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A Science Minute

Is Science the Only Standard for Truth?


  • Total voters
    47
  • This poll will close: .

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Interstellar Travel Propulsion
We could get a tiny probe to Alpha Centauri in a few decades
using technology that is possible to build now.


 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Hypothetically, if the objective universe is created on demand to reflect what we first subjectively experience, there is no way for us to know that we are in that situation. Personally I find the idea very unlikely, but if it happens to be the case, maybe what has happened is that we've just created a planet and are controlling its weather.
 
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stonehart

Paranormal Adept
Hypothetically, if the objective universe is created on demand to reflect what we first subjectively experience, there is no way for us to know that we are in such a situation. Personally I find the idea very unlikely, but if it happens to be the case, maybe what has happened is that we've just created a planet and are controlling its weather.
The whole simulated universe theory is a fun intellectual game to play but on a personal level I don't subscribe to it myself...... then again I am not sure which is more scary, crazy, or damn right frightening that we live in a cold expanding infinite universe or a closed simulation? Frankly I prefer the former not the latter for obvious reasons.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
The whole simulated universe theory is a fun intellectual game to play but on a personal level I don't subscribe to it myself...... then again I am not sure which is more scary, crazy, or damn right frightening that we live in a cold expanding infinite universe or a closed simulation? Frankly I prefer the former not the latter for obvious reasons.
There is a third option, which is why I didn't use the word "simulation". I used the word "situation". In other words the situation described can be the case without it being a simulation. We might think of it analogously to whatever situation is imparting the fundamental forces onto what we think of as objective reality. That same situation could be responsible for creating us and our reality on demand, and by extension we could then become the topmost simulators in the overall situation. We could be playing the part of Gods and not knowing it.
 

stonehart

Paranormal Adept
There is a third option, which is why I didn't use the word "simulation". I used the word "situation". In other words the situation described can be the case without it being a simulation. We might think of it analogously to whatever situation is imparting the fundamental forces onto what we think of as objective reality. That same situation could be responsible for creating us and our reality on demand, and by extension we could then become the topmost simulators in the overall situation. We could be playing the part of Gods and not knowing it.
little bit of dark humor here but this reminds me of this little short film.

 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
The Alcubierre Warp Field and Anti Matter ...
You know this drives me totally nuts. Like the narrator says, "One thing almost all scientists believe is that warping space is possible, or at least the numbers tell us that it's possible."

Someday I'd like to hear from the scientists who don't think it's possible. One would think that scientists , of all people, would understand that math is an abstraction, and is therefore correlative, not causal. Simply assigning numbers to a real-world situation and tweaking them will not change the real world situation unless they correspond to something physical e.g. the shape of a wing in the air.

In the case of minkowski space ( curved space ), we are dealing only with an abstraction. There isn't any real-world thing to correlate the numbers to. The same results can be had by applying whatever the numbers are to the behavior of things in uniform space. What's more, when we actually do this, we see no reason to assume that space itself is actually curved, only that things in space behave as if it is.

This being the case, space itself is represented as an entirely geometric concept used to predict the behavior of real-world things like planets, which have mass. Unfortunately for the Alcubierre drive, energy does not have mass ( at least not in traditional quantum mechanics ).

So there is nothing in the real world for the numbers that describe the Alcubierre Warp Field to correlate to, and therefore no real-world effect will take place. It's like modeling the Sun in a computer and expecting that because all the numbers are correct, the computer should then have the same mass as the actual Sun. It's math-art.

The only hope for it is that by building the thing, some as of yet unknown causal factor will manifest itself and make it work. That's a bit like having faith in an invisible God. But who knows? Stranger things in the world do seem to happen, and If nobody builds it, we'll never know for sure. Besides, even if it doesn't work, maybe something else unexpected will come from it.
 
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stonehart

Paranormal Adept
You know this drives me totally nuts. Like the narrator says, "One thing almost all scientists believe is that warping space is possible, or at least the numbers tell us that it's possible."

Someday I'd like to hear from the scientists who don't think it's possible. One would think that scientists , of all people, would understand that math is an abstraction, and is therefore correlative, not causal. Simply assigning numbers to a real-world situation and tweaking them will not change the real world situation unless they correspond to something physical e.g. the shape of a wing in the air.

In the case of minkowski space ( curved space ), we are dealing only with an abstraction. There isn't any real-world thing to correlate the numbers to. The same results can be had by applying whatever the numbers are to the behavior of things in uniform space. What's more, when we actually do this, we see no reason to assume that space itself is actually curved, only that things in space behave as if it is.

This being the case, space itself is represented as an entirely geometric concept used to predict the behavior of real-world things like planets, which have mass. Unfortunately for the Alcubierre drive, energy does not have mass ( at least not in traditional quantum mechanics ).

So there is nothing in the real world for the numbers that describe the Alcubierre Warp Field to correlate to, and therefore no real-world effect will take place. It's like modeling the Sun in a computer and expecting that because all the numbers are correct, the computer should then have the same mass as the actual Sun. It's math-art.

The only hope for it is that by building the thing, some as of yet unknown causal factor will manifest itself and make it work. That's a bit like having faith in an invisible God. But who knows? Stranger things in the world do seem to happen, and If nobody builds it, we'll never know for sure. Besides, even if it doesn't work, maybe something else unexpected will come from it.
It is funny how we tell little lies in physics, and don't worry Randal I 100% agree with you (we had a very short chat on this on the show)... I tell little physics lies to students every day when I first start to get them to understand how things actually work... there are reasons things get taught this way and the smart ones in the class get that it is abstraction to an extent right away.

For example take my first year class on physics of sound, lecture class day one, first question what is sound and how fast can it travel?
The first one is air molecules bumping into each other ... ah no that is not really what is going on but sort of like that (more like Newtons cradle sort of)... first lie that has to be changed quite soon after..... and as for the speed of sound the answer in class is 343.3mps (schools teach this as the speed of sound which it is but only at 20c)............ which is also wrong as that number is not constant at all...
I have to use little white lies to start with to get the students thinking before I hit them with the real math and even here I am not telling the full story, well not at first, my graduate students get the full story but it takes a few years to understand all the formula.. the danger is that some kids still don't get that we are playing with numbers and while there are correlations and indeed direct examples in the physical world this is not always the case due to complexity.

V = 331.3(t 0.6) ... ok first clue to the kids that the first number was not always true as that would only be the case at 20c as the real number to start at is zero which is around 331.3, well ok that is just temperature change.. cool that must be 100% right? Um well no it would only be that in a perfect world on paper, in reality we are dealing with more than just a single sine wave as complex waves do messy things and well there are a million other factors at play as well.

You see what I have to do to teach this and like I said the smart ones get that this is in abstract. The reality is sound moves at a variable ratio and to really get what is happening in reality is hyper complex math which even then is not 100%

Long story short is that numbers are fun to play with on paper but reality in a physical world is a whole other story.

PS: Hell we even teach sound using transverse wave examples and well sound is not actually a transverse wave form but it makes things simple to explain, I think you have to be able to think in both a logical manner but also be able to see things very well in the abstract hypothetical in this field... also much of this theoretical work like that of Alcubierre is little more than a thought experiment and was never really meant to be much more than that.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
For example take my first year class on physics of sound, lecture class day one, first question what is sound and how fast can it travel?
It's nice to know someone else out there actually gets what I'm saying once in a while instead of quoting back the usual cliches that are designed, exactly as you say, to explain ideas to the average person who hasn't thought it through yet. What I don't get is why people who are way smarter than me don't also see the flaw in the fundamental premise of curved space. Maybe it has something to do with being a math-head.

I had a math teacher once who would say, "Everything is math". Maybe they literally don't see the world any other way after a while. I've heard the viewpoint more than once to the effect that, "If you can't it express it mathematically, it isn't real." What's so odd about that view is that math is a basic form of logic. But logically, it doesn't follow that,

A: Because things that are real can be expressed mathematically
B: Therefore things that can be expressed mathematically must be real.

BTW: On the question of sound, I would have been one of those annoying students who when asked what sound is, would have said something like, "Sound is what we experience through our sense of hearing" and I'm giving myself a gold star for that ⭐ ;)
 
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stonehart

Paranormal Adept
It's nice to know someone else out there actually gets what I'm saying once in a while instead of quoting back the usual cliches that are designed, exactly as you say, to explain ideas to the average person who hasn't thought it through yet. What I don't get is why people who are way smarter than me don't also see the flaw in the fundamental premise of curved space. Maybe it has something to do with being a math-head.

I had a math teacher once who would say, "Everything is math". Maybe they literally don't see the world any other way after a while. I've heard the viewpoint more than once to the effect that, "If you can't it express it mathematically, it isn't real." What's so odd about that view is that math is a basic form of logic. But logically, it doesn't follow that,

A: Because things that are real can be expressed mathematically
B: Therefore things that can be expressed mathematically must be real.

BTW: On the question of sound, I would have been one of those annoying students who when asked what sound is, would have said something like, "Sound is what we experience through our sense of hearing" and I'm giving myself a gold star for that ⭐ ;)
There is a real and frankly over powering culture of what I call the "Ivory Tower" in academic work which breeds tunnel vision, the net result is academics tend to only see the world though the lens of the field they work in. I guess where I stand with how I teach is that the students should only use the math as a guide.

PS: how do you truly know you are experiencing anything :-P ... no don't answer that even I think what I just said is silly.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
There is a real and frankly over powering culture of what I call the "Ivory Tower" in academic work which breeds tunnel vision, the net result is academics tend to only see the world though the lens of the field they work in. I guess where I stand with how I teach is that the students should only use the math as a guide.
I worry about exactly that with ufology. I know this sounds harsh, and I'm not referring to anyone in particular, because I like guys like Rich Hoffman, but I think that changing the label from UFO to UAP and claiming that only science is capable of providing meaningful insight is the height of pretentiousness. I respect people more who are brave enough to say they believe alien visitation is real, especially those witnesses who have had really good firsthand experiences.
PS: how do you truly know you are experiencing anything :-P ... no don't answer that even I think what I just said is silly.
Hey, good thing you didn't ask that over on the consciousness thread or we'd be going on about it for who knows how long. Somebody would probably write a thesis :p
 

stonehart

Paranormal Adept
I worry about exactly that with ufology. I know this sounds harsh, and I'm not referring to anyone in particular, because I like guys like Rich Hoffman, but I think that changing the label from UFO to UAP and claiming that only science is capable of providing meaningful insight is the height of pretentiousness. I respect people more who are brave enough to say they believe alien visitation is real, especially those witnesses who have had really good firsthand experiences.

Hey, good thing you didn't ask that over on the consciousness thread or we'd be going on about it for who knows how long. Somebody would probably write a thesis :p
I keep a very open mind on the UFO and Alien topic simply because I know enough to know I know nothing at all... I also have issues with absolutes and people who say they have the 100% final answer on it ****Spoiler**** they don't.

I am staying away from the consciousness thread as circular arguments just irritate me no end and that is just the sort of topic that breeds that sort of thinking.
 


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