have to say.

Not sure what all this means as far as things changing in nature, but shows how it can get pretty strange, I guess.

But, I don't think it really would have been (as most physicists were saying at the time), but it shows the subtleties involved. In Special Relativity, you have the all-important metric at the heart of the theory:

d_tau^2 = -c^2*dt^2 + dx^2

This equation outlines the geometric structure of space-time as it measures distances in space-time, in a similar fashion to how Pythagorean Theorem measures distances in Euclidean Space (ds^2 = dx^2 + dy^2). What's special about c, is not any role as a Universal "speed limit", but that it actually helps define this unified geometric structure of space-time and converts between time and space in such a way as to keep the interval (distances in space-time) invariant. Again, this is the same thing as distances staying invariant under a Euclidean Space, or regular space, as we normally think about it

But, if the

I may have to bring this up on Physics Forums, just to see what those guys have to say.

Not sure what all this means as far as things changing in nature, but shows how it can get pretty strange, I guess.

Last edited:

It's not the laws that are fluctuating, but matter and energy.

~~ Paul

~~ Paul

Paul - I do think it true that materialism/physicalism doesn't answer the question of "how" laws happen. The belief in abstract "properties of matter" - rather than propensity and dispositions is problematic at many, many levels.

The question is what sustains the regularities from which the concept of "laws" was extrapolated.

So called "hard core materialists" appear open minded on this issue.

It's not the laws that are fluctuating, but matter and energy.

~~ Paul

~~ Paul

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 limited precision available for the execution of algorithms implies that there is some sort of uncertainty in the laws of physics.* This is not necessarily exhibited in the form of a limit to a certain number of bits, it may be more stochastic in nature. This may in turn be the ultimate source of noise and of irreversibility in the universe.

S

Can we have this conversation moved to C+D?

It's only posted here in Spirituality by an accident on my part.

thanks!

Sci

If we take Idealism at all seriously, then it could be that until fairly recently, physics ran on a very simple basis - pre-Copernican with the earth at the centre etc. (There are suggestions that other cultures had at least realised that the earth went round the sun - so that might push the change back a bit in time)The 'resources' needed to simulate such a system would be fairly small, and everything was fine until people started asking tricky questions and staying alive long enough to demand answers!

The point is that back then the simulation didn't need to be very internally consistent. According to this idea our study and experimentation has hardened up the laws of physics into the current highly mathematical form. In this form they require much more 'resources' to simulate them, and at some point we may run out of this most fundamental resource of all!

Rupert Sheldrake has suggested that the laws of physics might represent an extreme limit of a morphic resonance type habit repeated billions of times.

Bear in mind that when we view ancient star-light now, that light will be simulated using the current laws of physics to remain consistent!

David

@Sciborg_S_Patel I have never got into moving threads about - I think I'd want a spare SKEPTIKO forum to fool about with a bit to be confident how to do this!