Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Limit Case For Credulity

"There is a general view amongst physicists that the laws of nature that have allowed our creation are accidental. They are simply a property of mathematical principles that have nothing to do with our existence, or the existence of anything else for that matter. Life, the universe and everything exists by pure accident.
Another view emerged as the laws of nature came under increasingly detailed mathematical scrutiny and it became apparent that tinkering with them just slightly could make life impossible. It looked as though the laws of nature had been accurately set purposely to encourage the evolution of life.

The laws of nature can be defined by a set of numbers that provide the parameters for the evolution of the universe as we know it. One of these numbers in particular, the so-called cosmological constant has to be very tiny if the universe is to grow old enough and big enough to contain stars, and life.

The cosmological constant can be considered as the intrinsic mass and volume of empty space, which Einstein had suggested was not zero. It turns out that this number needs to be set to an accuracy of one part in a trillion, trillion trillion, trillion trillion, trillion trillion, trillion trillion, trillion. Any minuscule variation and life is a non-starter."

Basically a number so accurate it's fine tuned to 120 decimal places. Coincidence? Chance? Errrr right. As Terence McKenna so aptly puts it:

"No matter what you think about this idea, notice that it's the limit case for credulity. What does that mean? It means if you can believe that you can believe anything."

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Truth

"The Truth went a stage further, holding that this was a difference that could be made to make a difference. What was necessary was for people truly to believe in their hearts, in their souls, in their minds, that they really were in a vast simulation. They had to reflect on upon this, to keep it at the forefront of their thoughts at all times and they had to gather together on occasion, with all due ceremony and solemnity, to express this belief. And they must evangelise, they must convert everybody they possibly could to this view, because - and this was the whole point - once a sufficient proportion of the people within the simulation came to acknowledge that it was a simulation, the value of the simulation to those who had set it up would disapear and the whole thing would collapse."

Iain M. Banks - "The Algebraist"