Scott H Young

Please Show Me Why I’m Wrong


Today’s post isn’t going to be the usual improvement fanfare of productivity, habits and communication skills. Instead it’s going to be a long-winded self-indulgent post about something that has been on my mind lately. That is: what is the nature of reality?

Looking back as young as twelve I’ve been trying to come up with theories for how life works, how the universe works and how the two fit together. My often naive and highly speculative theories are always in a state of flux as I get new ideas and evidence from people far smarter than myself.

Today I’d like to tap into a few of those smarter people to tell me why I’m wrong. I don’t mean this as a challenge, but as a plead. I thrive on being shown why I’m wrong as that starts the theoretical gears in motion once again. So if you’ve got a lot of opinions and at least a modest level of intelligence, please read through my post and tell me why I’m a simple-minded fool.

First Some Citations…

Although I’m claiming this is my theory of everything, that’s hardly the case. In reality I’ve stolen almost all the pieces from other people way smarter than me, picked the bits I liked and ignored the rest. Scott Adams, Rob Bryanton, Steve Pavlina, Brian Greene and too many I forget.

My Big Theory of Everything

In this theory I’d like to cover three major points: what the universe is, what life and consciousness are and finally how the two fit together. If I confuse anyone along this journey please ask for clarifications so I can straighten things out.

The Universe

There are a lot of theories on how the universe works. Big bangs, gods, multiverses, alternate dimensions and not to mention a flying spaghetti monster. For me, all these explanations lack completeness. They go so far as to explain what we see, but they don’t really answer why this and not something else.

Why did the big bang happen? What created god? Where did all these alternate universes come from? These all fail the 5-year old test.

What’s the 5 year old test? It’s when you have a conversation with one of those annoying kids who asks “Why?” to every answer you give without end. I feel any explanation of the universe that can probe another “Why?” is incomplete, despite how well it explains what we see.

Recently, however, I’ve hit upon a few ideas that seem to elegantly solve the 5-year old test. That is, they reach a conclusion which is so obvious, asking why becomes ridiculous. To save the suspense the obvious conclusion is this:

The Universe is nothing and everything. Zero = Infinity. It is not only nothing, but everything possible and impossible. So much everything that the word ‘everything’ doesn’t conceptually wrap around the idea.

In being everything and nothing, asking why becomes pointless. Why necessitates that there is something to differentiate answers. When you have everything = nothing, why becomes an irrelevant question.

Now how do you arrive at this point?

10-D Universe With a Somewhat Scientific Perspective

Before I explain how I reach my why-stopping conclusion, I’d like to point out that these ideas are philosophical, not scientific. I’m going to reference scientific concepts of which I have no formal training. Even if I had a PhD, the idea itself is unscientific. It can’t be demonstrated with experimental evidence.

First, quantum physics. Quantum physics is a branch of science that deals with tiny particles. And, since it began, quantum physics has baffled scientists. The theories it uses predict experimental data perfectly. The problem is, nobody understands why they should work.

Quantum physics predicts that particles move around randomly and don’t actually have a fixed place until you look at them. This queer behavior has deeply unsettled scientists for years. Einstein himself was quoted as saying, “God does not play dice.”

The best example of quantum queerness told to me is a famous experiment. This is an experiment where two slits are cut and light was shown through them to a back wall. When this happens, the light creates an interference pattern. This is where the waves of light amplify and cancel each other.

Interference can be best demonstrated by making two splashes in water. When the waves touch some of the crests hit other crests, making big crests. Some crests hit troughs where they cancel each other.

Now lets say instead of flashing millions of waves of light, we flash one photon at a time. Even if you fire them like bullets, one at a time, an interference pattern builds up. This says light is a wave.

But, for arguments sake, let’s do something sneaky. Let’s put a sensor inside the slits so we can tell which one it goes through. If it really is a wave, it needs to go through both, not just one. However, as soon as we put the sensors in place, the interference pattern disappears. It’s as if the photons say, “Hey! Someone’s watching us… Behave like particles!”

Explanation for Quantum Queerness – Add Another Dimension

The best way I see to explain the weird properties of tiny particles is to have a fifth dimension. What’s the fifth dimension? Let’s start by explaining our basic spacial dimensions:

Everyone is aware of the basic three dimensions: vertical, horizontal and depth. The fourth dimension only takes a bit of mental construction, it’s time. So our 4-D universe consists of vertical, horizontal, depth and time. Make sense?

Now a fifth dimension would be saying that instead of time flowing along a straight line, it actually flows along a plane. A time-grid instead of a timeline.

Conceptually this explains a bit of the quantum queerness (as I understand it from a layman’s perspective). Particles can jump in an out of existence and move randomly because, they are moving along different longitudes of the time-grid. What appears to be a particle disappearing might just be a shift into a different part of the time-grid.

One Step Closer to the Why-Stopper – Introducing the Time-Cube

Hopefully my transforming of the timeline into a time-grid made sense. Because I’m going to make it even worse. Now imagine that instead of a time-grid, it were a time-cube.

Similar to our spacial cube, the time cube would mean you can move right/left, up/down and past/future. Keep in mind that these dimensions are overlaid on top of our current three. So for every point in the time cube you would have a fully three dimensional universe.

What would the time-cube look like?

I’d speculate that it would look like everything that is possible in what we call our universe. Every possible outcome and permutation of quantum randomness would exist in the time-cube. Spots would exist where you are a billionaire and you are a street urchin. Spots would exist where life never happened at all.

The only limitation on the time-cube would be the laws of physics. This would be the initial starting mixture of constants, particles and rules that define what our universe is.

Reaching the Why-Stopper – The Universe Cube

As unimaginably vast and complex a 6-D time-cube universe would be, I don’t believe it stops there. I believe on top of this time-cube, rests what I’m going to vaguely define as the universe-cube to bring the dimensions up to nine.

The universe-cube would itself be a variation on the ingredients that define each time-cube. In our time-cube, it is suspected that we started with a big bang, that gravity attracts and that there are four fundamental forces. But in the universe cube, you could have any number of different starting conditions, constants or even physical make-ups.

The universe-cube would have no limitations. It would be the definition of infinity, comprising everything, beyond the semantical limitations of the word.

What Happens When You Add a Tenth Dimension?

The next question is what happens when you add the tenth dimension. Now you’ve reached something spectacular. That big ball of infinity, of everything possible and impossible, becomes a single infinitesimal point.

When you have a single infinitesimal point, you have nothing. Nothing at all, zero, emptiness. Emptiness also does not conceptually wrap around the idea of just how nothing it is.

Hence, in a 10-D Universe you have everything equal to nothing and smacking you right in the face is the ultimate why-stopper.

How Does This Apply to Life?

Now to continue my long-winded discussion of reality and life, I’d like to talk about how this ten-dimensional why-stopper narrows in on the essence of consciousness and life itself.

First, let me start with a little assumption. You are essentially a pattern. Information stored on a medium of cells, matter and energy. Your ‘soul,’ if you want to call it that, is essentially the pattern that defines your existence.

In a deceptive way this somewhat justifies a metaphysical dualism where the mind is separate from the body. Except that it would also say your mp3 files are ‘souls,’ so I don’t know where you want to draw the line.

What Comprises Your Pattern?

Here we stumble into the question of identity. What, if changed, would no longer make you yourself? This is difficult to say. Some people would argue that your brain stores the pattern. Your hands, liver and hair aren’t an essential part of your identity.

Some might argue that your body and brain are the pattern. That external rocks, buildings, friends and relatives don’t comprise of the pattern. Both of these explanations seem like poor line-drawing in an issue where no natural boundaries exist. Either everything must stay exactly the same for you to remain you, or everything can change.

If you side with the first perspective, this would justify the now-perspective argued by teachers like Eckhart Tolle and The Buddha. That means that your past and future aren’t you and so they shouldn’t play a part in *your* reality.

I’d like to take a somewhat different stance. I’d like to argue that the pattern’s identity is determined by itself. In other words, when anything that interrupts the pattern enough for it to not believe it is the same pattern, it is no longer the pattern. So if a change happens and you (the cognitive computations designed by the pattern) still believe that you are you, then you are you.

If you were to suddenly wake up in Tokyo, you would probably still believe you were you. However, if all your memories were changed and the universe were adjusted to provide no evidence of the old you, that would probably be sufficient to say that you aren’t yourself anymore. Confused yet?

Pattern Jumping the 10-D Everythingness

First let’s look at my founding assumptions:

  1. Information Assumption – You are only a pattern. (i.e. there is no *essence* inside a particular pattern beyond the information it stores)
  2. Infinity-Zero Assumption – You are currently located inside a small sliver inside space, overlaid in the time and universe cubes.
  3. Identity Assumption – You are you to the degree to which you believe you are you. (e.g. teleporting to Tokyo doesn’t make a different person, but a different memory and world history does)

Now let’s say that you were to die this instant. A nuclear bomb goes off a mile from your house disintegrating yourself and the fragile pattern stored on the squishy medium that is your brain.

The question is: What happens to the pattern?

The answer is simple: you jump to the next location in the everythingness that contains a copy of your pattern sufficiently similar for you to believe you are still you. This happens because in a universe that contains everything, there will be another place in a random section that has a replica of your pattern.

Since you are the pattern, not the medium it was stored on, the ‘you’ will resume in the new pattern even if the matter that previously held it disintegrated.

A real-life equivalent of this would be backing up your hard-drive and then setting your laptop on fire. With a back-up, the pattern of information still exists, even if the computer has melted. Think of an infinity-zero universe as being the ultimate back-up device.

Broader Implications of Pattern Jumping

There are a couple broader implications that can be derived from pattern jumping:

  1. Your pattern can’t ever “die” it will simply resume in a new part. I’m still unsure of the specifics of this. Whether you would resume in an identical location, or if we take my identity assumption, you would randomly begin in a pattern that has sufficient you-ness.
  2. Your reality is essentially consciousness. Since you can jump between sections of the everythingness, this somewhat justifies the concept of subjective reality presented by Steve Pavlina and Law of Attraction proponents. By changing the internal recognition parameters for what you-ness is, you essentially sculpt where your pattern will flow and, in theory, the fragment of universe you experience.
  3. Anything is possible. Based on my assumption that the universe contains everything, you could theoretically jump anywhere, so there are no restrictions on what the universe my unfold towards you.
  4. God Exists (As well as the spaghetti monster) – So my previous statement of atheism needs to include the caveat that a 10-D universe would include, however disproportionately improbable, every manifestation of a deity possible. I still believe theistic arguments are too narrow to fit this broad context because each god would be infinitesimally small parts of the everythingness.

Until now all the spiritual arguments I’ve heard like this use naturalistic, almost magical, terms to justify themselves. But I’d like to make it clear that I’m not talking about something magical. I’m talking about something that is fundamentally rational and mechanical. I believe that a sufficiently self-aware computer program would pattern jump and experience consciousness just as the squishy software in your brain does.

I’m also consciously avoiding optimism-bias in my theory formulation. Although this explanation makes me feel better about how life works, I’ve previously had many theories that were far more bleak. I can’t fully avoid optimism, but if I come across a theory that is entirely depressing, but more convincing, I’ll go with it.

Now please tear all my arguments into pieces. Go.


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32 Responses to “Please Show Me Why I’m Wrong”

  1. Ben Clapton says:

    A very well written article. I’m going to keep track of this, because I also would like to hear what other people think. This level of discussion is far above my head, I lack the understanding of certain aspects (quantum physics being one) to fully participate in this discussion. However, it has given me some things to think about, and it wasn’t so wordy that I didn’t understand any of it, which is great.
    Despite a lot of the things being well over my head, I find that the theory makes sense, to me at least, as I’m a firm believer in the fact that we don’t know everything yet, and the only way to discover more is to present hypothesis, test them, discuss them, argue them, and come to a further conclusion.

  2. I decided years ago that our puny little minds can’t possibly understand the complexity of the universe. I did graduate in physics, so my question is: what experiments can you do to verify your theory?

    I don’t have any trouble of thinking of myself as the pattern, not the individual atoms that are included in my body. Those atoms are always changing, but as I see it, the pattern is, too. Why can’t a pattern disintegrate?

  3. Gabe says:

    Hi Scott,

    First, let me say I’m a big fan of your blog, and am thankful for the invitation to comment – please don’t take offense at my suggestions, as I don’t mean any negativity.

    First with the 10-D Universe: I think you do a good job of pumping the intuition that a 5th dimension is a plausible possibility. However, once you get past that, your article starts to focus mostly on description and less on argument. I would suggest explicitly pointing people to the Rob Bryanton video after you’re done with your own explanation, because it does a good job of making the notion of ten dimensions being layered upon each other plausible and understandable (in your defense, he takes eleven minutes to do it–I understand that there’s only so much you can do in a few paragraphs).

    However, I think that both you and Rob are making a big assumption, which is the assumption that there’s a meaningful connection between what we’re capable of imagining and metaphysical reality. For example, Rob decides that the number of dimensions ends at 10 because he can’t *imagine* what the other points on an 11th-dimensional line could consist of. That’s not necessarily a very good reason. We might be able to imagine lots of things that just aren’t so, or there may be things that are true that we can’t imagine.

    Also, you may want to consider a phrase other than “time cube”, since that phrase has rather crackpottish associations on the internet (http://timecube.com/ — see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Cube). Possibly not a term you want to be associated with. ;-)

    Finally, it’s unclear to me how the notions in “Broader Implications of Pattern Jumping” follow from the preceding stuff. Perhaps this could be explained in more detail. It also seems that according to your theory, mental patients who seriously believe that they don’t exist are… well, correct, which seems patently untrue.

    You seem like you’re interested in learning what other thinkers have thought about these questions, so here are a few things you might be interested in:

    Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter is a fun read and has a lot to say about the notion of consciousness as arising from a pattern interpreting itself. (Note that this idea doesn’t lead Hofstadter to a metaphysical dualism, but instead just the opposite). If you picked up the pattern idea from someone else, I wouldn’t be surprised if they got it from Hofstadter.

    As far as “why this?” one of the most creative responses I’ve ever seen is the Simulation Argument (http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html), which yes I agree is a little silly… but interestingly, if you are someone who believes that technological progress will one day make it possible to simulate the history of the world on a powerful computer, you actually have to take its implications seriously!

  4. James says:

    Very insightful my friend.

  5. Thomas says:

    I’m sorry Scott, but I can’t tear this to pieces, because your proposals of dimensions make no sense to me at all. You’ll have to be more precise as to how the fifth dimension would explain the behaviour of quantum particles/waves. Then you’ll have to explain why we need the third time dimension, and why it would stop there, and there are not more than three time dimensions. Then you’ll have to explain why we need the other three “universe dimensions” and why there must be three and not pi or thirty-seven. Then you’ll have to explain why we need a tenth dimension, and especially why it makes everything collapse to a point. (I think you’ll agree that a ten-dimensional space, mathematically speaking, is definitely not the same as a point, which has zero dimensions.)

    A physics theory must do two things, and yours fails on both: a) it must explain existing observations; b) it must predict new observations. Why (a)? If a theory does not explain anything, it cannot be proven true or false by experiment. Why (b)? If a theory does not predict anything, it is useless. For example, the theory “there is an omnipotent god” explains everything, but predicts nothing, and is therefore a useless theory.

    I can live with the postulate that there are infinitely many copies of “yourself”. But the “resuming” you claim makes no real sense, because the very word “resuming” assumes linear time, while time-as-we-know-it exists in a point on a two-dimensional time plane, according to your theory, and the “resuming” happens in another point on that time plane, so the temporal relation is lost.

    By the way, I’m writing a post on a “theory of everything” of my own. However nobody will ever be able to prove me right or wrong. I’ll post the link here once the article is done.

  6. Thomas says:

    By the way, you don’t seem to have a comment feed, or did I miss something?

  7. Scott Young says:

    Thomas,

    Good point. I’ve thought through that one before. The answer is I don’t know whether there are 10 dimensions, or eleven, or pi and 37. I like the idea of 10 because it references Bryanton’s work and could be viewed as fitting into string theory.

    But arguably, the ten dimensions is just a path to reach the everything and nothing conclusion. I’m speculating on one possible path to reach a why-stopper because I’m beginning with the assumption that a why-stopper is necessary or you aren’t examining the complete universe.

    As for pattern jumping, the word resuming is deceptive. I don’t have a verb for what it means to continue a pattern on a coordinate that may be in the past, future, time-up or some other shift. The major assumption is that if the universe does contain everything, that such a shift is indeed possible.

    Can a pattern degrade? I suppose it can. But I suppose that my argument goes for a gradual degradation since too large a pattern decomposition would be viewed as a change in fundamental you-ness. Arguing the Now perspective is a lot simpler, but I’ve been trying to tie progression into the equation since it’s important to us.

    Gabe,

    Time-cube isn’t really accurate. Time-space (or another 3 dimensions) would be more accurate, but that doesn’t produce a vivid image. And I purposefully separated the dimensions into groups of three so they were easier to visualize, I’m guessing that no real distinction actually exists.

    A mental patient who believes he is somewhere else is wrong. The problem is, from his perspective, how can he tell? If the evidence you receive as a conscious program mismatches from “reality” then you can’t possibly tell what “reality” is.

    Pattern jumping doesn’t mean moving around in our tiny sliver of universe. It means that the totality of everything is so vast that another copy of your pattern has to exist somewhere. But expecting to be reborn twenty years in our future or on Mars is close to impossible.

    As for experiments, there are few I could test directly. I’m not a physicist but I try to keep updated on new research in theoretical physics (with nice authors like Brian Greene breaking it down for me).

    This theory would have predictions. Such as not being able to end your continuity of existence and being able to sculpt reality consciously. Unfortunately these are subjective tests so are no use to other people and to disprove them you’d have to do some pretty crazy stuff.

    I’m hoping I can save myself the trouble by having enough people point out flaws (or as some of you mentioned, complete errors) that I can begin thinking again.

    By all means, keep the discussion going. I need more people to tell me I’m wrong.

  8. Scott Young says:

    Oh and no comment feed, unfortunately. But if you can keep the discussion going, Thomas, I’d appreciate you stopping by again.

  9. ZHereford says:

    All of your arguments presuppose that you have an accurate premise or point of reference. You have no absolute way of knowing whether you do or not, so any argument you put forth is at best tentative, at worst – totally wrong.

    No matter how enlightened human beings are, our sensual and intellectual apparatus limits us.

    No matter how well you explain reality in scientific terms, there is a high probability you are wrong because you arrive at all conclusions strictly through sensual/perceptual data which in turn, is unequivocally subjective.

    In order to arrive at any plausible or practical theory of the universe or existence, your best bet is to study the collective wisdom and empirical findings of philosophers, psychologists, physicists, astronomers etc. and even then you’re probably only scratching the surface of a highly complex, intelligent and infinite universe.

    Ultimately whether we like it or not, faith, belief and hope inevitably play a part in our comprehension of the nature of the universe. They have to because our ability to know absolutely will always be limited.

    The mind/sub-conscious (not necessarily inhabiting the body) holds the key to unraveling the mysteries of life and the universe.

  10. Thomas says:

    @Ben: “… the only way to discover more is to present hypothesis, test them, discuss them, argue them, and come to a further conclusion.”

    The problem with Scott’s hypotheses is that they are pretty much completely untestable. Assuming that his theories are true is like assuming that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists in the known universe: it cannot be falsified, because it does not do any predictions of future experiments.

    By the way, I do agree with your theory of the Now. I’m not the same person now as I was even one second ago, or will be one second in the future.

    Gabe makes a few very good points too. “Gödel, Escher, Bach” is on my reading stack — I already bought it and will start reading it soon. Interestingly, my own upcoming hypothesis is basically a theory of simulation. I’ll read the article Gabe linked to before I publish mine.

    Scott: “This theory would have predictions. Such as not being able to end your continuity of existence and being able to sculpt reality consciously.”

    I guess the only way to end my continuity would be to kill myself, so let’s suppose I commit suicide at time t0. According to your theory, there is another “me” somewhere, equal to the “me” right before I killed myself (that is, for each time t

  11. Gabe says:

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks for responding. Thomas’ points about the theory (a) not being testable and (b) not predicting anything testable are probably the most important ones that have been raised, if you’re really looking for a theory that someone can show you you’re wrong (or right) about. For example, even though your theory predicts that you can’t end the continuity of your existence, this is not a testable prediction. You can’t prove it to yourself, let alone other people. (For example, if someone tried to “test” it by jumping off a building to see if their consciousness “jumped” someplace else in a totally different dimension after the splat, they still wouldn’t learn anything from this, because after they “jumped”, they wouldn’t even necessarily know that they had just performed an experiment!)

    What I was getting at with my mental patient example was your statement, “So if a change happens and you (the cognitive computations designed by the pattern) still believe that you are you, then you are you.” Well, take someone that honestly doesn’t believe that they are themselves, because they don’t believe that they exist at all (in this reality or in any other). (There are people who claim to believe such things). In your terms, the pattern doesn’t believe that it is identical to itself. It seems like your statement means that such a pattern would in fact NOT be identical to itself, which doesn’t make much sense. But that was a side tangent.

  12. Thomas says:

    Here, as promised, is my Theory of Everything in the Known Universe.

  13. I’m not concerned about whether your arguments are right or wrong. I just don’t see why they’re relevant to our lives. It reminds me of the proverbial theologians arguing how many angels can stand on the head of pin. Who cares?

  14. Tom says:

    Yo Scott! A wicked awesome article, you are finally getting into the meat’n'potatoes of the ‘matter’ bro! GOOD JOB!!!! Look up the work of Carlos Castaneda, worth a look for ya. Peace out.

    TOM

  15. @Stephen says:

    Hi Scott,
    I have read your previous posts on atheism and rational vs emotional, and I have to agree with Thomas, you make some points that rely on assumptions that don’t quite pan out.

    Not that I have all of the answers, but it is (mathematically speaking) difficult for me to make the step from 9 dimensions permeating the “universe cube” to a 10th dimension squashing everything to a dimensionless point.

    Your idea of overcoming the “why” of a 5-year old has completely failed, as several educated adults, with much broader frames of reference than a 5-year-old, in this comment thread have not been able to suspend their own “whys”.

    Part of the human condition is to imagine or explain phenomena in terms of analogies to other phenomena, using examples that have a common reference. One clue that this is a poor scheme is the concept of pi (also mentioned above), in that the number we use, in base 10, is a very long decimal, when it “seems” like it should be a whole number. If the relationship of the measure of the circumference of a circle to its radius cannot be specifically determined, obviously we are using the wrong system.

    So often people try to describe the universe as a kind of fish tank, with man standing outside, attempting to measure things. The difficulty for humans, as beings that have definite limits, is that we cannot truly fathom limitlessness. We keep going on about beginnings and endings and dimensionality, in a selfish attempt to imagine one’s raison d’etre in a universe which we cannot completely measure or experience – like Abbott’s Flatlanders attempting to comprehend a sphere.

    This inability to comprehend our universe fully is what makes it so exciting (and frustrating) to be human.

    I would submit that the “universe” is everything – without a “beginning” or an “edge”, that we are on a one-way trip, and that we should spend more time enjoying the ride and making it a little bit nicer for our traveling companions.

  16. Scott Young says:

    I’ve been getting a lot of comments on this post, so I’ll try to address a few of the major ones. First:

    1) Of course I’m making assumptions. I’d like to point out that this is just a fanciful theory I’ve put together — not something I believe with conviction. My purpose in writing this was for you to better expose my assumptions so I could come up with a better theory. Many of you have done this, hence I have succeeded.

    2) The first part about a ten-dimensional universe that is everything and nothing is a highly speculative hypothesis. My idea was to find a way where you can reach what, in my opinion, is a why-stopper (where everything equals nothing) the specifics for how to reach that are less important for the predictive value of this theory.

    3) And yes, the theory does make predictions that can be falsified. The theory can’t be proved, but it can be falsified. But it can’t be falsified in an objective, scientific point of view.

    Because of my pattern-jumping statement, the only way to falsify the theory would be if your existence ended. Unfortunately that’s not an experiment I’d like to carry out, so I’d prefer to logically break elements of the theory.

    4) How does it apply to life? The first half doesn’t really. I like it because it has a certain elegance, but it is simply philosophical ramblings — they have no function.

    But the second part – pattern jumping, conscious sculpting of the universe, immortality and changing laws of the universe are incredibly relevant.

    5) What’s different between someone who jumps pattern and a completely deluded individual?

    I can’t satisfactorily answer that question in a paragraph. I would argue that the difference is which side of the lens (outside or inside) you look from.

    —-

    I’m having a great discussion destroying this theory. Please point out more places I’m wrong. ;)

  17. Luke says:

    Are you aware there’s no scientific evidence for ANY of this? It’s based on mathematical speculation, which has no necessary correlation to reality, like some non-Euclidean geometries that are mathematically deducible but don’t, as far as we know, describe anything in reality.

    For a good overview of everything that is speculated and known about consciousness, I suggest Piero Scaruffi’s The Nature of Consciousness:

    http://www.scaruffi.com/nature/

    Why would anyone base their theory of the universe on what a cartoonist and self-help guru think? They’re good at what they do, but ascertaining the fundamental nature of reality is not what they do.

    String theory is an elegant idea – the universe is fundamentally a symphony – but among possible Theories of Everything it has the particular weakness of not being falsifiable, which puts it on the same playing field as Flying Spaghetti Monster-ism.

    I suspect the “correct” theory that will unite quantum mechanics and general relativity has not yet been proposed.

    I respect you, Scott. But I anticipate you will be embarrassed by this post when you learn a bit more about science, theories of everything, philosophy, etc. That’s okay. I’m now embarrassed by almost everything I’ve written (especially as an evangelical Christian), but they were all parts of my journey toward who I am today.

  18. Scott Young says:

    Luke,

    Why on earth would I be embarrassed about being wrong? I’m wrong about lots of things, it’s part of the learning experience. My entire purpose in writing this wasn’t to show my convictions but to get you to point out my flaws.

    Unfortunately, some people don’t seem to believe me…

    -Scott

  19. “Why on earth would I be embarrassed about being wrong? ” Good for you! One of my favorite lines is by William Strunk, “If you can’t pronounce it, say it loud!” He was teaching English and said have the courage to speak up, that’s the only way you learn anything.

    I still think patterns change and eventually disintegrate. Are you really the same person you were 20 years ago? 30 years ago? If you’re less than 30, where were you then?

  20. Kali says:

    Interesting post, Scott.

  21. Thomas says:

    A fool can ask more questions than ten wise men can answer…

    1) WHY these specific numbers of dimensions?
    2) WHY does everything equal nothing when we add the tenth dimension?
    3) WHY is this, according to you, a meaningless question, i.e. a why-stopper?
    4) WHY do you think there must be a why-stopper at all, apart from to satisfy our own simple minds?

  22. md@ says:

    Quite an interseting article, but at the end of the day these are all theories… including the so called big-bang and no-one really knows?

    Amazing thing is that the Yogis of ancient India used to verify that there was a mind-body connection., They disovered this thousands of years ago. The funny thing is that science is only begining to discover this…

    Hey fascinating article

  23. Scott Young says:

    Thomas,

    Great points. I’ve basically scrapped the universe theory. While I find it elegant, I have, as many of you kindly pointed out, made too many assumptions. Back to the drawing board.

    Although I believe I confused more people on my second section than the first, I think it is more relevant and predictive of actual life. But it still needs more work.

    -Scott

  24. Iair says:

    Well… all this is just too much for me. I agree the idea that we cannot understand the universe, and it’s worse than that, because every attempt we try to go a step closer to a complete understanding of the universe, we end worse than at the beginning. Maybe it’s much simpler to believe (in G-d) but also there weren’t no other theory that went closer to a complete understanding of the matter.
    That Was the unimportant part of my comment… Now:
    Scott Theory = What the bleep do we know + The cube (part 2).
    (not seriously)

  25. Vic says:

    Hi Scott, i think you have an interesting vision here, and maybe its based on your pre concepts of everything, clearly influenced by the Hegelian dialectic.
    About the “TIME”, how could we assure that the time is a linear, grid or cubic scalable metric?
    You have to set up another level of abstraction in your mind, and think about it for a moment, what if the TIME doesn’t exists?

  26. Luke says:

    Scott, you shouldn’t be embarrassed about being wrong. That’s not what I meant. I appreciate your courage. I just don’t think your reasoning is very good here, which is too bad for someone committed to good reasoning.

  27. Hi, Scott, and thanks for your most interesting ideas. I think other comments sum up the “other” sides of the issue(s), but this is the kind of conversation that pushes us readers to think about the big stuff. I, too, kinda doubt the 10-dimensions thing, but with String/M Theory pushing 11 of ‘em, who knows? To me the most important thing is the wonder of it all – a ginormous universe, our strange, recursive consciousness, tiny thingies…we’re so damn lucky we’re ABLE to consider these issues!! So take your time, and keep adjusting your theories (keeping in mind testability), and keep on sharing….
    Chas.

  28. viasenzanome says:

    I would just highlight an article:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/10/10/scitime110.xml

    This is a very interesting topic of discussion, thanks to all of you!

  29. Yankeesnapper says:

    I finally got around to reading this article. I find it, well, something that I should probably read again and think through more thoroughly. I’ll admit my first read was not done looking for errors or problems, I wanted to simply follow or understand your logic. Not everything was clear to me, but, amazingly, one thing DID hit me over the head.

    Simply put, you have taken the entity or concept which is God, sterilized it by stripping away centuries of man’s attempts to characterize Him, and left (or created) scientifically-based principles. The way I think of God, I don’t find a problem with that, I just find that it doesn’t match up with all the principles I believe in my religion. Your nature of reality, whether you like it or not, is an incomplete but accurate definition of God. A preacher or priest might say, “God is infinite,” or “God is all things,” or “God is the Alpha and the Omega,” or “God is omniscient and omnipresent.” Well, that’s your “Nature of Reality”, isn’t it. And it’s exactly (part of) what I believe as a Roman Catholic.

    With that being said, I did find an error. Using your definition of a 10D existence, there would be an 11D universe…and a 12D…and a 100D and so on up to an infininately dimensional universe. You just need to take your “dimensions” argument just a bit further. Now that doesn’t conflict with your “everything = zero” theory, but you can’t just stop at a 10D based on your definition of what a 10D reality includes.

    And here’s something else you might want to work into your “dimensions” discussion: something like “knowledge” – the knowledge of things that are “out there,” but not in one’s consciousness. I seem to remember reading (Napolean Hill?) something about the practice of like-minded people, gathered together, thinking hard about a topic, can receive solutions or ideas previously unknown by those in the group. It always sounded goofy to me, but years later, when I thought about it in a different context – in the context of prayer and the fact that God is everything – I understood it and knew it as true. So “patterns” can move along a knowledge continuum, from knowing nothing (at birth) to knowing something (now). And, of course, there are things that are known to others but not known to you and me. And then there are the things forgotten (what Joe Caveman ate on his 10,000th day) and the things that are yet to become known. And then there’s the things that will never be known, like untruths.

    That’s enough (likely too much) from me for now – my head hurts – I’m not a pro at this stuff like you are. I really enjoy reading your blog. Keep up doing what all of us enjoy so much.

  30. Scott Young says:

    YankeeSnapper,

    When a word defines everything it means nothing.

    No I’m not referring to “God” if you want to look of god as being:

    -A conscious, omnipotent, all-knowing and all-good being.

    When you confuse the definitions of “God” with “infinity”, “nature”, “morality”, etc. then the word “God” ceases to have any meaning. My version of infinity or a higher order for the universe is distinctly different from what most people would interpret as a deity, therefore I have no right calling those ideas “God”.

    That being said, I’ve revised much of my viewpoints since writing this post, so many of these ideas I no longer agree with.

  31. [...] recent posts on atheism and a highly speculative theory of how the universe might work sparked a lot of debate. Although I am pleased to find I have some incredibly intelligent readers [...]

Debate is fine, flaming is not. Pretend that this comment form is a discussion taking place in my house. That means I enjoy constructive criticism and polite suggestions. Personal attacks, insults and all-purpose nastiness will be removed especially if it is directed at other readers.

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