Where did the laws of physics come from?

(Randy) #121

Dr Garvey,

Thanks. I’m rather kerflummoxed by this. Two quotes come to mind–“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp; or what’s a heaven for?” by Browning; and “in argument, similes are like songs in love; they describe much, but prove nothing (Kafka).” There was a recent argument where I think Dawkins drove himself into a corner by saying something about imagination not being necessary for grasping reality, which seems diametrically opposed to the concept that we need imagination not necessarily firmly grounded on what we know to grasp what we don’t.

On the other hand, it does behoove us to be very careful about what we use as a basis for our start, and carefully examine ourselves for bias. Quantum theory is very interesting–I have to say I’ve only read the barest minimum on it so far. However, some philosophers seem to originate their musings from a pint of bitter (Lewis?), LSD (Sam Harris), or marijuana or other things like that (one finds very paranoid reactions from this in the medical field!).

But I digress…that’s where dialog and criticism (such as publishing and forums) helps, doesn’t it? I’m trying to start my musings in the 2 hours of the morning before I begin a cup of coffee (does caffeine cause vision of a very active or an indolent universe?)

(Jon Garvey) #122

It seems to me Dawkins is dead wrong there - but I’m more a fan of Polanyi and Einstein, both of whom saw the vital connection between imagination, logic and empirical investigation (another name to throw in there, from an earlier time, is Leonardo da Vinci).

Ideas for theories arise from imagination working sometimes on data, and sometimes on less definite things (Einstein was convinced something like relativity was true long before he had either experimental data or a grasp of the right maths to describe it). To quote from a piece I wrote in 2014:

Polanyi also points to the example of Einstein, whose theory of special relativity was universally said, in the textbooks of Polanyi’s time (the 1950s), to have been a classic instance of a theory formulated to explain the data of the Michelson-Morley experiment. In fact, the Wikipedia article linked tells the same improving tale 64 years later. But in correspondence with Einstein himself, the latter said “the Michelson-Morley experiment had no role in the foundation of the theory”. Instead, since the age of 16 Einstein had intuitively sensed, by thought experiment, that something of the nature of special relativity must be true. And he was committed to his theory long before sufficent data existed to confirm it. Polanyi’s conclusion is telling (and sadly up to date!):

The usual textbook account of relativity as a theoretical reponse to the Michelson-Morley experiment is an invention. It is the product of a philosophical prejudice. When Einstein discovered rationality in nature, unaided by any observation that had not been available at least fifty years before, our positivistic textbooks promptly covered up the scandal by an appropriately embellished account of his discovery.

The imaginative idea is then tested against reality and either proves fruitful or not - thus weeding out most of the flights of fancy at the first hurdle - c’est la vie. If it does reflect reality, it becomes a real theory, and the number crunchers with less imagination get to fill in the details.

In fact a particle physicist over at Peaceful Science points out that in physics, theory choice is very much dependant on intuition - by which I guess he means a species of imagination. And theories drive research programs - as people like Kuhn pointed out - but then, Kuhn was a philosopher, so what does he know? :grinning:

(Randy) #123

Thanks. Good point. Here’s an article referencing Dawkins’ thoughts about imagination and Goldilocks!

Reminds me of Eustace Clarence Scrubb in C S Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, who didn’t like fantasy, but pictures of fat children doing calisthenics. :). I think Dawkins just argued himself in a corner and will laugh at himself once he realizes it.


Yes, because that is ultimately the only correct answer, to recognize that, the question is invalid. You and others have yet to recognize this ergo you, and others, are likened to the dog that is always spinning in circles, chasing its tail and never catching it.

If others have a better answer or response to the question of this thread, Ive not yet seen it. I’m sure none exist because I’m confident in the validity of my comments/concepts, as presented.

I’m not trying to stop the thread, only speak truths that may not have been presented.

If my comments as presented are invalid, Ive not seen any rational, logical common sense comments that would invalidate them as presented. Have you?

(Richard Wright) #125

Hello T,

Because in a world with minds and intelligence, it makes more sense, to myself anyway, that the world (universe) was somehow created by an intelligent mind.

Everyone has faith in something. Your faith is in a natural answer to the universe, as seen in:

No problem with that but it just shows that you are looking for a “natural” solution to the question - that is where your faith lies, as when you offered that a quantum fluctuation showed that a universe can start from nothing. A theist, by contrast, understands that a universe (or multiverse) run by forces that are described by beautiful math needs more than a natural answer.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #126

I have been studying Dawkins for some time to 1) understand him as the spokesperson for Darwinian evolution (his view, not mine0 and 2) the spokesperson for the New Atheism because I wanted to understand the relationship if any between the two and I found that there was.

Dawkins sways that he is a monist, which means he says that there is no body/mind dualism, since the mind is physical just like the body. That raises the question as to how are people able to think, but he seems to say that they do not because we are controls by memes which are extensions of our DNA.

Thus based on his worldview Dawkins thinks that only science or the physical is real and theology, philosophy, and the arts are without value. I do not think he will laugh at himself when he realizes this.


Something{ occupied space } from nothing{ non-occupied space } does no occur.

Any quantum fluctuation requires a quanta{ occupied space } or set of quanta{ occupied space }.

Quanta are finite integrities and in case of initial set of circumstances of Universe/God we could envison what happen this way. Keep in mind this is simplistic scenario.

We know that a sine-wave //// or as ^v^v is associated with most particles of Universe/God and also atoms and Ive read also Buckminister Fullerenes{ 60 carbon atoms }.

Envision a very low frequency --ergo ultra-long wave— sine-wave _________ that is not exactly flat so it does have highs/peaks and lows/troughs. Then we take the minimal finite set of highs/peaks and lows/troughs that would would be a finite quanta.

____ from here >| _________ |< to there ________

The question then becomes what caused this specific quanta to expand, inflate, dilate etc.

What is the medium of this sine-wave can be speculated. EMradiation ergo one ultra-large and flat photon that is resultant of a finite, entropic Universe/God.

Is the medium gravity, dark energy. Do they exist in their own sine-wave pattern. It is all speculation but some speculations may follow more rational, logical common sense pathways of consideration than others.

I have faith, that, there exists a rational, logical common sense answer, or response, to all questions of all time. In this sense Universe/God has a complementary and finite, associated set of cosmic laws/principles, that are inviolate do not contradict ergo they exist as perfection.

Absolutes are perfection.


Ok, but I don’t think dismissing the question is a proper answer. I’m fine with an atheist saying “I don’t know the answer, but I don’t feel like God is a good one”, but just dismissing the question as invalid seems like a copout.


I dont recall my response referencing “God” as answer. Again the question is moot because those cosmic laws/principles do not come from where or a when.

The cosmic laws/principles eternally exist in complement to a Universe/God that eternally exists.

Again physical/energy cannot be created nor destroyed ergo eternally existent. I have faith that this is a cosmic law/principle but it it there exists no evidence that it is not eternally inviolate.

For you or others to think the cosmic laws/principles come from a where or a when is eternally chasing your tail like the dog that spins around and around seemingly to chase its tail.

I’m sorry you cannot see this. Seem simple to me.


Can you prove that?

Now I’m confused. Are you a theist or atheist?


Not sure why your confused. I’m not sure which one I am, if either. What I think or believe is based on rational, logical common sense that is based on what Ive observed and/or observed by others.

Universe/God ergo synonyms.

Biological/soul ergo synonyms

Spirit has four primary definitions of which all other definitions are subcatagories of those four.

I dunno if science uses the words spirit or soul. I believe it is mistake on scientists to not do so.

I think or believe and have faith that all existence --i.e. Universe/God and any of its parts-- has a rational, logical, common sense explanation.

Just as I think or believe that politics, religion and spirituality should not be seperate issues of concern, science, religion and spirituality should not be disconnected from each other.

Some have stated that were all one. I think and/or believe that is true via mass-attraction aka gravity. Gravity connects all mass ergo all integrities of Universe/God no matter how small how large or how complex.

No I’m not offering any proofs. Some truths are self-evident. Again, you seem to disregard some of my comments as stated ex I repeat again for you.

Physical/energy cannnot be created nor destroyed ergo Universe/God is eternally existent.

Cosmic laws/principles complement all physical/energy ergo they too exist eternally ergo they do not “come from” a where or when.

Humans via their access to metpahysical-1, mind/intellect/concepts discover the cosmic laws/principples and discover that they are eternally existent. That is why their labled cosmic, because they exist every in all time and are inviolate and non-contradictory.

I’m sorry you cannot see any of that.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #132

I was reading through the list of scientific ideas that need to die as done by the edge.org collaboration in 2014. Just for you Roger, Physicist Max Tegmark on why the concept of ‘infinity’ needs to die:

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #133

Matthew, thank you for the article. That clears some things up.

I would never agree that something physical is infinite. Therefore it is hard to see infinity as a scientific concept.

The Big Bang Theory says that the universe began as a very small mass. It is not infinitely small meaning nothing, it was nothing that became something. The Big Bang says that the universe is not infinite with no beginning.

The philosophical/theological view is that the Beginning emerged if you will from the Infinite. The Infinite (God) is the bookends in time and space for the finite (universe.) The problem I have been having is that the cosmologists that I have been talking with seem to argue that the universe does not have any boundaries, a Beginning, and so is Infinite.

It seems to me that God is Infinite and the universe is finite or the universe is Infinite and God is not. The best evidence today is that the universe is finite.


It is not the concept of infinity that needs to die, it is the concept of infinite this or that medium that needs to die, if Universe/God is a finite, occupied space, that, is in dynamic change.

Accepting the above we then have to come to a rational, logical conclusion about what exists outside of finite occupied space Universe/God that may expand-contract?

The answer is fairly obvious. Nothing i.e. macro-infinite non-occupied space.

Cosmic laws/principles only exist in regards to finite Universe/God ergo there can only exist a finite set of cosmic laws/principles.

Max Tegmark and others have made clear that there can only exist a finite set of five regular/symmetrical and convex polyhedra of Universe/God.

The mathematician jacbob Bekenstein made clear that was inside a black hole is expressed on the black holes event horizon surface. This was later confirmed/validated by S. Hawking and led to holographic scenarios.

Jacob Bekenstiens comment to his black hole math , were that, …‘we appear to be 2D creatures having and illusion of 3D’…

So there are those who believe Universe/God began from singularity like a black hole. IF that were true, then we may say that what is inside Universe/God is expressed on its event horizon surface.

I believe Archimedes discovered and interesting fact in these regards. He discovered that the area of four great bisecting circular planes of a spherical cubo-octahedron --they also define the cubo-octahedron— are equal to the outer surface area of the spherical cubo-octahedron.

In this scenario above the 2D surface area inside of the four planes, is exactly equal the 2D spherical areas outside surface.

These four planes are actually directly related to four hexagons ergo the four planes are 24 triangles with each triangle having a pie shape i.e. two straight edges and one edge that is curved. Ex (> is rough depiction sort of like a side 2D view of a snow cone.

Actually, 3D cones is what Archimedes used to make this discovery of four planes of spherical cubo-octahedron being equal to its outer surface area.

As for physics and infinity, Richard Feyman and others invented renormalization to remove the divergent infinities physics math integrals and Feynman diagrams divergetn closed loops kept running into.

One of the ways to avoid divergent infinite integral has been to come back to geometric interpretations. Ex Loop Quantum Theory via Lee Smolin, and others approach, does this.

Fuller is one of those who espoused a scenario for micro-infinite —ergo eternal— subdivision of Universe/God via his mutlplication-by-division of polyhedra explorations.

In those scenarios there exists no micro-quantum limit. I think/believe that is an incorrect scenario, tho I understand how he came to it. The issue that then arises, is if there exist quantum limits then can a truly non-occupied space occur between these minimal quantum integrities{ ex gravitions }.

Gravity remains non-renormalizable and that is partly why many scientists and mathematicians are more and more coming to the conclusion there can never exist a grand unified theory of everything{ GUTOE }.


What would be the name of this logical fallacy?


(Mark D.) #136

Now we too can avoid logical fallacies and in just 146 easy lessons!

(Mervin Bitikofer) #137

That’s quite a list of fallacies to go through; and more than I have time to do at the moment. But I did one better before anyway in my post somewhere up there and elaborated in your context where I think your mistake is. If you want to dig through that list to see if it fits one of those prior-defined categories of fallacy, be my guest (and I would be curious to learn what category would cover it.

But just to summarize the error again: I suggest that you mistakenly think that all expressed objections about whether something can be done or not are offered in a prescriptive rather than a descriptive spirit. The latter wouldn’t be so much a science-stopper as a science-goader. The former attempts to be a science stopper.

If there is a fancy label for such a mistake, I would love to learn it (“confusion of prescriptive with descriptive”?) , but I’ll leave that to you.


This one is probably worth paying attention to:

“The Argument from Ignorance (also, Argumentum ad Ignorantiam): The fallacy that since we don’t know (or can never know, or cannot prove) whether a claim is true or false, it must be false, or it must be true. E.g., “Scientists are never going to be able to positively prove their crazy theory that humans evolved from other creatures, because we weren’t there to see it! So, that proves the Genesis six-day creation account is literally true as written!” This fallacy includes Attacking the Evidence (also, “Whataboutism”; The Missing Link fallacy), e.g. “Some or all of your key evidence is missing, incomplete, or even faked! What about that? That proves you’re wrong and I’m right!” This fallacy usually includes fallacious “Either-Or Reasoning” as well: E.g., “The vet can’t find any reasonable explanation for why my dog died. See! See! That proves that you poisoned him! There’s no other logical explanation!” A corrupted argument from logos, and a fallacy commonly found in American political, judicial and forensic reasoning. The recently famous “Flying Spaghetti Monster” meme is a contemporary refutation of this fallacy–simply because we cannot conclusively disprove the existence of such an absurd entity does not argue for its existence. See also A Priori Argument, Appeal to Closure, The Simpleton’s Fallacy, and Argumentum ex Silentio.”

I think that is a separate issue that is more along the lines of my personal opinions. Whether it is prescriptive instead of descriptive still doesn’t fix the God of the Gaps fallacy inherent in the argument.

If it is just peoples’ opinion that God makes more sense, that is fine. We all have opinions and there is nothing wrong with that. If it is being argued that God is an inescapable conclusion based on observations, then that is a different kettle of fish.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #139

I think you and I agree with everything you wrote in your top paragraph, and agree that those are fallacies to avoid.

Well – “separate” as it may be, it was my main issue that I was bringing to the larger discussion here.

I think it fixes some of it, but it depends on who’s saying it and what all they mean by it. Notice that I didn’t claim that it’s never used prescriptively.

My main contribution above, I think was to push the idea that the “god-of-the-gaps” argument only achieves its notorious potency (and indeed fallacy) if the “Goddidit” category is seen as coplanar with the “naturedidit” category and the two are seen in a zero-sum relationship.

Apart from that it loses its fallacious steam, and anybody who wants to think of God as being in the gaps is just fine, as long as they don’t insist that God exists only in the gaps.


I would agree. Context is very important in this case. Logical fallacies only apply to arguments that people claim are logical. Beliefs and opinions fall outside of this arena.

That’s usually the point where there is a shift to the Tu Quoque fallacy, with phrases such as “it takes just as much faith to believe in a multiverse” or other such types of arguments. It is also a bit of Strawman fallacy, where people assign false positions to people and then attack that position. Both sides of the argument are guilty of falling prey to these fallacies.