Thursday, March 27, 2008

Boltzmann Brain Paradox

A Boltzmann brain is a hypothesized self-aware entity which arises due to random fluctuations out of a state of chaos. The idea is named for physicist Ludwig Boltzmann (1844 - 1906), who had advanced an idea that the known universe arose as a random fluctuation, similar to process through which Boltzmann brains might arise.

The concept arises from the need to explain why we observe such a large degree of organization in the universe. The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy in the universe will always increase. We may think of the most likely state of the universe as one of high entropy, closer to uniform and without order. So why is the observed entropy so low?


I guess I'm just a sucker for theories involving random quantum fluctuations and disembodied brains.

4 comments:

drjon said...

The Simulated Reality hypothesis as a superstructure of Boltzmann Brain conglomerates? Implications for ID?

W.M. Bear said...

It's interesting. The mythologies of many ancient cultures have the gods arising, apparently randomly, out of sheer chaos. In fact virtually every religion (including Judaeo-Christianity) sees the world arising in some manner or other out of chaos. The process of creation is always seen as the imposition of order on chaos by a divine mechanism that is never terribly clear....

W.M. Bear said...

Interestingly, though, chaos is still a form of existence. In a sense, in fact, it may be existence in its purest form, with no apparent identitifiable anything anywhere. In fact, not even any "anywhere" -- no time, no space, just pure raw EXISTENCE....

W.M. Bear said...

In other words, chaos is not Nothing. Chaos is Something.