Why is the universe? The answer to that one is, yes, why is the universe.
To be slightly less cryptic, whenever you formulate the speculative question "why", you create another part of the universe.
To be considerably less cryptic, the universe is the closure of experiences accessible to you. So why == I == universe. Now shut up and eat your porridge. -- EasternWuss

The universe does not exist. It evolves. Why? Because of the inherent non-linearity of the SecondLawOfThermodynamics.*Why is there an inherently non-linear SecondLawOfThermodynamics then?*
Because of the inherent non-linearity of the SecondLawOfThermodynamics.

*Or to put it another way, why is there something instead of nothing?*

WhyDoesTheUniverseExist? What do you mean by "why"? (This isn't meant to be a silly question. Exploring the assumptions implicit in this word are as likely to be fruitful as pondering the universe.)*Because artists have canvasses.*
What do you mean by "exist"? How do you know it exists? By the way, I'm not a solipsist. Imagine an imaginary solipsist.

No. The question for the meaning of 'why' was quite relevant: What kind of 'why' do you mean?

It's a side-effect of CartersClarification, "Things only ever go right, so that they may go more spectacularly wrong later." Without the Universe, on what would MurphysLaw, the basis of everything, operate?*On nothing, of course. And since nothing can go wrong when everything is nothing, nothing will go wrong and another universe will emerge.*

Does it, still? When someone asks why the universe exists, they end up referring to*their* universe, don't they? Asking "Why do universes exist?" at least acknowledges the existence of other universes, whatever universes turn out to be. "The universe" contains a ManyUniversesTheory.

One of the QuestionsThatMakeYourHeadHurt. it's because... err... My head hurts...

Good question. If you believe in the StrongAnthropicPrinciple?, the Universe exists so that people can exist. This is comparable, but not equivalent, to saying "God made the Universe so that he could put people in it"). By contrast, the WeakAnthropicPrinciple? just states that this Universe is capable of having people. Opinion: the StrongAnthropicPrinciple? is too presumptuous; too self-centered. Why should we be so arrogant as to think that the universe exists only so that this (our) species, on this our planet, can exist? Considering the infinity of space and galaxies and stars and planet systems, I doubt that we should be so special. So for me this is more than one of the QuestionsThatMakeYourHeadHurt - it is**the** question that basically halts my processor. -- RandyStafford
Opinion: Being presumptuous and self-centered are good things. However, the ScientificMethod has yet to turn up any reason for belief in the StrongAnthropicPrinciple?. Until that unlikely event, it should be regarded as arbitrary and therefore false. -- DanielKnapp
Personally, I hold to the FelineCentricStrongAnthropicPrinciple?: The Universe exists so that I can feed my cat. My cat exists anyway.
Opinion: I'm a solipsist. I hold to the SpecificAnthropicPrinciple?: The Universe exists for me. The rest of you are just along for the ride. :)
*Since the above WikiWords do not link to existent pages: AnthropicPrinciple*

Just out of curiosity, what else could the universe do?*Well, not exist, I guess...*

*Why do you think the universe exists?*
Well, the probability that the universe exists, given that we can think about it, is one. Isn't this explanation enough? - *This is the strong anthropic principle mentioned above. In a very real sense, though, it's BeggingTheQuestion.*
Actually, it's the weak anthropic principle. This is merely a statement that the fact that we can think about a universe existing is sufficient proof that the universe does exist. It doesn't go on to explain *why* the universe exists.
*Cogito ergo sum is nonsense. The above argument is more nonsense since it was used by Descartes to "prove" that Yahweh exists. The fact that we can think of something doesn't mean that it exists. The fact that we state that something "exists" doesn't imply that we mean anything by the word "existence".* - The conventionally accepted meaning of the statement **cogito ergo sum**, or **I think, therefore I am**, is **thinking is happening, so the ***thinker* must exist, and not **thinking is happening, so the ***object of thought* must exist. Taken that way, the argument is a little harder to dismantle (I think).
I can't prove I'm thinking. I think I'm thinking, but I could be receiving these thoughts from a pre-recorded source.
*The concept of "existence" and all of its derivations are just so much gibberish when coming out of the mouths of 99% of the human population. Willard Quine's formal definition of 'existence', based on mathematical logic, is beyond the ken of most mortals. Especially those who take great glee in conflating radically different types of existence (eg, the physical, the mental and the mathematical) so they can pretend to a superior Zen-like understanding of reality.*
*Zen is absurd sophistry and nonsensical gibberish. Someone who says 'cogito ergo sum' doesn't prove himself to be Yoda, merely a fool. That includes dear old RenĂ© himself. People who use the name of that ancient imbecile as a talisman are cretins. Important lesson: repeating the words of dead men can backfire badly when they turn out to have been idiots.*

**Weak Anthropic Principle**
**Strong Anthropic Principle**

A saying attributed to Fr. Willigis Jaeger, "Fundamentally, all questions that begin with 'Why?' have no answer."*Why is that?*
One answer:
People ask "why" questions as if there were a single unique "correct" answer to each one.
I like to point out to people that the answer to any particular "why" depends on what you think would most easily or appropriately be changed.
Like, "why did the auto accident occur?" could be "because driver 1 had a few drinks."
The answer is not "because driver 2 happened to be in the intersection at the time," because many people believe that people *should* be allowed to enter intersections when their light is green and that people *should not* drink and drive.
*Yup. Causality in general is not well-defined.*

"Why" questions are a request for a verbal story, accounting for or explaining something. Not everything has an easy verbal explanation. More importantly, stories are always understood in a cultural context.

In fact it doesn't. Existence is a value judgement. To understand this you first have to understand WhatsaDistinction. -*Oh, please.*
What would be required for the universe not to exist?
*Absolutely nothing.*
What difference does the answer make? I have found that, sometimes, asking a more practical question like this can help narrow the search space for answers.
*What would be required for the universe not to exist?*
The violation of the laws of logic. The universe is, by definition, the totality of everything that physically exists.
*Consider the case where nothing physically exists. In other words, the universe is nothing. Does the universe exist?*
Well, everything in the universe physically exists, so why not? Empty sets aren't really that interesting.
*Defining things into existence isn't really that interesting either. If I define "spunk" to be the totality of all the physically existing tortoises on whose shells the earth rests, does that necessarily, by the laws or logic, mean that spunk physically exists?*
*If the universe is defined as the set of everything that physically exists, and supposing that nothing physically exists, then the universe is the null set. Since the null set "exists" (as a mathematical and logical entity), even in this case the universe "exists", although it would not "physically exist". Since the universe is no more and no less than the container of all physical existents, it might be better to speak of the universe being empty, or non-empty, rather than existing or not existing. As to the previous comment, I would say that "spunk" is clearly the null set; as such, "spunk" (logically) exists, and "spunk" is (logically) equivalent to the set of four-sided triangles; of course, "spunk" does not "physically exist" * -- JohnReynoldsTheStudent
Actually in cosmology there is the concept of "outside" this universe in either space and/or time. If it really means everything, then we need a new word for this universe, the one that started with the big bang that created the matter that made us. -- top

*Wow, man, that's so deep.*

Why does the universe exist? Well, possibly because the universe is no more than a temporary quantum fluctuation from the true vacuum state. At any moment, the universe may collapse back into the true vacuum state, at which point there will be no universe. There will be nothing. Once there is nothing (or was nothing), of course, it is also possible, at any time, for a temporary quantum fluctuation to occur in the true vacuum. In which case... VoilĂ ! A universe appears ... Alternative answer: So that God has something to play dice with -- or, if you prefer, NOT to play dice with. -- JohnReynoldsTheStudent

Usenet is the fount of all knowledge. From sci.physics, posted by Tom Davidson: <quote> > I'm trying to come up with the most general probability formula for a state of affairs starting with absolutely no information about a system (the universe).< Therefore, it is unknown what objects exist within the system or what processes can occur within the system. > I wish to find out if there are any properties of this formula or set of formulae that might account for all possibly observable phenomena.< To establish a formula, one must have at the barest minimum two nameable objects or quantities (call them A and B) and an operation that compares them. Such comparison must default to either = (which asserts the objects are the same) or <> (which asserts that they are not the same). Since we don't know whether or not there is more than one nameable quantity, nor the nature of the comparisons, there can be only one nameable quantity which identifies whatever may or may not be contained within the system. I call this quantity "shit". A similar analysis applied to the concept of a mathematical operation leads one to the conclusion that, in the absence of a definable operation on a system which may or may not be empty, one can only assert that at least one undefined operation may exist. Since the word "exist" fails to imply the dynamic nature inherent in a process as opposed to the simple concept of "being" which can be applied to an operation-free system, I define this operation with the word "happen." By combining the concept of an undefinable quantity that may or may not exist within the system with the concept of an undefinable operation that may or may not occur within the system, we arrive quickly at the most fundamental of all logical statements that can be made about a system, even when nothing is known about the contents or processes that may be found therein: "Shit happens." In my personal theology, this would be the very first utterance of a creative deity to bring a universe into existence, triggering such events as the Big Bang. That's as good an answer I as think anyone is ever going to get. -- Simon Smith Since we are contained within the universe we only know of things in it. It's like being a public field inside of a class (think programming). How do we know the universe is the only class there is? Maybe we should be wondering about why nothing else except the universe does seem to exist? -- JeffDay The universe is, by definition, everything you can infer to exist from your senses. It is the totality of things that physically exist (at present, in future and in the past). So the answer to "why does nothing physically exist except the universe" is that it's a bad question to ask; it must be so*by definition*.
There's another way that it's a bad question; asking "why" something is the case when it is evidently not so. Things certainly **do** exist other than the universe; in particular, math exists! And for the naysayers, no distinction can be made between an "inaccessible universe" and a "mere" mathematical model.
*But you said it was so (by definition), and 'physically' was presumably intended to exclude the abstract, such as logic, mathematics, or mere ideas.*
Mathematics is not a subset of reality. Rather, physical reality is an infinitesimal subset of mathematics. "Physically" *cannot* include the abstract; as if that weren't obvious from the normal usage of the term! [*It seems there was a typo - 'include' has now been corrected to 'exclude'.*]
What does it mean to say that something "physically exists"? What does it mean to say that something "exists"?
Going by the definitions, to say that something exists is to say that there is an object with such properties in all models satisfying the mathematical system under consideration. To say that it does not exist is to say that there is no such object in any of those models. And if neither is the case (if such an object occurs in some models but not others), then the proposition that the object exists is undecidable. This is mathematical logic 101.
Now, what we call "physical reality" refers to a class of models satisfying a particular mathematical system. This system includes various statements such as "there is a blue field, inside of which is a white square, inside of which are black characters arranged horizontally". This system also contains a fair bit of junk and value judgements. Values like "elegance is important" (if you're a materialist), "models must be tractable" (if you're a scientist) or "I must feel loved by a father-figure" (if you're a Christian). Our sense data can never admit to a unique interpretation. Even if you pool together the scientific community's experiences, you still don't get a unique model without adding heuristics like "pragmatism rules".
But anyways, the point of this is that physics is an abstraction over mathematics, much like biology is an abstraction over biochemistry which is an abstraction over chemistry which is an abstraction over physics. This is the inversion of the notion that mathematics is contained within physical reality.
In my experience, people who believe that math is contained within the universe do so because they are Constructivists; they believe that math is a human construct and that a mathematical object exists if and only if it can be constructed.
Constructivism may seem like a reasonable position at first until one realizes that mathematicians almost universally reject it as too restrictive, because non-constructive proofs are found throughout mathematics. In fact, Constructivism is garbage. Mathematics is just symbols and manipulation of symbols; it isn't "ideas" in people's heads, and the notion that it is so is absurd.
If mathematics were "ideas" in people's heads, the question would arise of what constitutes an "idea". In particular, is it possible to have an "idea" of 'infinity'? This is just one of the embarrassing problems of this line of thinking. Another is the fact that many modern proofs are too large to exist in a single person's head. Or even in thousands of people's heads. Does a mathematical theorem cease to exist when people stop thinking about it? Does mathematics, being in people's heads, obey a person's will?
The modern view of things is that 1) math is symbol manipulation, 2) math is arbitrary and meaningless, 3) the math which human beings concentrate on (and thus tend to mistakenly think of as the whole of mathematics) is ordered because it was *chosen* on that basis, 4) much of "our" math is embedded in physical reality because that's where mathematicians get their inspiration.
Finally, people who object to physical reality being a "mere" mathematical construct simply don't understand what mathematics is.
*If you accept the mainstream view of mathematics, you are forced to believe that almost all real numbers cannot be defined (proof: the set of explicitly definable reals is countable and therefore has measure 0). We have to accept the existence of all of these numbers that never admit of a definition or description beyond, "There's lots of 'em." But in what sense can you say that any one of them exists?* [If you want one, diagonalize over the set of defined reals.]
*If you accept the mainstream view of mathematics, I can define a finite number for which no consistent axiom system comprehensible to man can ever prove that an explicit number written in base 10 is an upper bound for it! In what sense does it make sense that this number is finite? If you are curious, here is an example. Define BB(n) to be the maximum number of steps that it can take for a Turing machine of size at most n states which halts to halt. My example is BB(10**9). Outline of why it works: I claim that any formal axiom system understandable by this human has length substantially less than 10**7. For any such there is a Turing machine of size less than 10**9 which is engaged in a brute-force search through all proofs in that axiom system for whether it halts - at which point it will then do the opposite. It can prove that that is what it is doing. It can prove that if the axiom system is consistent it doesn't halt. (Which incidentally leads to a proof of GoedelsTheorem.) For any explicit number in base 10, it can prove that it takes longer than that to finish running. But it cannot prove an explicit upper limit for BB(10**9) without proving that it doesn't halt (because it ran longer than any halting program of its length could) when it now will right after figuring that out!*
*In short, while I accept that Constructivism is inconvenient for doing math, I believe that you are far, far too glib in junking it.*
*Oh right. And I also object to viewing physical reality as a mere mathematical construct. Yet, strangely enough, I believe that I have a reasonable understanding of mathematics. -- BenTilly* [Some comments moved to BenTilly.]
In what sense do the reals exist? Not physically, that's for certain. The real numbers are convenient but they are easily eliminable in physics. No physics experiment can measure an irrational number; even the definable ones. Yet strangely enough, the irrationals are broadly considered to exist. Their existence is mathematical existence. They exist in mathemagic land, the space between the minds of mathematicians. To say that the reals exist is to assert that a model (an appropriate set of symbols) can be constructed.
*What does 'measure a number' mean?* -- vk
*you* wouldn't be able to prove any more than you put into your assumptions. (This is eerily reminiscent of another metaphysical topic people roundly fuck up; the universe's determinism. People there also conclude exactly what they assume.) And even if that were wrong, it wouldn't matter so much since ...
*our* math, are human constructions, but these theorems exist over a background which is eternal and independent of human invention. This is similar to construction workers building houses within a framework of physical laws which are eternal and independent of their activities. The eternal, independent framework is Math.
*Hmmm. I think. A circle doesn't. I have physical reality; a circle doesn't. OK, I don't have a precise definition of 'physical reality', but that doesn't lead me to think that 'physical reality' is part of 'mathematical reality', which would require it to be entirely abstract.*
First of all, there is no such thing as (a unique) "mathematical reality" since 'mathematical existence' is not singular. Rather, to each distinct mathematical system there corresponds a distinct type of mathematical existence.
To recap, to each system there corresponds a class of models which satisfy its axioms, and it's within this class of models that you look for objects. If the object occurs within all the models of the class then it exists, if in none then it does not exist, if in some and not others then it is undecidable. So a particular object could exist in one system, not exist in another system, and its existence be undecidable in yet another.
*many* different types of mathematical existence, and circles have certain types of mathematical existence (exist in some systems) but not others. Having one type of mathematical existence in no way interferes with an object having another type of mathematical existence (excepting that the respective systems may be related in some way) so there is no a priori reason why an object's having mathematical existence could not also have physical existence.
Secondly, physical reality **is** abstract. But the way you said it implies that it is a bad thing to be so. Why is that? And how would you go about showing that physical reality is not entirely abstract?
For comparison, let us consider the only system which is demonstrably not abstract; the contents of the human mind as perceived introspectively. Human experiences are not mere mathematics. Vision is not mere structure and geometry of coloured dots. Rather, coloured dots have *content*. There is something like which it *feels like* to perceive a coloured dot. A coloured dot has a *quality* of being coloured, a quality inexpressible in any language or any mathematics.
(Discussion moved to QualiaAreReducible)
Yet even though human experience is not wholly expressible in mathematics, it is clearly at least partly expressible in mathematics. For example, three coloured dots may have the geometric property of being equidistant. So we can deal with human experience as a very special mathematical system. And we refer to mental objects as having 'mental existence'; a quality shared by all of the objects within one's own mind, and no others. And whatever mathematics exists in that system, we say that it too has mental existence. So lines mentally exist, as do circles, triangles, the small positive integers, and various other junk.
From that digression, it may be clear that the only way for physical reality to be "not entirely abstract" is for it to share that inexpressible component of mental reality. And indeed it should if physical reality is to explain 'what it feels like' to see and hear. But as we saw, this is no barrier to considering physical reality a mathematical system; it would merely make it a *special* mathematical system. Further, scientists are in denial about the need to explain 'what it feels like' to see, hear and feel. Their theories, and their view of physical reality, is lacking that inexpressible component of everybody's mental world. So the modern view of physical reality (for the worse) is as a purely mathematical model. Which is not to say that scientists accept that, but they're not very bright about philosophy of science....
*you* are embedded in physical reality. Because integral to yourself is a component inexpressible in any mathematics or language ....

The universe exists so that you can dial 10-10-3-2-1 and save on your long-distance charges.

How do you know the universe*really* exists as a physical entity? How can you be sure that you are not a program created by some ultra-extra-terrestrial-entity? How do you know you are alive? Or do you think you are alive when you are actually dead and dreaming that you are alive?
I could have sworn this was covered someplace in the above discussion. It's not particularly interesting either way. And if dead people can dream, I'm willing to count them as still alive.

God, I love this page. -- GarryHamilton*Thank you my son.*

Perhaps the universe was created solely for the enjoyment of such items as peanuts and licorice.

RichardFeynman had a nice little poem on this subject:

*Thank your for inquiring about your universe. After a review of our files we found that the creation of your universe was in fact an error. We apologize for the inconvenience. A specialist will be visiting you soon to remedy the situation.*

The universe exists because there is infinite room for "stuff". Some stuff out of sheer coincidence will lead to universes or system that leads to life such that the life can wonder about its existence. Infinite trials is like infinite monkeys on infinite typewriters: eventually a monkey will produce something of interest. There are infinite dimensions, we just happen to be limited to a few because isolated "chambers" seem to lead to life better than tons of freedom. And, infinite isolated chambers can exist because there is so much room in a jillion dimensions. Think of all the 2D universes that can fit into a 3D universe, and then extrapolate this to say 1,000 dimensions and you start to get an appreciation for magnitude of room and potential trial quantities. -- top

The answer is: FortyTwo*If the universe didn't exist, then I wouldn't be here typing this se*

Unless you're part of the Hebrew creation story, it is as simple as this: pure luck.

The universe exists because it's got nothing better to do.

See also TheMeaningOfLife

CategoryPhysics CategoryPhilosophy

The universe does not exist. It evolves. Why? Because of the inherent non-linearity of the SecondLawOfThermodynamics.

- Nothing is something.

WhyDoesTheUniverseExist? What do you mean by "why"? (This isn't meant to be a silly question. Exploring the assumptions implicit in this word are as likely to be fruitful as pondering the universe.)

No. The question for the meaning of 'why' was quite relevant: What kind of 'why' do you mean?

- The 'why' meaning "For what purpose?"
- The 'why' meaning "With which function?"

It's a side-effect of CartersClarification, "Things only ever go right, so that they may go more spectacularly wrong later." Without the Universe, on what would MurphysLaw, the basis of everything, operate?

Does it, still? When someone asks why the universe exists, they end up referring to

One of the QuestionsThatMakeYourHeadHurt. it's because... err... My head hurts...

Good question. If you believe in the StrongAnthropicPrinciple?, the Universe exists so that people can exist. This is comparable, but not equivalent, to saying "God made the Universe so that he could put people in it"). By contrast, the WeakAnthropicPrinciple? just states that this Universe is capable of having people. Opinion: the StrongAnthropicPrinciple? is too presumptuous; too self-centered. Why should we be so arrogant as to think that the universe exists only so that this (our) species, on this our planet, can exist? Considering the infinity of space and galaxies and stars and planet systems, I doubt that we should be so special. So for me this is more than one of the QuestionsThatMakeYourHeadHurt - it is

Just out of curiosity, what else could the universe do?

Q: Why does the universe exist? A: Well, what else would you expect to observe?

Q: Why does the universe support life? A: Right, so you'd be dead, then?

A saying attributed to Fr. Willigis Jaeger, "Fundamentally, all questions that begin with 'Why?' have no answer."

"Why" questions are a request for a verbal story, accounting for or explaining something. Not everything has an easy verbal explanation. More importantly, stories are always understood in a cultural context.

In fact it doesn't. Existence is a value judgement. To understand this you first have to understand WhatsaDistinction. -

Why are we here? Because we're here. Roll the bones! Why does it happen? Because it happens. Roll the bones!-- NeilPeart

Why does the universe exist? Well, possibly because the universe is no more than a temporary quantum fluctuation from the true vacuum state. At any moment, the universe may collapse back into the true vacuum state, at which point there will be no universe. There will be nothing. Once there is nothing (or was nothing), of course, it is also possible, at any time, for a temporary quantum fluctuation to occur in the true vacuum. In which case... VoilĂ ! A universe appears ... Alternative answer: So that God has something to play dice with -- or, if you prefer, NOT to play dice with. -- JohnReynoldsTheStudent

Usenet is the fount of all knowledge. From sci.physics, posted by Tom Davidson: <quote> > I'm trying to come up with the most general probability formula for a state of affairs starting with absolutely no information about a system (the universe).< Therefore, it is unknown what objects exist within the system or what processes can occur within the system. > I wish to find out if there are any properties of this formula or set of formulae that might account for all possibly observable phenomena.< To establish a formula, one must have at the barest minimum two nameable objects or quantities (call them A and B) and an operation that compares them. Such comparison must default to either = (which asserts the objects are the same) or <> (which asserts that they are not the same). Since we don't know whether or not there is more than one nameable quantity, nor the nature of the comparisons, there can be only one nameable quantity which identifies whatever may or may not be contained within the system. I call this quantity "shit". A similar analysis applied to the concept of a mathematical operation leads one to the conclusion that, in the absence of a definable operation on a system which may or may not be empty, one can only assert that at least one undefined operation may exist. Since the word "exist" fails to imply the dynamic nature inherent in a process as opposed to the simple concept of "being" which can be applied to an operation-free system, I define this operation with the word "happen." By combining the concept of an undefinable quantity that may or may not exist within the system with the concept of an undefinable operation that may or may not occur within the system, we arrive quickly at the most fundamental of all logical statements that can be made about a system, even when nothing is known about the contents or processes that may be found therein: "Shit happens." In my personal theology, this would be the very first utterance of a creative deity to bring a universe into existence, triggering such events as the Big Bang. That's as good an answer I as think anyone is ever going to get. -- Simon Smith Since we are contained within the universe we only know of things in it. It's like being a public field inside of a class (think programming). How do we know the universe is the only class there is? Maybe we should be wondering about why nothing else except the universe does seem to exist? -- JeffDay The universe is, by definition, everything you can infer to exist from your senses. It is the totality of things that physically exist (at present, in future and in the past). So the answer to "why does nothing physically exist except the universe" is that it's a bad question to ask; it must be so

- And what does it mean for a model to be constructed? Constructivists and formalists have very different answers to this question.

- In classical mathematics, there is no question that BB(n) both exists and is well-defined. Where a Constructivist disagrees is exactly on the partitioning. That partitioning requires answering a question (the HaltingProblem) that we have no algorithm to answer. Indeed, that we cannot. As for, "can prove..." that both is and is not an issue. It is true that there are probably programs which cannot figure out that that is what they are doing. But it is possible to write the program in such a way that it is possible for it to verify its own behaviour.

- I am aware of GregoryChaitin's work. Other than the substitution of a Lisp variant for Turing Machines (which makes it easier to write interesting programs), his arguments are similar to mine above in that they feature heavily programs that attempt to reason about their own behaviour. For a sample of them, I recommend http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/CDMTCS/chaitin/ (his home page). As for whether it be provable by mortal men, people have disagreed on whether that matters.

- Within classical mathematics, I have not shown that BB(n) does not exist. I have only outlined a proof of something which logicians consider straightforward. First, I claim that for any consistent axiom system of size 10**7 there is a program of size no more than 10**9 which that axiom system cannot determine the halting status of. The construction follows a typical self-referential reasoning pattern that logicians see a lot of.
- Within constructivism, I have shown only that classical mathematics leads to ridiculous results. Something that they are not surprised at.
- As for whether being defined is a sufficient condition for existence, both camps agree that it is. They just disagree on what suffices for a definition. Classical mathematics says that BB(n) is well-defined. Every program either halts or not, even if we have no way to figure out which is which. Constructivists only accept that something is well-defined essentially if it is defined carefully enough for us to write a program that approximates it to arbitrary accuracy. In which case, the halting status of random programs is
*not*well-defined.

- A book recommend for you. "The Mathematical Experience" by Davis and Hersh. You owe it to yourself to read it. Really.

- Can you give me an equation for love? I am deadly serious here. Mathematics is our tool for describing the Universe. But we do not even know if that description is really possible yet. No scientific theory has yet been able to address the question of why I feel like I exist. (They might address why it makes sense for me to act as if I exist, but the feeling is not subject to experiment.) And even if a perfect mathematical description exists, that description is no more our experience of the reality than notes on the page are music.
*Fine, an augmented mathematical system then, as explained above, below, well somewhere on this page. I'm a property dualist so physical reality is made up of a mathematical scaffolding holding up residual qualia from our minds. The point is that physical reality is an abstraction. Note that both aspects, physical reality as a mathematical system, and physical reality as holding remnants of qualia, are viciously and brainlessly denied by most scientists.*

- If you understand this, then the BB(n) result only says that for each consistent axiom system that is small enough, there exist models in which BB(10**9) is a non-standard integer.
*What I don't understand is how "non-standard integer" isn't a contradiction in terms.*

- Actually scientists are brighter than you think. Scientific progress is largely dependent upon asking questions that you have a chance of answering. The role of scientific paradigms is to identify questions that you have a chance of answering, and which answering will be understood to say something interesting. No, it does not mean that they answer what you want them to.
*Unfortunately, asking a physicist whether metaphysics is an interesting field of inquiry is like asking a biologist whether they are interested in chemistry. Metaphysics poses many interesting and answerable questions, scientists discount it due to arrogance. And eliminative materialism is sheer idiocy.*

- Circles exist? Draw a perfect circle then! Don't forget to get around the HeisenbergUncertaintyPrinciple in getting the edge exact!
*Defining a circle suffices since a circle has mathematical rather than physical existence. -- vk* - Superstrings are continuous and their cross-sections can form perfect circles. Or in conventional physics, as soon as you assume that spacetime is a continuum and that spacetime is a physical entity, it follows that perfect circles are embedded in spacetime and thus physical reality.

- If I have parsed that correctly, then I think I agree. :-)
- The various indented bits are all -- BenTilly

The universe exists so that you can dial 10-10-3-2-1 and save on your long-distance charges.

How do you know the universe

God, I love this page. -- GarryHamilton

Perhaps the universe was created solely for the enjoyment of such items as peanuts and licorice.

RichardFeynman had a nice little poem on this subject:

I wonder why? I wonder why? I wonder why I wonder? I wonder why I wonder why I wonder why I wonder?-- RobinWilson

The universe exists because there is infinite room for "stuff". Some stuff out of sheer coincidence will lead to universes or system that leads to life such that the life can wonder about its existence. Infinite trials is like infinite monkeys on infinite typewriters: eventually a monkey will produce something of interest. There are infinite dimensions, we just happen to be limited to a few because isolated "chambers" seem to lead to life better than tons of freedom. And, infinite isolated chambers can exist because there is so much room in a jillion dimensions. Think of all the 2D universes that can fit into a 3D universe, and then extrapolate this to say 1,000 dimensions and you start to get an appreciation for magnitude of room and potential trial quantities. -- top

The answer is: FortyTwo

Unless you're part of the Hebrew creation story, it is as simple as this: pure luck.

The universe exists because it's got nothing better to do.

See also TheMeaningOfLife

CategoryPhysics CategoryPhilosophy

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