Life, The Mathematical Universe Hypothesis and Everything

The Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH) is a science philosophy that says that our universe is nothing more than a mathematical structure. It also says that all definable mathematical structures are universes that are just as real as ours.

It doesn’t seem to be taken too seriously. The person who proposed it, Max Tegmark, refers to his MUH papers with the perspective “Every time I’ve written ten mainstream papers, I allow myself to indulge in writing one wacky one” under his home page link “Crazy Science”. Maybe this is just a disclaimer because it’s on an MIT site and he’s a well respected member of the scientific community.

Well I’m not. And I think it should be taken seriously and I’d like to explain why. But my approach will be from a finitist point of view, that any definable finite and discrete mathematical structure is a real universe. I’ll also be presuming that our universe is finite and discrete.

In this post I’ll show you some things most people haven’t seen. I’ll stretch your imagination to think of reality differently. I’ll show you You Tube clips that are truly stunning. And if these things don’t blow you right out of your chair then you’re simply reading the wrong blog.

Then as a bonus I’ll show how the MUH provides answers to some of the Big Questions, such as Why is there something rather than nothing?, What happened before the universe? and What is the meaning of life?

But I’ll begin with something simple and ask: What is strange about this picture?

Source: Public Domain

Source: Public Domain

Continue reading


The GZK Test of Whether We Are In a Simulation

The world of Digital Physics is generally immune from appearing in mainstream media. But some nights ago, during an insomnia induced late night TV viewing, on a mainstream news source (either BBC or Al Jazeera English, can’t remember which) I saw a piece on Are We In a Computer Simulation? And the term Digital Physics was bandied about.

A google search showed activity in various mainstream news websites that appeared to feed off an article at the MIT Technology Review website that you can find here, which talks about an arXiv technical article that you can find here.

Interlaced tracks at Amsterdam Centraal

Interlaced tracks at Amsterdam Centraal (Photo credit: Daniel Sparing)

It talks about the universe being a regular cubic lattice of points, with an observable effect occurring when light travels parallel to the lines of the lattice, sort of like getting your car tyres stuck in tram tracks.

So what can we make of this? Continue reading

Why The Big Bang? Part 3: Networks

“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”       –     Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

In the previous two parts I discussed two ideas:

                That the universe is finite.

                That any computable mathematical structure exists in the same sense as our universe exists.

I would now like to suggest the general form of structure our universe takes: that of a network or graph. I’ll be considering a network to be a finite number of points, some of which are connected and some are not. That’s it. For example:


Clunky graphics I know, but I’m working on it. Continue reading

Why The Big Bang? Part 2: Existence

“All is number”       –        Pythagorean School

In Part 1 I attempted to present some of the philosophical reasons why we may think infinity is a pretty dodgy concept. I now want to address the second and third questions I posed

What do we mean when we say mathematics exists?

What do we mean when we say the universe exists?

Much has been said about reality and existence, probably way too much. I’m not trying to introduce new ground here, just present a view that I think goes nicely with the idea that everything is finite. That view is known as the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH) an idea originated by Max Tegmark. It states that our universe is nothing more nor less than a mathematical structure. It implies that any mathematical structure exists in the same sense that our universe exists. I won’t elaborate on this in great detail (I hope to in a later post) but I’d like to give some brief motivation to this idea. Continue reading

Why The Big Bang? Part 1: Infinity

“Next contestant Sybil Fawlty from Torquay, special subject the bleeding obvious”

–   John Cleese, Fawlty Towers

In these posts I want to present a line of reasoning that is an explanation of why this universe exists, and in particular why it started with a Big Bang.

There are a few points to cover so it will require a bit of patience on your part. Along the way I will be attempting to answer three questions in particular:

                What do we mean when we say infinity exists?

What do we mean when we say mathematics exists?

                What do we mean when we say the universe exists?

A key part of my line of reasoning is the presumption that the universe is finite along the lines of digital physics. To try and persuade you of this I need to first talk about infinity as it is presented in mathematics and this requires me to talk about the axioms of mathematics, where infinity first makes its ugly appearance. Continue reading