Re: Devil's advocate against Max Tegmark's hypothesis

From: Jacques M Mallah <>
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 1999 17:10:39 -0400

On Sat, 3 Jul 1999, Alastair Malcolm wrote:
> I have been looking through the archives on this list and cannot find
> any clear arguments against the following challenge to Tegmark's
> hypothesis ( 'Is the theory of everything merely the ultimate ensemble
> theory?'):

        Hey, I thought I was the Devil's agent here. I'd better check
this with my infernal superiors. Actually I'm badly outnumbered and can
use the reinforcement - if it's legit.

> If our world can be equated to a mathematical structure which is
> related by the physical laws that are apparent to us, then it can also be
> a far more complex mathematical structure which explicitly specifies the
> universe as it has evolved during our lifetimes (for example a phase
> space specification of all the particle positions/momenta for a universe
> coming into existence say in 1850, and happening to obey
> classical/quantum-mechanical laws as required to convince us that the
> universe does follow simple laws).

        Yes, but that structure would not implement any computations.
Many of us are computationalists.

> Now there would seem to be far more different mathematical structures
> where this type of scenario occurs (but with sufficient deviation from
> 'normality' such that we would notice - the odd white rabbit scuttling
> across a ceiling, for instance, to reuse an earlier example), than there
> is of the relatively simple mathematical structure(s) that science
> implies underlies our phenomenal world. So statistically we should be in
> one of these 'contrived' universes.

        In the case of typical 'junk' data, yes, but there would be no
        In the case of universe simulations running on typical computer
programs, which has been discussed on the list, that may or may not be the
case, since after the working part of a program ends the rest can be junk,
giving a fixed working part a measure that decreases exponentially with
the length and thus favoring simple physics. Continuous systems are
harder to deal with.

                         - - - - - - -
              Jacques Mallah (
       Graduate Student / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
"I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
            My URL:
Received on Sat Jul 03 1999 - 14:13:34 PDT

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