Re: Discussion of the MUH

From: nichomachus <>
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2008 20:25:40 -0800 (PST)

Hi, I am new to this list.

I am glad to see that there are others interested in Tegmark's ideas.
I have been aware of his ideas since October but have largely agreed
with them since prior to that. by that I mean that I had reasoned to
similar conclusions prior to leaning that they had been so well
developed and articulated by Tegmark. There are a few problems that I
see with the MUH paper, although it could be that I just do not
entirely understand all of it. Before I mention those I will just say
that I believe his main thesis is correct. That is, his theory
explains correctly the relationship between mathematics and physics,
the reason why it is that mathematics has been so "unreasonably
effective" at describing natural phenomena. I with the idea that the
physical world is what Tegmark calls a mathematical structure -- a
timeless entity that exists by virtue of its own logical possibility
-- the only type of thing that truly exists. In his paper he defines a
mathematical structures perhaps overly generally as "abstract entities
with relations between them. This would seem to include a great many
things besides the type of thing we would to call a mathematical
structure. Personally I think we would want a definition that include
things like fractals, logical calculi, and the outputs of algorithms
to name a few examples, while excluding other types of things, such as
Platonic forms (which would have to be included in the definitions
provided). However, this ontology them classifies everything that we
naturally think of as real as just substructures of something that is
truly real: this universe. We ourselves are merely substrutures,
albeit the self-aware kind, of this larger, real universe, and we
therefore derive our being vicariously from it.

I would like to see that the relationship of the computable universe
hypothesis to the MUH be clarified. Is our universe's physics
classically computable at the quantum scale? If not, how does it
follow that the macroscopic universe, or the universe as a whole is
classically computable if its operation at the quantum level is not? I
apologize if this question displays my naivete on the subject, but it
is something I am currently endeavoring to more clearly understand.

I am particularly interested in information-theoretic descriptions of
the this universe, or more precisely, information theory measures of
the complexity of of this universe's presumed most basic laws (or
Grand Unified Theory, Max Tegmark's level I TOE). What exactly does it
mean to assign a value to the complexity of our still-undiscovered
GUT? Would competing notions of algorithmic complexity yield
discordant results in this case? Which measure of complexity is to be
preferred? If we defined the complexity to be the length of the
shortest possible computer program that could generate the results,
doesn't this definition imply a particular computational architecture
that would itself be necessary to account for in measuring algorithmic
complexity? Also, does having the property of universality imply a
definite lower-bound to the complexity of a hypothetical physics? once
again, probably very naive questions on my part, but I would like to
better understand these matters.

Probably what I find most appealing about the MUH is how it simplifies
things. To me it answeres the age-old question, why is there something
rather than nothing by boldly asserting that the universe is a member
of the category of being for which there is no difference between
possibility and necessity.

However, this formulation leads to speculation on the ontic status of
paraconsistent systems.

I look forward to any replies on this extremely interesting topic.

On Mar 4, 9:15 pm, Brian Tenneson <> wrote:
> I'm trying to strike up a discussion of the MUH but my discussion
> started at sci.logic and apparently, not many logicians are interested
> in Physics, or something...  :P
> Here is a link (two, actually) to the discussion.  I don't know how to
> proceed, to discuss here or there.  It does not matter to me.
> <a href=""
> b0ed9baa707749ad/ef7752e4bcfc2631#ef7752e4bcfc2631>MUH Discussion at
> Google Groups</a>

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Received on Fri Mar 07 2008 - 02:06:15 PST

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