The universe is mathematical
Within this website I explore whether there is a spiritual realm, a supernatural realm, containing God, mind, souls, consciousness with its contents (ideas, emotions, love, reason, etc) — this, from a purely philosophical and unreligious point of view.
In this article, I first assume there is a spiritual realm so as to explore the implications; then I present my conclusions elsewhere.
We naturally wish to imagine the nature of the universe, and this is easy to do for billiard balls, but not so easy with relativity or quantum mechanics. The universe is described by mathematics, and this can be imagined.
I propose that trying to imagine the nature of the universe in terms other than the mathematical descriptions is a waste of time; this, because the universe is mathematical, and nothing else!
There is no way to comprehend the mysteries of the universe in its essence outside of the mathematics used to describe it. Max Tegmark says something like this.
How is it possible to have a universe in which the motion of particles can be perfectly described by mathematical equations? These equations correlate together various aspects of properties. For example, the force acting on a particle is correlated with its mass and its acceleration via the equation F = ma (force equals mass times acceleration). Acceleration is an aspect of the particle's motion, and force is the interaction between particles (via gravity, electrostatic force, kinetic energy, etc.)
This correspondence between the physical universe and mathematics is just plain weird.
There is no super powerful intelligent designer calculating all the equations from instant to instant for every particle and interaction of the universe to determine exactly where to place each particle at each instant. This is why I doubt that God is guiding the universe, by micromanaging it. The universe just sort of moves around with these mathematically precise movements all on its own.
The only place for God in a universe like this is in setting it all up in the beginning and energizing it at the beginning; and off it goes, all on its own. And God certainly can intervene via the interface of quantum mechanics, but this intervention is at the atomic level (and below). Any intervention at this level should be considered as micromanagement. But complex biological organisms which manipulate physical matter at this level; certainly God could direct these via their already functioning biological components. This would occur by God implanting ideas in the mind and consciousness of creatures. These creatures would then modify their free-will activities accordingly.
But this communication between soul and body would also occur at the quantum mechanics level via micromanagement.
Cosmologists ponder of the many-worlds interpretation (MWI) multiple universes (because of quantum wave function collapse or the inflationary phase after the big bang); this, because the mathematics provides for the possibility, or even demands it. Weird. Why should mathematics dictate reality? Why should scientists think that these kinds of strange options are worth exploring just because of mathematics?
Seems to me, they should also consider that God created the universe, and continues to create it. That there is nothing physical before the big bang that caused the big bang because the big bang created the physical universe. And, therefore, that God created the big bang.
Of course, this option doesn't really solve any of the dilemmas either.
If reality is mathematical, then the invention of the mathematical systems necessary to describe the universe are actually "discoveries". Just like someone "discovered" fire, they didn't "invent" it.
This implies that God already knows all this mathematics, just as he/she already knows about the possible beneficial uses of fire.
Perhaps these discoveries occur via the creative process used by artists and musicians, a tapping into the secrets of the divine?
For example, classical electric fields aren't physically real, but only exist as a mathematical construct. Only the specific force of an electron (for example) in a specific location is real. The force it would feel if it were located somewhere else is merely imagination.
Mathematics resides within the spiritual realm. The classical electric field is evidence. We have the concept of electric field, but it doesn't exist as a physical reality. Electrically charged particles are not reaching out into space into every possible location that a charged particle could occupy and exerting a force there, as the concept of electric field describes. Perhaps electric charges warp space in some way, similar to the way the presence of mass warps space to cause the force of gravity. But even so, there is no gravitational force operating on a particle in every possible location it could occur; the force only occurs on the particle itself in its current location. Thus, you can describe gravity as a gravitational field, but this gravitational field and the warping of space due to the presence of mass are not the same things.
If the universe is mathematical, and if mathematics is an emergent property, then how can an emergent property of the universe (mathematics) be the universe (which is mathematical)?
Whatever mathematics is, it seems to control the behavior of the universe. But particles do not calculate their motion via mathematics, humans do this when observing particles. The mathematical nature of the universe is built-in but invisible to the universe itself.
There are kinds of mathematics that don't correspond to anything physical, such as a geometrical line which is infinitely thin and infinitely long and continuous at every point. Therefore, mathematics resides in the spiritual realm along with consciousness, the soul, and other ideas and concepts.
There is no need to postulate a spiritual realm to explain this. Since mathematics is embedded within the universe, the human mind merely abstracts this embedded information from the information contained within the physical objects themselves.
. . . . .Mathematics is just information embedded within the universe. Static mechanics with tension in ropes and different weights and using trigonometric functions: all this is based on facts about the interactions of atoms and electrons operating within space and time. The atoms themselves contain the mathematical information; the human mind merely extracts the information and applies the symbolic language of mathematics to describe it. The fact that space is three dimensional and that time moves forward and that particles interact with one another via forces; these kinds of realities are the basis of mathematics.
The universe is in some sense mathematical. However, not every mathematical construct or idea has a physical counterpart.
All of mathematics resides in the spiritual realm. Insisting that every possible mathematical idea has a physical counterpart is like insisting that the idea of unicorns (residing in the spiritual realm) requires that physical unicorns exist.
Also, some of the mathematics used to describe the universe seems "fishy", for example, that of quantum field theory. Perhaps there is a pure version of this mathematics yet to be discovered, but it seems to me, that the mathematics upon which the physical universe is founded must be pure in principle.
I doubt the universe is essentially mathematical, rather, mathematics guides and controls its behavior, and mathematics was used in creating and establishing it in the first place.
Perhaps a good analogy is a computer program, an application. The application was created by a person using a computer program used for creating applications, but at its essence the application is not this computer program. Rather, it is, well,... an application, built using another computer program.