BaalChatzaf

Stephen Weinberg's Essay Criticizing The "Philosophy of Science"

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This is an essay written by Weinberg explaining why philosophy is generally ignored or downplayed by working scientists (mostly physicists).

http://depts.washing...rg_SSN_1_14.pdf

A description of Weinberg's contributions to physics can be found in

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Weinberg

Weinberg shared the Nobel Prize with Sheldon Glaschow and Abdus Salaam for their inference of the existence of the Z Boson which mediates the Weak Force. Their analysis is strongly supported and corroborated by experimental work. Weinberg's critique of the "philosophy of science" is kinder and more gentle than that of Richard Feynman. See the Sands Three Volume transcript of the Feynman Lectures which is filled with "zingers" and jabs at philosophy as only Richard Feynman could deliver them.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf

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A quote: "Physicists do of course carry around with them a working philosophy.

For most of us, it is a rough and ready realism, a belief in the objective reality of the ingredients of our scientific theories."

Which invites the response, WHICH philosophy is he criticizing?

Not Objectivism, clearly.

I look forward to a GHS, or a Boydstun, essay, formally answering this.

Tony

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I read the majority of it.

It's obvious his purpose was mostly to discredit philosophy and avoid saying or downplay anything positive about it. Here is one of many examples.

"Physicists do of course carry around with them a working philosophy. For most of us, it is a rough-and-ready realism, a belief in the objective reality of the ingredients of our scientific theories. But this has been learned through the experience of scientific research and rarely from the teachings of philosophers."

Huh? Such realism is not a philosophical doctrine?

When he writes about specific philosophical doctrines, he cherry-picks examples to discredit them and/or cast doubt on the value of philosophy.

What's missing? I can name several -- Aristotle's logic, Isaac Newton and Galileo were natural philosophers, no mention of Francis Bacon, John Locke, or William Whewell.

I'll make an analogy to address the apparent attitude of Weinberg and certainly of you. Physics does not help me to decide what tv or car or groceries to buy, how to operate my new gadget, how to invest or earn an income. Therefore, physics is useless.

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A quote: "Physicists do of course carry around with them a working philosophy.

For most of us, it is a rough and ready realism, a belief in the objective reality of the ingredients of our scientific theories."

Which invites the response, WHICH philosophy is he criticizing?

Not Objectivism, clearly.

I look forward to a GHS, or a Boydstun, essay, formally answering this.

Tony

His critique is aimed mainly at logical positivism and pure mechanism.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Thanks, Ba'al, interesting essay. Since reading The Logical Leap, I have been reconsidering what may or may not be significant about the scientific works of scientists. Harriman excoriated Bohr's (perhaps out of context) admission of ignorance about the ultimate nature of reality or the final truth of any assertion. By comparison, I note that Stephen Weinberg shared that Nobel Prize with Abdus Salam. who considered himself a devout Muslim, quoting from the Quran during his acceptance speech in Stockholm. (His sect, the Ahmadiyya, were declared non-Muslim by the parliament of Pakistan in 1974.) So, many here could feel free to take Abdus Salam to task on the existence of God, but doing so would be pointless. For him, it was important.

More important, to me, is the fact that Stephen Weinberg is an atheist.

So, why didn't Salam stab Weinberg? Sheldon Glashow's bio in Wikipedia neglects to mention whether he sings over the family wine several times a year; but let's just assume that he is politely observant when required. How did these three men work together? Why did Weinberg and Glashow not build a wall around Salam lest he blow himself up to kill them?

See, there is something else at work here: respect for others largely based on their achievements, but with that as an assumption nonetheless. On the other hand, following Ayn Rand, Objectivists live rational lives in an irrational society by passing moral judgment on others -- despite their achievements. Objectivists do not grant a moral sanction to their destroyers. That is surely good advice. However, following it not too far toward its reductio, I would never have had a pizza because where I grew up, all the pizza parlors had icons of Pope John XXIII and President John Kennedy behind the cash register. Now, other icons bless gas stations, hotels, and convenience stores. About ten years ago, CNN had a story about a couple of Christian fundamentalist children who were so full of The Holy Spirit (or something) that they were banned from their public school because they could not stop rebuking the other kids.

If a Nobel laureate says that the philosophy he studied at Cornel was pointless, you have to take him at his word. The closest I ever got to a Nobel prize was having one of my papers on numismatics appear as a footnote in an article by Robert Mundell.

Which invites the response, WHICH philosophy is he criticizing? Not Objectivism, clearly.

Comforting is it not?

I look forward to a GHS, or a Boydstun, essay, formally answering this.

Because that is a lot easier than thinking this through on your own. Stephen Boydstun is a whole head taller than I am, no doubt about that. Still and all I prefer to make my own mistakes before asking the tutor to correct my homework. You learn more that way.

I read the majority of it.

It was only 12 pages, dude. I read it in 15 minutes, and I move my lips. When a Nobel laureate offers insight on a topic that interests you, the least you can do is accept the gift.

It's obvious his purpose was mostly to discredit philosophy and avoid saying or downplay anything positive about it.

Nothing gets past you.

Huh? Such realism is not a philosophical doctrine?

Not at Cornel in 1954, apparently.

When he writes about specific philosophical doctrines, he cherry-picks examples ...

They were essential examples, from the mainstream of philosophy. He missed one philosopher, apparently -- and it might actually have quantum field implications about the arrow of time, that in 1954, he did not attend Ayn Rand's March 6, 1974 address "Philosophy: Who Need It?" at West Point.

What's missing? I can name several -- Aristotle's logic, Isaac Newton and Galileo were natural philosophers, no mention of Francis Bacon, John Locke, or William Whewell.

You read too fast. Try moving your lips. It slows me down to the point that I actually understand what the author intends, rather than what my mind suggests that Ayn Rand might have thought if she read this. Weinberg writes, at the very top: "... it might be expected that we would be helped also by philosophy, out of which after all our science evolved." After Newton, the explosive extensions and intentions in learning clove the "natural" from the "philosophy." Herbert Spencer was probably the last of them, truly studying nature as a philopher and learning philosophy by studying nature.

Weinberg identified a problem. That was all. His monograph was not an all-encompassing solution to Life's Biggest Mysteries. All he said was that academic philosophy has not proved helpful to physics. Moreover, he delivered a nice historical account of how physics made progress (or not) from the application of philosophical constructs. To me, the subtext was that physicists have been practicing philosophy despite the lack of useful involvement from professional philosophers.

Edited by Michael E. Marotta

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This is an essay written by Weinberg explaining why philosophy is generally ignored or downplayed by working scientists (mostly physicists).

Hey, I quoted this book on OL not long ago: http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=9583&view=findpost&p=116119

I want to counteract a widespread, overly empiricist point of view. But in fact one can go through the history of important experiments in physics and find many varied roles played by these experiments and many different ways that theory and experiment have interacted. It appears that anything you say about the way that theory and experiment may interact is likely to be correct, and anything you say about the way that theory and experiment must interact is likely to be wrong.

Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory

What kind of conversation were you trying to start by posting this? It’s a pretty long chapter, in that there’s a lot of material there. He gives a nod to Thomas Kuhn’s paradigm shift concept, for instance. So, how about we debate the relative merits of inductive and abductive reasoning? Here’s a lecture tying in Aristotle, Peirce, and Sherlock Holmes, spend the hour listening to it and try to abduct the point I’m making. The first 7 minutes are skippable intro (I'm nothing if not helpful :P ).

http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/VideoTest/eco-ari.ram

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I look forward to a GHS, or a Boydstun, essay, formally answering this.

Because that is a lot easier than thinking this through on your own. Stephen Boydstun is a whole head taller than I am, no doubt about that. Still and all I prefer to make my own mistakes before asking the tutor to correct my homework. You learn more that way.

Most admirable. You know what, I completely agree with you.

If you'd paid any attention to the majority of my posts, and why should you, you'd know I'm the original "fool rushing in where angels fear..." kinda guy.

I learn from my mistakes, because like many, I dislike making them.

Still and all, I know what I know - and what I don't know - and when it comes to that cusp between philosophy and physics, I have my ideas, but would rather from hear the 'tall' thinkers, thank you very much. :rolleyes:

So, you are correct, Michael Marotta, but not completely just.

Tony

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You read too fast. Try moving your lips. It slows me down to the point that I actually understand what the author intends, rather than what my mind suggests that Ayn Rand might have thought if she read this. Weinberg writes, at the very top: "... it might be expected that we would be helped also by philosophy, out of which after all our science evolved."

My comments were not based on what I thought Ayn Rand would say, but merely my own. Her comments would likely be more harsh.

Regarding what you quoted in bold, my reading of what followed impacted that expectation negatively, not positively, overwhelmingly. Indeed, only four sentences later is this: "The insights of philosophers have occasionally benefited physicists, but generally in a negative fashion—by protecting them from the preconceptions of other philosophers."

Edited by Merlin Jetton

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If you'd paid any attention to the majority of my posts, and why should you ... I have my ideas, but would rather from hear the 'tall' thinkers, thank you very much. So, you are correct, Michael Marotta, but not completely just.

You are right. I do not pay attention to "your" posts though I do read many of them of necessity. I have not built a construct of you. We lack interaction; and this dialog helps. I was, indeed, surprised, that you did not weigh in with an opinion, but defered to the tall thinkers. And, not to make it too personal here, but while Stephen is, George is not. We are all peers here, in the same league, and it is pretty easy to see who bats at the top of the order, who the clean-up hitters are, and who gets to bat simply by being a fielder... and then there's the boring stories of glory days.

... my reading of what followed impacted that expectation negatively, not positively, overwhelmingly.

Well, just belaboring the details here, you cited natural philosophers as counter-examples; and I pointed out that Weinberg did give them their due at the opening. I agree also with the general observation here that regardless of what Weinberg thinks of positivism, he is nonetheless practicing philosophy. Implicitly, he is practicing objectivism, i.e,, rational-empiricism, the unified and unifying philosophy that was never explicitly embraced.

Positivism was accepted as the "scientific" philosophy as it started ot claiming empirical observation as the basis for logical generalizations. But, coming from Auguste Comte, primarily, though also from Herbert Spencer (who was largely ignored by academics), positivism abandoned reason and then surrendered empirical evidence as well. Objectivism was missing, just as a moral statement of capitalism was lacking at the same time. On that, I trust we can agree.

Also, as I said, taken as a whole, Weinberg's chapter is a chronological array of the successes of science against the failures of philosophy.

Edited by Michael E. Marotta

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How refreshing.

If there is an award for funny avatars you win. It cracks me up every time I see it.

Dennis May

Yeah, I am actually much more a dog person but a big fan of Herbert's and the look on the cat's face is priceless.

I am sorry I have been avoiding your physics posts. After George Smith's hysterical reaction to my posts recommending he simply try listening to Carl Sagan on the 4th dimension I have been reluctant to discuss the topic.

I do have one question. How does Ockham's Razor allow us to substitute a speed of light slowing down from infinity for a universe expanding from a singularity? The former explanation for the red shift doesn't explain how we can step down from an infinite to a finite speed of light, while the latter simply requires expansion always at finite speeds over finite distances.

I don't see any philosophical or empirical problem with the conventional big bang theory.

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I do have one question. How does Ockham's Razor allow us to substitute a speed of light slowing down from infinity for a universe expanding from a singularity? The former explanation for the red shift doesn't explain how we can step down from an infinite to a finite speed of light, while the latter simply requires expansion always at finite speeds over finite distances.

I don't see any philosophical or empirical problem with the conventional big bang theory.

In my theory there never was a physical singularity and the speed of light has never been infinite or zero. As you go further and further back in time you can still only view the universe from the inside [there is no outside]. Observers at any given time see their local speed of light much as we see it today and they see distant objects had a slower speed of light long ago. In the distant past things looked much as they do today - in the distant future they will continue to look much as they do today.

In the Big Bang Theory the singularity followed by great density requires the existing laws of physics to be suspended a number of times. Where and when the laws of physics must be altered or suspended for the Big Bang to produce the numbers it needs is an ever-changing target. If you look at the history of predictions of the Big Bang they required fixes and serious updating every few years.

The Big Bang fundamentally depends upon General Relativity. General Relativity cannot correctly predict the basic velocity profiles of galaxies. Dark matter was supposed to fix this but the latest research show it cannot simultaneously have the property of not interacting with conventional matter except through gravity – yet exactly track conventional matter to produce visibly identical galaxies having identical velocity profiles. Then they turn around and claim that because theory does not match observation concerning satellite galaxies there must be large numbers of invisible ones – composed mostly of dark matter - not precisely tracking visible matter as the other galaxies do. Dark matter is the Band-aid to fix everything – apply as needed in an arbitrary fashion.

The empirical and scientific methodology problems with the Big Bang will fill volumes when the final obituary is written. As for the philosophical you must first decide which version of the Big Bang you support, the one with a singularity, ones that repeats boom and bust without a singularity [very popular – though with the “expansion” getting faster how to you repeat?], the one created by colliding unseen dimensions [popular right now] – which invites many other universes out there we can never see. What is meant by the Big Bang Theory is in flux every few years. The bets are being hedged in multiple directions without addressing many of the fundamental observational problems.

If you go for the singularity version of the Big Bang where did the anti-matter go? How come no first generation red-dwarfs are seen? How can there be huge asymmetries in the early universe yet a very smooth CMBR exists? Why don’t the apparent size of galaxies and their brightness match their red-shift distance? Why are old galaxies seen as far as we can see? Why are huge structures seen as far as we can see? Inflation – then slowing – then an increasing speed of expansion – what evidence is there for Dark Energy other than it being a fix to observation for a theory based on General Relativity that fails in other basic predictions?

Edited by dennislmay

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I do have one question. How does Ockham's Razor allow us to substitute a speed of light slowing down from infinity for a universe expanding from a singularity? The former explanation for the red shift doesn't explain how we can step down from an infinite to a finite speed of light, while the latter simply requires expansion always at finite speeds over finite distances.

I don't see any philosophical or empirical problem with the conventional big bang theory.

In my theory there never was a physical singularity and the speed of light has never been infinite or zero. As you go further and further back in time you can still only view the universe from the inside [there is no outside]. Observers at any given time see their local speed of light much as we see it today and they see distant objects had a slower speed of light long ago. In the distant past things looked much as they do today - in the distant future they will continue to look much as they do today.

In the Big Bang Theory the singularity followed by great density requires the existing laws of physics to be suspended a number of times. Where and when the laws of physics must be altered or suspended for the Big Bang to produce the numbers it needs is an ever-changing target. If you look at the history of predictions of the Big Bang they required fixes and serious updating every few years.

The Big Bang fundamentally depends upon General Relativity. General Relativity cannot correctly predict the basic velocity profiles of galaxies. Dark matter was supposed to fix this but the latest research show it cannot simultaneously have the property of not interacting with conventional matter except through gravity – yet exactly track conventional matter to produce visibly identical galaxies having identical velocity profiles. Then they turn around and claim that because theory does not match observation concerning satellite galaxies there must be large numbers of invisible ones – composed mostly of dark matter - not precisely tracking visible matter as the other galaxies do. Dark matter is the Band-aid to fix everything – apply as needed in an arbitrary fashion.

The empirical and scientific methodology problems with the Big Bang will fill volumes when the final obituary is written. As for the philosophical you must first decide which version of the Big Bang you support, the one with a singularity, ones that repeats boom and bust without a singularity [very popular – though with the “expansion” getting faster how to you repeat?], the one created by colliding unseen dimensions [popular right now] – which invites many other universes out there we can never see. What is meant by the Big Bang Theory is in flux every few years. The bets are being hedged in multiple directions without addressing many of the fundamental observational problems.

If you go for the singularity version of the Big Bang where did the anti-matter go? How come no first generation red-dwarfs are seen? How can there be huge asymmetries in the early universe yet a very smooth CMBR exists? Why don’t the apparent size of galaxies and their brightness match their red-shift distance? Why are old galaxies seen as far as we can see? Why are huge structures seen as far as we can see? Inflation – then slowing – then an increasing speed of expansion – what evidence is there for Dark Energy other than it being a fix to observation for a theory based on General Relativity that fails in other basic predictions?

Much of what you've said above contradicts what I remember about recent reading of mine, although I don't have the information at hand. I understand that the farthest galaxies tend to be more primitive, not to be spiral in form, that evidence has recently been found for the first generation stars - if not the red dwarves about which you ask. Other things such as the question of the missing antimatter don't seem to be a problem for the big bang, so much as symmetry, and I don't see how a steady state theory addresses this.

The fact that big bang models change doesn't bother me a bit, since it is an empirical theory and our observations have been improving over time. I have a problem with both comprehending and answering you in that you bring in a huge slew of issues. Maybe you could explain in detail only one thing, what you think has been happening to the speed of light over time?

A second favor. Could you respond to this post by cutting and pasting it into the original thread so we can continue the conversation there?

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The Big Bang fundamentally depends upon General Relativity. General Relativity cannot correctly predict the basic velocity profiles of galaxies. Dark matter was supposed to fix this but the latest research show it cannot simultaneously have the property of not interacting with conventional matter except through gravity – yet exactly track conventional matter to produce visibly identical galaxies having identical velocity profiles. Then they turn around and claim that because theory does not match observation concerning satellite galaxies there must be large numbers of invisible ones – composed mostly of dark matter - not precisely tracking visible matter as the other galaxies do. Dark matter is the Band-aid to fix everything – apply as needed in an arbitrary fashion.

Neither can the Newtonian nor Keplarian models of gravitation. Those nasty rotation curves means at least one of two things.

1. We never got gravitation right in the first place.

2. There exists gravitating matter which we cannot see (which is the currently favored alternative). Could Dark Matter turn out to be the same kind of bugaboo as luminiferous aether? It could be. Stay tuned.

In any case, there is no doubt the the rotation curves observed again and again are non-Keplarian.

There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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How refreshing.

If there is an award for funny avatars you win. It cracks me up every time I see it.

Dennis May

Yeah, I am actually much more a dog person but a big fan of Herbert's and the look on the cat's face is priceless.

I am sorry I have been avoiding your physics posts. After George Smith's hysterical reaction to my posts recommending he simply try listening to Carl Sagan on the 4th dimension I have been reluctant to discuss the topic.

I do have one question. How does Ockham's Razor allow us to substitute a speed of light slowing down from infinity for a universe expanding from a singularity? The former explanation for the red shift doesn't explain how we can step down from an infinite to a finite speed of light, while the latter simply requires expansion always at finite speeds over finite distances.

I don't see any philosophical or empirical problem with the conventional big bang theory.

I do have one question. How does Ockham's Razor allow us to substitute a speed of light slowing down from infinity for a universe expanding from a singularity? The former explanation for the red shift doesn't explain how we can step down from an infinite to a finite speed of light, while the latter simply requires expansion always at finite speeds over finite distances.

I don't see any philosophical or empirical problem with the conventional big bang theory.

In my theory there never was a physical singularity and the speed of light has never been infinite or zero. As you go further and further back in time you can still only view the universe from the inside [there is no outside]. Observers at any given time see their local speed of light much as we see it today and they see distant objects had a slower speed of light long ago. In the distant past things looked much as they do today - in the distant future they will continue to look much as they do today.

In the Big Bang Theory the singularity followed by great density requires the existing laws of physics to be suspended a number of times. Where and when the laws of physics must be altered or suspended for the Big Bang to produce the numbers it needs is an ever-changing target. If you look at the history of predictions of the Big Bang they required fixes and serious updating every few years.

The Big Bang fundamentally depends upon General Relativity. General Relativity cannot correctly predict the basic velocity profiles of galaxies. Dark matter was supposed to fix this but the latest research show it cannot simultaneously have the property of not interacting with conventional matter except through gravity – yet exactly track conventional matter to produce visibly identical galaxies having identical velocity profiles. Then they turn around and claim that because theory does not match observation concerning satellite galaxies there must be large numbers of invisible ones – composed mostly of dark matter - not precisely tracking visible matter as the other galaxies do. Dark matter is the Band-aid to fix everything – apply as needed in an arbitrary fashion.

The empirical and scientific methodology problems with the Big Bang will fill volumes when the final obituary is written. As for the philosophical you must first decide which version of the Big Bang you support, the one with a singularity, ones that repeats boom and bust without a singularity [very popular – though with the “expansion” getting faster how to you repeat?], the one created by colliding unseen dimensions [popular right now] – which invites many other universes out there we can never see. What is meant by the Big Bang Theory is in flux every few years. The bets are being hedged in multiple directions without addressing many of the fundamental observational problems.

If you go for the singularity version of the Big Bang where did the anti-matter go? How come no first generation red-dwarfs are seen? How can there be huge asymmetries in the early universe yet a very smooth CMBR exists? Why don’t the apparent size of galaxies and their brightness match their red-shift distance? Why are old galaxies seen as far as we can see? Why are huge structures seen as far as we can see? Inflation – then slowing – then an increasing speed of expansion – what evidence is there for Dark Energy other than it being a fix to observation for a theory based on General Relativity that fails in other basic predictions?

Much of what you've said above contradicts what I remember about recent reading of mine, although I don't have the information at hand. I understand that the farthest galaxies tend to be more primitive, not to be spiral in form, that evidence has recently been found for the first generation stars - if not the red dwarves about which you ask. Other things such as the question of the missing antimatter don't seem to be a problem for the big bang, so much as symmetry, and I don't see how a steady state theory addresses this.

The fact that big bang models change doesn't bother me a bit, since it is an empirical theory and our observations have been improving over time. I have a problem with both comprehending and answering you in that you bring in a huge slew of issues. Maybe you could explain in detail only one thing, what you think has been happening to the speed of light over time?

A second favor. Could you respond to this post by cutting and pasting it into the original thread so we can continue the conversation there?

Young galaxies with a great deal of star formation tend to be bright and metal poor.

http://www.universetoday.com/10075/youngest-galaxy-found/

An example of nearby recent galaxy formation – I have read of others.

Stars eject hydrogen and helium preferentially at high velocity providing material for new galaxy formation between existing galaxies.

As you look further and further back and are still able to discern galaxy shapes there are still old spirals as far as you can see – the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Survey shows this clearly:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Ultra_Deep_Field

Once you get far enough out that you are only seeing the brightest galaxies but not necessarily their shape you are primarily seeing young galaxies with active star formation – other galaxies do not provide enough light to be seen and Einstein lensing distorts the shape of any bright enough to be seen in that manner.

In my model the various large asymmetries seen are not an issue – it is a very old universe so large interacting systems have plenty of time to form.

In my model the speed of light slowly increases over time because matter/energy and the aether of the universe form a thermodynamic system. The slight non-linearity of quantum mechanics creates a feedback where energetic systems cause a slight energy transfer to the aether which in turn causes the speed of light [the measure of time] to increase. Because the aether has supraluminal components this increase in the speed of time is spread over a wide area. Far away portions of the universe are seen to have slow luminal components of the aether so the feedback occurs in a very slow manner. At present there is no independent evidence that non-linear components to QM exist. My theory interprets the CMBR, the Hubble red-shift as well as other observations as supporting the existence of non-linear effects in QM. Ideally a ground based experiment will generate an independent verification of a non-linear QM effect. Once a single effect is verified QM, relativity, and gravitational theory will have to be rewritten.

Dennis May

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Because the aether has supraluminal components this increase in the speed of time is spread over a wide area.

What aether? Never detected, never found and unnecessary to achieve correct predictions.

Am I mistaken? Has there been a duplicated experiment actually detecting aether. If such is published in a refereed journal, could you supply the reference?

Thank you.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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How refreshing.

If there is an award for funny avatars you win. It cracks me up every time I see it.

Dennis May

Yeah, I am actually much more a dog person but a big fan of Herbert's and the look on the cat's face is priceless.

I am sorry I have been avoiding your physics posts. After George Smith's hysterical reaction to my posts recommending he simply try listening to Carl Sagan on the 4th dimension I have been reluctant to discuss the topic.

I do have one question. How does Ockham's Razor allow us to substitute a speed of light slowing down from infinity for a universe expanding from a singularity? The former explanation for the red shift doesn't explain how we can step down from an infinite to a finite speed of light, while the latter simply requires expansion always at finite speeds over finite distances.

I don't see any philosophical or empirical problem with the conventional big bang theory.

I do have one question. How does Ockham's Razor allow us to substitute a speed of light slowing down from infinity for a universe expanding from a singularity? The former explanation for the red shift doesn't explain how we can step down from an infinite to a finite speed of light, while the latter simply requires expansion always at finite speeds over finite distances.

I don't see any philosophical or empirical problem with the conventional big bang theory.

In my theory there never was a physical singularity and the speed of light has never been infinite or zero. As you go further and further back in time you can still only view the universe from the inside [there is no outside]. Observers at any given time see their local speed of light much as we see it today and they see distant objects had a slower speed of light long ago. In the distant past things looked much as they do today - in the distant future they will continue to look much as they do today.

In the Big Bang Theory the singularity followed by great density requires the existing laws of physics to be suspended a number of times. Where and when the laws of physics must be altered or suspended for the Big Bang to produce the numbers it needs is an ever-changing target. If you look at the history of predictions of the Big Bang they required fixes and serious updating every few years.

The Big Bang fundamentally depends upon General Relativity. General Relativity cannot correctly predict the basic velocity profiles of galaxies. Dark matter was supposed to fix this but the latest research show it cannot simultaneously have the property of not interacting with conventional matter except through gravity – yet exactly track conventional matter to produce visibly identical galaxies having identical velocity profiles. Then they turn around and claim that because theory does not match observation concerning satellite galaxies there must be large numbers of invisible ones – composed mostly of dark matter - not precisely tracking visible matter as the other galaxies do. Dark matter is the Band-aid to fix everything – apply as needed in an arbitrary fashion.

The empirical and scientific methodology problems with the Big Bang will fill volumes when the final obituary is written. As for the philosophical you must first decide which version of the Big Bang you support, the one with a singularity, ones that repeats boom and bust without a singularity [very popular – though with the “expansion” getting faster how to you repeat?], the one created by colliding unseen dimensions [popular right now] – which invites many other universes out there we can never see. What is meant by the Big Bang Theory is in flux every few years. The bets are being hedged in multiple directions without addressing many of the fundamental observational problems.

If you go for the singularity version of the Big Bang where did the anti-matter go? How come no first generation red-dwarfs are seen? How can there be huge asymmetries in the early universe yet a very smooth CMBR exists? Why don’t the apparent size of galaxies and their brightness match their red-shift distance? Why are old galaxies seen as far as we can see? Why are huge structures seen as far as we can see? Inflation – then slowing – then an increasing speed of expansion – what evidence is there for Dark Energy other than it being a fix to observation for a theory based on General Relativity that fails in other basic predictions?

Much of what you've said above contradicts what I remember about recent reading of mine, although I don't have the information at hand. I understand that the farthest galaxies tend to be more primitive, not to be spiral in form, that evidence has recently been found for the first generation stars - if not the red dwarves about which you ask. Other things such as the question of the missing antimatter don't seem to be a problem for the big bang, so much as symmetry, and I don't see how a steady state theory addresses this.

The fact that big bang models change doesn't bother me a bit, since it is an empirical theory and our observations have been improving over time. I have a problem with both comprehending and answering you in that you bring in a huge slew of issues. Maybe you could explain in detail only one thing, what you think has been happening to the speed of light over time?

A second favor. Could you respond to this post by cutting and pasting it into the original thread so we can continue the conversation there?

Young galaxies with a great deal of star formation tend to be bright and metal poor.

http://www.universetoday.com/10075/youngest-galaxy-found/

An example of nearby recent galaxy formation – I have read of others.

Stars eject hydrogen and helium preferentially at high velocity providing material for new galaxy formation between existing galaxies.

As you look further and further back and are still able to discern galaxy shapes there are still old spirals as far as you can see – the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Survey shows this clearly:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Ultra_Deep_Field

Once you get far enough out that you are only seeing the brightest galaxies but not necessarily their shape you are primarily seeing young galaxies with active star formation – other galaxies do not provide enough light to be seen and Einstein lensing distorts the shape of any bright enough to be seen in that manner.

In my model the various large asymmetries seen are not an issue – it is a very old universe so large interacting systems have plenty of time to form.

In my model the speed of light slowly increases over time because matter/energy and the aether of the universe form a thermodynamic system. The slight non-linearity of quantum mechanics creates a feedback where energetic systems cause a slight energy transfer to the aether which in turn causes the speed of light [the measure of time] to increase. Because the aether has supraluminal components this increase in the speed of time is spread over a wide area. Far away portions of the universe are seen to have slow luminal components of the aether so the feedback occurs in a very slow manner. At present there is no independent evidence that non-linear components to QM exist. My theory interprets the CMBR, the Hubble red-shift as well as other observations as supporting the existence of non-linear effects in QM. Ideally a ground based experiment will generate an independent verification of a non-linear QM effect. Once a single effect is verified QM, relativity, and gravitational theory will have to be rewritten.

Dennis May

http://www.universetoday.com/22335/the-neutral-hydrogen-gun-a-new-solar-flare-phenomenon/

This is not the source I had read before on this phenomenon but I couldn’t find my old source in a timely manner. Nature forms high energy neutral particle beams which preferentially send hydrogen into deep space. More research will need to be done to see the net composition sent into intergalactic space from all types of stars. Gas that gathers in regions between galaxies provides the material to form new low metal galaxies.

Dennis May

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New nearby galaxies are simply the result of recent collisions of smaller galaxies. Surely you aren't implying that whole entire galaxies or clouds large enough to form them pop out of nowhere?

In any case - I will not respond further here - post to the old thread if you want me to continue - I do not like hijacking threads and spreading technical or detailed arguments all over the place.

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New nearby galaxies are simply the result of recent collisions of smaller galaxies. Surely you aren't implying that whole entire galaxies or clouds large enough to form them pop out of nowhere?

http://www.universetoday.com/10075/youngest-galaxy-found/

"Further evidence for the youth of I Zwicky 18 is the fact that its interstellar gas is “nearly pristine,” Thuan said, and composed mostly of hydrogen and helium, the primary two light elements created in the Big Bang,..."

This example is a new galaxy recently formed - not through the collision of older smaller galaxies. If you support the Big Bang theory it was created out of gas that somehow failed to condense until a billion years ago or less - no explanation given. In my theory the gas to create the galaxy is a combination of hydrogen and helium ejected out of other galaxies and matter redistributed in energetic non-linear QM reactions. Galaxy creation is a continual on-going process throughout the universe.

Dennis May

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