Hype from the world of SCIENCE!!!!

Hype from the world of SCIENCE!!!! December 12, 2013

Somebody programs a computer to tell him the universe is a hologram. Computer tells him universe is a hologram. Nature cites this as evidence that universe is a hologram. SCIENCE!

Simulations are narrative fictions in which a programmer tells a computer to tell him a story and the computer does what the programmer told it to do. This is evidence that a programmer wanted a computer to tell him that the universe is a hologram. It is not evidence that the universe is a hologram.

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  • Raymond

    I saw that article and the first thing I thought was “Yeah, I want what that guy is smoking.”

  • Spastic Hedgehog

    God help me for trying to explain this but stand back, I’m going to try SCIENCE:

    The “explain it to me like I’m 5” version of this is that basically we may be able to only perceive 4 dimensions when in reality there are N dimensions, N-4 which we cannot perceive, or at least haven’t been able to perceive up to this point because…math. The science subreddit actually had an explanation that made sense to me and made me question the use of the word “hologram” which seems to denote some kind of falsity to our reality.


    • I’m trying to figure out how “hologram” fits as an accurate description of what they’re doing. It looks like they’re simply discovering that there are two ways to do the math and come up with exactly the same results, sort of like 2+2=4 and 2*2=4.

      Or am I completely misunderstanding what’s going on here?

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      That Kaluza-Klein business was a long time ago. I used it to create my hypospace in the original novella form of “Eifelheim.” But it is useful to keep in mind that (e.g.) planetary motions can be accounted for by Tychonic math as well as Keplerian math. That a math model “works” doesn’t mean that its assumptions are physically real.

    • Just when I thought it was impossible for Spastic to get cooler than she already was.

  • ladycygnus

    I’d go with Spastic Hedgehog on this one – it seems more like the scientists did a calculation that might give credence to string theory. Hologram seems to be sensationalism to call up ideas of aliens making up our world.

    • Spastic Hedgehog

      Exactly. It might be better to think of it in terms of what we can see. Human rods and cones are set up to only perceive 3 primary colors. Mantis shrimp? Something insane like 1000 primary colors. Just because we can only perceive 4 dimensions in space/time doesn’t mean there are only 4 dimensions in space/time because….math. Excitingly, this was a plot of classic Doctor Who in the Tom Baker era. So there’s that.

      • Perhaps we can experience more than four dimensions, if we can loosen up that reduction valve in our minds. Anyone here ever have a precognitive or telepathic experience, or a synchronous one that was like two dissimilar railroad cars locking together? I’ve had all three.

        • kenofken

          I’ve been in some states where time and space had no meaning whatsoever, and when I dream, I usually end up in a alternate universe in which I know all of the same people and places as I do here. The people there have told me on many occasions that what I believe to be waking reality is in fact the dream world. I have no objective way to prove them wrong, so to hedge my bets, I try to do my best in both every day!

          • Everything’s a dreamworld compared with the beatific vision.

          • freddy

            I think someone made a tv show about you….

  • Mark, you are sometimes out of your depth, and you are likely to be out of your depth here.

    • kenofken

      At some level of theoretical astrophysics, there’s only a couple dozen people on the planet who aren’t out of their depth, and even they are, to some extent. They’re just better able to quantify how much they’re out of their depth and to propose some mathematical ways out of it.

  • Thinkling

    All I’ve got to say is, if the universe is really a hologram, I want it on my credit card.

    • kenofken

      How do you know you don’t? 😉

  • AshleyWB

    The usage of hologram in this paper simply refers to reducing a mathematical representation of something into another mathematical representation that has fewer dimensions. In this case, the physicists created a correspondence between the 10-dimensional universe of string theory with a 1-dimensional model resembling simple harmonic oscillators. Critically, the latter model has no gravity, so the correspondence establishes a link between models of the universe with and without gravity. This could eventually help solve the incompatibility of quantum mechanics and general relativity.

    Hologram was the right word to use, but it’s being used in a technical sense that I think has Mark confused. The paper is not implying the universe is ephemeral or illusory or a mere projection of some greater reality.

    Regarding simulations, I can only say that as a software developer who has worked on simulations for many, many years, your understanding of them is extremely shallow. What simulations generally do is allow us to put together many small, well-understood (or at least better understood) parts and see the effects that these many parts have in combination. Simulations are rarely if ever definitive, but they are often an excellent tool for guiding empirical studies. No complex technical or scientific work is done today without them.

    • dbp

      Right, it’s the technological equivalent of expanding out a series of syllogisms on the basis of premises to see whether it results in a contradiction.
      Usually the contradiction in the case of physical simulations is clear deviation from perceived reality. NOT arriving at such contradictions doesn’t prove the premises, of course, but creating a simulation that avoids them would be a good first step toward demonstrating plausability.

  • BTW, there are salacious ads being shown here. I know, Mark has no control, still, a Catholic site shouldn’t have soft porn on it.

    • chezami

      If you could take a screenshot and send it to me I’ll pass it along to our webelves and have them take it down. Otherwise I usually miss this stuff.

      • Actually, I’d rather not even look at it, much less take a screen shot.

        I should not have said ads plural. I glimpsed one.

        • chezami

          I can’t do anything about stuff I can’t see.

          • And I don’t want to see it, or, so to speak, get anywhere near it.

            This culture is going downhill fast. I try to stay off the hill.

            • kenofken

              Roll that grenade over here. I’ll throw myself on it to save your virtue and sensibility! Yes sir, I’ll take this one for the team 🙂

              Actually, these ads seem to get generated by what some algorithm thinks you’re interested in. Not saying you cruise soft porn or anything, but anything that had a url or keyword even remotely related will sometimes do it.

              • orual’s kindred

                🙂 I think I get where you’re coming from, but people can have different reactions, and there really are those who have particular trouble with this stuff. (For myself, my immediate reaction tends to be boredom.)

              • Only this site.

              • Nor am I the first one to take note of it here.

              • If your reaction is boredom or indifference you might have been desensitized.

                • orual’s kindred

                  I think this is meant to be a response to my post?

                  Certainly I could be quite desensitized. Nevertheless, I don’t quite grasp the appeal of porn. It looks to me like pictures of flesh.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        FWIW, I have seen no such ads. Does everyone see the same ads?

        • orual’s kindred

          I haven’t.

          Also, this site is Catholic, but the host site I think is not? Also, the webelves in charge may not be Catholic/aware of what is considered soft porn. And since things like this can be very sneaky (as mentioned below, it might not even be from the actual site), I’m afraid those who can have to take note.

  • Louis Tully

    I’m beyond out of my depth right now (they didn’t even let me in the pool), so anyone who knows better please correct the following…

    “Real” reality is supremely simple and one dimensional, without even gravity. The physical universe we observe is but a projection of that one dimension. It’s still real in that it elaborates the reality of the one dimension.

    That sounds a lot like Catholicism, almost. The spiritual realm, angels, heaven, hell, the dead, platonic forms etc., is the eternal, substantial, fundamental reality that we really exist in. This physical world is also real, but as a projection/hologram of the spiritual realm (roughly analogous to the way a word document is a projection of its code). The spiritual realm is played out through the material (that’s what the sacraments are all about). Aquinas called it “essence” and “accidents”.