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String Theory - Science or Philosophy ?


John Phoenix
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I just saw a show found on You Tube called The Elegant Universe.

 

What is interesting to me is that it bring to fore the fact that Science in itself is very subjective. No matter how many experiments you do to 'prove' your theories nothing is set in stone and are not truly "facts" of science in the light of new information.

 

It can be said that Science itself is only a philosophy - only one way at looking at and finding answers to problems. It's all Theory, and at times experiments do seem to prove a theories validity yet in the face of new information those theories seem to crumble. So how can anything in science really ever be taken as fact?

 

I will give you example.

 

Newton gave us one understanding of gravity. Maxwell gave us an understanding of electromagnetism. Einstein gave us relativity that joins gravity and electromagnetism together but that in many ways contradicts Newtons idea of gravity when considered with the speed of light. To explain this contradiction Einstein creates the theory of the fabric of space time in relativity Yet just as Einsteins theory doesn't play fair with Newtons so does relativity conflict with quantum mechanics and thus a new theory is needed to straighten this all out.. String theory.

 

Er.. sorry guys you may just have to go watch the show to understand what I am getting at. The show is made up into 10 minute segments starting here: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=kaypee1985#p/u/40/ULlR_pkHjUQ

 

 

What is really interesting is string theory could explain many things that are today not considered scientific depending on who's model you use, Newtons, Einsteins etc Ghost- alternate dimensions- spiritual beings that exist as something other than we understand and come from places we haven't dreamed could possibly exist - time travel - anti gravity devices -for example could be quantified with string theory because they cannot be proven or disproven by earlier models. - Just as Newtonian physics break down in the face of relativity. Or perhaps I shouldn't say 'breaks down', but comes to conflict with, on certain levels and relativity conflicts with quantum mechanics and so on.

 

As in the show The Elegant Universe it seems the questionable science always seems to find answers when new theories come on the scene. Does that mean the ideas were not scientific? No, it simply means that science could not understand these ideas with the knowledge or models they had at the time.

 

It is said when trying to study something as small as strings it is impossible and thus you can never preform experiments to validate your theories. So in light of this is String theory really considered science?

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String theory until it is conclusively shown to be false is part of science or rather more accurately part of the scientific method. The beauty of scientific method is that all parts of science are subject to change in light of new knowledge. When experience (usually through experimentation) shows something to be true every time you perform the same actions and analysis, it becomes as close to fact as is possible in science. Why do you think no (or almost none) serious scientist believes the world is flat? Because many experiments and much experience has shown that the world is not in fact flat. Is it possible the world is flat? Extremely unlikely, since the only ways of getting around the common experience of the world being round and not flat involve highly improbable events or situations and reasoning that cannot be shown to be true through any human experience.


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BTW philosophy is part of science in the same way.

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Hmm O.k. .. good answer..

 

What about Einsteins theory of the fabric of space and time that is used to settle the conflicts relativity has with Newtonian physics? - We cannot do experiments on this to 'prove the theory' as we cannot cause the sun to disappear to measure how the orbit of earth reacts nor can we observe this with telescopes because we are only seeing a fraction of space in time.

 

Couldn't you say there was never any evidence to prove this theory and that instead of science it resides only in the realm of speculation that's not scientific? - I thought for something to be scientific it had have been able to be measured with some scientific method.. or at least that is what many scientists on here have lead me to believe.

 

Again I am using an example they give in the show.. BTW, the show The Elegant Universe is a NOVA show.

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there's more to relativity than the speed of propagation of gravity (it has actually been measured though by other means, you don't need anything to disappear)

 

the big tests for relativity were the bending of light around objects and the precession of mercury. newtonian gravity completely failed to predict these things but not only did GR predict them, it predicted them accurately.

 

it didn't get its status because it was an interesting idea, it got it because it worked consistently and precisely. even when new tests were thought up it passed. and it is still being tested. i believe the latest of such tests is Gravity Probe B which currently has the smoothest balls ever and is going round the earth right now.

 

it is trying to detect what is known as the 'frame dragging effect' general relativity predicts this, but even with the entire earth the effect is pretty small so wee need the most accurate instrumentation available.

 

so far it has confirmed the geodetic effect(another prediction of einsteins) but more data is needed before scientists will say they might have got a good reading for frame dragging.

 

although a scientists 'maybe' is about the same as a normal persons 'yep, its there alright'

 

with string 'theory' there isn't a whole lot we can do to test it just now. at the moment it is a nice little mathematical theory(and a lot of mathematical uses have been found for it) but as a model of reality, well, we just don't have anything to test it with. the LHC might provide some useful insight when they finally ramp it up to full power but it likely won't be enough for confirmation, merely a 'hmm we should build a bigger one to make sure we saw that.' that will bring about another bout of crazies claiming its going to end the world

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It is said when trying to study something as small as strings it is impossible and thus you can never preform experiments to validate your theories. So in light of this is String theory really considered science?

 

Right now, you should think of string theory as a mathematical framework that could possibly be useful in constructing a realistic and useful theory of everything. The biggest problem today is that there is a huge number of possible solutions (sting vacua), one of these may describe our universe. There are questions about getting getting the right D-brane matter content, moduli stabilisation and SUSY breaking.

 

There must be a clear distinction between things that are not testable and those that are in principle testable. A physical theory based on string theory (a singled out string vacua) could make specific predictions that could be tested. String theory is currently not in such a position to make anything other than very general predictions.

 

Exciting things to look out for in the future include;

 

1) The prediction of superymmetry. Possibly will be seen at LHC. However, "string theory needs supersymmetry more than supersymmetry needs string theory" as pointed out to me by John Ellis.

 

2) Quantum gravity and black holes. Black holes offer a place to possibly view quantum effects on gravity. String theory necessarily includes a (perturbative) quantum theory of gravity. Astrophysics and astronomy may offer a way to examine string theory. As cosmology also may do.

 

The attitude to take should be "string theory is work in progress".

Edited by ajb
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Dear ajb, C'mon-"in principle testable"? Appears to me as a backdoor route to "Gedanken Experiment". Can we not hold to Newton's beautifully simple and unambiguous "Demonstrable"? Can you imagine a physicist's response to, "And what is your field, Sir?". "I'm a theoretical experimentalist. Or.. Wait a minute. Am I an experimental theorist?". Remember- You can't envision your bosons and eat them too!

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John Phoenix, really what the issue you seem to be having is that science is necessarily based on inductive logic. Inductive logic can never give a definite answer. We cannot use deductive logic as to use deductive logic you have to accept as given certain premises. Though if you accept certain laws of physics as your premises you can make deductions from that, but you have to remember that the premises you are starting from would be unproven (in the philosophical sense).

 

As for string theory, it really is several different string theories each of which make wildly different predictions. And by several I mean more than there are atoms in the universe. Only if you pick one can you make specific predictions, though if you pick a group you can make some predictions general to the ones you picked.

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I just saw a show found on You Tube called The Elegant Universe.

 

What is interesting to me is that it bring to fore the fact that Science in itself is very subjective. No matter how many experiments you do to 'prove' your theories nothing is set in stone and are not truly "facts" of science in the light of new information.

 

It can be said that Science itself is only a philosophy - only one way at looking at and finding answers to problems. It's all Theory, and at times experiments do seem to prove a theories validity yet in the face of new information those theories seem to crumble. So how can anything in science really ever be taken as fact?

 

I will give you example.

 

Newton gave us one understanding of gravity. Maxwell gave us an understanding of electromagnetism. Einstein gave us relativity that joins gravity and electromagnetism together but that in many ways contradicts Newtons idea of gravity when considered with the speed of light. To explain this contradiction Einstein creates the theory of the fabric of space time in relativity Yet just as Einsteins theory doesn't play fair with Newtons so does relativity conflict with quantum mechanics and thus a new theory is needed to straighten this all out.. String theory.

 

Er.. sorry guys you may just have to go watch the show to understand what I am getting at. The show is made up into 10 minute segments starting here: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=kaypee1985#p/u/40/ULlR_pkHjUQ

 

 

What is really interesting is string theory could explain many things that are today not considered scientific depending on who's model you use, Newtons, Einsteins etc Ghost- alternate dimensions- spiritual beings that exist as something other than we understand and come from places we haven't dreamed could possibly exist - time travel - anti gravity devices -for example could be quantified with string theory because they cannot be proven or disproven by earlier models. - Just as Newtonian physics break down in the face of relativity. Or perhaps I shouldn't say 'breaks down', but comes to conflict with, on certain levels and relativity conflicts with quantum mechanics and so on.

 

As in the show The Elegant Universe it seems the questionable science always seems to find answers when new theories come on the scene. Does that mean the ideas were not scientific? No, it simply means that science could not understand these ideas with the knowledge or models they had at the time.

 

It is said when trying to study something as small as strings it is impossible and thus you can never preform experiments to validate your theories. So in light of this is String theory really considered science?

 

We cannot ask whether a scientific theory accurately describes our natural world, we can only ask if it works by accurately predicting results from experiments.

 

The probabilities and mathematics behind string theory are derived from quantum theory. And as far as we know the mathematics behind quantum theory have accurately predicted the physical properties of particles every time. Thus it works.

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Wow.. O.k. you guys are clearing this all up nicely.

 

I especally like these:

 

"Inductive logic can never give a definite answer. Though if you accept certain laws of physics as your premises you can make deductions from that, but you have to remember that the premises you are starting from would be unproven."

 

"We cannot ask whether a scientific theory accurately describes our natural world, we can only ask if it works by accurately predicting results from experiments."

 

"newtonian gravity completely failed to predict these things but not only did GR predict them, it predicted them accurately. it didn't get its status because it was an interesting idea, it got it because it worked consistently and precisely. even when new tests were thought up it passed."

~~~~~~~~~

 

As just a casual guy I have a hard time wrapping my mind around when scientist say things are so proven and written in stone, then something comes along to say yes, those experiments do prove out 100% of the time, yet if we ad this X into the mix the theory no longer seems to hold true, or another theory comes and does things the older theory failed to predict or establish.

 

It's the way in which I view science I suppose that needs redefinition.

 

I understand if tachyons do exist, they can travel faster than light. If true we would need a new theory to cover that one as Einstein says nothing can travel faster than light - or is there one already?

 

I'm horrible at math but I am trying to learn a few things about science because I really want to understand electricity produced by magnetism in all its forms. I wouldn't call it a perpetual motion machine but I see Jon DePew has taken some magnets and once spinning.. they will spin on their own magnetic forces unless stopped. It is thought by many Ed Leedskulnin of Coral Castle used energy produced by his flywheel to cause a negative magnetic current in a steel cable and when wrapped around those huge stones it would produce an anti gravity effect to help him life the stones easily. Also it is said that once Ed cranked his flywheel it would keep spinning by itself.

 

Now Tesla is a deep subject but he made a car go 90 miles an hour on a magnetic engine that had a long antenna of wire connected to it, and would pick up energy from the air, just like a huge tv or radio tower picks up energy today from the atmosphere.

 

I want to really be able to understand these things. This is my personal holy grail of science.

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Dear ajb, C'mon-"in principle testable"? Appears to me as a backdoor route to "Gedanken Experiment". Can we not hold to Newton's beautifully simple and unambiguous "Demonstrable"? Can you imagine a physicist's response to, "And what is your field, Sir?". "I'm a theoretical experimentalist. Or.. Wait a minute. Am I an experimental theorist?". Remember- You can't envision your bosons and eat them too!

 

You have to make a distinction between what we can test today taking into account technology available, the hardware for the experiments and also the mathematical technology to make such predictions.

 

This is in stark contrast to much of pseudoscience in which there is no hope of designing experiments to test anything.

 

There is a branch of physics called phenomenology, which attempts to make bridges between theory and experiment. We have at least one member on this forum who is active in this field.


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I understand if tachyons do exist, they can travel faster than light. If true we would need a new theory to cover that one as Einstein says nothing can travel faster than light - or is there one already?

 

Tachyons are not inconsistent with special relativity. You know that the speed of light is like a "barrier", nothing can cross it by speeding up. Well the same is true in reverse. If something travels faster than the speed of light, i.e. is a tachyon then it cannot be slowed down slower than the speed of light.

 

However, in quantum theory tachyons are inherently unstable and decay. They are associated with picking the wrong vacuum. I am not sure how much to say here, but take away the message that quantum theory does not like tachyons.

 

 

I'm horrible at math but I am trying to learn a few things about science because I really want to understand electricity produced by magnetism in all its forms.

 

Then you need to think about Maxwell's equations. Not easy I am afraid.

Edited by ajb
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You have to make a distinction between what we can test today taking into account technology available, the hardware for the experiments and also the mathematical technology to make such predictions.

 

This is in stark contrast to much of pseudoscience in which there is no hope of designing experiments to test anything.

 

There is a branch of physics called phenomenology, which attempts to make bridges between theory and experiment. We have at least one member on this forum who is active in this field.


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged

 

 

Tachyons are not inconsistent with special relativity. You know that the speed of light is like a "barrier", nothing can cross it by speeding up. Well the same is true in reverse. If something travels faster than the speed of light, i.e. is a tachyon then it cannot be slowed down slower than the speed of light.

 

However, in quantum theory tachyons are inherently unstable and decay. They are associated with picking the wrong vacuum. I am not sure how much to say here, but take away the message that quantum theory does not like tachyons.

 

 

 

 

Then you need to think about Maxwell's equations. Not easy I am afraid.

 

Whoa.. I didn't know the barrier worked both ways in theory. Interesting about the tachyons.

 

I'd love to look deeper into Maxwell, but I understand he didn't take into account the full set of data, he only used half. Many scientists believe he ignored equations for negative current. Everything taught in the mainstream is about electromagnetic energy that uses positive magnetic current that govern the laws of attraction. It is said through south poles there is also this negative current that ties into gravity which allows for a canceling or lessening effect of gravity. I would want to understand Maxwells theories and this other side of it to get a whole picture.

 

For a better than I can do understanding of what this negative current is and why and how it is overlooked by science go here:

http://www.leedskalnin.com/#anchor_837

 

This sounds really out there, some may say it is not scientific but if possible that's only because we are conditioned to believe so. Me, I am not saying I believe this one way or another.. I don't understand all the math involved but it is interesting. We know Tesla invented a device that levitates a piece of metal. It is shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkoETVCM__c&feature=channel I do not know how it is claimed this works yet it does.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I could really start a new thread with this and I may do that but after I posted my last message last night (this morning) I came across some work by a young man who brilliantly discovered a correlation between Coral Castle, how Ed Leedskulnin moved those slabs by himself and knowledge of Freemasons secrets as described in the architecture and paintings of 200 year old Freemason lodge halls.

 

This work is full of math, most of it not too complicated so that I could follow the logic. From that standpoint scientists would appreciate this.

 

Please watch this it gets deep. As you will see, there is so much corroborating evidence and not just speculation because this fellow proves everything with mathematical equations.

 

(Someone recently told me on here, you want me to investigate something, give me math - well here it is) In essence, the math explains how Ed moved those blocks and it is the same secrets of stone working Freemasons have known for centuries and were well known to ancient man.. knowledge that has been lost over the years. It is believed that the Freemasons of today may have lost this knowledge themselves.

 

If this is all true then we may have another important theory to work with that will change the face of science yet again in new and profound ways.

 

I give you; Secrets of Magnetism

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR2p2gCM4wE&feature=PlayList&p=C0104BEB8A1491CC&index=0

 

It is in 6 parts. Please watch all 6 parts. They are all there to the right of the video.

 

And also; The Secrets of the Universe

http://www.code144.com/#video'>http://www.code144.com/#video

 

In 2 parts. This is a more updated version of the Secrets of Magnetism. You really need to see both videos in their entirety to get the full picture here and follow all of the math.

 

http://www.code144.com is this fellows main site. He has a forum full of people trying to build a working flywheel just like the one Ed used. There are many scientists and mathematicians on his forum trying to help.

 

BTW, all of the books Ed Leedskulnin wrote on the subject of magnetic current and Coral Castle are freely downloadable from the Internet if you know where to look. I have gathered all of these books and plan to upload them all together to megaupload so others can acquire them all at once.

Edited by John Phoenix
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A negative current is either positive charge carriers moving in the same direction as the negative charge carriers or negative charge carriers moving in the opposite direction.

 

Or have I missed what you are saying?

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A negative current is either positive charge carriers moving in the same direction as the negative charge carriers or negative charge carriers moving in the opposite direction.

 

Or have I missed what you are saying?

 

I am probably not explaining this very well. The negative current has something to do with Ed using his flywheel machine to create a type of anti gravity.

 

I think it's best you watch the videos to understand it, or.. I just found this page where you can view both videos as sets of images if you don't to watch the video versions.

 

I think what is overlooked is the way in which this negative current is used, not that it's unknown.

 

http://www.code144.com/browse-vid.php

 

Also instead of the 6 You Tube links I posted you can watch the first video from 2008 here:http://www.code144.com/original.php

 

I did not know this earlier. I called it the secrets of magnetism because that's how it was posted on You Tube, but that's is not its real mane. the person who posted it on You Tube must have changed the name. It is The Secrets of The Universe 2008 edition, and the next is the Secrets of the Universe 2009 edition.

Edited by John Phoenix
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I am probably not explaining this very well. The negative current has something to do with Ed using his flywheel machine to create a type of anti gravity.

 

I'll give anti-gravity a miss for now. :rolleyes:

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I'll give anti-gravity a miss for now. :rolleyes:

 

I cant say I blame you for being skeptic.. I still am myself.. which is why I'm looking into it. The Chinese however seem to think it can be done They must think with all their scientist that there is something to it.

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Science or Philosophy

 

Many years ago when SF was undergoing a change of leadership we had a major debate on this subject. The administrators finally conceded (with some reluctance) that Physics is correctly defined as a Philosophy and that Quantum Physics is correctly defined as a Mathematical Prediction Theory. The last time I tried to recover that forum from the archives there was no trace of the main article, only a few of the before and after comments.

 

There is a whole group of leading scientists who, while acknowledging the accuracy of QT prediction; nonetheless are dissatisfied with its lack of a pure scientific base. There are also many examples that show how the attitude of some leading scientists leaves much to be desired; read e=mc^2 by David Bodanis for just a few examples.

 

The great thing about all this is that to a greater extent than any other 'science', there is ample room in physics for the amateur speculator, make the most of it because common sense is bound to prevail eventually.

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string theory is a metaphysical trash, it isn't science

 

I can understand why it is hard to take the ideas behind string theory seriously. Stephen H. once said, no single man can completely understand string theory. So I will attempt to describe string theory the best I can to you, so maybe you can understand it is a scientific theory and it is not metaphysical trash.

 

String theory is a developing theory based off of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity and off of Quantum Theory. It is the attempt to unify gravity with the other forces of nature into one theory. This is another short description from wikipedia and can be found here:

 

"String theory is a developing branch of quantum mechanics and general relativity into a quantum theory of gravity.[1] The strings of string theory are one-dimensional oscillating lines, but they are no longer considered fundamental to the theory, which can be formulated in terms of points or surfaces too."

 

These strings, are all particles, and the different there vibrations the different kind of particles they are. They move through 10,11, and sometimes even more dimensions. This depends on what string theory we are talking about. These dimensions are different in their physical limitations. 1st dimension is a point in space, 2nd is a line in space, 3rd is a line with depth in space, 4th is a specific point in space-time, 5th is a line across space-time, 6th is a depth along space-time (imagine 3d as moving through planes of 2 dimensional worlds, then apply that thought process to the idea of time).

 

The dimensions go on and on and become rather difficult to explain

is a link to a video that helped explain it to me. It is a two part video, and the second part is linked in the side panel next to this video. I really recommend watching it!

 

Furthermore, to be critical of string theory as a whole is a rather broad criticism. String theory comes in a variety of flavours. String Theory, Super String Theory, M-Theory, F-Theory, and many other interpretations that aren't quite as popular.

 

Although String Theory has been critisized by many scientists including, Peter Woit and Lee Smolin, it is usually not critisized for being "metaphysical trash". The problem most of these scientists have with string theory is that it is so difficult to test whether it is a viable theory.

 

String Theory is just a theory though, that is attempting to unify the known forces of nature into one theory, and as of right now it is the only set of theories that can offer a viable, theoretically sound explanation as to why gravity is so much weaker than the other natural forces.

 

I have heard of some ways to test for multiple dimensions (something postulated by string theories). One being to create a graviton and attempt to observe it escaping into another dimension. There is a lot of cool information on string theory but to be close minded when it has not been proven or dis-proven is a rather ignorant ideology. I hope this helped! Here are some links to some information on F-Theory and Quantum Gravity.

 

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-theory

http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=697

http://videolectures.net/cern_vafa_fgws/

http://www.physorg.com/news88786651.html <--These are other proposed string-theory experiments

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11TcbcW0Dw0

Edited by toastywombel
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