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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blind faith in science

Despite philosophy's failure to do so, some are still fantasizing about Science finally killing God:
Physicists have observed that many of the physical constants that define our universe, from the mass of the electron to the density of dark energy, are eerily perfect for supporting life. Alter one of these constants by a hair, and the universe becomes  unrecognizable. "For example, if the mass of the neutron were a bit larger (in comparison to the mass of the proton) than its actual value, hydrogen would not fuse into deuterium and conventional stars would be impossible," Carroll said. And thus, so would life as we know it.

Theologians often seize upon the so-called "fine-tuning" of the physical constants as evidence that God must have had a hand in them; it seems he chose the constants just for us. But contemporary physics explains our seemingly supernatural good luck in a different way.

Some versions of quantum gravity theory, including string theory, predict that our life-giving universe is but one of an infinite number of universes that altogether make up the multiverse. Among these infinite universes, the full range of values of all the physical constants are represented, and only some of the universes have values for the constants that enable the formation of stars, planets and life as we know it. We find ourselves in one of the lucky universes (because where else?).

Some theologians counter that it is far simpler to invoke God than to postulate the existence of infinitely many universes in order to explain our universe's life-giving perfection. To them, Carroll retorts that the multiverse wasn't postulated as a complicated way to explain fine-tuning. On the contrary, it follows as a natural consequence of our best, most elegant theories.
While it may be true that the multiverse wasn't originally postulated as a way to explain fine-tuning, there is no question that is the primary way in which it is utilized now.  It borders on the dishonest to pretend otherwise.  The logical irony, of course, is that multiverse theory itself suggests that even if we happen to inhabit a godless universe, there must be other universes in which gods exist.  And then, there is no logical reason to assume that a Creator God which created one universe did not create more universes.  Multiverse theory is not a means of deprecating God, it is merely a means of defending godlessness against the powerful assault of the anthropic principle.

When one contemplate these matters, one quickly realizes that most scientists would do well to stick to science.  Because as both philosophers and theologians, they tend to be remarkably incompetent.

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133 Comments:

Blogger Lucas September 20, 2012 6:06 AM  

Funny how they keep putting "theologians" and "scientists" in opposite sides of the debate.

Anonymous Feh September 20, 2012 6:09 AM  

Some versions of quantum gravity theory, including string theory, predict that our life-giving universe is but one of an infinite number of universes that altogether make up the multiverse.

We live in one of the infinite number of universes in which "making shit up" masquerades as science!

Blogger Markku September 20, 2012 6:13 AM  

Stolen from Greg Koukl: You are in front of a firing squad. All fire their rifles, no bullet hits you.

No reason to suspect outside agency for this coincidence - you must be in one of the universes where everyone happened to miss, because where else?

Anonymous tdm September 20, 2012 6:37 AM  

The theory I like best is that "nothing' is unstable and can't wait to become something.

Anonymous Tom B September 20, 2012 6:42 AM  

I wrote a paper as an undergrad (in a Medieval Philosophy class)where I quoted Robert Jastrow, the former head of NASA, who said that the Big Bang theory was so troubling to scientists that many became afraid "that their colleagues were going to run out and join the First Church of Jesus Christ of the Big Bang."

Seems they are still afraid, eh?

Anonymous DennisP2112 September 20, 2012 6:43 AM  

If there is a God, then there are also rules. IF there are rules, then we also have judgement.

I believe the scientific community, as a whole, continue in their rebellion against their creator, simply because they want to do what they want, without the consequences that follow from a supreme Judge.

Anonymous RedJack September 20, 2012 6:55 AM  

Endless demiurges don't a theory make.

Just saying that there are endless universes that multiply to cover all possibilities, is like saying "We are just making this up." In engineering, if your model can't predict reality, you either find a different model or use it only for the small part it gives a decent answer for. In science, if a model doesn't reflec reality, it becomes a tenant of the Faith.

Anonymous szook September 20, 2012 7:03 AM  

Hugh Ross did.

Anonymous DrTorch September 20, 2012 7:10 AM  

We live in one of the infinite number of universes in which "making shit up" masquerades as science!

Haha. Nice!

Carroll ought to stick for searching for Dark Matter, b/c he is a poor philosopher.

Anonymous The Great Martini September 20, 2012 7:21 AM  

"gods" (little g) may exist in one of the multiverses, depending on your minimal definition of what a god is, but I doubt the Christian God could ever be gotten up and running, given the allowable parameters, or the ones that we know about. In order for that to happen, the physics and material of a universe would have to be controlled by a mind. I suppose it's conceivable, but those would be very bizarre physics indeed. Probably the best chance for that to happen would be two or more crossover universes that are somehow entangled. The ordinary physical laws in one universe would somehow have pervasive effect in the other. An ordinary being in one of them then might have god-like powers in the other.

Some people think it may one day be possible to create new universes experimentally, like a bunch of snow-globes sitting on your desk. But even if that were possible, we would not be gods, except in the creator sense, unless we had fine-grained control over the events in said universes and the desire and ability to conduct it. You might imagine a post-human, intellectually enhanced snow-globe scientist god with his warehouse full of supercomputers and instrumentation used to control his snow-globe universe. I suppose he would be a god, in a sense. One wonders why he would care to bother.

Anonymous p-dawg September 20, 2012 7:21 AM  

If there are an infinite number of universes, then it is logically inescapable that there is a universe with beings capable of destroying the entire multiverse, and logically, if infinity is projected backwards as well as forwards, they already have. Therefore, it's logically impossible for there to be infinite universes.

Blogger njartist September 20, 2012 7:21 AM  

Thot: Wouldn't there also be a universe without a multiverse.

They haven't even proven this "theory" yet they behave as though if can be foundation for serious scientific and religious thought: a university built on foundations laid in the air.

Anonymous VryeDenker September 20, 2012 7:22 AM  

IF the multiverse theory is true, that would mean that somewhere there is a universe where some alien has found a way to destroy all the universes in the multiverse AND decided to do it, hence all the universes in the multiverse would have been destroyed.

Or you could postulate that one of them is tuned in such a way that it sucks the matter out of all the others, hence we're f*cked again. Et cetera.

Blogger IM2L844 September 20, 2012 7:22 AM  

I say there's good reason to think if science ever ultimately arrives at a perfectly complete understanding of the universe it will conclusively prove that God must exist.

Anonymous Mr Green Man September 20, 2012 7:25 AM  

How can I observe this multiverse?

Anonymous Bobo September 20, 2012 7:32 AM  

Why are there multiple universes and not nothing?

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick September 20, 2012 7:36 AM  

Like a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.

OpenID herenvardo September 20, 2012 7:43 AM  

Nice ones so far.

The multiverse is such tripe. Given that we have an Alleged mechanism for producing universe like bubbles boiling in a pot (Stephen Hawking's idea), that doesn't simplify squat.

What are those bubbles made of? Space-time? How-many-D?
In what medium?
How is variation in the parameters for each achieved?
How is that variation maintained?
How is it started?
How do the bubbles not run into each other?
How did the alleged space-time required for the alleged medium in which these alleged bubbles appear, come to be?
What creates the bubbles?

There is no reason to believe in the multiverse at all; other than the clutching existential panic of atheists.

Blogger mmaier2112 September 20, 2012 7:44 AM  

Mr Green Man September 20, 2012 7:25 AM
"How can I observe this multiverse?"

No joke... how do they even say this garbage with a straight face?

Anonymous Dr. Sheldon Cooper September 20, 2012 7:48 AM  

While I subscribe to the many worlds theory, which posits the existence of an infinite number of Sheldons in an infinite number of universes, I assure you that in none of them am I dancing. The math would suggest that in a few I'm a clown made of candy, but I don't dance.

OpenID meistergedanken September 20, 2012 7:52 AM  

What has always been most appealing to me about the concept of the multiverse is that it very neatly solves the Problem of Evil. Undesirable/harmful outcomes occur because they can, so they WILL in at least one of the compartments of the multiverse. You no longer have to debate whether God is indifferent or impotent. I have derived some comfort from this notion.

Anonymous Knarf September 20, 2012 7:54 AM  

> Some versions of quantum gravity theory, including string theory, predict that our life-giving universe is but one of an infinite number of universes that altogether make up the multiverse.

And if we just keeping enough epicycles, dammit, this Ptolemaic model will work!

OpenID meistergedanken September 20, 2012 7:55 AM  

"There is no reason to believe in the multiverse at all; other than the clutching existential panic of atheists."

I can't believe the discussion has gone this far without someone bringing up the [necessary] collapse of the Wave Function, or at the very least, Schroedinger's Cat.

Actually, this is the first time I have seen the Multiverse used in conjunction with arguments for atheism. As I commented previously, if anything, to me it is an argument AGAINST it.


Anonymous Logan September 20, 2012 8:22 AM  

More evidence that some scientists would rather roll naked through broken glass and lemon juice than let a divine foot in the door.

Anonymous Multiman September 20, 2012 8:26 AM  

I am something else elsewhere that I am not here.

Blogger James Dixon September 20, 2012 8:40 AM  

Let me get this straight: A single universe, with intelligent life, can be considered the creation of a higher being; but an infinite number of universes can't.

Hoookay, but it would nice if just once one of these people would realize that they're just voicing the modern version of "it's turtles all the way down."

Anonymous scoobius dubious September 20, 2012 8:44 AM  

This whole "exact perfect parameters for life" argument is merely the logical fallacy of "Well if me aunt had balls she'd be me uncle."

If,
a) There is a God,
and
b) He wanted to create a universe in which there lived intelligent, morally-sensible beings,
but
c) He used a different set of specs to create it,
then
d) The morally-sensible intelligent beings (viz., ourselves) would indeed exist, but simply with whatever different parameters God chose to work with. We'd still be us if that's what God intended, but different somehow. So the existing specs prove nothing neither way. It's not a thing worth arguing about.

As to the whole multiverse thing, it's good for a chuckle and for all I know was an episode of The Twilight Zone, but that's about as much attention as a serious man can give it.

On to more important things, like re-arranging my collection of tiny porcelain frogs.

Anonymous Rantor September 20, 2012 8:48 AM  

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.

Courtesy Live Organ Transplants...

Anonymous DrF September 20, 2012 8:56 AM  

Vox wrote: "as both philosophers and theologians, they [scientists] tend to be remarkably incompetent."

They seem to be remarkably incompetent at science, too.

Anonymous Praetorian September 20, 2012 8:56 AM  

You don't have a strong understanding of the word infinite, do you?

It's ok: you aren't a god.

Anonymous Wendy September 20, 2012 9:01 AM  

Some people think it may one day be possible to create new universes experimentally, like a bunch of snow-globes sitting on your desk.

Pfft. There are already billions of universes. There's at least one for each woman on earth.

Anonymous ThatDivTag September 20, 2012 9:02 AM  

I'm continually surprised that atheists keep on going back to the multiverse as their safe-haven against the existence of the Divine Watchmaker. Then again, logical positivism is alive and well for a lot of atheists at a certain echelon in the Godless Church.

But seriously though, as Vox and many others stated, scientists need to quit muddling their work and philosophy/theology together--I mean, if they had balls, they'd be grappling with Leibnez's age-old question, "Why is there something [read: multiverse] rather than nothing?"

I mean, that question alone bypasses the evolution-creationist debate and even abstracts away the reliance on any sort of cosmogonic scientific model. And among other things, Alan Guth, Arvind Borde, and Alexander Vilenkin already wrote out a theorem stating that any cosmic model that entails the universe/multiverse being eternal is subject to the violation of what's known as the Weak Energy Condition.

You can read their paper here (though it focuses on the Inflationary Model):

http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/521154/files/0110012.pdf

Anonymous ThirdMonkey September 20, 2012 9:04 AM  

If the multiverse theory is true, then there is a universe in which consuming copious amounts of pie and ice cream build muscle, riding wereseals is the preferred method of travel, and women actually say what they mean.

Blogger James Higham September 20, 2012 9:06 AM  

Wish I had a dollar for the number of posts I've done on this issue. It's a running battle.

Anonymous Paul Sacramento September 20, 2012 9:32 AM  

Sure there are "multi-universes" the bible speaks of such:
Heaven and Hell.
Different planes of existence or universes, tomato or tomahto...
Different dimensions...
In the end all that means is that instead of explaining ONE universe and how and why it is the way it is, science must explain multiple universes.
Of course what that can also mean is that the realities and lwas of this universe mean nothing in any other.

Anonymous Toddy Cat September 20, 2012 9:40 AM  

Of course, Frank Tippler, the noted physicist, uses the multiverse concept to reaffirm the concept of God. As always, what you get out of a theory tends to depend on what assumptions you start out with.

Anonymous Bobby Joe Trosclair September 20, 2012 10:05 AM  

Long before the Multiverse theory began to be seriously considered by physicists, it was the provenance of science fiction writers, who first developed the idea as a useful plot device. It was used in literally hundreds of stories and novels. (The term itself originated with William James, but with a different meaning than that of the SF writers or physicists). I suspect the concept was hungrily adopted in the world of physics because more than a few scientists are SF fans, and some later realized its usefulness to avoid the anthropic principle.

Infinite universes also require that at least one would contain an infinite, omniscient being capable of transcending universal barriers, but that's another discussion.

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus September 20, 2012 10:08 AM  

"Some versions of quantum gravity theory, including string theory, predict that...."

and "On the contrary, it follows as a natural consequence of our best, most elegant theories."

Yeah. STRING THEORY is our "best" and "most elegant"?!?

*For values of "best" and "most elegant" that include "dead-end", "untestable", and "uncritical"...sure.

Based on that, multiverse may be an outgrowth of SOME facets of an elegant* theory.

* see above detail

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 September 20, 2012 10:12 AM  

There is no scientific evidence for the existence of either God or the multiverse, so really we have two groups arguing over their own personal convictions of faith based on observed conditions of the universe.

I find it all amusing and silly. It reaffirms my reasons for not even bothering with the whole Creation vs. Evolution debate because neither side has a definitive answer.

Anonymous DrTorch September 20, 2012 10:13 AM  

This whole "exact perfect parameters for life" argument is merely the logical fallacy of "Well if me aunt had balls she'd be me uncle."

Yes, but unfortunately it has caught on w/ Christian Apologists. The funny thing is this brilliant scientist didn't challenge it on it's fallacy, he brought in an entirely new set of faith-based beliefs to address it.

OpenID meistergedanken September 20, 2012 10:13 AM  

Toddy Cat wrote:
"Of course, Frank Tippler, the noted physicist, uses the multiverse concept to reaffirm the concept of God. As always, what you get out of a theory tends to depend on what assumptions you start out with."

Yes, I'm very glad you brought that up. I read his book, "The Physics of Immortality" in the 90's, and had really high hopes for it for a while. Alas, his so-called "Omega Point Theory" was reliant on several assumptions, one of them principly being that the Universe was Closed. This has now been proven wrong. Space is not only Open, but its expansion is actually accelerating, which is a big puzzle to contemporary astro-physicists.

Tipler is a mathematical physicist, I believe, and his work is viewed with a dubious eye by many in the field. Nonetheless, I wish there were more men like him.

Anonymous physphilmusic September 20, 2012 10:18 AM  

Ah, Sean Carroll. The Dawkins-lite of physics. Spends too much time blogging, including writing articles such as "Why Cosmologists are Atheists" and complaining about the Templeton Foundation, to the point that he was denied tenure at the University of Chicago. Which is why he is currently only a "theoretical physicist" at Caltech, not a professor.

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus September 20, 2012 10:21 AM  

"This whole "exact perfect parameters for life" argument is merely the logical fallacy of "Well if me aunt had balls she'd be me uncle."

That is hardly a logical fallacy, its merely a crude restatement of one of the objections to the Anthropic Principle argument that wraps up the "fine-tuning".

While the AP is certainly stretched by Christian apologists, it is certainly not a logical fallacy. Particularly when we have no evidence that the sample size of observed universes is anything other than n=1.

Anonymous VD September 20, 2012 10:25 AM  

Pfft. There are already billions of universes. There's at least one for each woman on earth.

That would be the thread-winner. This is clearly Wendy's universe. We're all just living in it.

Anonymous physphilmusic September 20, 2012 10:28 AM  

d) The morally-sensible intelligent beings (viz., ourselves) would indeed exist, but simply with whatever different parameters God chose to work with. We'd still be us if that's what God intended, but different somehow. So the existing specs prove nothing neither way. It's not a thing worth arguing about.

The fact that we could be different (but still human and alive somehow) has no relevance t the question. The fact that there was a greater probability that we could have never came into existence is still significant. The possibility of the latter is infinitely greater than the former, but we find ourselves in the latter, which calls for an explanation.

Anonymous Stickwick September 20, 2012 10:36 AM  

To them, Carroll retorts that the multiverse wasn't postulated as a complicated way to explain fine-tuning. On the contrary, it follows as a natural consequence of our best, most elegant theories.

There is some deception going on here.

First of all, physicist Steven Weinberg, who is considered the greatest living scientist today, has stated that at least some of the motivation for developing the multiverse proposition was to have an explanation for the universe that has nothing to do with God.

While it's true that some varieties of multiverse are natural consequences of elegant theories (including but not limited to string theory), IIRC the first multiverse hypothesis presented in the context of science was developed in the 1950s by a very odd duck of a physicist named Hugh Everett, who was highly motivated to find a way to have some kind of immortality in the absence of the supernatural. This became the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics. This is not my area of expertise, but I don't think it's considered superior to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics, and it certainly appears to have been developed with the end result in mind. The best you can say is that Everett's many-worlds idea, and other theories that predict the existence of many universes, are consistent with the known laws of physics. It is important to emphasize that as impressive as these ideas are to some physicists, there is no physical evidence that distinguishes between the various multiverse hypotheses or any other explanation for certain phenomena. And, of course, there is the problem of having no way to observe something that is causally disconnected from our own universe.

Anonymous Jimmy September 20, 2012 10:47 AM  

They haven't even solved our current universe. What makes them qualified to explain other universes or whether they exist? Their reason to figure things out isn't to disprove God, but since they are so conflicted, it invalidates their attempt with such biases.

Anonymous Stickwick September 20, 2012 10:50 AM  

I wrote a paper as an undergrad (in a Medieval Philosophy class)where I quoted Robert Jastrow, the former head of NASA, who said that the Big Bang theory was so troubling to scientists that many became afraid "that their colleagues were going to run out and join the First Church of Jesus Christ of the Big Bang.

That "Church" quote is attributed to astrophysicist Geoffrey Burbidge, who was an outspoken atheist and staunch skeptic of big bang theory until the day he died. Many scientists initially found big bang theory extremely troubling, because up until then the prevailing belief was that the universe was eternal. Philosophically and ideologically, this was a satisfying notion, as anything that is eternal requires no explanation, and it was a powerful counter to those who believed the Genesis account of creation. Many scientists, like Burbidge, were incensed by BBT not only because it made things messy -- the universe now requires an explanation -- but also because it was far too reminiscent of Genesis.

Robert Jastrow has several wonderful quotes attributed to him. Speaking in the context of the problems presented by big bang theory, he says this:

Consider the enormity of the problem. Science has proven that the universe exploded into being at a certain moment. It asks, What cause produced this effect? Who or what put the matter and energy into the universe? Was the universe created out of nothing, or was it gathered together out of pre-existing materials? And science can not answer those questions, because, according to the astronomers, in the first moments of its existence the universe was compressed to an extraordinary degree, and consumed by the heat of a fire beyond human imagination. The shock of that instant must have destroyed every particle of evidence that could have yielded a clue to the cause of the great explosion. An entire world, rich in structure and history, may have existed before our universe appeared; but if it did, science can not tell what kind of a world it was. A sound explanation may exist for the explosive birth of our universe; but if it does, science can not find out what the explanation is. The scientists pursuit of the past ends at the moment of creation.

Now we would like to pursue that inquiry farther back in time, but the barrier to progress seems insurmountable. It is not a matter of another year, another decade of work, another measurement, or another theory. At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of Creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.

Anonymous paradox September 20, 2012 10:53 AM  

Damn... just my luck to live in the universe where the Confederacy lost to the Yankee Empire.

Blogger Giraffe September 20, 2012 11:17 AM  

For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.

That is one of my favorite quotes by scientists.

And, of course, there is the problem of having no way to observe something that is causally disconnected from our own universe.

A fancy way of saying that their is no more evidence for it than there is for the flying spaghetti monster.

Anonymous Edjamacator September 20, 2012 12:13 PM  

You don't have a strong understanding of the word infinite, do you?

It's ok: you aren't a god.


Ignore him. A wise man once said "the next time someone asks if you're a god, you say YES!"

Anonymous Edjamacator September 20, 2012 12:14 PM  

If this nonsense was true, we're just lucky we're not in the universe where the Borg are "everywhere."

Anonymous WaterBoy September 20, 2012 12:16 PM  

p-dawg: "If there are an infinite number of universes, then it is logically inescapable that there is a universe with beings capable of destroying the entire multiverse, and logically, if infinity is projected backwards as well as forwards, they already have. Therefore, it's logically impossible for there to be infinite universes."

And if there are an infinite number of universes, then it is logically inescapable that there is a universe with beings capable of preventing the destruction of the entire multiverse, and logically, if infinity is projected backwards as well as forwards, they already have. Therefore, it's logically impossible for the multiverse to have been destroyed.

Recurse as necessary.

Anonymous WaterBoy September 20, 2012 12:22 PM  

Vrye Denker: "IF the multiverse theory is true, that would mean that somewhere there is a universe where some alien has found a way to destroy all the universes in the multiverse AND decided to do it, hence all the universes in the multiverse would have been destroyed."

See above.

Anonymous Jake September 20, 2012 12:30 PM  

And if there are an infinite number of universes, then it is logically inescapable that there is a universe with beings capable of preventing the destruction of the entire multiverse, and logically, if infinity is projected backwards as well as forwards, they already have. Therefore, it's logically impossible for the multiverse to have been destroyed.

Recurse as necessary.


Sooner or later the multi-verse destroyers would win-out over the multi-verse protectors. The destroyers only have to succeed once, while the protectors would have to prevent the destruction an infinite number of times. So I still think the multi-verse fails.

Anonymous Matt September 20, 2012 12:52 PM  

Physicist here. The central premise of the article is flatly false. String theory is pretty much unworkable without supersummetry, and there is no evidence for supersymmetry whatsoever. Current LHC results are pretty close to actually falsifying it.

The assertion that strings and supersymmetry are "our best, most elegant theories" is delusional.

Anonymous Jimmy September 20, 2012 12:57 PM  

A multiverse should presume each universe is isolated from the other. You can't see them and they can't see you. It is unproveable. You are still left where you are in this universe.

Anonymous WaterBoy September 20, 2012 1:05 PM  

Jake: "Sooner or later the multi-verse destroyers would win-out over the multi-verse protectors."

Why? If there are an infinite number of universes, then there is at least one where the Protector being(s) is(are) the Most Powerful who can permanently remove the Destroyer(s), rendering your statement incorrect.

And vice-versa, where the Destroyer(s) is(are) the Most Powerful.

Again, recurse as necessary.

This line of reasoning is fallacious for that reason. You can go down this road if you desire; all I'm doing is posting a DEAD END sign to save you some walking time.

Blogger rcocean September 20, 2012 1:23 PM  

How many universes can dance on the head of a pin, Scientists ponder.

Anonymous Jake September 20, 2012 1:54 PM  

Waterboy,

I don't think you understand the argument at all.

As soon as someone in ANY of the infinite universes finds a way to destroy the multiverse it's game over for all of them. If there's any probability of destroying the multiverse then it should have already happened, and yet it hasn't.

You're left with two possibilities:

A: There ain't no multiverse

B: It is absolutely impossible to destroy the multiverse.

If you want to argue B then have at it. But you've done nothing to counter the argument presented by several commenters that I defended.

Anonymous Stickwick September 20, 2012 2:10 PM  

Care is needed when talking about infinity and the multiverse. What most laypeople have in mind when talking about the multiverse is an infinite number of universes in which every possibility must be realized, but that's not necessarily what a physicist has in mind. There is also a model in which a huge but finite number of random universes exist in a multiverse. When you're questioning a physicist about the validity of the multiverse hypothesis, ask him to clarify which he has in mind. Either way, Michael Behe, in his book The Edge of Evolution, provides a very good logical takedown of the hypothesis.

Let me also point out that NAPALT. There is a rather heated ongoing debate in the physics community over whether string theory, the multiverse, and other theories that really ought to be called hypotheses constitute science.

Anonymous Rantor September 20, 2012 2:28 PM  

@ Jake,

shouldn't we let the physicists prove the multiverse exists before we worry about proving it can be destroyed?

I once had lunch with a physicist (PhD, Professor on some elite exchange program) who, among other things, told me he couldn't understand Star Wars as he couldn't support the establishment of a monarchical system in place of a functioning republic. If he couldn't figure out that Darth was the bad guy, what good are the rest of their random toughts?

Anonymous MendoScot September 20, 2012 2:57 PM  

A fancy way of saying that their is no more evidence for it than there is for the flying spaghetti monster.

Not so, there is a lot of evidence for the flying spaghetti monster. It's just not the kind of evidence that would lead you to put much faith in the FSM.

Anonymous WaterBoy September 20, 2012 3:14 PM  

Jake: "As soon as someone in ANY of the infinite universes finds a way to destroy the multiverse it's game over for all of them."

*sigh*

There you go, trying to change the rules of the game. In a setting of infinite possibilities, there are no boundaries. Any being that can be imagined which is capable of destroying the multiverse can be countered with a more powerful being capable of stopping the first one. And so on, and so on, etc, recurse as necessary. There is no end to this recursion.

Perhaps your mistake is in thinking that all it would take is for the Destroyer(s) to come "first" in terms of Time. But these beings are not bound by the restrictions of Time, as stated in the original comments:

"if infinity is projected backwards as well as forwards"

There is no "before" in which a Destroyer could act before a Protector could stop it.

"You're left with two possibilities:

A: There ain't no multiverse

B: It is absolutely impossible to destroy the multiverse.
"


Well, there are others, including:

C: All the beings recognize the futility of it all, and agree to live and let live.

However, the fact that you were able to see the possibility of B demonstrates that you failed to understand the arguments of those you purport to defend, for they claim that only A exists as a possibility. They, too, are trying to impose an upper limit where the Destroyer(s) are the Ultimate Power. But you don't get to change the rules; infinite means infinite.

Imagine a copy of God in every universe -- could God defeat God? It's ultimately a meaningless question.

Enjoy your walk; this is my stop.

Blogger wrf3 September 20, 2012 3:15 PM  

Stickwick wrote: ...the first multiverse hypothesis presented in the context of science was developed in the 1950s by a very odd duck of a physicist named Hugh Everett, who was highly motivated to find a way to have some kind of immortality in the absence of the supernatural. This became the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics. This is not my area of expertise, but I don't think it's considered superior to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics ...Depends on who you talk to. Scott Aaronson wrote in favor of it here.

Lubos Motl, put the smackdown on MWI here: Simple proof QM implies many worlds don't exist.

Blogger tz September 20, 2012 3:36 PM  

In what way is this "Science" in any sense. We cannot perceive, detect, or otherwise prove the existence of even ONE alternate universe.

Ocam's razor is double edged. How are the inferences of the multiverse any different than the inferences of any theism - Christianity or pantheism?

Yesterday was the feast of saint John of Capistrano, whom witnesses said could levitate - fly, though some find that hard to swallow. Yet the people living then were probably less the subjects of marketing manipulation.

Anonymous Todd September 20, 2012 4:03 PM  

Multiverse theory is not a means of deprecating God, it is merely a means of defending godlessness against the powerful assault of the anthropic principle.


Was it Kant who said "give me an infinite rolls of the dice and I can create a man?"

We now know the universe is finite in age and extent. No infinite rolls of the dice.

This is just another "infinite rolls of the dice" type argument.

Anonymous Stickwick September 20, 2012 4:45 PM  

We now know the universe is finite in age and extent. No infinite rolls of the dice.

We don't know if the universe is finite in extent. In any case, the infinite aspect of the multiverse argument applies to the meta-universe in which all of the alternate universes exist, not to the individual universes.

Fellow Christians, keep this in mind: The fact that we're even having this discussion is a major victory for the biblical worldview, which holds that the universe is finite in time and that the supernatural exists. The scientific community has accepted these remarkable premises, and they have become the focus of the discussion. The only pertinent question at this point concerns the nature of the supernatural creative force behind the universe -- is it conscious or unconscious? There is far more evidence supporting the former than the latter, which is why atheist scientists are sounding more and more desperate. Rejoice.

Anonymous Sinatra September 20, 2012 4:46 PM  

" This is clearly Wendy's universe. We're all just living in it."

That's crazy talk, kid.

Blogger James Dixon September 20, 2012 4:49 PM  

> We don't know if the universe is finite in extent.

If the big bang theory is correct, then (as I understand it) the universe can't be any larger than the expansion allowed by the speed of light since that time. Is that not correct?

Anonymous Stickwick September 20, 2012 5:09 PM  

If the big bang theory is correct, then (as I understand it) the universe can't be any larger than the expansion allowed by the speed of light since that time. Is that not correct?

That is not correct. The limitation of the speed of light applies to matter / light / information traveling through space. There is no such prohibition on the rate at which space itself expands.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 20, 2012 5:14 PM  

It's all just a dream.

Blogger James Dixon September 20, 2012 6:29 PM  

> here is no such prohibition on the rate at which space itself expands.

Without matter, light, or information; do you really have space itself? If so, that's a definition of it I've never encountered. Of course, that's why I asked. I'm an engineer, not a physicist.

Anonymous Redlegben September 20, 2012 6:43 PM  

I think one of the problems with physicists is they get bored easily. Twenty years ago there was great research going on into fusion and tokamak technology. It was an exciting time to be in physics. It was thought we were on the cusp of a great breakthrough in energy production. We banged our heads against that wall for decades with little to show for it. Now, there isn't anything real exciting to get caught up in. The old guy physicists have resorted to philosophical discourse out of desperation to have meaning in their lives.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 20, 2012 7:08 PM  

"I think one of the problems with physicists is they get bored easily."

Today's physicist are not bored they are boring. They can't think outside the box and in doing so wander way out of the box. This seems contradictory but it is not. They are stuck in their box and it isn't working so they wander way out of the box making stuff up to explain the box they are in.

Want some good physics look at the link below. All volumes were given out at MIT and it made them feel like morons according to one my friends who has a Masters in Physics he got in 1962. If you don't know anything about physics don't waste your money.

http://www.audible.com/pd?asin=B002V0QHYU

Blogger Dr. Kenneth Noisewater September 20, 2012 7:13 PM  

http://www.theverge.com/gaming/2012/9/11/3318910/nasa-scientist-believes-we-could-all-be-in-a-video-game

"The universe behaves in the exact same way. In quantum mechanics, particles do not have a definite state unless they're being observed. Many theorists have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how you explain this. One explanation is that we're living within a simulation, seeing what we need to see when we need to see it."

Terrile adds that he finds inspiration in the concept because it tells him that scientists are on the threshold of creating a universe, and that humans in turn could be living in a simulation which could be within another simulation.

"What I find inspiring is that, even if we are in a simulation or many orders of magnitude down in levels of simulation, somewhere along the line something escaped the primordial ooze to become us and to result in simulations that made us," he says. "And that's cool."

Anonymous Outlaw X September 20, 2012 7:56 PM  

"What I find inspiring is that, even if we are in a simulation or many orders of magnitude down in levels of simulation, somewhere along the line something escaped the primordial ooze to become us and to result in simulations that made us," he says. "And that's cool."

I think of it this way.

How do you know whether you are dreaming or awake? Ask your self how you got there. If we ask ourselves how we got here we don't know. We also know like a dream when you wake up everything that was is now gone and you are back. So it is of all mankind's struggles, work creating, building and art will no longer be when the universe goes dark.

Anonymous Anonymous September 20, 2012 8:48 PM  

If there are an infinite number of universes and there is matter in each, doesn't that mean there must be an infinite amount of matter? If so, why do we perceive space and why aren't we existing in a solid block?

Anonymous WaterBoy September 20, 2012 9:11 PM  

"If so, why do we perceive space and why aren't we existing in a solid block?"

Because the infinite matter wouldn't all be located in the same universe. It would be distributed amongst the various universes; each universe would contain a finite amount of matter.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 20, 2012 9:28 PM  

"Because the infinite matter wouldn't all be located in the same universe. It would be distributed amongst the various universes; each universe would contain a finite amount of matter."

Your perception of matter and space are correct, but when you consider space is energy we are a solid block, just not of matter only. Remember the 1st law of thermo.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 20, 2012 10:24 PM  

Here is a question for physic heads. Time dialation occurs when you get in a ship and travel at near light speed and return. The 1 yer that passed for you is 20 years on earth. Since speed has no vector it matters not which way you travel. Now the relative velocity between the earth and the ship is close to the speed of light it is relative velocity since we are traveling through the universe around a galaxy which is traveling away from other galaxy's how does what we perceive in our time effect all things?

The real question becomes very complicated because Relativity tells us it matters not way you travel but the speed. Since the earth is not standing in place in GMT but buzzing through the universe why does the ships time slow down and not the earths. This will effect what we call red shift and expansion in monumental ways. In other words it is only true in a closed system and therefore false.

Anonymous Stickwick September 20, 2012 10:40 PM  

Since the earth is not standing in place in GMT but buzzing through the universe why does the ships time slow down and not the earths.

It doesn't work like that. An Earth observer sees time passing slower on the ship relative to Earth time, just as an observer on the ship sees time passing slower on the Earth relative to ship time. This kind of time dilation is described by special relativity.

This will effect what we call red shift and expansion in monumental ways. In other words it is only true in a closed system and therefore false.

I'm not sure what you're falsifying here, but your first premise was incorrect. Also, you have to be careful about what kind of redshift you're talking about. Redshift from the motion of objects within space -- like the Earth whizzing around in the Galaxy -- is one thing. Cosmological redshift is something entirely different. It arises from the expansion of space itself, which has nothing to do with special relativity.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 20, 2012 11:06 PM  

"It doesn't work like that. An Earth observer sees time passing slower on the ship relative to Earth time, just as an observer on the ship sees time passing slower on the Earth relative to ship time. This kind of time dilation is described by special relativity. "

You were not paying attention. There is no vector in special Relativity, therefore it cannot be true in an open system. It is false, the earth nor the ship know how fast they are traveling in an open system. The frame of reference in SR is closed and false for an open system.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 20, 2012 11:18 PM  

"I'm not sure what you're falsifying here, but your first premise was incorrect. Also, you have to be careful about what kind of redshift you're talking about. Redshift from the motion of objects within space -- like the Earth whizzing around in the Galaxy -- is one thing. Cosmological redshift is something entirely different. It arises from the expansion of space itself, which has nothing to do with special relativity. "

You are not talking to a laymen, don't treat me like one, instead answer my above objections.

I am not mad at you but I get tired of having to repeat myself as if I am some dumb country bumpkin. Pay attention to what I am saying.

Anonymous Stickwick September 21, 2012 12:07 AM  

You were not paying attention. There is no vector in special Relativity, therefore it cannot be true in an open system. It is false, the earth nor the ship know how fast they are traveling in an open system. The frame of reference in SR is closed and false for an open system.

The Earth and the ship know how fast they are traveling relative to each other, and that's all they need to know in order to understand time dilation with respect to each other. I don't get this objection. Maybe you're far more advanced than I am, but this claim that SR cannot be true in an open system is new to me. Are you talking about the twin paradox? Are you referring to the difference in the passage of time that's measured after the ship returns to Earth? Are you talking about the time dilation that's observed during travel?

You are not talking to a laymen, don't treat me like one, instead answer my above objections.

I can't figure out what your objections are. The problem is that your grammar is confusing, making it difficult for me to parse what you're saying. You may also be leaving out key information that I need in order to understand your objections. If you rephrase your objections more clearly, maybe I can answer you. Otherwise, I'll leave it to someone else to figure out what you're trying to say.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 21, 2012 12:27 AM  

"I can't figure out what your objections are. The problem is that your grammar is confusing, making it difficult for me to parse what you're saying. You may also be leaving out key information that I need in order to understand your objections. If you rephrase your objections more clearly, maybe I can answer you. Otherwise, I'll leave it to someone else to figure out what you're trying to say."

"The Earth and the ship know how fast they are traveling relative to each other, and that's all they need to know in order to understand time dilation with respect to each other. I don't get this objection. Maybe you're far more advanced than I am, but this claim that SR cannot be true in an open system is new to me. Are you talking about the twin paradox? Are you referring to the difference in the passage of time that's measured after the ship returns to Earth? Are you talking about the time dilation that's observed during travel?"

I admit my grammar may be bad but my physics is not. But if you don't get it you don't know vectors. We assume things that are not true. You still haven't answered why SR does not work in an open system. It is easy to imagine a ship traveling away from earth but how does that travel effect time in the Alpha Centauri system?

Anonymous Stickwick September 21, 2012 12:51 AM  

How did Alpha Centauri get brought into this?

Anonymous Outlaw X September 21, 2012 1:00 AM  

"How did Alpha Centauri get brought into this? "

Open system; how about Andromeda? You can't answer I understand. I asked myself these questions that were contrary to what I was taught.

Anonymous Stickwick September 21, 2012 1:04 AM  

Perhaps you'd better define what you mean by an open system, as opposed to a closed system.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 21, 2012 1:27 AM  

"Perhaps you'd better define what you mean by an open system, as opposed to a closed system."

You are still up maybe us Physicist are useless. The ones building the roads are in bed and the bankers never go to bed :)

Open system:

1) A system in physics where Newtonian and quantum physics breaks down.

2) A system where the observable becomes unobservable. "blackhole"

The direct question to you is if you fly a ship near the speed of light toward Alpha Centauri does the earth time a the AC time slow down at the same rate as compared to the ship? That is an open system.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 21, 2012 2:12 AM  

Stickwick

I am signing off. But I will say that SR is the modern day everything revolves around the earth religion.

Anonymous Tom B September 21, 2012 7:17 AM  

This is nothing more than a variation on the "Can God make a rock so heavy He cannot lift it" crap. ONE universe, well... sure MAYBE a God, but MULTIPLE UNIVERSES!?!?! No way can a God make that! Pfth!

Convienently forgetting that in a bubble universe there is a boundary - so that one can be outside of space and time as one moves between universes. -- Exactly the trait that the Bible says God possesses. Ergo sum.

Anonymous DrTorch September 21, 2012 9:51 AM  

Care is needed when talking about infinity and the multiverse. What most laypeople have in mind when talking about the multiverse is an infinite number of universes in which every possibility must be realized, but that's not necessarily what a physicist has in mind.

I would add to that the counter-intuitive notion that there are different types of infinities, and they are of different sizes.

the first multiverse hypothesis presented in the context of science was developed in the 1950s by a very odd duck of a physicist named Hugh Everett

And Gardner Fox perfected it.

I don't think you understand the argument at all.

As soon as someone in ANY of the infinite universes finds a way to destroy the multiverse it's game over for all of them. If there's any probability of destroying the multiverse then it should have already happened, and yet it hasn't.


This is simply the Anti-Monitor v Monitor question. And it has been answered. Sort of. Fortunately, the multi-verse got restored somehow, and if we're lucky that crisis will long be forgotten. Oh, and Grant Morrison should have stuck to stories that the Matrix people could rip off.

Anonymous Stickwick September 21, 2012 12:19 PM  

Outlaw X,

None of what you have said about SR makes any sense. Just to make sure I hadn't lost my marbles, I sent your objection about an "open system" to a colleague of mine who is a physicist specializing in numerical relativity. The consensus is that you're completely off base. Your assertion that therefore SR doesn't work in an open system is way off, because this is precisely why SR does work -- there is no preferred reference frame. There is no absolute time -- any motion that occurs anywhere in any frame does not affect the flow of time on Alpha Centauri or Andromeda or any other place in the universe.

I don't know what qualifies you as not a layman, but I'm guessing it's self-study. But perhaps you've made some astounding realization that has somehow been overlooked by Einstein and a thousand other physicists who apparently don't understand vectors.

Anonymous Edjamacator September 21, 2012 3:25 PM  

I'm definitely no physicist, and I can't wrap my mind around how the speed of a ship can matter to time, which I would imagine staying the same for everyone. I just don't see how one person's watch will "tick" slower for someone traveling very fast compared to someone on a planet.

So, maybe I'm getting OutlawX wrong, but it sounds like he's asking if the speed of the people in the ship changes their time relative to Alpha Centauri or anywhere else the same as it does for people on earth. As in, if the ship spends 1 year in space but 20 years pass for the people of earth, do 20 years also pass for people in AC? I'm probably wrong, but that's what it sounded like to me.

Anonymous Stickwick September 21, 2012 3:54 PM  

Edjamacator,

I can't figure out what the heck Outlaw's objection is. Special Relativity 101 says this: the flow of time relative to another frame of reference depends on the speed relative to that other frame of reference. You can talk about the flow of time on the ship relative to Earth, or AC, or any other point in the universe, but it's always based on the speed of the ship relative to that point in the universe. So, let's say the ship is traveling fast enough relative to Earth that only one year passes on the ship while 20 years pass on Earth. Meanwhile, to calculate how many years pass for people in AC relative to the people on the ship, you'd just have to know the speed of the ship relative to AC. It's trivially simple. You could, in principle, do this for any and all points in the universe relative to the ship. I have no idea what his vector or open system argument is about.

As for speed's relation to time (and distance, matter, and energy), it's not even remotely intuitive, so I understand your confusion. It goes back to a discovery made by a 19th century physicist named George Fitzgerald, who figured out the relationship between speed and length in an attempt to explain the outcome of the Michelson-Morley experiment. Other physicists realized the same relationship in the context of a nagging problem in electromagnetism. Einstein then developed this idea in his special relativity. If you're at all curious about this stuff, I recommend you read Kip Thorne's excellent and very readable book, Black Holes and Time Warps.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 21, 2012 8:34 PM  

"You could, in principle, do this for any and all points in the universe relative to the ship. I have no idea what his vector or open system argument is about."
Stickwick I type a long post in answer to your questions that I am way off base and when it went to post my wireless modem crashed and lost every thing, I am not doing it again.

Short answer.
If you get in a ship and travel away from the earth at near light speed there is no vector in speed, so relative to each other whose to say who is traveling away from who and whose clock slows. This is where vectors mind boggle open dynamics in SR.

Question how fast is the earth moving now and which way with out a frame of reference it has no meaning neither does the ships speed accept relative to earth and whose speed are we looking at. In an open system it fails.

Blogger wrf3 September 21, 2012 9:16 PM  

Outlaw X wrote: If you get in a ship and travel away from the earth at near light speed there is no vector in speed...

Yes, speed is a scalar, not a vector. While true, it's irrelevant.

... so relative to each other...

"Relative to each other" is a direction, and a direction and a speed is a velocity, which is a vector quantity.

... whose to say who is traveling away from who and whose clock slows.

It's relative. Each observer, knowing the velocity of the other, does their own calculations. Suppose you have observers A and B. A always sees his clock running at his "normal" rate, while A sees B's clock is faster or slower depending on B's velocity relative to A. B always sees his clock running normally, while B see's A's clock running at a rate depending on A's velocity relative to B. Observer C will see his clock running normally, while A's could be faster and B's slower depending on how A and B are moving relative to C.

Does that clear things up?

Question how fast is the earth moving now and which way with out a frame of reference

There's always a frame of reference. Just pick one. It doesn't matter what it happens to be.

it has no meaning neither does the ships speed accept relative to earth and whose speed are we looking at.
No, it's the ship's speed relative to anything else. It can be relative to Earth, which gives one answer; it can be relative to the Sun, which give another answer; it could be relative to a battle cruiser burning off the shoulder of Orion, which would give yet another answer.

Anonymous Stickwick September 21, 2012 9:58 PM  

Outlaw X: If you get in a ship and travel away from the earth at near light speed there is no vector in speed, so relative to each other whose to say who is traveling away from who and whose clock slows. This is where vectors mind boggle open dynamics in SR.

No, they don't mind boggle SR. You have perfectly encapsulated SR with the statement "[who's] to say who is traveling away from [whom]." All motion is ... wait for it ... RELATIVE. That's precisely why it's called RELATIVITY.

wrf3: ... while A sees B's clock is faster or slower depending on B's velocity relative to A.

Close, but not quite right. Since, as Outlaw correctly stated, you can't really say who's traveling away from whom:

- A regards himself as stationary and will see B moving relative to A; A will observe B's clock to run slower relative to A's

- B regards himself as stationary and will see A moving relative to B; B will observe A's clock to run slower relative to B's

Observer C will see his clock running normally, while A's could be faster and B's slower depending on how A and B are moving relative to C.

Observer C will see both A's and B's clock running slower. Time is always dilated relative to the person who is stationary in his own frame of reference.

This is confusing as heck, and it's the reason I didn't like SR when I learned it, and really hated teaching it. GR is a lot more fun.

Anonymous Stickwick September 21, 2012 10:02 PM  

Observer C will see both A's and B's clock running slower.

Correction: Observer C will see A's and B's clocks running slower if both A and B are moving relative to C. If they are both in the same frame of reference as C (i.e. moving at the same velocity as C), then C will see A's and B's clocks running at the same rate as his clock. But never faster.

Blogger wrf3 September 21, 2012 10:24 PM  

Thanks, Stickwick. It has been almost 40 years since I took relativity in college. I'm obviously rusty; I should have known that I won't see a clock running faster than mine. t' = t*sqrt(1 - (v*v/c*c)). Duh.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 21, 2012 10:48 PM  

"This is confusing as heck, and it's the reason I didn't like SR when I learned it, and really hated teaching it. GR is a lot more fun."

It is confusing for a reason because it is not true.

Anonymous Greatheart September 21, 2012 11:51 PM  

"Physicists have observed that many of the physical constants that define our universe, from the mass of the electron to the density of dark energy, are eerily perfect for supporting life. Alter one of these constants by a hair, and the universe becomes unrecognizable. "For example, if the mass of the neutron were a bit larger (in comparison to the mass of the proton) than its actual value, hydrogen would not fuse into deuterium and conventional stars would be impossible," Carroll said"

I wonder how he'd handle the Fibonacci Numbers.

And, for those who claim God's nonexistence, we have documented evidence written over a period 1500 beginning over 5700 years ago by at least 60 different persons in various different periods of time who, strangely enough, agree together in their content both about who God is and who Yeshua (Jesus) is. All nonbelievers have is supposition and conjecture; theories that don't mean squat to any but other small minded people. Belief is not required for Truth to exist.

And for today's parting shot: Psalms 14:1 reports that only a "fool says in his heart, there is no God."

Just saying.

Anonymous Stickwick September 22, 2012 12:31 AM  

It is confusing for a reason because it is not true.

You've totally convinced me. After 100 years, someone was bound to figure out that Einstein didn't know sh*t about vectors.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 22, 2012 1:03 AM  

"You've totally convinced me. After 100 years, someone was bound to figure out that Einstein didn't know sh*t about vectors."

You don't have to be personal about it. Einstein is not God though very intuitive. You admitted the paradox in your own post. I agree with you that this is what SR says is true, but it is not true. I will not appeal to authority and tell you about my education and the number of very expensive theoretical physics on my bookshelf but the lie persists and there isn't a damn thing I intend to do about it.

When the "universe goes dark it won't matter to anyone and it don't matter to me for personal reasons. I am merely an observer, not interested in correcting nonsense. Vox likes to do it but when the rubber hits the road in life, none of is important anymore.

Anonymous physphilmusic September 22, 2012 1:10 AM  

This is confusing as heck, and it's the reason I didn't like SR when I learned it, and really hated teaching it. GR is a lot more fun.

I'm learning SR now and sure as hell I hate it. For the first time in a long time the physics is harder to understand than the mathematics. I really do hope GR is better, not worse.

Outlaw X's central problem seems to be the persistent clinging to a concept of "absolute time" - which is why he is asking how the different observations of the flow of time between a spaceship and the earth affect the time in Alpha Centauri. And I disagree that "If you get in a ship and travel away from the earth at near light speed there is no vector in speed" - in SR we certainly consider the ship's velocity relative to Earth, in the sense that the Earth sees the ship moving with velocity v, while the ship sees the Earth moving away from it with velocity -v. In this sense the quantity v is not pure magnitude - it is not a scalar, it has directions. It is certainly possible that v can have an y and z component as well - but for calculations it is easier to choose a coordinate system which makes those components zero, or in the case of three objects, calculate the components of the velocity using simple trigonometry and apply Lorentz transformations accordingly.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 22, 2012 1:13 AM  

One more thing, Do you go along with the dark matter and dark energy theory as well?

Anonymous Outlaw X September 22, 2012 1:17 AM  

"Outlaw X's central problem seems to be the persistent clinging to a concept of "absolute time"

Absolutely wrong I am not the observer centric time absolutists the SR people are.

Anonymous physphilmusic September 22, 2012 1:33 AM  

Absolutely wrong I am not the observer centric time absolutists the SR people are

I don't understand what this statement means - because the concept of absolute time used to refer to the belief that God is out there somewhere with a clock in his hand which indicates the absolute time for the entire universe, no matter how fast or slow you are moving to another object. SR dispenses with that, and replaces it with - you're right - "observer-centric time". I don't see the "absolute" aspect of that. The only way to interpret your statement is that you're saying that physicists are absolutely sure that SR is true, which I guess is true. But pointing out that your opponent believes what he believes is pointless, because that's the point of arguing in the first place.

I say you cling to absolute time because of statements like this:
It is easy to imagine a ship traveling away from earth but how does that travel effect time in the Alpha Centauri system

And the SR answer (in my humble, inexpert student opinion, of course) is that since you didn't specify which "time" you meant, the question can't really be answered. What's sure is that according to the postulates of SR, the inhabitants of AC will always see there clocks as running normally, so in that sense their "time" is not affected at all.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 22, 2012 1:49 AM  

Stickwit said:

"Close, but not quite right. Since, as Outlaw correctly stated, you can't really say who's traveling away from whom:

"- A regards himself as stationary and will see B moving relative to A; A will observe B's clock to run slower relative to A's

- B regards himself as stationary and will see A moving relative to B; B will observe A's clock to run slower relative to B"

So when A returns to B whose time has changed? Or if B returns to A? So the whole premise is based on who regards themselves as stationary.

Anonymous physphilmusic September 22, 2012 2:04 AM  

Your question is a version of the twin paradox. There is no inconsistency, because when one of the objects returns to the other, no matter which one it is, one will have to accelerate (to turn around and return). This is the part where your statement that "only speed matters" is wrong - because even in SR we consider the observer's velocity, which will change when it turns around and starts to return to the other observer. Accelerating means changing reference frames, which will result in an asymmetry. Additionally, acceleration is absolute - if it is the A which decelerates and returns, A cannot claim that "it is really B which is "accelerating towards me" anymore. Relativity doesn't apply to that. So if A is the one who returns to the Earth (where B is located), it will result in A being younger than B. The opposite will occur if it is actually B who decelerates and returns towards A.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 22, 2012 2:13 AM  

" Additionally, acceleration is absolute - if it is the A which decelerates and returns, A cannot claim that "it is really B which is "accelerating towards me" anymore. Relativity doesn't apply to that. So if A is the one who returns to the Earth (where B is located), it will result in A being younger than B. The opposite will occur if it is actually B who decelerates and returns towards A."

Do you really not see how ridiculous what you just said is?

Anonymous physphilmusic September 22, 2012 2:21 AM  

It is not ridiculous, Outlaw X. I stand by every single word which I have written. I thought carefully about what I wrote, because I'm still a student and might have committed errors, but so far, despite its frustrating, counterintuitive nature, SR has shown itself to be internally consistent. Show me where exactly you think it is ridiculous, and why. If you just want essentially say, "Special Relativity is weird and too implausible to be true," well, yeah, many physicists thought about that too in the early 20th century and hoped it wasn't true. But how else would you explain the results of the Michaelson-Morley experiment (an experiment which has been done and is still being done in many variations and degrees of refinement today in several physics labs around the world)?

And SR is not merely a self-consistent theory - it has been experimentally proven, and has even engineering applications. Relativistic corrections help to maintain the accuracy of GPS satellites as they orbit around the Earth. So essentially, every time you use Google maps, you are believing in SR.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 22, 2012 2:22 AM  

I think I will call 1-800-get phonesex On the TV right now and ask them about SR. They know abut acceleration and deceleration. I am done.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 22, 2012 2:27 AM  

"But how else would you explain the results of the Michaelson-Morley experiment (an experiment which has been done and is still being done in many variations and degrees of refinement today in several physics labs around the world)? "

Closed system; I never said that it was not true in a closed system, like Newtonian physics.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 22, 2012 2:29 AM  

Good night.

Anonymous physphilmusic September 22, 2012 2:38 AM  

You defined "open system as such":

1) A system in physics where Newtonian and quantum physics breaks down.

2) A system where the observable becomes unobservable. "blackhole"

The problem with this definition is that SR is by its very nature a theory where Newtonian physics breaks down: i.e. when an object is moving relative to another at velocity comparable to the speed of light. SR is hence only true in your definition of an "open system", and I don't see how the objection can even remotely be relevant. SR is completely irrelevant in your "closed system", which I suppose applies to an object moving at very low speeds (most of everyday life).

I think I will call 1-800-get phonesex On the TV right now and ask them about SR. They know abut acceleration and deceleration. I am done.

You have accused Stickwick and others of evading questions and not understanding vectors (while I have demonstrated that vectors do exist and are used even in SR), yet you yourself engage in appeals to personal incredulity and ridicule. That's hypocritical and unproductive, Outlaw X.

The simple difference between acceleration and velocity is that the former can be felt, while the other can't. I can't understand how you could simply regard that as ridiculous, seeing that you seem to have implied that you've been taught this stuff already.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 22, 2012 4:28 AM  

"The simple difference between acceleration and velocity is that the former can be felt, while the other can't. I can't understand how you could simply regard that as ridiculous, seeing that you seem to have implied that you've been taught this stuff already."

I can't sleep the phone sex was my musings, nothing else. Now explain to us how Acceleration and deceleration have anything to do with time dilation?

I am wasting my time I know you haven't a clue.

Anonymous physphilmusic September 22, 2012 9:16 AM  

I can't sleep the phone sex was my musings, nothing else. Now explain to us how Acceleration and deceleration have anything to do with time
dilation?


It has a relation with time dilation in the exact way which I have said above: that acceleration breaks the symmetry between the two observers, because only one of the two observers can objectively feel it happening, and that observer must change reference frames. This explanation is satisfying enough to prove that SR is not an inconsistent theory. The actual relation between time dilation and acceleration is fully outlined only in General Relativity. The key point is that once acceleration is involved, the motion is no longer relative, because only velocity is relative in SR - acceleration is absolute.


I am wasting my time I know you haven't a clue.

Time to stop the trash talk and evading your own bullshit statements, Outlaw X:
1) That vectors are not relevant in SR, only speed is - a claim which I have conclusively demonstrated to be incorrect,
2) That "SR is only true in a 'closed system'", a statement which, upon closer examination of your own definition of "open" and "closed" systems, turns out to be impossible to be true, because SR doesn't even claim to be true in your "closed system" - i.e. you seriously don't know what you're talking about, Outlaw X.

Now for those two claims I know I am wasting my time, since you've just conveniently side-stepped the explanations I've given.

Blogger wrf3 September 22, 2012 9:41 AM  

Outlaw X asked: Now explain to us how Acceleration and deceleration have anything to do with time dilation?

First, you need to understand what an inertial frame of reference is. Relativity follows from the assumption that all inertial frames of reference are equivalent and that the speed of light is constant in all inertial reference frames.

Second, as explained by Twin paradox, "Special relativity does not claim that all observers are equivalent, only that all observers at rest in inertial reference frames are equivalent." Acceleration/deceleration breaks that equivalence.

I'm curious. If you think relativity is wrong, which of the following do you disagree with:
1) inertial frames of reference are equivalent
2) the speed of light is a constant in all inertial frames of reference?

Anonymous Outlaw X September 22, 2012 11:10 AM  

"1) inertial frames of reference are equivalent
2) the speed of light is a constant in all inertial frames of reference?"

I object to neither what I objected to was time dilation between two frames of reference. Don't you remember the argument I made?

"you seriously don't know what you're talking about, Outlaw X."

Then ignore me if that is what you believe. Your claim was that you can know which clock slows because that observer can feel the +-Acceleration upon leaving and returning.

" That "SR is only true in a 'closed system'"

Yes we have experimental proof with atomic clocks flying on planes opposite ways around the earth with one stationary on the ground.

Anonymous physphilmusic September 22, 2012 12:22 PM  

I object to neither what I objected to was time dilation between two frames of reference. Don't you remember the argument I made?

It is impossible to accept both of those postulates and not accept the logical consequence of time dilation. Say you are traveling in a super fast train with a constant velocity of 0.5c relative to the Earth. Someone a long distance ahead shines a light beam, which travels at speed -1c relative to the Earth. Question: how fast will you see the light moving in your frame of reference? Using classic Galilean transformation (assuming no SR), the answer is 0.5c-(-1c) = 1.5 c - which is prohibited by the second postulate, which you said you did not object to. The only way to resolve that is by time dilation.

One of the arguments you made was the following:
If you get in a ship and travel away from the earth at near light speed there is no vector in speed, so relative to each other whose to say who is traveling away from who and whose clock slows. This is where vectors mind boggle open dynamics in SR.

The first part of the statement, as I have said twice here, is incorrect. Even in SR we talk about velocity as a vector, not speed - we talk about the speed of light just to express the point that no matter what direction light is traveling, the magnitude of the velocity (i.e. the speed) will be no more than c.

Who is traveling away from who is determined by which frame of reference you are in, as all human beings since the time of Galileo has believed (no, that part of SR is not new - that's why it's called a Galilean transformation). And talking about "open" and "closed" systems, you gave the following definition, which by the way is never used in that way in physics, but never mind:

Open system:
1) A system in physics where Newtonian and quantum physics breaks down.

(I'll leave the black holes part out since we're talking anything remotely related to them).

I would deduce from that that a "closed system" has the definition as follows:

Closed system:
1) A system in physics where Newtonian and quantum physics are valid, or in other words, doesn't break down.


Do you disagree with this?

Anonymous physphilmusic September 22, 2012 12:22 PM  

Now you said that SR is only true in a "closed system". That's demonstrably wrong, as shown in the simple chain of reasoning below:
1. Since Newtonian physics is only valid in a system where the magnitude of the relative velocities between inertial reference are not comparable to c, then only such a system would be called a "closed system".
2. If v is much smaller than c, then γ (which equals 1/(1-v^2/c^2)^0.5) is close to 1 (which you should know, since you claim not to be a layman), hence the Lorentz transformations have little effect.
3. Since the Lorentz transformations have little effect, then Special Relativity is not relevant in a "closed system".

which is a lot of words to express the simple statement that SR is essentially an "open system" theory, at least in your terminology. If it's not valid in an "open system", then it's even more irrelevant in a "closed" Newtonian one.

Yes we have experimental proof with atomic clocks flying on planes opposite ways around the earth with one stationary on the ground.

Is that a "closed system"? It is not. It is an open system, because Newtonian physics (which presupposes absolute time) has broken down (otherwise the difference between the clocks would not have been large enough to be detectable).

Then ignore me if that is what you believe. Your claim was that you can know which clock slows because that observer can feel the +-Acceleration upon leaving and returning.

Oh, you think I'm now hanging my head in shame for that statement? As several others and I have attempted to explain to you, the two observers in the scenario are no longer equivalent because one is not in an inertial reference frame. Seriously, Outlaw X, if your objections boil down to "Me no likee!" then you deserve to be called a crank, because you don't listen to careful, factual demonstrations of your incorrect assertions.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 22, 2012 1:22 PM  

"It is impossible to accept both of those postulates and not accept the logical consequence of time dilation. Say you are traveling in a super fast train with a constant velocity of 0.5c relative to the Earth. Someone a long distance ahead shines a light beam, which travels at speed -1c relative to the Earth. Question: how fast will you see the light moving in your frame of reference? Using classic Galilean transformation (assuming no SR), the answer is 0.5c-(-1c) = 1.5 c - which is prohibited by the second postulate, which you said you did not object to. The only way to resolve that is by time dilation."

No its not, shine the light both ways at the train and from train back. The speed of light which both observers see On the train and on earth) is 186,000 miles/sec they also both see the same frequency shift. Both observers are seeing the same thing, the same speed and the same upward shift in frequency. Given this data, whose clock is running slower?

You are over complicating the subject of my original argument. I didn't throw out the baby with the bath water you accusing me of doing. Now answer my question that is relevant to my argument, given the data above whose clock is running slower and why? And don't change the subject.

Blogger wrf3 September 22, 2012 2:44 PM  

Outlaw X wrote: I object to neither what I objected to was time dilation between two frames of reference.
Then you're contradicting yourself. Both of these statements (equivalence of intertial frames of reference and constant c in an intertial frame of reference) result in time dilation.

Don't you remember the argument I made?
Don't you remember that we've shown you where your argument is wrong? The very fact that you have no problem with the two points on which relativity rests, but yet have a problem with time dilation, means that there's something wrong with your understanding of relativity. Your position is like someone who accepts the 5 axioms of Euclidean geometry, but denies that the sum of the angles of a triangle add up to 180.

given the data above whose clock is running slower and why?
I'm assuming that you have an observer, A, on the train, and an observer B in front of the train. A will see his clock run normally, while A will observe B's to run slower. B will see his clock run normally, while he will observe A's clock running slower.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 22, 2012 5:19 PM  

"I'm assuming that you have an observer, A, on the train, and an observer B in front of the train. A will see his clock run normally, while A will observe B's to run slower. B will see his clock run normally, while he will observe A's clock running slower."

Thank you, it is settled then no matter your relative speed no one ages faster than the other. Thanks, that's my point since both see each others clock running slower than theirs.

Also you might want to specify the interior angles of a triangle sum to 180 degrees instead of just the angles.

Blogger wrf3 September 22, 2012 5:50 PM  

Outlaw X wrote: Thank you, it is settled then no matter your relative speed no one ages faster than the other. Thanks, that's my point since both see each others clock running slower than theirs.

That means that observer A will see B aging more slowly that A does; and B will see A aging more slowly than B does.

See, for example, Experimental Evidence for Time Dilation: Dying Muons:

The first clear example of time dilation was provided over fifty years ago by an experiment detecting muons. (David H. Frisch and James A. Smith, Measurement of the Relativistic Time Dilation Using Muons, American Journal of Physics, 31, 342, 1963). These particles are produced at the outer edge of our atmosphere by incoming cosmic rays hitting the first traces of air. They are unstable particles, with a “half-life” of 1.5 microseconds (1.5 millionths of a second), which means that if at a given time you have 100 of them, 1.5 microseconds later you will have about 50, 1.5 microseconds after that 25, and so on. Anyway, they are constantly being produced many miles up, and there is a constant rain of them towards the surface of the earth, moving at very close to the speed of light. In 1941, a detector placed near the top of Mount Washington (at 6000 feet above sea level) measured about 570 muons per hour coming in. Now these muons are raining down from above, but dying as they fall, so if we move the detector to a lower altitude we expect it to detect fewer muons because a fraction of those that came down past the 6000 foot level will die before they get to a lower altitude detector. Approximating their speed by that of light, they are raining down at 186,300 miles per second, which turns out to be, conveniently, about 1,000 feet per microsecond. Thus they should reach the 4500 foot level 1.5 microseconds after passing the 6000 foot level, so, if half of them die off in 1.5 microseconds, as claimed above, we should only expect to register about 570/2 = 285 per hour with the same detector at this level. Dropping another 1500 feet, to the 3000 foot level, we expect about 280/2 = 140 per hour, at 1500 feet about 70 per hour, and at ground level about 35 per hour. (We have rounded off some figures a bit, but this is reasonably close to the expected value.)

To summarize: given the known rate at which these raining-down unstable muons decay, and given that 570 per hour hit a detector near the top of Mount Washington, we only expect about 35 per hour to survive down to sea level. In fact, when the detector was brought down to sea level, it detected about 400 per hour! How did they survive? The reason they didn’t decay is that in their frame of reference, much less time had passed. Their actual speed is about 0.994c, corresponding to a time dilation factor of about 9, so in the 6 microsecond trip from the top of Mount Washington to sea level, their clocks register only 6/9 = 0.67 microseconds. In this period of time, only about one-quarter of them decay.

What does this look like from the muon’s point of view? How do they manage to get so far in so little time? To them, Mount Washington and the earth’s surface are approaching at 0.994c, or about 1,000 feet per microsecond. But in the 0.67 microseconds it takes them to get to sea level, it would seem that to them sea level could only get 670 feet closer, so how could they travel the whole 6000 feet from the top of Mount Washington? The answer is the Fitzgerald contraction. To them, Mount Washington is squashed in a vertical direction (the direction of motion) by a factor of the same as the time dilation factor, which for the muons is about 9. So, to the muons, Mount Washington is only 670 feet high—this is why they can get down it so fast!



Anonymous Outlaw X September 22, 2012 6:02 PM  

"That means that observer A will see B aging more slowly that A does; and B will see A aging more slowly than B does."

Excellent, so it is untrue that traveling near speed of light relative to earth makes one age slower than those on the earth. That is so cool.

Anonymous physphilmusic September 23, 2012 12:41 AM  

Now answer my question that is relevant to my argument, given the data above whose clock is running slower and why?

wrf has given the same answer that I would have given, so there's little for me to add.

And don't change the subject.

Nobody's attempting to change the subject, Outlaw X. I'm only reminding you that I've debunked two major assertions of yours so far in this thread, and I'm calling on you to admit your errors.

Thank you, it is settled then no matter your relative speed no one ages faster than the other. Thanks, that's my point since both see each others clock running slower than theirs.

SR makes it impossible to ask meaningfully "which person ages faster than the other?" The question must be clarified, "according to which observer?"

Excellent, so it is untrue that traveling near speed of light relative to earth makes one age slower than those on the earth. That is so cool.

That's true if velocity is always constant and the other person never returns to the Earth, which is different from the twin paradox scenario you alluded to earlier (and to which you could only ridicule, not reply logically).

Blogger wrf3 September 23, 2012 9:40 AM  

Outlaw X wrote: Excellent, so it is untrue that traveling near speed of light relative to earth makes one age slower than those on the earth.

Again, it's relative. Furthermore, we have been talking about two independent frames of reference. What happens if you have two observers, A and B, in one frame of reference. B is accelerated, then travels at some speed for a while, then decelerates, and is brought back to the original frame of reference. Will B be the same age as A? The answer is no. B will be younger.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 23, 2012 9:42 PM  

"Again, it's relative. Furthermore, we have been talking about two independent frames of reference. What happens if you have two observers, A and B, in one frame of reference. B is accelerated, then travels at some speed for a while, then decelerates, and is brought back to the original frame of reference. Will B be the same age as A? The answer is no. B will be younger."

It all makes nonsense now, it is not the the relative speed but the acceleration.

Anonymous Outlaw X September 24, 2012 12:43 AM  

I tried to help you people.

Blogger wrf3 September 24, 2012 10:48 AM  

Outlaw X wrote: It all makes nonsense now, it is not the the relative speed but the acceleration.
Both statements are true. Time dilation occurs in an inertial (non-accelerating) frame of reference because c is measured to be the same by all observers.

But time dilation also occurs due to acceleration. Clocks lower in a gravity well, for example, run more slowly than clocks higher in the well.

I tried to help you people.

Help us, what, exactly? The effect of gravitational acceleration on clocks has been measured. It's why GPS satellites have to update their time to keep it in sync with ground stations. Measurements match the theory.

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