A reader writes to comment, “I was thinking about fractals yesterday, how do you even start approaching design detection which seems so intuitive?”
Experimental physicist Rob Sheldon replies:
The scientific method: Supposedly, it starts with a hypothesis. But long before the hypothesis it starts with metaphysics.
Why should I be able to understand the universe? What characteristics do the designer and I share? Love of math? Love of order? Love of intricacy? When I feel like the designer is someone I could meet at an icebreaker and have a great conversation with, that’s when I know I’m on the right track.
The power of science, whether anyone admits it or not, is being on friendly terms with the designer of the universe. If like Weinberg, we say it is all pointless, then I’m afraid it will be a very short cocktail conversation.
I hate it when I’m introduced, and the other party says “Oh a physicist! I flunked physics in high school. Its all so pointless you know.” “Right, and you have the intelligence of a cockroach, and I’m wasting my breath talking to you.”
But when the designer says “I used logarithms to make the universe.” I say, “Really, does that enable you to compress information?” “Yes, and it really opens up the bandwidth for sight and sound.” “What about time?” “Everything else is logarithmic, wouldn’t time be as well?” “Even days and years?”
We are finally able to make a hypothesis. “If I were a designer, I would use logarithms to solve the ‘large space limited time’ problem. Information flow should be power laws in space and time.”
Then when we examine these power laws, fractional powers are indicative of fractional diffusion. But fractional diffusion is non-local. It is completely opposite to the 19th century local diffusion that informed Darwin, Boltzmann, Maxwell and a century earlier Newton and Descartes.
Indeed the QM version bothered Einstein so much he called it “spooky action at a distance”. It isn’t just QM that is non-local, it is classical diffusion laws fractally observed.
How does one approach design detection?
By being on friendly terms with the designer. I know of no other way.
Rob Sheldon is the author of Genesis: The Long Ascent and The Long Ascent, Volume II .