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Scientific American tells us we may live in the past of a parallel universe

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Tentative new work from Julian Barbour of the University of Oxford, Tim Koslowski of the University of New Brunswick and Flavio Mercati of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics suggests that perhaps the arrow of time doesn’t really require a fine-tuned, low-entropy initial state at all but is instead the inevitable product of the fundamental laws of physics. Barbour and his colleagues argue that it is gravity, rather than thermodynamics, that draws the bowstring to let time’s arrow fly. Their findings were published in October in Physical Review Letters.

The team’s conclusions come from studying an exceedingly simple proxy for our universe, a computer simulation of 1,000 pointlike particles interacting under the influence of Newtonian gravity. They investigated the dynamic behavior of the system using a measure of its “complexity,” which corresponds to the ratio of the distance between the system’s closest pair of particles and the distance between the most widely separated particle pair. The system’s complexity is at its lowest when all the particles come together in a densely packed cloud, a state of minimum size and maximum uniformity roughly analogous to the big bang. The team’s analysis showed that essentially every configuration of particles, regardless of their number and scale, would evolve into this low-complexity state. Thus, the sheer force of gravity sets the stage for the system’s expansion and the origin of time’s arrow, all without any delicate fine-tuning to first establish a low-entropy initial condition.

From that low-complexity state, the system of particles then expands outward in both temporal directions, creating two distinct, symmetric and opposite arrows of time.

Sure. Anything to get rid of fine tuning.

See also:Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.

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14 Replies to “Scientific American tells us we may live in the past of a parallel universe

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    What came first, the “low-entropy initial condition” or the “Laws of Physics”?

    Maybe they emerged simultaneously? Maybe they emerged like monkeys out of a keester.

  2. 2
    Andre says:

    Riiiiiiiggggghtttt….

    Me thinks these guys read way too many comics in their youth….. But what stands out is the power of unguided Darwinian evolution, it even creates infinite universes if it wants to, it just wills it without even knowing it….

  3. 3
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The team’s conclusions come from studying an exceedingly simple proxy for our universe, a computer simulation of 1,000 pointlike particles interacting under the influence of Newtonian gravity.

    They were looking at some particles on the computer monitor and Poof! there was another universe. Hey, it’s science, what can they say?

    Sure. Anything to get rid of fine tuning.

    It’s pretty obvious that they’ve got to come up with something. Maybe this thing with 1,000 dots will help them sleep better at night.

    Andre

    But what stands out is the power of unguided Darwinian evolution, it even creates infinite universes if it wants to, it just wills it without even knowing it….

    LOL. Evolution had to create another universe to try to convince us that it’s true. With a parallel universe you get to double the number of mutations and maybe add a few more billion years. How could we doubt it now?

  4. 4
    Andre says:

    Silver

    You can doubt God, the tooth fairy, guided evolution, uncommon descent, religion, the designer, your own mind…. but you must never doubt the magic of Darwin…… ever!!!!!! McKay?

  5. 5
    tjguy says:

    Tentative new work tells us that “we may live in the past of a parallel universe”.

    Yea, but trusted old work tells us there may be a Creator who created and fine-tuned the universe.

    “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,to receive glory and honor and power,
    for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11

  6. 6
    Mapou says:

    A few years ago, Barbour claimed in ‘The End of Time’ that time did not exist. Now he’s claiming that time is caused by gravity? Nothing infuriates me more than bloviating physicists who have nothing enlightening or interesting to say. The ignorance of the physics community is deep and in-your-face.

  7. 7
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Andre

    You can doubt God, the tooth fairy, guided evolution, uncommon descent, religion, the designer, your own mind…. but you must never doubt the magic of Darwin…… ever!!!!!! McKay?

    Wow – I know. Many Important People will frown at me if I ever doubt all the magic that Mr. Darwin bestowed upon us.

    Design? Tell me what that means.
    Information? Define it.
    Intelligence? Doesn’t exist.
    Designer? Who designed the designer?
    Purpose? What are its chemical properties?
    Darwin? Now there I’m 100% certain of everything the Great Man proclaimed. There are no weaknesses in evolutionary theory. Thousands of lines of evidence give an irrefutable case.

    And now I finally have the secret weapon that wins every blog argument for Darwin …

    Tentative new work tells us that we may live in the past of a parallel universe.

    “Tentative” – are they kidding? This is hard science folks. It’s the only way we have the real truth. Come on – they actually used a computer. And a model of the universe with 1000 particles. That’s a pretty big deal!

    Let’s just call it — absolutely certain. Actually, it’s obvious to anyone who knows science. We’re living in the past of a parallel universe. Can’t you just feel it?

    And evolution wins, of course! It’s already in the future — making wonderful plans for each and every one of us. Waiting for us to out-compete someone and then die.

    Evolution is so smart that it traveled into the future to another universe. No, wait – it actually created that universe. I made a big mistake there! I could get fired for that, or at least arrested.

    Evolution predicts that in the next 10 years or so we’ll be able to travel to our parallel universe and visit the future. Evolution also predicts that maybe that won’t happen. That just proves how smart evolution really is — it was able to think of every possibility all at once!

  8. 8
    humbled says:

    Nonsense like this you’d expect to find in tabloid garbage not Scientific American.

  9. 9
    ppolish says:

    Wait, so I’ve already paid my SciAm subscription in the parallel universe? SciAm should give me the multiverse discount.

  10. 10
    tjguy says:

    Why does tentative new work count as science?

    Why do they push “tentative new work” and get all excited about it?

    Simply because it supports their worldview and beliefs. It doesn’t matter if it is true or not, it has the possibility of being true so they want to get their story out there to assuage the doubts of people on the fence and encourage them to keep the faith.

    “TENTATIVE science” – this is the legacy of Darwin – his gift to mankind. Until Darwin’s time, tentative new work never counted as science. It had to be tested and verified.

    you would think they would have learned their lesson after the recent inflation boondoggle that exploded in their face after the results turned out to be nothing more than space dust!

    This news makes headlines, but it’s failure will hardly merit a passing mention I’m sure.

  11. 11
    Andre says:

    Silver

    Design? Tell me what that means.
    Information? Define it.
    Intelligence? Doesn’t exist.
    Designer? Who designed the designer?
    Purpose? What are its chemical properties?
    Darwin? Now there I’m 100% certain of everything the Great Man proclaimed. There are no weaknesses in evolutionary theory. Thousands of lines of evidence give an irrefutable case.

    Those are excellent questions, you have me stumped! You are so insightful and intelligent! You falsified the entire scientific enterprise because you sir, the effect has become greater than your cause!

    Salute!

    It is clear that unguided evolution is a trillion to one better explanation for the diversity of life! A Designer would not have done it that way!

  12. 12

    News wrote:

    Sure. Anything to get rid of fine tuning.

    Or they could be explaining something about how the universe stays in harmony, tuned:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_model

  13. 13
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Andre

    You are so insightful and intelligent!

    Thank you so kindly. It’s not all my own brilliance though. I learned from evolution that whenever you encounter a challenge against The Greatest Scientific Theory Known to Mankind, the best thing to do is point out that the words in the opposing argument do not exist. Then evolution wins every time. And that’s the whole purpose of science, isn’t it? 😉

  14. 14
    Andre says:

    Silver

    Yes science is just about unguided evolution, correct again.

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