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Cosmological Natural Selection and the Principle of Precedence
Once you know what the laws of nature are, another kind of question unfolds itself which is why are those the laws and not other laws.
Physics is about discovering what the laws of nature are. And we’ve gone some distance towards that. But once you know what the laws of nature are, another question unfolds itself, which is why is it those the laws and not other laws?
For example, the standard model of particle physics describes all the fundamental particles and their interactions. It has about 30 numbers which you just have to put in as the result of measuring them by experiment - the masses of the different particles, the quarks, the electrons, the neutrinos, the strengths of the fundamental force, various numbers like that.
And the model works dramatically well as the recent experiments at the Large Hadron Collider show, but why are those numbers what they are in our universe? Why is the mass of the electron what it is and not 12 times larger or half the size? There are dozens of questions like this.
So I developed cosmological natural selection to try to give an evolutionary account of this so that there would be a history back before the Big Bang in which these numbers could change and evolve through a series of events like the Big Bang. And there could be an explanation akin to natural selection, just like you want to know why do people have two legs and not three legs or five legs or four legs or six legs. There’s an evolutionary reason for that. A certain kind of fitness has been improved over many, many generations and similarly there could be a notion of fitness of the laws of nature over the course of many generations. And cosmological natural selection was an example of the theory of that kind.
The basic idea borrows from biology. At the time I developed this I was very concerned with the question of what determined the laws of nature and the numbers in the laws of nature. And I was reading a lot of biology - Richard Dawkins, Lynn Margulis, Steve Gould and so forth. And I realized that the best methodology we had in science for explaining how choices have been made in the system all lead to a lot of structure. Because one of the mysteries is why our universe is so structured as it is on so many scales from organic molecules and biomolecules up to vast arrays of clusters of galaxies. There’s enormous structure on such a wide range of scales. And that turns out to be tied to the values of these constants of the standard model of particle physics.
And so why is that? I realized that the only methodology that was really successful for explaining how choices were made in nature such as to lead to an improbable amount of structure is natural selection. So for natural selection we need reproduction. And there was a hypothesis lying around that universes reproduce through Black Holes rather than there being singularities where time ends. And I took over that hypothesis and took over the hypothesis that maybe the laws of nature changed slightly which has been made by Johnny Wheeler in the 1960s, and just added a little bit, which is that those changes should be very small so that there can be an accumulation of fitness.
This leads to a prediction or an observation that after many, many generations the population of the universes should be fine-tuned to maximize the production of Black Holes. And that has further implications for things that we can actually try to measure and disprove experimentally. So that’s, very briefly, the idea of cosmological natural selection.
A second and much more recent idea that I had just a year ago about how the laws could evolve is called the Principle of Precedence. And this has a kind of humorous element. It’s such a weird idea. We’ll see if you find it funny.
When we do experiments we prepare a system that we transform in some way and then we measure it and there’s some array of outcomes. And we expect that when we do that to a system in the future we’re going to get the same distribution of outcomes as we have in the past. If we’re studying in a quantum system those outcomes will be probabilistic. We’ll get a statistical distribution of outcomes.
But it doesn’t matter when that’s done. If we did it ten years ago and repeat the experiment now we’ll get the same distribution of outcomes. If we repeat it in ten years and, we believe, in a billion years or ten billion years, we’ll get the same distribution of outcomes. Why is that?
So the standard reason is that there are timeless laws of nature which somehow just exist outside of time in some transcendent sense. And they know when you’re doing an experiment that applies to them and they make sure that they govern the outcome. So why do we expect to get an outcome in the future the same as in the past? Because the same law of nature is acting.
At some point it occurred to me that’s a really bizarre idea, especially if you believe that there’s nothing that’s real outside of time. Because what could a law of nature be that somehow lives outside of time, and isn’t affected by anything but comes in just when it’s needed and governs how things move and change.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Humans are particularly prone to shiver when a group does or thinks the same thing at the same time.
A few years ago, I proposed that the feeling of cold in one's spine, while for example watching a film or listening to music, corresponds to an event when our vital need for cognition is satisfied.
Certain colors are globally linked to certain feelings, the study reveals.
- Color psychology is often used in marketing to alter your perception of products and services.
- Various studies and experiments across multiple years have given us more insight into the link between personality and color.
- The results of a new study spanning 6 continents (30 nations) shows universal correlations between colors and emotions around the globe.
The root of color psychology<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9e40cf62fa8922fcca6c57e2fcb215b6"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OM4fXB23pCQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>There is a very likely chance you've even been "fooled" by color marketing in the past, or you've chosen one product over another subconsciously due to colors that were designed to influence your emotions.<br></p><p>Companies that want to be known for being dependable often use blue in their logos, for example (Dell, HP, IBM). Companies that want to be perceived as fun and exciting go for a splash of orange (Fanta, Nickelodeon, even Amazon). Green is associated with natural, peaceful emotions and is often used by companies like Whole Foods and Tropicana. </p><p><strong>Your favorite color says a lot about your personality. </strong></p><p>Various studies and experiments across multiple years (<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49595886_Personality_Traits_and_Colour_Preferences" target="_blank">2010</a>, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jopy.12087" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2014</a>, <a href="http://oaji.net/articles/2015/1170-1448038739.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2015</a>, and more recently in <a href="https://www.verywellmind.com/color-psychology-2795824#modern-research-on-color-psychology" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2019</a>) have given us more insight into the link between your personality and your favorite color.</p><p>Red, for example, is considered a bold color and is associated with feelings such as excitement, passion, anger, danger, energy, and love. The personality traits of this color might be someone who is bold, a little impulsive, and who loves adventure. </p><p>Orange, on the other hand, is considered representative of creativity, happiness, and freedom. The personality traits of this color can be fun, playful, cheerful, nurturing, and productive. Read more about color psychology and personalities <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/color-personality-psychology?rebelltitem=2#rebelltitem2" target="_self">here</a>.</p>
Study reveals which colors best suit which emotions around the globe<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYzMTk5OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODc4OTg5OH0.bY-pu-MFNivdJLDJuBp9TBKrhwuy7hngUa1aIWxQMVw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C93%2C0%2C94&height=700" id="33fff" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1a5d7bb00dac94bd6201616789fb4882" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="concept of color psychology how colors make us feel color emotions" />
Certain colors are globally ties to certain emotions, the study reveals.
Image by agsandrew on Shutterstock<p>In this particular survey, participants were asked to fill out an online questionnaire which involved assigning 20 emotions to 12 different color terms. They were also asked to specify the intensity with which they associated the color term with the emotion.</p><p><strong>Certain colors are globally linked to certain emotions, the study reveals.</strong></p><p>The results of this study showed a few definite correlations between colors and emotions throughout the globe. Red, for example, is the only color that is strongly associated with both negative (anger) and positive (love) feelings. Brown, on the other end of the spectrum, is the color that triggers the fewest emotions globally.<br></p><p>The color white is closely associated with sadness in China, while purple is what is closely associated with sadness in Greece. This can be traced back to the roots of each culture, with white being worn at funerals in China and dark purple being the Greek Orthodox Church's color of mourning. </p><p>Yellow is more associated with joy, specifically in countries that see less sunshine. Meanwhile, its association with joy is weaker in areas that have greater exposure to sunshine. </p><p><a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200910150247.htm" target="_blank">According to Dr. Oberfeld-Twistel</a>, it is difficult to say exactly what the causes for global similarities and differences are. "There is a range of possible influencing factors: language, culture, religion, climate, the history of human development, the human perceptual system."</p>