Tuesday, September 5, 2017


I struggled through Binary Physics, impressed with the author’s brilliance, dismayed at the disagreements with much of contemporary physics, unsure whether this was a breakthrough or more of a breakdown on Zilberberg’s part. It was often hard reading. At times, it warranted five stars for creativity and merely one for lucidity, though some of the topics are arcane.

Time as the Fourth Dimension, “Depth”

Let’s start with his view of time, as a quantized fourth dimension, “depth,” with individual units that are about ten to the minus 50th power of a second, 1/10**50 s, a decimal with 49 zeros and then a 1. A wave passing through a location would have a series of Existences (1) and Placeholders (0). The highest frequency pure wave would be 01010101… over the units of “depth” (“time” from here on). A wave or half that frequency would be 01001001… These are frequencies in the range of 10**50 (ten to the fiftieth power) Hz (= per second), whereas gamma rays (the highest-frequency waves we know of) are 10**19 Hz, much lower in frequency. As with Fourier analysis, the greater the range of frequencies you can use to compose a particular signal, the more accurately you can replicate it, so having a range up to 10*50 Hz gives lots of leeway, which is needed…because the time series of 0s (Placeholders) and 1s (Existences) is what everything is made of.

Existences, Placeholders, and the Real World

We can compose any electromagnetic signal with our 0s and 1s up to 10**50 Hz. How do we get mass? From obstructions, the bunching up of Existences that cannot move freely. A pure wave, 010101…, in the next “turn” (a unit akin to time), becomes (moving to the right) 001010…, as the Existences occupy the Placeholder positions. However, the pattern 0110110… cannot shift fully freely one turn to the next because an Existence cannot move to where there is already an Existence, so we have 0101101… and the change is experienced as resistance. In Binary Physics, motion is inherently at the speed of light but mass gets in the way, so that work is done not moving mass, but removing obstruction and thus producing apparent acceleration.

Perception is Reality

“Apparent acceleration”? Well, it is not clear to what extent what we perceive is real, according to Binary Physics. What we perceive as motion, BP tells us is extinction in one location and creation in an adjoining location (also quantized, like time), which looks like motion of an entity.

Quantized Location

Yes, location is quantized, also:  the universe is in some sense granular, with Zilberberg estimating the spatial quantum at about 1/10**42 meter. The size of a proton is generally stated to be 1/10**15 meter or 27 orders of magnitude larger. The “cells” of the universe are tiny in comparison with physical objects.
Quantum mechanics has prepared us for quantization of physical properties like energy, and angular momentum, so quantizing time does not come as such a big surprise, especially when it is so fine-grained at 1/10**50 of a second. Similarly, locational cells are extraordinarily small. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle indicates that the product of energy and time uncertainty is greater than Heisenberg’s small constant, also true for the product of momentum uncertainty and positional uncertainty; perhaps the “graininess” of the universe in time and space contributes to the lack of precision in these products.

Effect Following Cause?

What does come as a surprise is BP’s statement “the future influences the present no less than the past, and the past is constantly changing….” This contradicts basic tents of science. We do not accept that the cause happens after the effect.

Two-Dimensional Analogue: The Game of Life

The two-dimensional analogy made by BP is with The Game of Life, where squares in a grid are given initial values of 0 or 1 (visually white or black) and then are required to change or stay the same during a series of time steps, where their existence (1, black) is determined by a set of rules generally dependent on what their “neighbors” are. On a square grid, each square would have four full-neighbors, one on each side, and another four part-neighbors, one on each corner. Depending on the rules and the starting conditions, rather life-like patterns and behavior can emerge. BP analogizes this to Existences and Placeholders in eight dimensions, a familiar three plus time (depth), plus four more, which extra four I won’t explain and do not find persuasive.

Ten Rules to Supplement the Axioms

Much of the book describes how Existences and Placeholders and cells in space and time can be understood to explain motion and gravity. A weakness here, in my estimation, is the adoption of The Ten Rules of Private Binary Physics. I’d prefer fewer rules. The need for these seems like the addition of the epicycles to the old Ptolemaic view of the solar system to be able to explain eclipses and “retrograde” motion. Occam’s Razor needs to be employed.


Another disagreement I have is with the idea of a multitude (infinite?)of universes, to explain how this particular one is capable of having human life. Yes, the anthropic principle is persuasive to me: this universe is too well suited to our existence to be just a coincidence. Zilberberg believes in God the Creator, as I do, so there is no need for this multiverse hypothesis. I like that he thinks God would create something that has the virtues that God has, while allowing (somehow!) for us to choose between right and wrong.

Goals, Awareness, Consciousness

Zilberberg discusses in depth the degree to which systems can be goal-seeking and even aware and conscious, and I defer to his greater knowledge and more extensive contemplation of these issues.

Sources and Methods

The author is clearly brilliant and well-informed. His sources and inspirations range from thinkers Dawkins and Hawking and Harari to films The Matrix and Back to the Future. Nevertheless, I concluded that much was mistaken, much was unclear or repetitious. This was hard going. With almost no equations, it is hard to follow some arguments to assure oneself of their validity.

Profound or Profoundly Wrong?

As I read the reviews on Amazon that have preceded mine, I am unsettled by how few of the reviewers have the scientific background to examine Binary Physics in depth. I found BP challenging myself. despite my own education (A.B., physics, Cornell, 1964; M.S., physics, Penn State, 1969; Ph.D., engineering, Harvard, 1974) and three decades of technical employment.
I recall how impressed I was in my youth in the 1960s by the iconoclastic works of the genius Immanuel Velikovski, works such as Worlds in Collision and Earth in Upheaval, both of which were closely argued, well documented…and now considered to be mostly wrong (see The Velikovski Controversy). I fear this may turn out to be the case for much of Binary Physics. What survives such scrutiny may be of real value, however.


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