Laplace’s Demon and Infinite Universe Theory

PSI Blog 20220523 Laplace’s Demon and Infinite Universe Theory


Abhishek asks:


What do you mean by Laplace's Demon on page 26 of TTAOS?


[GB: Thanks, Abhi. That was part of my explanation of the Second Assumption of Science, causality (All effects have an infinite number of material causes).[1] That form of causality is the only one consupponible with the Eighth Assumption of Science, infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions). It is the reason all measurements have a plus or minus. The infinite subdivision of the universe always contains yet another microcosm contributing to any particular event.


Although he did not intend it that way, Laplace’s imaginary demon was an illustration of the colossal failure of the Newtonian assumption of finity. In the imagined finite universe controlled by finity there are finite causes for all events. Thus, a particular event, Y, might involve collisions from three microcosms: Y = A + B + C. There would be no plus or minus. In actuality, the equation would be: Y = A + B + C…∞. This is what the quantum physicists ran into when they studied the smallest objects. Unfortunately, instead of realizing there were an infinite number causes for any event, they assumed a singular cause: probability. That saved their religious assumption of certainty        (It is possible to know everything about some things). Note how Laplace’s visualization fits with both the religious and scientific traditions, with the proclamations of today’s quantum mechanists being no different.]


Here is the section in "The Ten Assumptions of Science" pertaining to Laplace's’ Demon:


Perhaps the best explanation of finite universal causality was given by Pierre Simon Laplace, the philosopher-scientist who, independently of Kant, advanced the nebular hypothesis of the origin of the solar system. Laplace illustrated his view of determinism by hypothesizing a super intelligent being that has come to be known as Laplace’s Demon:

We ought to regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its antecedent state and as the cause of the state that is to follow. An intelligence, who for a given instant should be acquainted with all the forces by which nature is animated, and with the several positions of the beings composing it, if his intellect were vast enough to submit these data to analysis, would include in one and the same formula the movement of the largest bodies in the universe and those of the lightest atom. Nothing would be uncertain for him, the future as well as the past would be present to his eyes.”[2]

As did Einstein, a few old-fashioned “determinists” still hold to this view although it has suffered at the hands of determinists and indeterminists alike. We now recognize that Laplacian determinism is invalid because it contradicts a major Assumption of Science, INFINITY, to which Einstein, of course, did not subscribe. In his fanciful illustration, Laplace was implying that the cause of a particular effect could be determined with absolutely perfect precision, that the motion of a particular body is determined solely by a finite number of the motions of other bodies.

But any concept of knowledge also requires the concept of subject and object. In 1927 Werner Heisenberg presented the Uncertainty Principle, which demonstrated that the knowledge required of some objects, at least, could not be obtained without interfering with those objects. The interference produces changes in motion that, in turn, cannot be evaluated without additional interference with the object. This leads to an infinite progression in which, theoretically, Laplace’s Demon would require infinite time to determine the position and momentum of a single object. The demon would be so busy in this effort, that it would be forced to ignore the rest of the universe. Unobtrusively, the assumption of INFINITY, the materialist theory of knowledge, and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle presided over the death of Laplacian determinism and the theory of finite universal causality.”[3]


[GB: Now, isn’t it strange, ironic, and even silly that our finest brains still believe the imaginings of long ago. But, perhaps not so. Remember how difficult it was for you to give up the belief in finity, a myopic, "common sense" assumption that has been with us for millennia. And what is it with this claim there are an infinite number of causes for a single event? How can that be possible? How could you ever prove that? The truth is that the Infinite Universe, by its very nature, will never allow that to happen. Popper was right although he didn’t know why he was right. The empiricists are slowly learning they will never be able to prove everything because the universe is infinite. So, what do we do with this so-called infinite universal causality? We have no choice; we can only assume it.


Be reminded, however, that fundamental assumptions such as those in "The Ten Assumptions of Science" are derived from the natural world. They are consupponible even though they are not completely provable. Those plus or minuses actually appear whenever we perform more than one suitably precise measurement. There are no two identical snowflakes. No portion of the Infinite Universe is exactly like any other. In spite of the aether denialists, there is no evidence perfectly empty space actually exists. In spite of the cosmogonists, there is no evidence for an “end to the universe” or that it had a beginning without a cause that was not completely imaginary. The upshot is that there is no harm in theoretically assuming an infinite number of causes for any event even though practice allows only a few of them. By doing so, our understanding of the Infinite Universe will be changed forever.]





[1] Borchardt, Glenn, 2004, The Ten Assumptions of Science: Toward a new scientific worldview: Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 125 p. [http://go.glennborchardt.com/TTAOS].

[2] Quoted in Castell, Alburey. An Introduction to Modern Philosophy. 3 ed. New York: Macmillan, 1976, p. 520.

[3] Borchardt, Glenn, 2004, The Ten Assumptions of Science: Toward a new scientific worldview: Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, pp. 25-26. [http://go.glennborchardt.com/TTAOS].

No comments: