Difference between revisions of "ClementVidalAbstracts"

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(New page: '''Clément Vidal,''' Research Assistant, ECCO, Free University Brussels (VUB), Brussels, Belgium<BR> <BR> '''Computational and Biological Analogies for Understanding the Fine-Tuning of Pa...)
 
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'''Computational and Biological Analogies for Understanding the Fine-Tuning of Parameters in Physics''' (Evo Devo Universe 2008)
 
'''Computational and Biological Analogies for Understanding the Fine-Tuning of Parameters in Physics''' (Evo Devo Universe 2008)
  
In this paper, we explore computational and biological analogies to tackle the fine tuning problem in cosmology. It states that if a number of parameters, both constants in physics and initial parameters in Big Bang models had been slightly different, no life or more generally no complexity would have emerged. We first clarify what it means for a physical constant or initial parameter to be "fine tuned". We review important distinctions such as the dimensionless and dimensionful physical constants, and the classification of constants proposed by Levy-Leblond. Duff argued that the number and value of dimensionful constants is arbitrary and that the most economical choice is to have zero constant. We examine if and how this conclusion can affect the fine-tuning arguments.
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In this philosophical paper, we explore computational and biological analogies to address the fine-tuning problem in cosmology. We first clarify what it means for physical constants or initial conditions to be finely tuned. We review important distinctions such as the ''dimensionless'' and ''dimensional'' physical constants, and the classification of constants proposed by Lévy-Leblond. Then we explore how two great analogies, computational and biological, can give new insights in our problem. As a preliminary study to critically examine the two analogies, we remind the reader that analogies are useful and fundamental cognitive tools and also point out their possible misuses and abuses. The idea that our universe might be modelled as a computational entity is analysed, and we discuss the distinction between physical laws and initial conditions using algorithmic information theory. Smolin introduced a biological analogy in cosmology with his theory of "cosmological natural selection". This theory is compared to the extension of the analogy proposing a missing hereditary mechanism. We discuss if and how this extension can be legitimated.
 
 
We then explore how two great analogies, computational and biological can give new insights in our problem. As a preliminary study to critically examine the two analogies, we first argue that analogies are useful and fundamental cognitive tools and also point out their possible misuses and abuses. The idea that our universe might be modelled as a computational entity is analysed, and we distinguish between physical laws and initial conditions using Chaitin's algorithmic information theory. Laws represent information about the world which can be shortened by algorithmic compression; whereas initial conditions represent information that cannot be so compressed. On the other hand, if the universe is to be likened to an organism, then this biological analogy suggests that the universe is an evolutionary developmental system. Smolin was one of the first cosmologists to introduce such an analogy with his theory of "cosmological natural selection". His theory is compared to the carrying on of the analogy proposing an hereditary mechanism to complete CNS. We discuss how far this extension can be legitimated.
 

Revision as of 12:11, 5 June 2009

Clément Vidal, Research Assistant, ECCO, Free University Brussels (VUB), Brussels, Belgium

Computational and Biological Analogies for Understanding the Fine-Tuning of Parameters in Physics (Evo Devo Universe 2008)

In this philosophical paper, we explore computational and biological analogies to address the fine-tuning problem in cosmology. We first clarify what it means for physical constants or initial conditions to be finely tuned. We review important distinctions such as the dimensionless and dimensional physical constants, and the classification of constants proposed by Lévy-Leblond. Then we explore how two great analogies, computational and biological, can give new insights in our problem. As a preliminary study to critically examine the two analogies, we remind the reader that analogies are useful and fundamental cognitive tools and also point out their possible misuses and abuses. The idea that our universe might be modelled as a computational entity is analysed, and we discuss the distinction between physical laws and initial conditions using algorithmic information theory. Smolin introduced a biological analogy in cosmology with his theory of "cosmological natural selection". This theory is compared to the extension of the analogy proposing a missing hereditary mechanism. We discuss if and how this extension can be legitimated.