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What do you guys think of Scott Adams' theory that the Universe might be made of recursions, created by observation?

I find it fascinating but have no strong opinion yet if it makes sense.

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This looks like philosophy to me. –  Marek Nov 18 '10 at 11:02
    
People, this is a joke! –  mbq Nov 18 '10 at 12:30
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1 Answer

Although that particular blog is mostly philosophy, there are some ideas which are scientifically relevant in there. However he, as many other people who are not very deeply interested in physics, is making a mistake of trying to make analogies to classical world while examining the microcosmos, like questioning what an elementary particle is made of. It, of course, sounds absurd when considered from a macro point of view, however the particles in question have such sophisticated behavior that they are almost virtual.

To inspect what a certain particle like electron is made of can be a bit out of reach for humanity at the moment, and possibly in the near future. As far as our observations go, electron is not made out of anything but itself, but string theory proposes that it is actually made of tiny strings of energy, vibrating at certain frequencies and properties to create different forms of particles.

To give a very confusing example, what exactly is an electron made of? Well, an electron orbiting an atom is made of probability waves. Yep, not electromagnetic, not sound, not seismic, but these are very real probability waves.

Coming to your main question, I think this is much more a philosophy than science as it has no scientific basis and no provability in the foreseeable future. Most importantly, it does not address to any phenomena we see around us. Accepting the existence of such a theory would be a bit hypocritical as we do not question either existence or non-existence of God in science since "God" is not a necessary fact to question while observing the universe.

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...but these are very real probability waves. This is weird (and I think wrong) way to look at QM. Probability waves surely aren't fundamental. You get those anytime you ignore information. Like in Statistical Physics you might get a probability distribution of the particle that is not located precisely at one place. But this surely doesn't mean that particle itself is a probability wave. Now, because of absence of hidden parameters we know that probability is more fundamental for the quantum world than for Stat. Phys. But not probability itself but rather an amplitude of probability. –  Marek Nov 18 '10 at 12:05
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