Can a universe exist which has no natural/ physical/ scientific laws?
N.B. In using the term 'law', I am not talking about a formalized human definition of a physical relationship/ pattern/ property; I am talking about the thing itself which is being described independent of description.

One of the arguments which alienates from certain theists the most is the idea that physical law is somehow an indication that a god exists. It leaves me scratching my head as with or without a god, I cannot conceive of a universe which has no laws. As long as existence exists, law exists.

There are two points in which our perspectives may likely differ.

i) The theist may see laws as active forces which dictate how phenomena behave. Worded differently, law defines reality. I see laws as descriptions of how phenomena behave. Worded differently, reality defines law.

ii) The theist may see laws as purpose driven. The laws which exist have to exist as they do for the purpose of achieving a certain effect. I see laws as the mere byproduct of things having properties and finite aspects; natural law doesn't serve a purpose or intent.

Can anyone actually conceive of a hypothetical lawless universe?

  • The existence of law does not require an observer.
  • Universe can either mean a single universe in a multiverse system, or the sum total of all existence.
  • Pure nonexistence doesn't qualify as a universe.
  • This hypothetical universe does not need to reflect our own in any given aspect.
  • The supernatural can be invoked provided you can explain how it qualifies as lawless.
  • You aren't required to agree with my views in the above i) and ii), but again, you would have to justify why it qualifies as lawless.

Personally, I would answer 'no', but I find it an interesting, even if masturbatory, mental exercise. Everything I come up with still results in some physical constant.

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I used the term 'law', perhaps sloppily, because I do not want to list every type of material definition of behaviour or property there is. If you can propose a superior term to fit the context, I am not opposed.

That seems to be the crux of the issue.

Theistic perspectives on 'law' are the crux of the matter. To be honest, I don't think you've actually read what I've written in this thread, in the op or anywhere else.

I apologize. I did not notice that this was in "Philosophy". The wording of your OP indicated to me a question about the basic laws of how the universe operates rather than philosophical or theistic "laws". The offending posts have been deleted.

What you are calling a law is really just an interaction between particles. The law part of it is the human description of what is happening. A "Lawless" universe would therefore consist of stuff that is unable to interact with anything. To my knowledge, It would look quite similar to the very early universe, just after the beginning... free floating quarks, but because they are unable to interact, there would be no additional expansion.

An interesting hypothesis , would like to here from a physicist about this...

I think you could distill it a touch further to particles having properties, but without the context of action (inaction, interaction, reaction), then it seems like a dimension is missing for my brain to generate some framework to work within. Perhaps just a personal limitation.

Question: Is a Lawless Universe Nonsense?

Answer: Yes.

Your question contains the answer.

By using the descriptive word "universe".

There is a something and there isn't a nothing.

A "universe" is a something.

A something exists.

To exist a cause is required.

Law is cause, cause is law.

All existence is caused.

The current 10,382 universes (yes, I counted them) exist and are caused. :)

Therefore answer is Yes.

If it's coherent enough to qualify as a universe, there is a principle of coherence of some sort, is there not? And is that not some sort of natural law?

I'm reluctant to use the word Law. The universe is a very big place. Things work the way they do in our neighborhood because of the things IN the neighborhood. What we perceive to be laws, or "universal reactions" to put a Newtonian spin on it, may be changed or negated by something outside of our observable universe, or even much closer in a separate galaxy. What there was something like a large antimatter nebula somewhere, and some strange natural phenomenon somehow kept even a speck of matter from entering the cloud, which would surely detonate it, causing quite a loud pop. What if we somehow discovered a naturally formed Dyson sphere? What sort of force would keep it from collapsing? What sort of event could have caused it's formation to begin with?

My point is, that there is no proof that these laws are infallible, or at least constant every where in the universe, They just seem to be in our neck of the woods.

Now, a universe with no laws would have to have absolutely no reactions. So what you're really looking for is a description of nothing, specifically the nothing that the universe came from. Every thing has a beginning, and so there must be some sort of pocket or space that has No matter, or energy, or anything else. Such a place would be impossible to detect, because the second we try to observe something like that, then we would introduce matter and/or energy.

It's an interesting quandary for sure, careful not to get stuck in an infinite loop.


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