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Is information the basic substance of the universe after all?

Here’s a preview of an article of interest at Scientific American (August 1):

Many physicists think that particles are not things at all but excitations in a quantum field, the modern successor of classical fields such as the magnetic field. But fields, too, are paradoxical.

If neither particles nor fields are fundamental, then what is? Some researchers think that the world, at root, does not consist of material things but of relations or of properties, such as mass, charge and spin.

But information is fundamentally relational, so is this saying that the basic substance of the universe is information? Or … or what?

Vid here.

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9 Responses to Is information the basic substance of the universe after all?

  1. For anyone who still believes that atoms are composed of little billiard ball type particles (i.e. Materialism as it was conceived of by ancient Greeks and only recently overturned this century), the following images and the last part of the following video will cure you of that false materialistic notion:

    Photographs of atoms, produced by the scanning tunnel microscope
    http://physics.unipune.ernet.i...../image.gif
    http://researcher.watson.ibm.c.....cover7.tif
    http://researcher.watson.ibm.c...../stm15.jpg

    Uncertainty Principle – The ‘Uncertain Non-Particle’ Basis Of Material Reality – video and article
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4109172

  2. a deeper level of reality

    That is the conclusion from this short video. I wonder where all these fields came from? And their magical precise properties? What was the cause of this magical poof?

    Origins are a funny thing about science. They cannot really explain most important origins.

    Can we not speak the forbidden word? They were designed and apparently very intelligently done.

    Just what is the deeper level of reality? Will we ever get to the man behind the curtain?

  3. overturned this century

    overturned last century I believe. It’s hard to think like we are 13 years into a new century with hearing the words 20th century all during our youth.

  4. as to:

    “But information is fundamentally relational”

    and he lists these fields ‘co-mingling with one another’:

    1. Magnetic Field
    2. Electric Field
    3. Gravitational Field
    4. Electron Field
    5. Higgs Field
    6. Quark Field
    7. Gluon Field
    he goes on to state, ‘in fact every type of elementary particle has its own field’:

    What are these fields made of? John Archibald Wheeler held that they were composed of information:

    “It from bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom – at a very deep bottom, in most instances – an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that things physical are information-theoretic in origin.”
    John Archibald Wheeler

    Zeilinger, arguably the best experimentalist in Quantum Physics today with many stunning breakthroughs under his belt, also insists that reality at its most foundational level is information:

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
    http://www.metanexus.net/archi.....linger.pdf

    Zeilinger’s principle
    Zeilinger’s principle states that any elementary system carries just one bit of information. This principle was put forward by Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger in 1999 and subsequently developed by him to derive several aspects of quantum mechanics. Some have reasoned that this principle, in certain ways, links thermodynamics with information theory. [1]
    http://www.eoht.info/page/Zeilinger%27s+principle

    In the beginning was the bit – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Zeilinger’s principle leads to the intrinsic randomness found in the quantum world. Consider the spin of an electron. Say it is measured along a vertical axis (call it the z axis) and found to be pointing up. Because one bit of information has been used to make that statement, no more information can be carried by the electron’s spin. Consequently, no information is available to predict the amounts of spin in the two horizontal directions (x and y axes), so they are of necessity entirely random. If you then measure the spin in one of these directions, there is an equal chance of its pointing right or left, forward or back. This fundamental randomness is what we call Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_.....302101.php

    related note:

    Is it possible to find the radius of an electron?
    The honest answer would be, nobody knows yet. The current knowledge is that the electron seems to be a ‘point particle’ and has refused to show any signs of internal structure in all measurements. We have an upper limit on the radius of the electron, set by experiment, but that’s about it. By our current knowledge, it is an elementary particle with no internal structure, and thus no ‘size’.
    http://www4.hcmut.edu.vn/~huyn.....14.cfm.htm

    Yet as you pointed out news ‘information is fundamentally relational’. So is there evidence that these fields are interdependent on each other (relational) so as to produce a coherent reality for us to live in? Yes:

    “If we modify the value of one of the fundamental constants, something invariably goes wrong, leading to a universe that is inhospitable to life as we know it. When we adjust a second constant in an attempt to fix the problem(s), the result, generally, is to create three new problems for every one that we “solve.” The conditions in our universe really do seem to be uniquely suitable for life forms like ourselves, and perhaps even for any form of organic complexity.”
    Gribbin and Rees, “Cosmic Coincidences”, p. 269

    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661

    Astrobiology research is revealing the high specificity and interdependence of the local parameters required for a habitable environment. These two features of the universe make it unlikely that environments significantly different from ours will be as habitable. At the same time, physicists and cosmologists have discovered that a change in a global parameter can have multiple local effects. Therefore, the high specificity and interdependence of local tuning and the multiple effects of global tuning together make it unlikely that our tiny island of habitability is part of an archipelago. Our universe is a small target indeed.
    Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez – P. 625, The Nature of Nature

    Here are a few sites that list the finely tuned universal constants (fields):

    Fine-Tuning For Life In The Universe
    http://www.reasons.org/fine-tuning-life-universe

    Evidence for the Fine Tuning of the Universe
    http://www.godandscience.org/a.....ignun.html

    Of course, there is much more evidence that allows us to get to the ‘man behind the curtain’,,

    The ‘Top Down’ Theistic Structure Of The Universe and Of The Human Body
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NhA4hiQnYiyCTiqG5GelcSJjy69e1DT3OHpqlx6rACs/edit

    But suffice it for now to say,,,

    John 1:1-3
    In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.

    Music:

    Phillips, Craig & Dean – When The Stars Burn Down – music
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPuxnQ_vZqY

  5. Sorry jerry, I caught that mistake after I had submitted.

  6. Some notes on virtual particles and photons which fleetingly pop into and out of existence. Michael Strauss, PhD particle physics, relates how the top quark, which is necessary for all atoms to exist, is in actuality a virtual particle:

    Virtual Particles, Anthropic Principle and Special Relativity – Michael Strauss PhD. Particle Physics – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4554674

    Moreover, it seems even the ‘exotic’ virtual photons, which fleetingly pop into and out of existence, may be tied directly to the anthropic principle through the 1 in 10^120 cosmological constant for dark energy:

    ELECTROMAGNETIC DARK ENERGY
    Abstract: We introduce a new model for dark energy in the Universe in which a small cosmological constant is generated by ordinary electromagnetic vacuum energy. The corresponding virtual photons exist at all frequencies but switch from a gravitationally active phase at low frequencies to a gravitationally inactive phase at higher frequencies via a Ginzburg–Landau type of phase transition. Only virtual photons in the gravitationally active state contribute to the cosmological constant. A small vacuum energy density, consistent with astronomical observations, is naturally generated in this model. We propose possible laboratory tests for such a scenario based on phase synchronization in superconductors.
    http://www.worldscinet.com/ijm.....11870.html

    Shining new light on dark energy with galaxy clusters – December 2010
    Excerpt: “Each model for dark energy makes a prediction that you should see this many clusters, with this particular mass, this particular distance away from us,” Sehgal said. Sehgal tested these predictions by using data from the most massive galaxy clusters. The results support the standard, vacuum-energy model for dark energy.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....sters.html

    Here is an interesting experiment accomplished with ‘virtual’ photons:

    Researchers create light from ‘almost nothing’ – June 2011
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....lmost.html

    It is also interesting to point out just how powerful this vacuum energy of virtual photons are:

    Vacuum energy – (The ‘infinite power of God’ literally pervades all of reality):
    Excerpt: Vacuum energy is an underlying background energy that exists in space even when the space is devoid of matter (free space). (Vacuum energy has a postulated) value of 10^113 Joules per cubic meter.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_energy

    and:

    (10^113 joules) per (cubic meter) = 10 ^113 pascals (Pa)

    and:

    10^113 Pa approx = 4.6×10^113 Pa = 6.7×10^109 psi; Of note: The Planck pressure (4.63×10^108 bar), not reached except shortly after the Big Bang or in a black hole.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O.....ressure%29

    Related noted:

    How the Power of Intention Alters Matter – Dr. William A. Tiller
    Excerpt: “Most people think that the matter is empty, but for internal self consistency of quantum mechanics and relativity theory, there is required to be the equivalent of 10 to 94 grams of mass energy, each gram being E=MC2 kind of energy. Now, that’s a huge number, but what does it mean practically? Practically, if I can assume that the universe is flat, and more and more astronomical data is showing that it’s pretty darn flat, if I can assume that, then if I take the volume or take the vacuum within a single hydrogen atom, that’s about 10 to the minus 23 cubic centimeters. If I take that amount of vacuum and I take the latent energy in that, there is a trillion times more energy there than in all of the mass of all of the stars and all of the planets out to 20 billion light-years. That’s big, that’s big. And if consciousness allows you to control even a small fraction of that, creating a big bang is no problem.”
    – Dr. William Tiller – has been a professor at Stanford U. in the Department of materials science & Engineering
    http://www.beyondtheordinary.n.....ller.shtml

  7. Fields are what you get once you’ve cut down all the trees.

  8. Haha Mung. And what happens to the trees? Are they cut into constant-width plancks? ;-)

    Bornagain77,

    Wow, those numbers are astounding!

    Also, while I believe that the Word of God created the universe, it still amazes me that the implication is that Word is more tangible than matter and energy.

    This perspective helps me accept that “information” is at the bottom of everything, something that I’d otherwise have a hard time accepting.

  9. Are they cut into constant-width plancks?

    HAHAHAHAHA.

    Oh, that’s good. congrats!

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