Why Are the Laws of Nature the Way That They Are?

Think about the raw diversity in our universe. Evolution is a web not a line. Try to consider how many different species of plant and animals there are. Try to imagine their stories. Consider the infinite number of concepts that can be generated by the human imagination. Newton’s three laws, though so simple, produce infinite diversity. A tree swaying in the breeze, a helium nucleus bombarded with gamma radiation, ripples in a pond, all just a harmonic oscillator obeying F=kx. All just cosine waves. Swirling galaxies, hurricanes, internal combustion engines, the human body, the human brain all obeying F=ma. We all have our own dances, but we all dance to the same rhythm: F=ma. We are all animated by truly beautiful laws of nature, the rhythm of the universe. It’s important to remember that the universe didn’t have to be this beautiful. The laws that animate our universe are not so simple as to be boring. The laws of the universe could have been far more simplistic. Perhaps the law could be that nothing changes, ever. Everything just stays the same as it was. The laws of nature could be that everything red travels at 20mph and everything blue travels at 60mph and all the other colors travel at -40mph. That’s it, nothing else happens. On the other extreme, the laws could have been too complex to make sense to us. There could be absolutely no order to the world around us at all. No patterns, no rules, no meaning. Just a bunch of stuff happening. The universe didn’t have to be as beautiful as it is. Why are the laws of nature what they are? Well I can actually do a decent job of explaining that. Firstly, we can use the anthropic principle to explain certain axioms. The anthropic principle states that when you ask “Why is the sky blue” the answer is “Because if the sky was not blue, the Earth could not support life and you would not be here to ask that question.” Of course that is not true, the sky is blue because of Raleigh scattering and we could still be alive without that phenomenon. However, much of the universe can be explained this way. For example, why is it that at the macroscopic scale Newton’s Laws are true, but at tinier scales Quantum Mechanics rules. Well, Newton’s Laws are simple and predictable and allow for the formation of complex structures necessary to life. So the reason that these laws are the norm at our scale is because if Quantum Mechanics was instead the rule, life would have been impossible and we could not be here to ask such a question. Of course, it is arguable that very exotic life could exist at Quantum Scales, but I really don’t see how when you cannot know both the position and momentum of your cells. The other answer to why the laws of nature are what they are is something I like to call “Quantum Truncation.” Essentially, everything is a wave in an abstract sense. Now waves constructively and deconstructively interfere with each other. If you look at the bottom of a swimming pool you can see bright spots and dark spots move around in an intricate pattern. The dark spots are where the trillions of different waves of light cancel each other out and the bright spots are where they reinforce each other. Now, when anything moves from point A to point B (you, and electron, jesus, whatever), why does it take the path it takes? The answer is, it really doesn’t. When you walk from your house to the movie theatre you use the side walk along X street right? Not exactly, you actually take every possible path in the universe between point A and point B. Each of these paths is a wave with a given frequency. All of the paths cancel out except for a special tiny range of paths that have the same frequency that reinforce each other. These paths end up being that sidewalk. In Quantum Field Theory sometimes certain pieces of the propagator causes changes in the field faster than the speed of light. However, the propagator also cancels such changes out with other equally probable changes. So mostly the reason that laws of nature look the way they do is because everything is possible, but waves cancel each other out in such a way that only certain things happen. Of course, the final answer to why the laws of nature look the way they do is maybe nature just has an artistic side.


7 thoughts on “Why Are the Laws of Nature the Way That They Are?

  1. As you are aware the average person doesn’t ponder these questions in such detail. Mostly because we aren’t capable of it. I just like to think of it as not sure how it all works but just glad it does! Of course if it didn’t we wouldn’t be here but since we are, why not enjoy it!


    1. I’m sure anyone could understand physics the way I do if they loved it as much as I do. Passion is more important than intelligence. People aren’t interested in the same things as me so it’s difficult for me to connect with them.


      1. Yes, you do need the interest and passion for sure but you also need the capacity to understand the concepts. I think you are taking that for granted? It’s a gift to truly understand the workings on that level.


      2. True but the price of being unlovable is a steep one to pay for autistic savantism. I’d prefer to just be a normal happy person that can talk to other people.


  2. I wouldn’t disagree with that! I also wouldn’t say it leaves you unlovable. I believe there is someone for everyone! There is a theory that says you have to work on yourself to become the type of person to attract the type of person you want to be with. If that makes any sense?


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