Max Tegmark hypothesizes that the universe has a mathematical origin.

This isn’t a new theory – the Greeks speculated about mathematics unexplainable relation with reality. Mathematics is isomorphic to reality and vice versa. Tegmark goes all the way and asks if the universe is mathematics.

He starts off with two hypothesises. The External Reality Hypothesis states that the is a reality that exists independent of humanity. This shouldn’t be controversial. He adds the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis as a Theory of Everything. Mathematical stuctures lay behind all existance.

From the definition of a mathematical Structure, it follows that if there is an isomorphism between a mathematical structure and another structure (a one-to-one correspondence between the two that respects the relations), then they are one and the same. If our external physical reality is isomorphic to a mathematical structure, it therefore fits the definition of being a mathematical structure. (4)

Mathematics is unreasonably effective in describing reality. If Tegmark is right, then everything has mathematical coding. Images we see are fractal-like constructs. Forces are guided by mathematical formulas. Scientists just discover the math to describe what they see.

If the MUH is correct, it completes this historical trend: The MUH leaves no room for “initial conditions”, eliminating them altogether. The mathematical structure is by definition a complete description of the physical world. In contrast, a description saying that our universe just “started out” or “was created” in some unspecified state is an incomplete description, thus violating both the MUH and the ERH. (10)

I’m suspicious of any kind of theory of everything because they are all too speculative. Tegmark deals with the philosophy behind this hypothesis too. It’s worth a read.

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