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volume II: Synopsis

section VI: Divine Dynamics

page 31: Physics

To me the recognition that the Universe is divine seems to be a momumental step forward, but since I seem to spend most of my time worrying about details I miss the big picture. From the marketing point of view, however, it is the big picture that counts.

We are infinitely susceptible to dreams and fairy-tales. We may buy the car or the cigarette because the advertisers have managed to cast such a spell over it that it becomes, for a profitable number of people, something they must have. Many people are disappointed when the stories are revealed to have a down side: the lung cancer that comes with the sexy he-man smoker.

I want to make natural religion a must have for everyone on the planet. This means that its formal content must be not only accessible but also desirable to everyone, in other words it has to address our human symmetry. It must also be grounded in reality rather than just a story dreamt up by monarchs to help manage their subjects.

We begin the campaign by choosing the human ability to communicate as the fundamental symmetry of humanity. Our senses are continually pouring information into our system. We decode this information as best we can and act on the picture thus revealed. By symmetry we mean sameness, the absence of observable difference. We all go about our lives in the same manner, seeing, thinking, acting.

Our basic hypothesis that this communication based symmetry is not peculiar to humanity, but operates at every point in our divine Universe. Every point shares symmetries (communication channels) with its environment and sends and receives messages using the symmetry as a channel. We are not exceptions in this world, special creations or chosen people, we are totally embedded in it and must know it to survive.

A first step toward understanding the Universe is to understand its physical implementation. We are talking about the communication of information, and we make the assumption that all information is encoded physically. That tear rolling down your cheek says a lot. Rolf Landauer

We have now seen physics in two guises: the classical dress first designed by Galileo and Newton, and then modern quantum field theory, which models the Universe with outstanding precision although we do not fully understand it. Let us turn to our new picture, the transfinite network, and bring it down to earth. Here we model the Universe as a computer network and understand quantum field theory as a set of communication protocols. Computer network - Wikipedia

We do this by postulating that the symmetries or conservation laws of physics are images of the boundaries imposed on the transfinite network by self-consistency, that is by communication.

For much of its history, physics has been the study of 'dead' matter, and it has been believed that something extra ('soul') must be added to matter to create life. Here we take the view that the whole Universe is alive, and that physics, as we experience it, is simply the conversation of the simpler elements of the Universe. The recursive nature of these converations allows them to build upon one another to form more and more complex entitites, such as those we normally call life, including ourselves.

The physical Universe is built upon three fundamental symmetries, called conservation of action, energy and momentum. We connect conservation and symmetry through Noether's theorem. Emmy Noether - Wikipedia, Noether's theorem - Wikipedia, Emmy Noether, Neuenschwander

Noether's theorem applies to continuous groups. A group is a set of elements that can interact with one another in pairs, the result of that interaction always being another member of the group. The actions defined in a group never lead outside the group. It is like a closed society. Group - Wikipedia

A continuous or Lie group is a group which is also a differentiable manifold. Instead of the elements of the group being conceived as distinct objects, they are modelled as a continuum, like the geometric line, and all operations in the group are smooth.

From an information point of view however, continuity means 'nothing happens': there is no change. Shannon showed that error free communication required messages to be discrete. Continuity denies the presence of discrete changes, and so denies the presence of information. This notion is identical to the notion of symmetry: turn a perfect cube over and it looks just the same. Continuity and symmetry are the absence of observable definition. Lie Group - Wikipedia

Science seeks to document the symmetries of the Universe, those fixed points where nothing happens. Such points ('laws') can be represented in static text, 'the literature'. Mathematics is an important tool for scientists because it connects various fixed points together by theorems, which are 'logical chains' binding certain pairs of points in symbolic space.

The symmetries of the Universe tell us the common features of the world. We might say that any symmetry has two states: intact or broken. While a coin is spinning in the air its symmetry is (for practical purposes) intact. One cannot tell which side is up. When it lands and comes to rest, however, the symmetry is broken. One side is up: an indefinite situation has become definite.

In the network model, we identify a symmetry with a communication channel. In communication theory, a channel is an abstract transformation of a string of data designed to ensure that the data coming out of the channel is identical to the data going in. We might say that each channel corresponds to a language or protocol. The Internet Protocol, for instance, binds us all together in the internet.

We represent symmetries by probabilities. In a perfect symmetry, like a fair die, all possibilities are equiprobable. We can use these probabilities to compute the entropy of a symmetry (or source). Actual signals are broken symmetries, the choice of one of the points in the symmetry: once we have withdrawn the ball from the urn, black and white are no longer have a certain probability, we have a black or a white in our hand. The information gained by making the choice is equal to the entropy of the space of possibilities from which the choice was made. So a good communication channel faithfully treats each member of its symbol alphabet equally, transmitting it without error regardless of its specific identity.

This idea is captured by the physical notion of 'gauge symmetry'. Physicists recognise four fundamental forces known as gravitation, electromagnetism, strong, and weak. Each of these is a channel of communication (influence, force) in the physical Universe. These forces are mediated by particles called bosons, and act between fermions. Gauge theory - Wikipedia, Boson - Wikipedia, Boson - Wikipedia, Fermion - Wikipedia

The transfinite network is layered. Unlike artificial communication networks, which have up to seven layers, the transfinite network may have an infinity of layers, each building on the complexity of the layers beneath it. We propose that lowest, countable layer of the transfinite network corresponds to the quantum mechanical description of the physical world.

The lowest layer of the transfinite network is also that of highest energy per state. One of the discoveries of quantum physics is that many of the internal states of any system do not manifest themselves until one reaches a certain energy level. Thus a hydrogen atom can be treated as a simple particle in interactions less than about 10 eV which do not disturb its internal states. At higher energies, the electron in the hydrogen atom is likely to be moved to a new state, and the atom will behave as a composite object.

The modern trend in particle physics has been toward higher and higher energies, so revealing more and more internal structure in the particles it studies. At the present energy levels, we are faced by a set of particles which appear to have no internal structure, quarks, gluons, electrons, photons and neutrinos. It may be that at very high energies these too will manifest internal structure. However we predict that there will be an energy scale, corresponding to the countable level of the transfinite network, where no further internal structure is manifest.

This scale may be the Planck scale, named for the the quantum of action discovered by Max Planck. We observe that there are no observable event measuring less than a quantum of action. We cannot therefore observe any sub-events within such a one quantum event, since this observation would involve less than a quantum of action. Planck scale - Wikipedia

The Planck scale corresponds to the finest and deepest level of detail available in the Universe. We imagine it to be the scale of the initial singularity with which the Universe began. The structure of this singularity, an unbroken symmetry, is an element of all more complex structures in the Universe. It corresponds, in modern physics, to the ancient idea of an absolutely simple God. We might say that the initial singularity, represented by the hardware layer of the transfinite network, is the fundamental building block of the Universe.

Thus we see the initial singularity as a point communicating with itself, talking about itself (since it has nothing else to say). This ideas is already present in the ancient theory of the divine Trinity. We begin to model this, following Gödel, with arithmetic talking about arithmetic. Cantor's theorem shows us that, to avoid contradiction, it is necessary for this to grow into a Universe of unlimited complexity. Physics leads us toward the low entropy layers of the Universe, where the energy per state is high. We now turn to metaphysics, the high entropy layers of the Universe, where the energy per state is low. Big Bang - Wikipedia, Trinity - Wikipedia

(revised 26 May 2013)

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Further reading


Click on the "Amazon" link below each book entry to see details of a book (and possibly buy it!)

Cantor, Georg, Contributions to the Founding of the Theory of Transfinite Numbers (Translated, with Introduction and Notes by Philip E B Jourdain), Dover 1955 Jacket: 'One of the greatest mathematical classics of all time, this work established a new field of mathematics which was to be of incalculable importance in topology, number theory, analysis, theory of functions, etc, as well as the entire field of modern logic.' 
Capra, Fritjof, The Tao of Physics: An exploration of the parallels between modern physics and Eastern mysticism, Shambala 1991 'First published in 1975, The Tao of Physics rode the wave of fascination in exotic East Asian philosophies. Decades later, it still stands up to scrutiny, explicating not only Eastern philosophies but also how modern physics forces us into conceptions that have remarkable parallels. Covering over 3,000 years of widely divergent traditions across Asia, Capra can't help but blur lines in his generalizations. But the big picture is enough to see the value in them of experiential knowledge, the limits of objectivity, the absence of foundational matter, the interrelation of all things and events, and the fact that process is primary, not things. Capra finds the same notions in modern physics. Those approaching Eastern thought from a background of Western science will find reliable introductions here to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism and learn how commonalities among these systems of thought can offer a sort of philosophical underpinning for modern science. And those approaching modern physics from a background in Eastern mysticism will find precise yet comprehensible descriptions of a Western science that may reinvigorate a hope in the positive potential of scientific knowledge. Whatever your background, The Tao of Physics is a brilliant essay on the meeting of East and West, and on the invaluable possibilities that such a union promises.' Brian Bruya  
Feynman, Richard P, and Robert B Leighton, Matthew Sands, The Feynman Lectures on Physics (volume 3) : Quantum Mechanics, Addison Wesley 1970 Foreword: 'This set of lectures tries to elucidate from the beginning those features of quantum mechanics which are the most basic and the most general. ... In each instance the ideas are introduced together with a detailed discussion of some specific examples - to try to make the physical ideas as real as possible.' Matthew Sands 
Neuenschwander, Dwight E, Emmy Noether's Wonderful Theorem, Johns Hopkins University Press 2011 Jacket: A beautiful piece of mathematics, Noether's therem touches on every aspect of physics. Emmy Noether proved her theorem in 1915 and published it in 1918. This profound concept demonstrates the connection between conservation laws and symmetries. For instance, the theorem shows that a system invariant under translations of time, space or rotation will obey the laws of conservation of energy, linear momentum or angular momentum respectively. This exciting result offers a rich unifying principle for all of physics.' 
Weinberg, Steven, The First Three Minutes: a modern view of the origin of the universe, Basic Books 1993 Preface: 'The present book is concerned with the early unvierse, and in particular with the new understanding of the early universe that has grown out of the discovery of the cosmic microwave radiation background in 1965.'  
Weinberg, Steven, The Quantum Theory of Fields Volume I: Foundations, Cambridge University Press 1995 Jacket: 'After a brief historical outline, the book begins anew with the principles about which we are most certain, relativity and quantum mechanics, and then the properties of particles that follow from these principles. Quantum field theory then emerges from this as a natural consequence. The classic calculations of quantum electrodynamics are presented in a thoroughly modern way, showing the use of path integrals and dimensional regularization. The account of renormalization theory reflects the changes in our view of quantum field theory since the advent of effective field theories. The book's scope extends beyond quantum elelctrodynamics to elementary partricle physics and nuclear physics. It contains much original material, and is peppered with examples and insights drawn from the author's experience as a leader of elementary particle research. Problems are included at the end of each chapter. ' 
Big Bang - Wikipedia Big Bang - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the young Universe to cool and resulted in its present continuously expanding state. According to the most recent measurements and observations, this original state existed approximately 13.7 billion years ago, which is considered the age of the Universe and the time the Big Bang occurred' back
Boson - Wikipedia Boson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'In particle physics, bosons are particles with an integer spin, as opposed to fermions which have half-integer spin. From a behaviour point of view, fermions are particles that obey the Fermi-Dirac statistics while bosons are particles that obey the Bose-Einstein statistics. They may be either elementary, like the photon, or composite, as mesons. All force carrier particles are bosons. They are named after Satyendra Nath Bose. In contrast to fermions, several bosons can occupy the same quantum state. Thus, bosons with the same energy can occupy the same place in space.' back
Computer network - Wikipedia Computer network - Wikipediathe free encyclopedia 'A computer network, or simply a network, is a collection of computers and network hardware interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of resources and information. . . . The best known computer network is the Internet. . . . Computer networking can be considered a branch of electrical engineering, telecommunications, computer science, information technology or computer engineering, since it relies upon the theoretical and practical application of the related disciplines.. back
Emmy Noether English translation of 'Invariant variation problems' "Invariante Variationsprobleme," Nachr. v. d. Ges. d. Wiss. zu Göttingen 1918, pp 235-257 English translation by M. A. Tavel. Reprinted from "Transport Theory and Statistical Mechanics" 1(3), 183-207 (1971). Provided to this site by M.A. Tavel and Henry M. Paynter. back
Emmy Noether - Wikipedia Emmy Noether - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'Amalie Emmy Noether, . . . (23 March 1882 – 14 April 1935) was a German mathematician known for her groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. Described by Albert Einstein and others as the most important woman in the history of mathematics, she revolutionized the theories of rings, fields, and algebras. In physics, Noether's theorem explains the fundamental connection between symmetry and conservation laws.' back
Fermion - Wikipedia Fermion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'In particle physics, fermions are particles with a half-integer spin, such as protons and electrons. They obey the Fermi-Dirac statistics and are named after Enrico Fermi. In the Standard Model there are two types of elementary fermions: quarks and leptons. . . . In contrast to bosons, only one fermion can occupy a quantum state at a given time (they obey the Pauli Exclusion Principle). Thus, if more than one fermion occupies the same place in space, the properties of each fermion (e.g. its spin) must be different from the rest. Therefore fermions are usually related with matter while bosons are related with radiation, though the separation between the two is not clear in quantum physics. back
Gauge theory - Wikipedia Gauge theory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'In physics, gauge theory is a quantum field theory where the Lagrangian is invariant under certain transformations. The transformations (called local gauge transformations) form a Lie group which is referred to as the symmetry group or the gauge group of the theory. For each group parameter there is a corresponding vector field called gauge field which helps to make the Lagrangian gauge invariant. The quanta of the gauge field are called gauge bosons. If the symmetry group is non-commutative, the gauge theory is referred to as non-abelian or Yang-Mills theory.' back
Group (mathematics) - Wikipedia Group (mathematics) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'In mathematics, a group is an algebraic structure consisting of a set together with an operation that combines any two of its elements to form a third element. To qualify as a group, the set and the operation must satisfy a few conditions called group axioms, namely closure, associativity, identity and invertibility. Many familiar mathematical structures such as number systems obey these axioms: for example, the integers endowed with the addition operation form a group. However, the abstract formalization of the group axioms, detached as it is from the concrete nature of any particular group and its operation, allows entities with highly diverse mathematical origins in abstract algebra and beyond to be handled in a flexible way, while retaining their essential structural aspects. The ubiquity of groups in numerous areas within and outside mathematics makes them a central organizing principle of contemporary mathematics.' back
Internet Protocol - Wikipedia Internet Protocol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'The Internet Protocol (IP) is the principal communications protocol used for relaying datagrams (packets) across an internetwork using the Internet Protocol Suite. Responsible for routing packets across network boundaries, it is the primary protocol that establishes the Internet. IP is the primary protocol in the Internet Layer of the Internet Protocol Suite and has the task of delivering datagrams from the source host to the destination host solely based on their addresses. For this purpose, IP defines addressing methods and structures for datagram encapsulation.' back
Lie Group - Wikipedia Lie Group - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'In mathematics, a Lie group ( /ˈliː/) is a group which is also a differentiable manifold, with the property that the group operations are compatible with the smooth structure. Lie groups are named after Sophus Lie, who laid the foundations of the theory of continuous transformation groups. Lie groups represent the best-developed theory of continuous symmetry of mathematical objects and structures, which makes them indispensable tools for many parts of contemporary mathematics, as well as for modern theoretical physics. They provide a natural framework for analysing the continuous symmetries of differential equations (Differential Galois theory), in much the same way as permutation groups are used in Galois theory for analysing the discrete symmetries of algebraic equations. An extension of Galois theory to the case of continuous symmetry groups was one of Lie's principal motivations.' back
Noether's theorem - Wikipedia Noether's theorem - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'Noether's (first) theorem states that any differentiable symmetry of the action of a physical system has a corresponding conservation law. The theorem was proved by German mathematician Emmy Noether in 1915 and published in 1918.[1] The action of a physical system is the integral over time of a Lagrangian function (which may or may not be an integral over space of a Lagrangian density function), from which the system's behavior can be determined by the principle of least action. . . . There are numerous different versions of Noether's theorem, with varying degrees of generality. The original version only applied to ordinary differential equations (particles) and not partial differential equations (fields). The original versions also assume that the Lagrangian only depends upon the first derivative, while later versions generalize the theorem to Lagrangians depending on the nth derivative. There is also a quantum version of this theorem, known as the Ward–Takahashi identity. Generalizations of Noether's theorem to superspaces also exist.' (Noether E (1918). "Invariante Variationsprobleme". Nachr. D. König. Gesellsch. D. Wiss. Zu Göttingen, Math-phys. Klasse 1918: 235–257.)' back
Planck scale - Wikipedia Planck scale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia In particle physics and physical cosmology, the Planck scale is an energy scale around GeV (corresponding to the Planck mass) at which quantum effects of gravity become strong. At this scale, the description of sub-atomic particle interactions in terms of quantum field theory breaks down (due to the non-renormalizability of gravity). That is; although physicists have a fairly good understanding of the other fundamental interactions or forces on the quantum level, gravity is problematic, and cannot be integrated with quantum mechanics (at high energies) using the usual framework of quantum field theory. . . . ' back
Rolf Landauer Information is a Physical Entity 'Abstract: This paper, associated with a broader conference talk on the fundamental physical limits of information handling, emphasizes the aspects still least appreciated. Information is not an abstract entity but exists only through a physical representation, thus tying it to all the restrictions and possibilities of our real physical universe. The mathematician's vision of an unlimited sequence of totally reliable operations is unlikely to be implementable in this real universe. Speculative remarks about the possible impact of that, on the ultimate nature of the laws of physics are included.' back
Trinity - Wikipedia Trinity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons (Greek: ὑποστάσεις) the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial (Greek: ὁμοούσιοι). Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being (Greek: οὐσία). The Trinity is considered to be a mystery of Christian faith' back is maintained by The Theology Company Proprietary Limited ACN 097 887 075 ABN 74 097 887 075 Copyright 2000-2018 © Jeffrey Nicholls