5
   

The forbidden questions of comsology and physics

 
 
Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Sep, 2015 12:07 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
Have you noticed that you tend to use the word 'imaginary' in contrast with the word 'real' ?

I think that's a reasonable distinction; it isn't to dismiss the imaginary. In mathematics for instance we have both real numbers and imaginary numbers. Hawking uses that terminology, which I adopt primarily in order to distinguish between the two for clarity's sake:
Quote:
Quantum theory introduces a new idea, that of imaginary time. Imaginary time may sound like science fiction, and it has been brought into Doctor Who. But nevertheless, it is a genuine scientific concept. One can picture it in the following way. One can think of ordinary, real, time as a horizontal line. On the left, one has the past, and on the right, the future. But there's another kind of time in the vertical direction. This is called imaginary time, because it is not the kind of time we normally experience. But in a sense, it is just as real, as what we call real time. http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html


Quote:
'multiverses' in which the so- called 'laws of physics' may be something of a lottery

That is indeed what some theorists contend. However if one describes cycles of big bangs and big crunches and alternate universe bubbles popping up here and there and adds the qualifiers "all bets are off as far as physics in the transition phases"("a" below) that is indistinguishable from a religious (b) or magical (c) perspective:
a) Laws of physics no longer apply during singularity stage
b) God made it happen
c) Abra-cadabra, presto-change-o
Personally I have a problem with scientific theories that depend on large events that don't obey scientific principles.
Tes yeux noirs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Sep, 2015 12:15 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
Have you noticed that you tend to use the word 'imaginary' in contrast with the word 'real' ?

Where Hawking uses the term 'imaginary' he uses it in a precise, mathematical sense. It doesn't mean unreal or made-up or concocted. To be precise, imaginary time τ is obtained from real time via a Wick rotation by π/2 in the complex plane: τ=it. An imaginary number is a complex number that can be written as a real number multiplied by the imaginary unit i (often called "the square root of minus one")
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Sep, 2015 12:37 pm
@Tes yeux noirs,
Yes, I am totally familiar with the concept of 'imaginary numbers'. I used to teach the subject of 'complex numbers'. The point I am making is that BB tends to too easily gloss over that technical use of the term and its use as an antithesis to 'scientific realism' .
There are major issues in ontology and epistemology concerning the status of models in general and mathematical models in particular. 'Scientific realism' is a sub-issue of that field illustrated by the famous post quantum adage 'shut up and calculate' used by Feynman et al ,who refused to get involved with philosophy.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 12:19 am
@Banana Breath,
IMO what is missing in theories of cosmology as opposed to quantum physics is recognition of the the interaction between observer and observed. For example, one acknowledged function of mathematical models is that of generating or suggesting a re-focusing of the observer's attention. In short what we call 'the universe' at any time is never independent of contemporary human interests and needs. 'Data' and 'facts' are never observer independent, which is not to say we cannot agree with each other as to their relevance. Such agreement is wrongly termed 'objective' and that tends to confound the question about what we want to call 'reality'.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 03:34 am
@Banana Breath,
Once again, absolutely no substantive reply, just vicious personal remarks.

You've whined about "science teachers and such." Those are people who are employed to teach science. To do so, they refer to data, to evidence. Teaching science is not about idle speculation. There is no data, no evidence about what preceded the singularity; therefore, any discussion of the subject is idle speculation, not science. There is nothing which "science teachers and such" are forbidding, they're sticking to the subject, rather than wandering off into idle speculation. It's the religionists who have forbidden subjects, not scientists. You remind me of Quahog.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 03:38 am
@fresco,
Your philosophical literature does not address my question, so playing your word games does not dissipate the challenge at all. It's not a fatuous challenge, just one you're not prepared to face. It's not lashing out to point this out, nor is it lashing out to point out that decorum is the eye of the beholder. Your vaunted decorum went out the window the first time i challenged your silly theory of reality, and you have never satisfactorily responded. Silliness about infinite regressions is not a response.
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 04:27 am
@Banana Breath,
Banana Breath wrote:
...a) Laws of physics no longer apply during singularity stage
b) God made it happen
c) Abra-cadabra, presto-change-o
Personally I have a problem with scientific theories that depend on large events that don't obey scientific principles.

You don't know what you're talking about (as is suggested by the lack of any mathematical analysis in your opinions). Cosmic inflation ("the big bang") is all justified in terms of physics. For example:

http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0310757v1.pdf
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 05:27 am
Spare a thought for all those imaginary friends in the sky who aren't God. My friend Trevor the Turtle who flies a WW1 Sopwith Camel is always getting mistaken for God. And it really pisses him off. Trevor is not responsible for all the hurricanes earthquakes and other 'acts of God'. He's not responsible for anything at all, except for a bit of turtle **** over the Norfolk Broads.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 06:53 am
@Setanta,
Care to explain how someone who has not understood how the literature which purports to 'dissipate so-called problems' still requires it to 'address the problem', especially when they don't seem to have read it at all ?*
(You remind me of that other senior, Frank, who like Sam's wife does not understand that questions like 'who will pay Sam's wages' no longer make sense when Sam proposes to set up on his own)

*A rhetorical question of course to one whose advancing senility allows him deny to having a reputation of being beyond the pale as far as decorum is concerned, and who fails to remember that I for one have stated that the only way to deal with your blatant lack of it is to respond in kind.

Don't worry, I won't make the mistake of supporting one of your points again.
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 06:59 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
It's the religionists who have forbidden subjects, not scientists.

Times change. There are modern (2005) court cases where the teaching of Intelligent Design has been forbidden. I doubt you will find any more Snopes Monkey Trials forbidding the teaching of Evolution.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 07:39 am
@Leadfoot,
As I understand, the teaching of "Intelligent Design" has been ruled "unconstitutional" in the US because of its religious connotations, and that definition renders it "forbidden". In the UK where I reside, there is no written constitution, but some schools adhere to a national curriculum in which Intelligent Design might be discussed (not "taught") as part of a "religious ideas" class, but would have no place in a science curriculum.
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 08:17 am
@fresco,
The means are a technicality. The ends are the same. It is forbidden.

Interesting that it is discussed in the UK, but not as science. What really gets me is that the 'teaching of ID' is identicle to teaching Biology. The best book I know on the subject (The Signature In the Cell) reads like a college biology text book and never mentions the word 'God'. My guess is that 99+ % of those who condemn ID as "religion" have no indepth knowledge of cellular biology.

The ONLY difference between teaching ID and Biology is that the difficulties of explaining it's origin via natural causes are examined. Without a deep understanding of the biology (which is not in dispute) there would be NO basis for ID.
Banana Breath
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 08:33 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
science teachers and such." Those are people who are employed to teach science. To do so, they refer to data, to evidence. Teaching science is not about idle speculation. There is no data, no evidence about what preceded the singularity; therefore, any discussion of the subject is idle speculation, not science. There is nothing which "science teachers and such" are forbidding, they're sticking to the subject, rather than wandering off into idle speculation. It's the religionists who have forbidden subjects, not scientists.

It's no doubt pointless to provide examples to a potty-mouthed curmudgeon who can't even understand them, nor the subject at hand, since he's dedicated his existence to attacking imaginary "religionist" windmills, but for the sake of more rational and literate readers of the thread, one can take pretty much any high school or college text/course notes introducing cosmology and find pretty much the same thing. And again, I'll point out that I'm the one who regularly provides legit references and Setanta not only fails to do so, but has no substantial points to contribute, instead only venting bile.
A typical course notes example: "Astronomy II course notes, East Tennessee State University."
http://faculty.etsu.edu/lutter/courses/astr1020/a1020chap11.pdf
Quote:
"The Universe started in an extremely small, hot, and dense
state. As we go backwards in time, the Universe gets progressively
smaller, hotter, and denser."

the notes further state the assumptions including:
Quote:
In addition to these. . . additional assumptions are typically
included when describing the Big Bang:
a) Universality — physical laws are the same everywhere
in the Universe at all times.

The possibilities of a cosmic crunch are later described:
Quote:
As the Universe expands, it should slow down due to the gravitational
pull of one galaxy on another.
a) Are there enough galaxies (i.e., mass) to stop the expansion?
i) If the Universe’s mass density, ρ, is less than a
critical density, ρ<ρc, gravity will not halt the
expansion =⇒ an Open Universe.
ii) If ρ>ρc, gravity will halt the expansion and
cause a contraction down to a Big Crunch ! =⇒ a
Closed Universe.
iii) The Universe may be able to rebound (Big Bang)
and start over again =⇒ an Oscillating Universe.

Now, what's missing? What is apparently "forbidden" for the instructor/writer of notes to mention? While it is stated above that the "physical laws are the same everywhere in the Universe at all times, there is no mention of how the universe "crunching" down to a singularity violates these very same laws of physics. Conservation of angular momentum isn't maintained, speed of rotation of the coalescing mass would exceed the speed of light; presumably to infinity, mass and energy concentration would achieve infinity. This line of thinking is akin to saying that each human's life must begin with a singularity, a single zero-dimensional point, based on the evidence that projecting backward from adulthood, we become smaller and smaller and the origin must be a single point. IF one doesn't have information about eggs and sperm and fertilization; it doesn't make it good science to simply gloss over the violations of everything we know of biology and physics to say that singularities beget humans, and the same is true of the universe.
Hawking at least recognizes this problem and tries to come up with ways to account for the glaring gaps, which others are avoiding or hiding.
Quote:
At this time, the Big Bang, all the matter in the universe, would have been on top of itself. The density would have been infinite. It would have been what is called, a singularity. At a singularity, all the laws of physics would have broken down. This means that the state of the universe, after the Big Bang, will not depend on anything that may have happened before, because the deterministic laws that govern the universe will break down in the Big Bang. The universe will evolve from the Big Bang, completely independently of what it was like before. Even the amount of matter in the universe, can be different to what it was before the Big Bang, as the Law of Conservation of Matter, will break down at the Big Bang. http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html

Note that "all of the laws of physics would have broken down" is NOT the same thing as "Universality — physical laws are the same everywhere
in the Universe at all times."



Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 08:59 am
@Brandon9000,
Quote:
You don't know what you're talking about (as is suggested by the lack of any mathematical analysis in your opinions). Cosmic inflation ("the big bang") is all justified in terms of physics. For example:

Brandon, first off, no, I don't have all of the answers, or I wouldn't be raising questions on a third-rate internet Q/A forum. Nor do you, or you'd hold the Nobel prize in Physics. Second, filling this space with mathematical analysis won't help anyone in this audience understand the issues at hand. Why not try and meaningfully participate in the discussion instead of wasting everyone's time including your own by criticizing others?
As I see it, there are glaring problems in the simplistic big bang theory. Most instructors DO simply gloss over the problems, the violations of physics that it requires, as I've documented above. I'm aware of efforts to try to reconcile these problems but they are NOT mentioned in most descriptions of cosmology and big bang theory, and have NOT yet achieved any widespread acceptance, in other words, the prevalent belief is one that is based on things that are in violation of the laws of physics and for the majority presenting that information, those violations will not be discussed.
There are indeed a few enlightened folks who dare to confront those violations and try to find ways to reconcile the contradictions. Harvard Professor and theoretical physicist Matt Strassler in his critique of the simplistic big bang theory says:
Quote:
a singularity often turns up in our equations when we extend them as far as they can go in the past; but a singularity of this sort is far from likely to be an aspect of nature, and instead should be interpreted as a sign of what we don’t yet understand. http://profmattstrassler.com/2014/03/21/did-the-universe-begin-with-a-singularity/

I have already mentioned (with references) at several points Hawking's theories that map a big bang onto imaginary time and a finite universe without a boundary condition in order to try to find a way around the violations of the laws of physics. Another one is the quantum theoretical approach taken by Ali and Das. They too, like Hawking, dare to point out that the violations of the laws of physics that the Big Bang implies are indeed a problem:
Quote:
Although the Big Bang singularity arises directly and unavoidably from the mathematics of general relativity, some scientists see it as problematic because the math can explain only what happened immediately after—not at or before—the singularity.

"The Big Bang singularity is the most serious problem of general relativity because the laws of physics appear to break down there," Ahmed Farag Ali at Benha University and the Zewail City of Science and Technology, both in Egypt, told Phys.org.
http://phys.org/news/2015-02-big-quantum-equation-universe.html#jCp

Their quantum equation, however, leads to the conclusion that there was NOT a big bang, and they account for the production of dark matter and dark energy which other physicists have not been able to account for. If you'd like to (and are able to) read and digest the mathematics of their argument, presented in peer-reviewed journals, by all means, please do, I'm happy to provide the reference:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0370269314009381



fresco
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 09:00 am
@Leadfoot,
Quote:
the 'teaching of ID' is identicle (sic} to teaching Biology


Wrong ! Biology is deemed a science because its facticity is established by publically replicable testing procedures. ID is merely a story with no claim to facticity, whose status remains an idiosyncratic ad hoc palliative for those who think there SHOULD be 'ultimate explanations'. Those looking for ultimates or absolutes have not understood that such quest may be futile with respect to the axiomatic logic with which humans operate, yet which has yielded the convenient products of sciences such the one you are now using. (Refer to Godel's Incompleteness Theorem for the general problem of axioms).
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 09:25 am
@fresco,
I give you 5 stars for spelling and rhetoric. But none for addressing the subject of 'forbidden questions'.

For example, when ID points out that the molecular bonds between the 4 'letters' (A,C,T&G) in the DNA helix have no natural preference for the order in which they assemble (in pre-biotic conditions), that is not applying ad hoc solutions. That's just saying there is no available explanation for how the code for a self reproducing organism came about. The rest is up to you.

As far as "people who think there SHOULD be an ultimate explaination" for things, that would include every scientist on earth, wouldn't it?
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 09:59 am
@Leadfoot,
Thanks for the book reference by the way. I note that it has a number of scathing reviews particularly with regard ID attempts at 'prediction'.

I assume you are not a 'scientist' (as I have been in the past) otherwise you would not venture the naive view that all scientists are looking for 'ultimate explanations'. (I discount the quest for a Theory of Everything here by theoretical physicists, as such attempts seem to be doomed to remain in the untestable realm of metaphysics) On the contrary every scientist I know of understands that science is a shifting body of paradigms whose utility tends to be transient or delimited. The more we think we know, the more there is to know.

Of course if you have a vested interest in the concept of 'a Creator' you are playing for high stakes self-integrity-wise. Appeals to rhetorical tricks (the Devil talking ?) or discounting accusations of ad-hockery (revealed Truth ?) are going to be employed in defense of that 'self'. The view of an atheist like me that 'theism' is part of the psychological price many seem to pay for being cognate animals with a concept of 'consequences' will be brushed aside. You can always evoke the 'man made in the image of God ' clause to turn that psychological burden into 'a blessing'. There you go!....Solved ! Wink
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 10:16 am
@fresco,
Yes, I've read most of the 'scathing reviews'. They are long on 'scathing' and very short on refuting the arguments in the book. They are similar to your responses attributing everything to 'defending the self ' but not addressing the points raised.

I started out in what sounds like the same place you did, by wanting to know the truth - whatever it is. We diverged in that quest :-)

Sorry for the thread creep, we could have had this same discussion on Cosmology.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 10:17 am
@Banana Breath,
Ban et al, I really gotta give you guys credit for entertaining this subject. You might also consider the prop that something we don't yet understand nor quite have the language tools to express, will be called God by some but not by others, owing simply to the duality of our present reasoning system
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Sep, 2015 10:41 am
@Leadfoot,
I take a shorthand pragmatists view that 'truth' is 'what works'.
Anything else constitutes a pseudo religious concept of 'an absolute'. Put the news on and watch fools fighting over it!
 

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