[extropy-chat] something rather than nothing

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Thu Mar 22 16:07:21 UTC 2007

On 3/22/07, Emlyn <emlynoregan at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 02/03/07, Anders Sandberg <asa at nada.kth.se> wrote:
> >
> > Damien Broderick wrote:
> > > At 10:38 AM 2/28/2007 -0500, someone wrote:
> > >>The question remains in our universe of thoughts, why is there
> > >>something rather than nothing?
> > >
> > > Good dog in heat, I get so tired of this fake question. What makes
> > > anyone suppose that "nothing" is the default physical or metaphysical
> > > condition, or even an intelligible construct?
> >
> > I often ponder why there is something rather than everything.
> Yes, I hear that. There may very well be everything of course, and we are
> just by chance stuck in this particular bit of it.
> > My usual answer is the anthropic principle, but outside our neat little
> > domain lies all the other Tegmark Level 4 possibilities.
> Anthropic principle, definitely, that's the answer to the question. The hard
> question is not "why is there something" but "why is there this particular,
> arbitrary looking something". Again we can scale down the set of somethings
> from everything to all the possible self consistent & intelligence
> supporting somethings, but that still seems to hold a lot of somethings.
> But I think you said that ;-)
> Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to rewind time and run evolution on earth
> again from the start, to see what comes up in alternate histories? Do you
> think intelligence would evolve again, eventually?

Yes. It seems (anthropic alert!) an unavoidably likely result of the
universe's ongoing process of doing more with less.

All observations suggest that structures evolve to exploit
increasingly complex symmetries such that global entropy accelerates.
This hints at the principle more fundamental than Darwinian
variation-selection-replication mentioned yesterday.

This is also the message that I try to communicate to some of our
friends who hold the transparent belief that Science is a Tool of
Oppression. As intentional agents, by acting in accord with
increasingly probable principles of effective action, we *increase*
the range of diversity (degrees of freedom) available to us.

- Jef

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