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The strangely low entropy of the universe
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Ezra Klein (!) links to a weird and wonderful meditation on the strangely low entropy of the universe:

Why do we find ourselves so close to the aftermath of this very strange event, this Big Bang, that has such low entropy? The answer is, we just don’t know.

Then there’s an analogy with chickens and eggs.

(Thanks Dan!)

5 comments

Bergamot says…

I’m not sure why he’s so quick to discount the anthropic principle, which seems to be a fairly decent explanation.

i.e. If the universe were had too much entropy to sustain life, we wouldn’t be here to ask the question.

But the anthropic principle seems to “break” science, doesn’t it? It’s the ultimate non-answer answer: “because.” And it’s not testable, is it?

So—this is where I pose the question to the philosophers-of-science out there—even if it IS true, shouldn’t we ignore it? Consider it inadmissible in the Court of Science?

Maybe there’s some famous deep thinking on the anthropic principle that I don’t know about…? I would love to dig deeper.

Well, it’s not even an anthropic pinciplt, but a stable-universe principle. Lots of stable universes that look like ours, but without humans in them. And universes that start out high-entropy burn up (as I understand it.)

maybe the question we should be asking is what is the maximum level of entropy that can still self-regulate it’s own structures for, say, ten billion years. If our universe is the solution to this min/max problem, that’s not random at all.

What’s more we could discover typologies of universe. Maybe there are only a finite set that work! (where n is a monotonically increasing number…)

No, it’s not an “Anthropic” principle, but it’s not a just a structure principle either, as the precariously balanced physics that defines the habitable zones that make up the Goldilocks Enigma applies to every planet in every galaxy that evolved under similar circumstances as ours did.

The AP is quite obviously an energy conservation law.

vanderleun says…

I think it is also interesting that of the many who have found this fascinating meditation few seem to link into the statement “This is just a giant clue that the real universe has given to us to how the fundamental laws of physics work. We don’t yet know how to put that clue to work. We don’t know the answer to the who done it, who is the guilty party, why the universe is like that.”

For many that simply seems to portend too much.

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