|Subject: The causal effectiveness of self-consciousness
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2004 01:00:30 +0300
From: Dimi <email@example.com>
To: Ulrich Kirchner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CC: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Dear Dr. Kirchner,
In your recent astro-ph/0407329 [Ref. 1], you and your co-authors introduced the parameters p_8(i), which directly relate to the emergence of and the causal effectiveness of self-conscious life.
I believe your co-authors Bill Stoeger and George Ellis have received my email sent in the past three years, and know my work on this same issue. Please see my web site.
Since you are cosmologist, I believe you're interested in unified dark energy-dark matter models. Please see the main ideas at
I believe you will agree that we know only 4 per cent of the stuff of the universe, and thus new ideas are needed,
[Ref. 1] W.R. Stoeger, G.F.R. Ellis, and
U. Kirchner, Multiverses and Cosmology: Philosophical Issues,
"Though we did not do so in our
paper EKS, it may be helpful to add a separate category of parameters
p_8(i), which would relate directly to the emergence of consciousness and
self-conscious life, as well as to the causal effectiveness of self-conscious
(human) life -- of ideas, intentions and goals.
"The effects of consciousness must be included in any
causally complete scheme. We do not yet know how to do this, but without
including them we do not have an ensemble that can adequately handle the
issue of the existence and nature of life as we know it and experience
it. We need to try somehow to consider all that is possible -- all
that can happen -- in this realm, too. We do not have a reliable basis
for undertaking that task at present."
Note: It is always very important to read fine prints and footnotes. For example, footnote 1 (p. 2): "Connected" implies "Locally causally connected", that is all universe domains are connected by C0 timelike lines which allow any number of reversals in their direction of time, as in Feynman's approach to electrodynamics. Thus, it is a union of regions that are causally connected to each other, and transcends particle and event horizons; for example all points in de Sitter space time are connected to each other by such lines."
It is the global mode of spacetime which allows any number of "reversals" in their direction of time. George Ellis is fluent in GR, and I was hoping to hear from him four years ago, while he was in Vienna, visiting the Erwin Schrödinger Institute. I was living at that time in Vienna, and very politely invited him to call me, but never heard from him.
Now he writes: "We do not have a reliable basis for undertaking that task at present." It's up to you, George. If you and Bill Stoeger want to find the imprint of God, look at my front web page. It's both a dimensionless geometrical "point" and 'absolutely everything', depending on how you look at it, by reversing the "direction" of time. Its two dark blueprints, cast on the local mode of spacetime, form two "opposite" dark components, called dark matter and dark energy. The rest is only 4 per cent, and isn't interesting.
Again, it's always important to read
fine prints and footnotes. Recall that
Max Born got a Nobel Prize for his 'Born rule', which was inserted by him
in a footnote just before sending the final revised version of the manuscript
of his seminal paper for publication.
RE: The master time arrow and the
‘finite infinity’ F
I will not comment on the so-called anthropic principle [Ref. 2, p. 14]. In The New York Review of Books, Martin Gardner gave this evaluation of Barrow & Tipler's anthropic principle: "What should one make of this quartet of WAP, SAP, PAP, and FAP? In my not so humble opinion I think the last principle is best called CRAP, the Completely Ridiculous Anthropic Principle." [Ref. 3] I fully agree. See an alternative idea here.
I will not comment on George F. R. Ellis' speculations on the effects of consciousness either [Ref. 1]. Many respected physicists, Bernard d'Espagnat included [Ref. 4], have completely ignored the physics of the brain. I'm afraid George F. R. Ellis is no exception. But since he is a theoretical physicist, let me comment on the two intermingled ideas about the master time arrow and the ‘finite infinity’ F [Ref. 2]. As always, detailed comments and clarifications are available upon request.
George writes that "a null surface does not work well in this context" [Ref. 2, p. 12]. Let's change the context then. Place all the allowed family of surfaces F on the null surface of the so-called potential point(s), as suggested here. Then the master time arrow [Ref. 2, p. 7] could be a chain of re-created and finite surfaces F in the local mode of spacetime: one-at-a-time. The arrow here comes from the irreversible gain of information contained in every next step of the master time arrow (universal time arrow). Note that the "separation" of these successive surfaces F in the local mode of spacetime is strictly zero, hence we enjoy a perfect re-created continuum. Not so in the global mode from which springs the information destined to every next irreversible step of the master time arrow. Thus, the source of the master time arrow is a new kind of reality -- potential reality. It does include 'the unknown unknown', hence the evolution of the universe is a genuine non-unitary process. If we trace this creatio-ex-nihilo process backward in time, we might reach The Beginning [John 1:1]. No CRAP is needed, since The Beginning is, as has always been, "inside" the instant 'now' of the master/universal time arrow.
If all this is too far fetched, let's start with something we've agreed upon: the basic basics of GR [Ref. 5]. Since the cosmological "constant" is in fact a dynamic entity, we need a new degree of freedom in GR. As stressed by Roger Penrose, "any non-constancy in [lambda] would have to be accompanied by a compensating non-conservation of the mass-energy of the matter". Thus, we need to introduce a new geometrical object.
However, as John Coleman noticed,
it is extremely difficult to induce penguins to drink warm water.
[Ref. 2] G F R Ellis,
Cosmology and Local Physics, gr-qc/0102017 v1.
p. 7: "It is clear that the arrow of time is closely related to the definition and evolution of entropy.
(...) A macrostate is more probable if it corresponds to a greater number of different micro states, and time evolution will tend to go from a less probable to a more probable state, defined in this way .
So far so good; this can be made precise in terms of Boltzmann’s H-theorem, proving the second law of thermodynamics for suitably defined entropy (defined as an integral over microstate occupancies) on the basis of microscopic physical laws (see  for a beautiful derivation of this result in the case of relativistic kinetic theory).
"But the problem
is that this argument applies equally in both directions of time: it completely
fails to determine which is the forward direction of time. It predicts
the entropy will increase in both directions of time! The only plausible
basis so far for making a choice, is that the local direction of time is
determined by boundary conditions on the physical equations at the beginning
(and perhaps also at the end) of the evolution of the universe [19, 26].
This seems to be the logical explanation - but how this master arrow
of time uniquely determines the directions of each of the separate
physical and biological arrows still needs convincing explication. This
is one of the most important unsolved problems in present day pysics, for
it represents a major gulf between the macro-physics that dominates everyday
life, and the microphysics that (on a reductionist viewpoint) is supposed
to explain that macrophysics. The small amount of attention paid to it
is presumably due to the intractability of the problem.
p. 8: "Amplifying such inhomogeneity
through inflationary expansion to large scales would lead to anything but
a smooth structure. This issue remains unresolved.
pp. 8-9: "For example, in the famous case of the gas container split into two halves by a barrier, with all the gas initially on one side, the standard statement is that the gas then spreads out to uniformly fill the whole container when the barrier is removed, with the entropy correspondingly increasing. But when gravitation is turned on, the final state is with all the matter clumped in a blob somewhere in the container, rather than being uniformly spread out. This is related to the issue of the negative specific-heat behaviour of gravitational systems, and the associated ‘gravithermal catastrophe’ .
"The question then is whether there
is a definition of entropy for the gravitational field itself (as distinct
from the matter filling space-time), and if so if the second law of thermodynamics
applies to the system when this gravitational entropy is taken into account.
The answers are far from obvious.
"Of course the problem is related
to the well-known difficulties in obtaining local definitions of the mass
of an isolated system in general relativity.
"This issue remains one of the most
significant unsolved problems in classical gravitational theory, for as
explained above, even though this is not usually made explicit, it underlies
the spontaneous formation of structure in the universe - the ability of
the universe to act as a ‘self-organizing’ system where ever more complex
structures evolve by natural processes, starting off with structure formed
by the action of the gravitational field. If solved in a generic way, ...
"Given a suitable definition of gravitational
entropy and a proof that it has the required local properties, the further
issue that will remain is how this entropy can tie in to the master
arrow of time given by the expansion of the universe.
p. 10, Sec 5: "Finite Infinity and Local Physics
"In looking at the evolution of ‘isolated systems’, such as the solar system, our Galaxy, or the local group of galaxies, it is common to use the idea of asymptotic flatness as the setting for the local system, and to put boundary conditions on local physical fields ‘at infinity’. This has been taken to a very high level of sophistication , particularly by use of Penrose’s concept of conformal infinity [58, 2]. But that description makes it very difficult to look at the relation between such ‘isolated systems’ and the universe in which they are imbedded, precisely because it ignores the structure of that universe. In the real universe, there will probably be no asymptotically flat region at or ‘near’ infinity, for the real universe is almost certainly not asymptotically Minkowskian at very large distances, and indeed it may not be spatially infinite.
"So the obvious proposal  is
that we should put boundary conditions on all fields at that distance,
rather than at infinity itself, leading to the concept of a ‘finite infinity’
F: a smooth timelike surface at a large but finite distance r* from the
centre of the system considered, separating it from the surrounding universe,
and lying in an almost-flat space-time region at that distance. Then incoming
and outgoing radiation conditions can be imposed on that surface F, rather
than at infinity or conformal infinity I as is usual . One can then
examine the physics of the interaction between the interior and exterior
regions by relating each to energy, momentum, matter, and any fields that
cross this surface.
p. 11: "Such a surface will not be
uniquely defined; if one such surface exists there will be an allowed family
of such surfaces, related to each other by a rather large group of transformations
- from (i), they must not be too far out, nor too far in; from (iii), their
velocities must not be too different from each other; and they should be
suitably smooth; apart from this, they can be chosen arbitrarily.
"Furthermore the famous positive
mass theorems  should also be generalized to this case.
p. 12: "This may also be the best setting for numerical calculations for ‘isolated systems’, which often talk about ‘integrating to infinity’, but in most cases do nothing of the sort2. As in the rest of theoretical physics, it would be advantageous to have a theoretical framework that corresponds more closely to actual calculations - namely an integration to a surface at a finite distance from the centre of coordinates. It is usual to make that surface a null surface; the suggestion here is that it would be better to make it timelike, corresponding to the region in the real universe where the exterior is physically separated from the local system.
"A null surface does not work well in this context, hence the importance of Friderich’s and Nagy’s work on the mixed initial value problem. It might be useful seeing if a conformal version of their theory would be suitable for numerical work.
"Overall, the point is that no system can be completely isolated; the context suggested here allows one to monitor the degree to which any local system is indeed isolated, and to examine the nature of its interaction with the external world - that is, with the rest of the universe.
"The criterion for ‘isolation’ will
be a real physical one in terms of limits on incoming and outgoing effects
(matter, radiation of all kinds, and tidal forces) across the separating
surface F, rather than statements on limits at an unattainable infinity,
as has been customary up to now (for example in studies of gravitational
radiation and of the Hawking effect). In my view this will make the
analysis much more useful, and genuinely physical based in terms of relating
to real estimates of the magnitude of these effects.
"A key issue for the future is to clarify in more detail the relation of the nature of the universe to the existence of life, both in terms of initial conditions, and of the nature of the laws of physics.
"This is the highly contested terrain
of the Anthropic Principle. Strangely, Dennis wrote rather little on this,
but it has been a very active area and certainly is a legitimate concern
within the broad terrain under discussion.
"This dubious proposition led Gardner
in a famous review to refer to the Completely Ridiculous Anthropic Principle
Idem, Consciousness and the
Wigner's friend problem, quant-ph/0402121 v2.
* the interaction of the geometry and matter -- how matter determines the geometry, which in turn determines the motion of the matter (see e.g. ). We assume this is through the Einstein gravitational field equations (‘EFE’) given by
which, because of the twice-contracted Bianchi identities, guarantee the conservation of total energy-momentum
provided the cosmological constant
[lambda] satisfies the relation [XXX] = 0, i.e.,
is constant in time and space."