Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing

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When particles and antiparticles collide, they annihilate each other and release a tremendous amount of energy. Much of the early universe consisted of matter and antimatter explosions, and most of the matter and all of the antimatter was destroyed. The problem for physicists is how to explain why there's still some matter left over. Because antiparticles are exactly equal and opposite of normal particles, they should have been created in exactly equal numbers during the Big Bang.

The antimatter should have annihilated all the regular matter, leaving nothing left over. But it didn't. Researchers at the T2K neutrino detector in Japan have announced a result that may be a first step to explaining this mystery. For the first time, they have observed significant differences between a particle and its antiparticle, meaning that antimatter may not be the perfect mirror image that scientists thought it was.

The researchers were studying antineutrinos, a type of antiparticle. There are three types of antineutrino just as there are three types of regular neutrino—electron, muon, and tau. These three types can sometimes spontaneously change into other types. The researchers were studying these transformations when they discovered that one kind of antineutrino, the muon antineutrino, transforms less frequently than the normal neutrino. This may sound small, but it means that there are fundamental differences between neutrinos and antineutrinos, and possibly between other types of particles and their corresponding antiparticles.

This discovery will spur additional experiments which may finally tell us why there's something instead of nothing. Source: PhysOrg. The Louvre has paintings of various quality, not just multiple perfect replicas of the Mona Lisa, and this makes the Louvre a more interesting museum. But why does goodness give rise to infinite minds in the first place? Why does ought to exist, imply, does exists?


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Of course, this argument is circular—goodness creates the world and the evidence for goodness is the existence of the world. Holt appears to agree. Parfit starts by considering that reality could have turned out differently—it could have been like the reality we live in or it could have been a different reality. There are an infinite number of possibilities.

In between there are an infinite number of possibilities such as: only good universes exist, only 58 universes exist, only worlds that obey string theory exist, only bad worlds exist, only red worlds exist, etc.

Of all these cosmic possibilities at least one of them must obtain. So the question is, which one and why?

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But the existence of our reality contradicts this hypothesis. This leads Parfit to conclude that the all worlds hypothesis is the least arbitrary since with any other hypothesis one has to ask further questions like: why do only good worlds or bad worlds, or worlds that obey string theory exist? As for our own reality, it may be part of the axiarchic or good worlds, or the string theory worlds, or the bad worlds, or some other world.

Parfit concludes that the null hypothesis is the simplest, the all worlds hypothesis the fullest, the axiarchic hypothesis the best and so on. Now Parfit wonders if a cosmic possibility obtains because it has a special feature like fullness or simplicity or goodness. Now, what if that feature chooses reality? Now if the cosmic possibility that obtained was the 58 worlds or the all red worlds that would appear arbitrary.

But if the cosmic possibility that obtained was the fullest, simplest, or best that would suggest that this was not due to chance.

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Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? | Reason and Meaning

Rather the cosmic possibility became reality because it had the feature of fullness, goodness, or whatever. So in such cases, reality had to be one way or another as a matter of logical necessity, and the selector just tips the outcome one way or the other. But which selector? Of course, this raises the question of whether there is some deeper explanation of why there is one selector rather than another. Is there a meta-selector and a meta-meta-selector ad infinitum?

Parfit acknowledges that the ultimate selector would have to be a brute fact—to stop the infinite regress—but that this is better than no explanation at all.


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But Parfit also believes that the simplest explanatory possibility at the meta-level is that there is no selector! This does not mean there would be nothingness—that would be a special outcome best explained by simplicity as the selector. Rather no selector leads to a mediocre universe with nothing special about it—the way things turned out would be random. In fact, nothing seems to bother the contented Updike.

He ends his conversation with Holt by telling him how out of breath he gets when playing with his grandchildren. Within a year he was dead. The final chapter tries to unite this philosophical discussion with the fact of our deaths. But he admits that other philosophers do not find death troubling, and the Buddhists seem to think of the state of near nothingness as the best state one. Her eyes remained closed. She still looked peaceful, although every once in a while she made a little gasping noise.

It was the first time I had seen them that day. She seemed to be looking at me. She opened her mouth.

Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

I saw her tongue twitch two or three times. Was she trying to say something? Within a couple of seconds, her breathing stopped. I leaned down and whispered that I loved her. I would like to thank Jim Holt for his wonderful book. What I do know is what Socrates taught me long ago—that I know very little. But we should keep on trying. From the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. Only one such possibility can be actual, or the one that obtains.

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If some local world exists, that leaves it open whether other worlds exist. Why This? In numerical optimization, one constructs a mathematical model of a complex system such that inputs to the model produce outputs that can be compared to system measurements. After constructing an objective function that compares the outputs of the model to the measurements, the inputs are varied by the optimization algorithm until a minimum in the objective function is obtained best fit.

For a very complex model, there may be many local minimums non-optimal solutions that the algorithm may get trapped in. It may be difficult or impossible to find the global minimum the truly optimal solution. Many of us would think that we are living in a sub-optimal world i.

Jim — Really appreciate your teaching me something about the optimization problem. And all of the possible solutions you offer in your last paragraph seem reasonable to me. But I also feel that the issues here are just too complex for my brain.


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All the more reason for augmenting our brains. The divine yearns to materialise HShimself constantly rather than staying merely immaterial that is why HShe constantly creates, maintains, destroys and re-creates the world in a permanent impermanence of change. The only thing I know exists is that I am conscious.